Forum Index > Trip Reports > Dumbell, Greenwood, North Star, and more (Sept 6-8, 2021)
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neek
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neek
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PostFri Sep 10, 2021 1:22 pm 
It's been hard to focus on writing this with all the amazing trip reports trickling in from the three-day weekend.  Stop distracting me, folks!

I went up Phelps Creek on Monday, when everyone else was heading out.  (Yes, the road is still as bad as ever.)  My plan was to climb Dumbell and Greenwood on the first day, Dark Peak on the second, and Sitting Bull on the third.  This was a bit too ambitious, so I settled for North Star instead of Dark.  And I failed to find a way up Sitting Bull.  Too bad, because it's rarely climbed, and would have a great view.

Day 1:Dumbell and Greenwood

The route to these two peaks from Phelps Basin is no secret.  There is some fun and easy scrambling on Dumbell, and Greenwood is a walk-up.  The ledge between the two is fun because it looks scarier than it is.  Aside from one minor squeeze point, it's comfortably wide.  Turns out these two peaks are Bulgers--I didn't even know!  I was hoping to make it all the way to Lyman Lake after climbing them, but at some point it became clear I wasn't going to make it nearly that far.  I settled for the lovely site at 6200' on the Spider Gap trail and cooked my dinner in the dark.

dumb trick
dumb trick
Spider Meadow
Spider Meadow
Heading up Phelps Basin
Heading up Phelps Basin
Dumbell
Dumbell
Some guys I met coming down from Dumbell
Some guys I met coming down from Dumbell
Heading up talus slope on Dumbell
Heading up talus slope on Dumbell
Fun scramble bit on Dumbell
Fun scramble bit on Dumbell
Final ridge to Dumbell summit
Final ridge to Dumbell summit
Bonanza was with me for a good bit of the trip
Bonanza was with me for a good bit of the trip
Glacier Peak behind Fortress and Chiwawa
Glacier Peak behind Fortress and Chiwawa
Fernow, 7FJ, Maude
Fernow, 7FJ, Maude
Golden Horn and Tower
Golden Horn and Tower
The ledge to get around Dumbell is wider than it looks and not scary
The ledge to get around Dumbell is wider than it looks and not scary
Greenwood
Greenwood
Lake between Dumbell and Greenwood
Lake between Dumbell and Greenwood
Selfie
Selfie
Evening light on Dumbell
Evening light on Dumbell
Phelps valley
Phelps valley
From camp below Spider Glacier
From camp below Spider Glacier

Day 2: North Star after considering Dark

Dark was not in the cards for today.  I knew that, but was in denial until reaching the gap between North Star and Bonanza and seeing just how much further it was.  Oh, but let me back up a bit.  The Spider "glacier" was a bit icy in the morning, and microspikes helped.  The view from the top was as grand as I remember from 7 years ago.  Instead of heading down to the lakes, however, I went level along a trail that showed up in Gaia.  Crowdsourced maps never lie, right?  The trail vanished into scree, which I slowly picked my way across.  I eventually made it to a lovely ridge that sees few boots.  But where it supposedly went back down to the Lyman Lake trail, there was a sheer cliff.  Good grief.  I backtracked (uphill) a bit, and found a way down.  After some shifty talus, I was back on beautiful terrain, so no complaints.  Thanks, lying map.

I set up my tent at the Cloudy Pass site and traversed NE below Cloudy Peak and North Star, reaching the gap which was obviously going to be my turn-around point at around 3pm.  I wanted to run up that SW ridge of Bonanza, but wouldn't have gotten too far.  Instead I opted for North Star (I did Cloudy on my previous trip).  Started by heading directly W up the ridge, but it doesn't go.  Went back down and took the normal route below the ridge.  Smoke was quickly rolling in, but still low in the valleys.  On the way down from North Star there was still plenty of daylight left, so I practiced close-up photography of interesting soggy areas, and reached camp at dusk.  I had already soaked my dinner, so it cooked up very quickly.

Continuing up, looking back
Continuing up, looking back
Spider Glacier
Spider Glacier
Smoke creeping in
Smoke creeping in
Spider Gap
Spider Gap
Sitting Bull on left
Sitting Bull on left
Other side of Dumbell
Other side of Dumbell
Bonanza
Bonanza
Marmot
Marmot
Cloudy, North Star, Bonanza
Cloudy, North Star, Bonanza
Clark's nutcracker
Clark's nutcracker
Lower Lyman Lake
Lower Lyman Lake
Lower Lyman Lake outlet
Lower Lyman Lake outlet
I later noticed the tiny bear in this zoom shot
I later noticed the tiny bear in this zoom shot
Some very early larch color
Some very early larch color
Approaching North Star - Bonanza saddle
Approaching North Star - Bonanza saddle
North Star
North Star
Bonanza from saddle
Bonanza from saddle
Looking north from saddle
Looking north from saddle
Heading up North Star
Heading up North Star
North Star summit pano
North Star summit pano

Day 3: Sitting Bull FAIL

I really didn't expect this to work out because I had no idea which way to go.  Leaving the PCT and its many thru-hikers at 5100', I just started heading up, following my motto of "when in doubt, walk toward the summit".  Cliffs in the way?  Scale them.  Well, that didn't work so well, and even though I was getting into sketchier terrain, for some reason I kept going.  At some point I realized how stupid this was, and started gingerly downclimbing.  It was very exposed, not fun.  I had gone probably halfway up the cliffy bit.  Things would have been easy above.  Oh well.  Back on stable ground, I scoped out a few other options for next time.  I've heard of an approach from the NE, but if one is coming from the S, I think the thing to do would be to 'schwack up the forested slope on the right side of my picture below, eventually getting above the cliffs.  It would be tedious.  One more for the revenge list.

Smoky morning
Smoky morning
Sitting Bull - summit is on the right, and I think you go up that forested slope on the right. I tried a gully just to the right of those trees in the middle
Sitting Bull - summit is on the right, and I think you go up that forested slope on the right. I tried a gully just to the right of those trees in the middle
Going up this was a bad idea
Going up this was a bad idea
The easier part of the downclimb
The easier part of the downclimb
I think this is the South Fork Agnes Creek trail
I think this is the South Fork Agnes Creek trail
Dark Peak - for another day...
Dark Peak - for another day...
Mushroom resembling a giraffe
Mushroom resembling a giraffe
White crowned sparrow
White crowned sparrow
Not really sure!  Looking northish from Cloudy Pass trail
Not really sure!  Looking northish from Cloudy Pass trail
Going back to Cloudy Pass - smoke has vanished
Going back to Cloudy Pass - smoke has vanished
Cloudy Pass
Cloudy Pass
Back at lower Lyman
Back at lower Lyman
Looking back at Cloudy and North Star
Looking back at Cloudy and North Star
Upper Lyman
Upper Lyman
Lyman Glacier
Lyman Glacier
Going back up to Spider Gap
Going back up to Spider Gap
Hole
Hole
Back on the other side - 7FJ, Maude, etc
Back on the other side - 7FJ, Maude, etc

It was a long hike out, but I wore minimal shoes on trail, so my feet were fine.  Despite cutting back the agenda, this was my best trip of the year so far, and I can't wait to go back.

BensonM, rstoddard24, Bowregard, Prosit, fourteen410, Dave Weyrick, Nancyann, hapemask, RichP, Gimpilator, rubywrangler, Eric Gilbertson, Tom  awilsondc
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Tom
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PostFri Sep 10, 2021 1:27 pm 
Good stuff, nice to see the fall colors coming out.  Hopefully the weather will hold for an extended hiking season.

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Gimpilator
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PostFri Sep 10, 2021 1:54 pm 
Great report!  The peaks in question are Sinister and Gunsight.

>>>"Not really sure!  Looking northish from Cloudy Pass trail"

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Summitpost |
YouTube | Peakbagger

BensonM, neek
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Roald
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Roald
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PostFri Sep 10, 2021 1:57 pm 
Wow, what an impressive trip!  And your pics are beautiful.  The meadows on the traverse below Cloudy and North Star are pretty sweet, and probably even more so with autumn colors coming out.

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RichP
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RichP
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PostFri Sep 10, 2021 2:43 pm 
Nice set of photos.  up.gif

williswall
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Fletcher
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PostFri Sep 10, 2021 3:07 pm 
Beautiful Nick! Iíve been trying to get out to North Star all summer but havenít made it yet.

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raising3hikers
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PostFri Sep 10, 2021 5:13 pm 
neek, you hit that area at a good time! great pics up.gif  phelps basin, cloudy pass is so nice..

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Eric Eames
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puzzlr
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puzzlr
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PostFri Sep 10, 2021 9:36 pm 
That looks like a really great trip. And you seem to have hit a weather/smoke window perfectly.

neek wrote:
Cloudy Pass
Cloudy Pass

This is a poster child shot of why not to drive a vehicle through mountain meadows. How long has it been?

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Mid Fork Rocks ē flickr
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Nancyann
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PostFri Sep 10, 2021 10:21 pm 
Nice work, Nick, I especially enjoyed your close-up pictures and those fall colors!

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Brushbuffalo
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PostSat Sep 11, 2021 7:44 am 
neek wrote:

Textbook picture of a xenolith. The inclusion is schist. . As granodiorite magma intruded the host rock (schist),  fragments of schist  were broken away from surrounding rock  but not melted.

'Xenolith' (literally 'foreign rock') is one of very few geologic terms starting with X.

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Passing rocks and trees like they were standing still
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fourteen410
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fourteen410
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PostSat Sep 11, 2021 9:21 am 
Outstanding photos!

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neek
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neek
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PostSat Sep 11, 2021 9:36 am 
Thanks all - fun trip, definitely ended in a better mood than I started.

Brushbuffalo wrote:
Textbook picture of a xenolith. The inclusion is schist. . As granodiorite magma intruded the host rock (schist),  fragments of schist  were broken away from surrounding rock  but not melted.

Thought you might chime in.  Thanks!  Wikipedia says "Schist is a medium-grained metamorphic rock showing pronounced schistosity".  Good to know.  Please let me know if I ever start showing pronounced schistosity.

puzzlr wrote:
This is a poster child shot of why not to drive a vehicle through mountain meadows. How long has it been?

Right?  Aerial imagery shows the track extending past Cloudy Pass.  Came all the way from Holden once I guess?

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Bowregard
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PostSat Sep 11, 2021 10:48 am 
Fantastic photos. From landscapes to wildlife to macros you really covered the spectrum well.

I love the meadow shot especially the upper section. The wispy clouds really add to the scene:


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Malachai Constant
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PostSat Sep 11, 2021 12:27 pm 
The Meadow pix might be a leftover from prospecting activity on Miners Ridge in the 1970s.

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"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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RichP
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RichP
here and there
PostSat Sep 11, 2021 1:17 pm 
I don't think cars ever made it to Cloudy Pass. More than likely the result of heavy horse use in the past. The area around Lyman Lake was lovingly restored after many decades of heavy use. I talked to one of the people involved and they packed up grass seedlings to plant after busting up the hard pan around the lake. I spent a summer up there as a wilderness volunteer and one of my duties was shooing people from camping on the grass right beside the lake in spite of signs indicating not to do so.

neek
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Dumbell, Greenwood, North Star, and more (Sept 6-8, 2021)
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