Forum Index > Trip Reports > Mesachie Pass + Ragged View - 7/18-19/2020
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geyer
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PostWed Jul 22, 2020 6:40 pm 
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Date: July 18-19, 2020
Distance:  10.5ish miles RT
Accum. Elevation Gain: 4500ish ft (includes side trips up ragged view and down to Kitling Pass)
Humans Seen: 0, but three "murder barrels"

I always go back and forth on whether to post trips like this one, especially to a ridge absolutely coated in heather. And especially one this accessible (4 miles, are you kidding me? OK it took us 6 hours to get there, but we weren't going very fast).....buuuuuut a kind human recently took it upon themself to brush out the "abandoned" Cabinet Creek Trail and it would be a shame for people not to know of this hidden gem, especially if other people help them brush it out all the way to Gabriel.

We were 100% unaware of this human's work when we started our trip. In fact, I suggested the trip based on one of my favorite trip reports, feeling up for an adventure and Eve loves all things abandonded trail and North Cascades history so it was a winner from the start. According to that WTA report, the trail stopped being shown in FS maps after 1960 but if you dig enough, people still use it as an approach.

On the way to the hike, we drove past Jake Robinson getting ready to tackle Prophet at the Ross Dam trailhead and I rolled down my window, yelling "JAAAAAKKKE" - he looked confused, but waved. A little while later, Surafel, Eve, and I parked near the Cabinet Creek sign on the westbound side of Hwy 20 and immediately dove straight into the dense pine trees next to the creek. This 60 foot section only took a couple of minutes to go through, and when we emerged, the forest became very open and cross country travel was easy going. After a while, the creek formed a bluff and we were forced upward, where we crossed paths with some pink flagging. And then some more pink flagging. And some more...

WTF WHO NEEDS THIS MUCH FLAGGING?! I BET IT'S THE MOUNTAINEERS. THEY'RE SO WORRIED ABOUT LIABILITY. UGGGHH. (It turns out, someone building a trail probably needs that much flagging.) We thoroughly enjoyed this newfound flagged route and rode it out for an extra 1/2 mile or so until it abruptly ended at the Cabinet Creek crossing, south of where the creek forks off to the north and south. Then, the real adventure began. We crossed the main creek and continued southwest before crossing the north fork and traversing SSE toward a lake and Mesachie Pass. Our route info said to cross a meadow and the south fork around 4880' and ascend climbers' left of the waterfalls. But the topo map was telling a different story that the mellower route was to stay right. So we did what all great explorers do and ignored the advice and followed the map!  wink.gif It did not go well...

Cabinet Creek Valley
Cabinet Creek Valley

300 vertical feet of class 3 veggie belay later and we made it up to calmer pastures, not to mention a mosquito-infested lake with open views of the cirque we'd need to ascend to get to the pass. I think the easiest route here would be to ascend a boulder field for a little bit, but begin to contour to the right way before you think you should. I say "I think" because we clearly didn't do that and ended up going up some loose gullies and sidehilling vegetated terrain. Nothing terrible, but there was room for improvement.

Once at the pass,  eek.gif  eek.gif  eek.gif  eek.gif


We went up the extra 150' to Ragged View, soaked in the views and went back down to make camp. I had ideas of exploring more of Ragged Ridge, but man, once we got to the Pass, none of that mattered. We just chilled and ate and napped. It was great


Soon enough the sun started to set and we got up again to go up higher on ragged view and take in the views


At night, we took a 90 minute nap before getting up to view the stars and the comet, Neowise. It has been a very long time since I've seen sky that dark and that clear! The milky way spanned all 180 degrees across the sky above us and Neowise was a giant moving target to the north above Jack Mountain.

Wouldn't mind this view every night
Wouldn't mind this view every night

The next morning, I woke up for sunrise pictures while Eve and Surafel slept in.


Then we went down and explored the meadow at Kitling Pass, comparing the glaciers on Ragged Ridge to older pictures. The recession was noticeable.


On the way back, we followed the flagging all the way back to Hwy 20, realizing that most of the cuts were fairly fresh, and a work party of some sort must have been out here recently to brush out the old trail
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Alden Ryno
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PostWed Jul 22, 2020 7:24 pm 
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geyer wrote:
yelling "JAAAAAKKKE"

So good.  lol.gif

These sights are amazing, Brad!
They almost rival the views of my favorite alpine camp just on the other side of RR.

The heart of the park  slobber.gif
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rubywrangler
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PostWed Jul 22, 2020 8:53 pm 
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Hmmm, I suspect your favorite nwhikers post is the same as mine.

This is fantastic!

up.gif to Surafel for his camp lounging skills.
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geyer
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PostThu Jul 23, 2020 8:53 pm 
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Alden Ryno wrote:
They almost rival the views of my favorite alpine camp just on the other side of RR.

Thanks Alden! Yeah it's a pretty nice spot, but you need to cut this Bulger nonsense out and get your ass into the pickets if you want some real nice camps lol.gif

rubywrangler wrote:
up.gif to Surafel for his camp lounging skills.

he flaunted that camp chair . Eve and I brought crampons and ice axes and boots that we didn't even use. Surafel brought a camp chair...
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Magellan
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PostFri Jul 24, 2020 4:29 pm 
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Gorgeous! Nice effort.
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puzzlr
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PostFri Jul 24, 2020 4:51 pm 
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I enjoyed how you wrote about your mindset in the moment, the uncertainty, the small mistakes. Thanks for the report. I'd love to visit this area some time.

geyer wrote:
Cabinet Creek Valley
Cabinet Creek Valley

Can anyone comment on why some valleys have open bottoms like this when others (like the one in the background) have trees all the way down to the drainage? Is it too wet for the trees?

--------------
Mid Fork Rocks flickr
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Mike Collins
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PostFri Jul 24, 2020 5:13 pm 
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In the above photo which you cited there might be two possibilities. 1) Lakes are temporary topographic formations. What might have been a lake has been reduced to a pond.  They will fill in with silt/sediment to form treeless glades with damp soil. When they fill in a little more with sedimentation then the trees return which might be what is happening here. or 2) It appears that the lower area is possibly at the bottom of an avalanche slope. The accumulation of snow which would have lasted into July is not happening anymore because of global warming. That allows trees to establish themselves because the growing season is longer. I have seen this happening in alpine areas. What were meadows once are now being replaced with sub-alpine firs.
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Brushbuffalo
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PostFri Jul 24, 2020 8:07 pm 
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Monty, from the picture you asked about I believe Mike's first hypothesis is most likely.

Landslides have formed many lakes in mountainous areas. If  we find a natural lake or former lake in a valley in mountains far down from a cirque, good chance a landslide or an end moraine is causal.

This looks like an earlier lake, formed by dammng of the valley drainage due to at least one good-sized landslide. The hypothetical lake has been gradually filling with sediment such that it undergoes the transformation from lake to swamp to meadow to tree- dimpled meadow eventually to forest.

But also some areas are clearly devoid of trees due to avalanches.

As usual, diagnosis from a single photo is premature, inadequate and subject to substantial revision or outright rejection.

Researchers with lots of time, funding, energy of their  field assistants will core the flats to decide the stratigraphic  history and be able to better  understand one more tiny detail of the geology and ecology of a place like this.

--------------
Passing rocks and trees like they were standing still
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Dansjolseth
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PostMon Aug 10, 2020 3:11 pm 
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You do not need to worry about any obnoxious flagging as I removed it during last weeks climb of Gabriel.

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pula58
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PostTue Aug 11, 2020 1:27 pm 
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My wife and I tried our hand at this route only to find no flags, and subsequently we got off route, following the section that is still flagged (because we were expecting flags) too far to the East, to where it suddenly ends at  highway 20.
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Mesachie Pass + Ragged View - 7/18-19/2020
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