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Alden Ryno
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Location: Richland, WA
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PostTue Sep 08, 2020 10:54 am 
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With two reports from this weekend and in light of other news, I'll keep it brief with locations and times along with ample images and some of the more exciting details.

Sunset at camp
Sunset at camp
Busted Buck Creek Bridge at 0600
Busted Buck Creek Bridge at 0600
It's right there!
It's right there!

I left the car 0445 and began the 11 mile, leisurely walk to Buck Creek Pass, which I reached at 0900. There, I took a break for about a half hour in the sun and was passed by three hunters, all with bows (skills!). I wished them luck and parted ways.

From being so close to being so far. Dang circuitous route
From being so close to being so far. Dang circuitous route
Buck Creek Pass
Buck Creek Pass
Fortress while ascending the flanks of Liberty Cap
Fortress while ascending the flanks of Liberty Cap

By 1000 I was coming around the back side of Liberty Cap (not on Rainier, sillies) and encountering the stunning surrounding views as I got closer to High Pass.

Fortress from my October 2018 camp
Fortress from my October 2018 camp
One bump before High Pass
One bump before High Pass
Practically at High Pass
Practically at High Pass
High Pass singletrack
High Pass singletrack

The trail is evident until High Pass where is dissapates into the ether. High Pass at 1115.

I took another break at the outflow from High Pass and closed my eyes for a bit on a rock like a reptile.

First view of Buck's expansive west face
First view of Buck's expansive west face

The ascent to the col below Berge was uneventful. Although 8balmost repeated my mistake of traversing too low. On my first Buck attempt, I didn't gain the ramp, went too far, ascended to the wrong col and got nearly cliffed out in October with snice on the rocks. That led to a large time delay and abandoning the summit a mere 400' below it so I didn't go out in the dark.

I crested the col a bit before 1 and took another break. I was so far ahead of schedule that I figured down time wouldn't hurt. I dropped to the Louis/King(?) Creek Basin and began my final ascent. I love that basin... SO many larches.

The final ascent
The final ascent

Running water lasted all the way until nearly 8,200' below the summit. The dead Glacier and perma snowfield up there provided with some heavy flow. I wasn't sure what it's be like, so I loaded up everything at 7,000' and hauled it up...

A bit below where I grabbed a full load of water
A bit below where I grabbed a full load of water
Insterestibg sandwich rock. May post in the rock thread.
Insterestibg sandwich rock. May post in the rock thread.
Back to Berge
Back to Berge
Glacier Peeking
Glacier Peeking
Flowing water at 8,000'+
Flowing water at 8,000'+
Hot diggity
Hot diggity
Desd glacier ice wall. A wave, frozen in time.
Desd glacier ice wall. A wave, frozen in time.

I tagged the summit at 1630 and just sat for an hour. I could have gotten back to the car but I wanted to camp high on the mountain; it's my favorite area in the state, so far.

From the summit, I saw a new fire beginning on the divide between the Chiwawa and Entiat Rivers... I should have called it in since I had service but the thought escaped me.

Interior GPW to Bonanza
Interior GPW to Bonanza
Chilling in a "natural" chair
Chilling in a "natural" chair

I made camp on the shoulder of Buck at 8,200' with a view of Dakobed, Clark, Luahna, the Entiat, and the Chiwawa Valley down to Lake Wenatchee. The lingering smoke made for a stellar sunset over Glacier Peak.

Bivy spot on map
Bivy spot on map
morning blue hour
morning blue hour
Entiat
Entiat

I awoke at 0500 and leisurely ate and packed up, waiting for sunrise at 0624 when I began my descent via the dreaded Buck forest whack. It's not bad until the last 2,500'. Then there are plbrief periods of good terrain albeit steeper and steeper the lower one goes.

Notch crossing out of the first basin
Notch crossing out of the first basin
Second basin, not so bad! Yet.
Second basin, not so bad! Yet.

At some point I slipped on the undergrowth and lacerated my right ring finger from the first knuckle through my cuticle to the nail. I promptly sucked on it to remove excess debris and scurried down to a flattish spot to administer first aid.

With benzalkonium, BZK, wipes, triple antibiotic ointment (off band neosporin), a bandaid, and a short length of elastic gauze/bandage, I patched the finger.

Fatty tissue/ligament/cuticle?
Fatty tissue/ligament/cuticle?

Just as I was collecting my waste, I heard a rustling above me. Something human-sized. I produced a loud noise then yelled, "hello!" While I figured I was alone out there, it was worth a shot... Out came a bear. Some 40-50' above me, foraging for berries. A bit stunned with my pack on the ground, I lugged it onto my shoulders and began to descend and traverse out. I moved for a few minutes and never heard more movement. Heck, I don't even think the bear saw nor noticed me. There were simply too many ripe berries for the picking!


The descent was relatively uneventful after that. The last 30 vertical feet to the creek, like last time, was exciting. It get canyon-steep and veggie belays were critical while facing the mossy rock.

The river was easy to cross, though I prefer not to get wet, so I made use of the intricate log system crossing the river and never got my feet wet (I shoved my face in for water and soaked my hat).

I ascended the other side and made or to the trial without pause. Once there, I changed out of my entirely soaked from sweat clothes and walked to the 1.5 ish miles to the car a bit before 1100.

Glad to knab Buck and, perhaps more importantly, number 86.

~27 miles, 8,400' gain.

I then drove straight to the Canyon Creek Trailhead for Jack with Selena...
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Nancyann
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PostTue Sep 08, 2020 12:52 pm 
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Nice scenic excursion! We just missed you by a day at High Pass. We came up from the Napeequa via Boulder Pass. High Pass looks better in your pictures without the smoke that we encountered the next day!
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awilsondc
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PostWed Sep 09, 2020 8:05 pm 
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That first photo is glorious!!! I really need to head back for Buck, but it's such a long ways in there.  Some day soon...  Great photos!   up.gif  up.gif
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puzzlr
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PostWed Sep 09, 2020 11:30 pm 
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Enjoyed your TR a lot -- it brought back great memories. I've never been a sleeping-on-top hiker, but your photos show why it has some advantages. Sorry about the slip and injury. You are obviously well enough to type. I hope that's a good sign.

Alden Ryno wrote:

Love this photo. We weren't sure which peak was higher so we climbed that horn first -- quite a stomach-churning drop off from the tip.

--------------
Mid Fork Rocks flickr
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Alden Ryno
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PostThu Sep 10, 2020 4:56 am 
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Nancyann wrote:
from the Napeequa via Boulder Pass

How is the "trail" up to High Pass from there?

I've been dubious to consider because I feel like it's more off trail travel the entire way (not sure why I think that).

Aaron, it's such a beautiful area! If I hadn't just been there, then it'd be much higher on my fall radar. The trail from Buck Creek Pass to High Pass is my absolute favorite.
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Alden Ryno
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Location: Richland, WA
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PostThu Sep 10, 2020 4:58 am 
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The finger is great, puzzlr!
Thank you for your concern. While it bled a lot and I wouldn't have wanted it to remain exposed (infection), it has scabbed over nicely and barely hurts now smile.gif
The trick with my bandage was hooking it over the next knuckle, otherwise the wrap kept slipping off.
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timberghost
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PostThu Sep 10, 2020 6:39 am 
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Nice report
Just remember that the 15th is opening day for the high hunt so plan accordingly
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