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kitya
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kitya
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PostMon Jul 27, 2020 12:29 pm 
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I had an idea to go to Mount Watson too and I promise you I didn't steal the idea from neek! But yes, he already posted a trip report from Mount Watson just a few days ago (http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8032268) so I don't really have much to add.

First things first, the forest road is very long and quite rutted out in many places and while most people seem to take really large high clearance cars to the trailhead, it is not too bad and is at least not scary (i.e. no holes that can eat a car alive, no drop offs, etc.). There was exactly one prius at the trailhead:


The trailhead is quite busy with lots of cars and lots of people, pets and kids of all sizes on the trail. While road is not good, the trail is actually amazing and maintained really well, with lots of boardwalks. This is the only trail in the Noisy-Diobsud wilderness and it is quite short so I can easily say this is the best, most maintained trail in the Noisy-Diobsud wilderness and I'll be always right smile.gif

Here is my route:

First we quickly checked out the side trail to Anderson Butte lookout site. The trail doesn't actually go to the butte at all, just to the lookout site where only some indentation in the rock remains from the old lookout. The views are quite nice, though you get same amazing views also just on the main trail and even from the road.


It was nice to get the lookout out of the way while the bush was still wet from the yesterday rain and it was less hot. Back to the main trail, me and Cookie walked past the turnout to lower Anderson lake and soon found unofficial hidden trail to the upper Anderson lake. It is narrow and steep and quickly gains the ridge where some views of both Watson and lower Anderson lake can be found.


Soon we got to the upper Anderson lake, still frozen.


From there it is an easy walk to the ridge, where we curved to the other side and Watson glacier.


Watson snowfield is still really nice and is surprisingly big. Lots of easy walking on snow.


We aimed for the col:


Just as neek we passed above some huge snowblocks of unusually giant size that seem to just fall and slide from the summit cliffs. They are super cute:


I spy with my little eye!


Two climbers. They are in the first photo. And the second photo is taken at the same time from my same vantage point on my walk up Watson Glacier but with 400mm zoom.

They attempted Bacon and turned around and went to Watson after me and Cookie instead. Turns out they are the friends of my program manager at work! Small world! On the main trail itself Cookie also met dogs who are friends with another shiba from Seattle who I follow on facebook. This was definitely the trip of the year for the unexpected meetups!


East summit:

Elementary:

Bacon:

Watson has many summits that seem to be very close in size. It is a long mountain and which one is the main summit is extremely confusing. I'm not as cool as neek and I didn't go to the east summit because I read it is harder. I went to the middle/west summit, that two sources out of 3 mark as a true summit. However it has no summit register. East summit supposedly does.

1. mountaineers (https://www.mountaineers.org/activities/routes-places/mount-watson): "At approximately 5,400 ft elevation contour east 0.5 miles on glaciated rock and the Watson Glacier. Ascend south to the saddle that separates the east and west summits. The east is highest and is reached by traveling through thick alpine fir and a steep terraced slope on the southwest flank."

2. peakbagger (https://www.peakbagger.com/peak.aspx?pid=24228): "The West Peak of Mount Watson, surveyed at 6220 feet, has been shown by local climbers to be about 40 feet higher than the East Peak, despite the 6240-foot contour on the East Peak seen on the USGS map of the mountain. So the West Peak is the highest, main summit of Mount Watson."

3. summitpost (https://www.summitpost.org/mount-watson/155079): "The next three summit points to the west are the true Watson peaks. The eastern of these is 6,280+ feet* and is not the highpoint. It is precipitous on all sides with the sub-alpine west slope being the most amenable to safe climbing. The summit rocks are actually a narrow north-south crest that makes the highest among them a true one-person summit. The two western points look just as high as the eastern point when standing atop the latter. The middle summit (the more easterly of the western summits) is triangulated at 6,220 ft. The far west summit is 6,180+ ft. The middle summit is the highpoint of Mt. Watson."

This was my route:


The only tricky part was the transition from snow to rock. The edge of the snow gets really sharp and thin and there is abyss underneath of the snow in most places. Plus it all happens on steep slope with more cliffs under. I had to ice axe to the edge and look for an opportune place to jump from snow to rock and grip on it.

After enjoying the summit me and Cookie walked back to the col and down, but instead of traversing back to upper Anderson lake, we walked all the way down to the upper Watson lake (far end of it). This time of year it is extremely nice route with very gentle snow slope almost all the way to Watson lake. We didn't have to step on rock at all!


Upper Watson lake is extremely busy, with social trails and tents everywhere. Lots of fire rings. There were two groups with inflatable boats too, fishing on the lake. Also the outlet of the lake smelled like poop frown.gif


On the way back me and Cookie passed lower Watson lake and dropped down to lower Anderson lake on the trail too. The lower Anderson lake is actually much nicer than upper Watson. Seems like most campers ignore it and there were no people around, plus the view to mount Baker from lower Anderson lake is amazing, the meadow is open and lush and the lake looks clean and clear. The only missing thing are marmots, somehow I saw none of them on this trip.


Trailhead has lots of trash, we packed out some, but there is a lot more left, unfortunately. But at least it doesn't look like a dump yet. It was nice to have a smaller trip on a hot day.


Back on Baker Lake road for some reason everybody passed me at absolutely insane speeds. Crazy people.
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Brushbuffalo
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Location: there earlier, here now, somewhere later... Bellingham in between
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PostTue Jul 28, 2020 9:37 pm 
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kitya wrote:

Cute.  She never misses a chance to roll 'n- snow!

kitya wrote:
Back on Baker Lake road for some reason everybody passed me at absolutely insane speeds. Crazy people.

Many people at Baker Lake consider it just one big outdoor tavern.

--------------
Passing rocks and trees like they were standing still
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kitya
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PostWed Jul 29, 2020 11:04 am 
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Brushbuffalo wrote:
Cute.  She never misses a chance to roll 'n- snow!

Thank you! Yes, she never misses it, even in winter she does it. This was on the steep snow just before the summit cliffs and I was scared slowly moving using my ice axe, so she took the opportunity to drag me around a bit and roll around smile.gif

Baker lake road is long and paved, but still the speed limit posted was 35 and it is a forest road with many animals around. Yet there were trucks doing 70 mph while towing boats. Scary!!!
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Mike Collins
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PostThu Jul 30, 2020 1:12 pm 
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kitya wrote:
Watson has many summits that seem to be very close in size. It is a long mountain and which one is the main summit is extremely confusing.

I climbed Watson yesterday and brought my hand-level sighting tool with a floating air bubble. It strongly showed the peak that we both climbed, the middle peak, is the highest of the three summits. Missed out on signing the summit register but it is on the much lower eastern summit. The western summit is ~3 ft lower than the middle.
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