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awilsondc
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awilsondc
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PostSun Jul 25, 2021 5:00 pm 
This trip was inspired by Jake and Paul Robinson.  In 2012 I did a trip with them up to NW Warrior with a camp at the cirque below the peaks.  Years ago Paul had climbed Inner Constance from this cirque and it was always a route that had piqued Jake's interest.  Plus, we had failed to get the true summit on Warrior so I knew I'd be back some day.  Well, last week it was "some day"... 9 years after my first trip to this area I headed back for a new adventure and some unfinished business.

The Approach

I got a late start after returning from a family vacation.  I drove up to the Upper Dungeness Trailhead and was hiking by 5:20pm.  It's a long way up to the cirque, about 9.5 miles and 3800ft gain, so I knew I'd need a solid pace to get up there before it was dark (sunset was at 9).  The good news is that the trail up is about as easy of a trail as you could ask for.  The first 3 miles are fairly flat as the trail follows the Dungeness River up to Camp Handy.  I was enthralled with the evening light in the forest.  Deep blue long shadows, soft warm light through the trees, a hint of turquoise in the water, and a cool breeze to accentuate the ambiance.  What an awesome section of forest!  Of course I had to stop for some photos along the way.   winksmile.gif  Past camp Handy there was a fork in the trail with a sign for Marmot Pass.  Not wanting to go to Marmot pass, I went the other way.  It was the wrong way, but I quickly diagnosed my mistake after a tenth of a mile and got back on track.

Dungeness River
Dungeness River
Enchanting
Enchanting
So blue!
So blue!
Second foot bridge
Second foot bridge
Magical forest
Magical forest
I love this lighting!
I love this lighting!

The second 3 mile section is the steepest as the trail climbs up to Boulder Shelter, but it is graded so well it felt pretty easy.  After Boulder Shelter there is another <3 mile section that is pretty flat with one significant stream crossing, or maybe I should say waterfall crossing.  It was impossible to cross without getting splashed by the waterfall, but I kept my feet mostly dry.  The sun was starting to set and there were low clouds in the valley which led to some really cool scenery on the way up.  The place to leave the trail and start the route up to the cirque is right when the trail enters a boulder field, which is pretty obvious.  Looking uphill to plot out my route I saw a cairn and headed up that way.  This area has seen more traffic in recent years and is starting to develop a boot path in spots.  A quick mile and ~1200 ft of gain through boulder fields got me to the cirque just after sunset.  I found a nice bivy spot on the ridge overlooking the Dungeness River valley and the Mystery - Deception group.  I got my bivy ready and went to bed.

Evening light on Warrior
Evening light on Warrior
Fun ambiance
Fun ambiance
Entering the boulder field
Entering the boulder field
Views from the boulder field
Views from the boulder field
Dusk over the Home Creek valley
Dusk over the Home Creek valley

I set an alarm for sunrise, but from my bivy the sunrise looked boring so I slept in a bit.  I got up a little after 6 and was moving by 7.  I started uphill a little early and had to scramble down some class 3 to get to the snow slopes leading up to the 6840 saddle, it would have been better to take the east most gully (which I took on descent).  I put on crampons and got out the axe for the snow climb up to the saddle.  Snow was moderate in slope angle, maybe low to mid 30's towards the top but pretty straightforward.  Now came the hard part.

My bivy
My bivy
The Mighty Warrior
The Mighty Warrior
Snow up to the col
Snow up to the col
Looking down at Warrior
Looking down at Warrior
At the saddle
At the saddle

Inner Constance - NE route - class 4

So, for this route I had very little beta to go on.  I read through the OMCG (very little help), had a brief outline from Paul saying there was an exposed traverse then pillow basalt to the summit, and I studied the topo map which looked like I could take a high route, or drop down from the saddle and do a traverse.  Regardless I knew it would involve some class 4 at the least but route finding and decision making would be critical.  I always hate losing elevation and the first moves of the high route looked like they would go so I decided to head that way.  "I can climb down that if I go up, right?"  I asked myself that question a lot during this route, and the answer here was yes so I started out up some class 3/4.  I have to admit, I was a little nervous at first but after linking a few moves together I got into scrambling mode and felt very comfortable and secure the entire time, even during the crux.  I climbed an ascending leftward traverse up blocky choss which turned into a dirty ramp.  The ramp ended at cliffs, but up above I spotted what looked like a ledge traverse that would go.  I scrambled up to it and sure enough it led right to a saddle below Peak 7447.  Soon I was on the summit of Peak 7447.

Initial slopes from the saddle
Initial slopes from the saddle
Dirty ramp
Dirty ramp
7447, cliffs, and a ledge up high
7447, cliffs, and a ledge up high
Traverse this
Traverse this
looking back at the route, traverse ledge on the right
looking back at the route, traverse ledge on the right
Constance and Inner Constance from Peak 7447
Constance and Inner Constance from Peak 7447

From here I got my first views of Inner Constance!  It looked pretty bad ass, and a bit gnarly to get to.  It looked like taking a direct route would involve a couple gendarmes.  I've played this game before.  You climb up one of those things making some questionable moves in the process only to find yourself cliffed out when you get to the top.  Looking to avoid that scenario, I looked for an alternate route and spotted a ledge system a couple hundred feet below.  I could see the first half of the route down to the ledge and it looked good so I decided to head down to the ledge.  In hind sight, and looking back at my pictures I wonder if the direct route would have gone?  From the pictures it looks like I might have been able to piece together a class 4 route to get through it, but I made my decision to drop down to the ledge and I'm happy with that.  The route from Peak 7447 to the ledge was the crux of the trip.  It involved steep class 3/4 gullies zig zagging down the cliff face.  It got steeper the lower I got and there were definitely some class 5 moves I pulled culminating in running out of foot holds and jumping / dropping about five feet to land on the ledge I had spotted.  The rest was pretty easy by comparison, a bit more traversing on ledges followed by a scramble up to the summit block.  The summit block felt pretty easy and felt just class 3 to me.

Only shot I took on descent, Brothers behind
Only shot I took on descent, Brothers behind
Traverse this ledge
Traverse this ledge
Easier slopes to the summit block
Easier slopes to the summit block
Looking back at Peak 7447
Looking back at Peak 7447
Inner Constance summit block
Inner Constance summit block

Views from the top were great!  It was nice to finally see Lake Constance.  I bet there aren't too many people who have climbed both Constance and Inner Constance without ever taking a Lake Constance / Avalanche Canyon route.  I hung out and took a bunch of pictures before heading down.

Lake Constance
Lake Constance
Warrior Arm engulfed in clouds
Warrior Arm engulfed in clouds
Mount Constance
Mount Constance
Selfie from the summit
Selfie from the summit
From Olympus to Gray Wolf Ridge
From Olympus to Gray Wolf Ridge
Stone and Skokomish
Stone and Skokomish
Warrior and Home Creek valley
Warrior and Home Creek valley

For the descent it looked like my ledge I had seen from Peak 7447 might traverse all the way back to upper Avalanche Canyon.  I decided to give it a go, and it went really well.  Almost all class 3 traversing with a few class 4 moves all the way back to Avalanche Canyon.  This was definitely the easier way to go.  I wish I would have taken a picture of the final gully I descended, as it would be the starting gully for anyone wanting to take this route.  I remember the elevation was ~6700ft and looking up, the gully looked pretty steep to start out and was more green in color (moss, grass, vegetation) compared to the surrounding terrain being mostly brown and red.  It was a pretty unpleasant ~150 climb up steep choss back to the saddle.  I put crampons back on to get down the snow.  I will say, looking at my pictures and the ledges and thinking, I traversed THAT?!  The terrain is really a lot like Mount Constance.  I remember looking at pictures of those ledges and thinking, dang that looks like some serious exposure on such a tiny ledge but then actually being on them they felt fairly broad and really not that bad at all.  This was a lot like that, if that helps at all.  But yeah, there was some exposure for sure.

Base of 7447, starting the ledge traverse back
Base of 7447, starting the ledge traverse back
Traversing ledges
Traversing ledges
More easy traversing, Desperation Peak behind
More easy traversing, Desperation Peak behind
Choss back to the saddle
Choss back to the saddle

Warrior Peak (failed attempt)

Part of my plan for this trip was to get the true summit of Warrior Peak via route 2 in the OMCG, another rarely taken route that I've never seen a trip report for.  It says skip the standard gully and take a further one which leads to a saddle where you work your way out onto the east face and climb class 3 up to the summit.  It's a good route, they said.  Well, from the summit of Inner Constance I started having reservations because there were clouds filling that valley.  They looked really cool, but I suspected they'd interfere with visibility and route finding.  I almost wrote off the route right there on Inner Constance but eventually decided to give it a go.  The gully up to the saddle south of Warrior was not pleasant.  Loose class 3, a bit sketchy in spots.  I got to the saddle and was greeted with massive cliffs on the SE side of Warrior.  These cliffs were huge!  And, there was no obvious route up or around them at all.  Looking further down the gulley I could see that I could drop down a couple hundred feet, but from there visibility was poor with clouds slamming into the huge cliffs of Warrior as if to say get back, this way is blocked!  ninja.gif  I took the message and bailed.  That's 2 failed attempts on Warrior now, and some incentive to re-visit this area in the future, something I am already looking forward to.

Beautiful, yet ominous
Beautiful, yet ominous
Descending from the saddle, Warrior below
Descending from the saddle, Warrior below
Looking back up at the saddle
Looking back up at the saddle
I bailed on Warrior after seeing this
I bailed on Warrior after seeing this
Those cliffs!
Those cliffs!

The Way Back

The route back to the car was just like the route in, only in reverse.  It was pretty uneventful, long miles on easy trail in some pristine forest.  I got back to my car a little before 5 for a 10 hour day.  I'm pretty stoked to have climbed Inner Constance via this route, and for all my route finding decisions to have worked out without having to backtrack or end up in a sketchy situation.  I'm already scheming up some ideas for a return trip to finally get Warrior.

Cirque, bivy area
Cirque, bivy area
Olympic paradise
Olympic paradise
Mystery
Mystery
Fun clouds
Fun clouds
Last views from up high
Last views from up high
Back into the forest
Back into the forest
Olympic jungle
Olympic jungle
Dungeness River, I love this spot!
Dungeness River, I love this spot!

Something like 21 miles, 6700 ft elevation gain, 14 hours worth of moving time (not including camp / sleeping time)

Route map
Route map

Prosit, Frodo Barefoot, Nancyann, Hesman, JasonK806, Route Loser, raising3hikers, RAW-dad, hapemask, rstoddard24, IanB, silence, geyer, ozzy, reststep, RichP, rubywrangler, Tom, kite  zimmertr, KascadeFlat
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contour5
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contour5
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PostSun Jul 25, 2021 6:13 pm 
Ledges? I don’t see no stinking ledges!
Great trip report and photos, especially the magic forest shots.

awilsondc
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Midnight Slogger
'Schwack Job



Joined: 04 Aug 2017
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Midnight Slogger
'Schwack Job
PostSun Jul 25, 2021 7:09 pm 
Really exciting to see a trip report for this route--great photos and descriptions!

awilsondc
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rubywrangler
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PostSun Jul 25, 2021 8:06 pm 
Nice trip, great photos! I especially like the forest shots (which you seem to have mastered, I'm jealous) and "Olympic Paradise".

awilsondc wrote:
dang that looks like some serious exposure on such a tiny ledge but then actually being on them they felt fairly broad and really not that bad at all.

I love it when that happens smile.gif

awilsondc wrote:
Dungeness River, I love this spot!
Dungeness River, I love this spot!

Me too! I took almost the exact same photo a couple years ago.

awilsondc
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ozzy
The hard way



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ozzy
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PostMon Jul 26, 2021 4:27 am 
Dooood! What perseverance, especially solo which changes things a lot! Thanks for the priceless beta on this route! I've always wanted to hit inner constance from here since I bivied up there when I did the warrior peaks. That has to be one of my favorite bivy spots...that cirque is beautiful! How did the route up Desperation pk look? I'm surprised you didn't bag that one too lol. Congrats man! cheers.gif

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“I don’t know what’s gonna happen, but I wanna have my kicks before the whole shithouse goes up in flames”-Jim

awilsondc
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Gimpilator
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Gimpilator
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PostMon Jul 26, 2021 5:32 am 
Enjoying your reports as always.   smile.gif

I have failed attempts on both IC and Warrior main.  Those are tough peaks.

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Summitpost |
YouTube | Peakbagger

awilsondc
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silence
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silence
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PostMon Jul 26, 2021 5:57 am 
Congrats on a great trip! Besides the fact that you accomplished so much climbing ... at the same time you again captured the rugged beauty of the mountains with your great eye and photo skills. Nice work!  up.gif  up.gif  up.gif

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PHOTOS: https://www.flickr.com/photos/33792231@N00/sets
FILMMAKING: http://www.crestpictures.com/

Keep a good head and always carry a light bulb. – Bob Dylan

awilsondc
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geyer
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geyer
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PostMon Jul 26, 2021 11:41 am 
Nice trip! I never knew you had gone there with the Robinsons.
Man, all these pics are great, but I'm really liking these two

awilsondc wrote:
Enchanting
Enchanting
The Mighty Warrior
The Mighty Warrior

awilsondc
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awilsondc
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awilsondc
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PostMon Jul 26, 2021 6:48 pm 
Thank you for the nice comments on the photography!  I've really been working on developing my eye for forest scenes, so I'm glad to have the positive feedback.  I appreciate it a lot, thank you!

ozzy wrote:
How did the route up Desperation pk look?

Well... take a look.

awilsondc wrote:
More easy traversing, Desperation Peak behind
More easy traversing, Desperation Peak behind

Hahaha, pretty gnarly!  lol.gif  Honestly I didn't even consider this peak at all during the trip.  Sounds like most go up from Crystal Pass (to the right of this photo).  There was one peakbagger report I just looked at detailing a mulit pitch 5th class route from the Warrior cirque area, but doesn't look like there is a workable a scramble route from that direction. It's steep!

ozzy
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NWtrax
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PostTue Jul 27, 2021 10:46 am 
Congrats on the summit. That pano of Home Creek Valley is absolutely stunning!!!  up.gif

awilsondc
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