Forum Index > Trip Reports > Le Conte Mtn & Pk 7004  7/23/22
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raising3hikers
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PostMon Jul 25, 2022 6:56 pm 
Le Conte Mtn - 7762'
Pk 7004  - 7004'

I had a tough time deciding which route to take to climb Le Conte Mtn.  I had always thought that the highly scenic Cascade Pass to Ptarmigan traverse would be the way.  However, last year, Ryan S did a trip to Formidable using the S Fork Cascade approach to Drop Cr making a nice direct way possible to the area.  Then this year, Fletcher organized a trip via that route to Spider that was successful.  With the Cascade River road still closed 3 miles til the TH, I decided to give that route a show although I'd veer off to another saddle above High Log Cr.

I started Hiking the South Fork Cascade trail at 530am Saturday morning.  The first 2 miles til the Middle Fork log crossing is in great shape.  All the down logs have been cut and minimal brush to that point.  From mile 2-5, the trail is still in decent shape just a bit brushy in spots, especially the head high ferns and nettles.  Flagging along the way helped a bunch to stay on this recovery trail.  The last mile to Drop Creek was absolutely nasty, progress slowed a lot and I lost the trail through the last alder swath to Drop Creek.  I was fighting through the jungle not touching the ground at times, only stepping on branches.  Anyways, I made it to the log crossing in the humid forest.  I was sweating a lot, evening early in the morning.

I crossed the log and started heading up the mostly open forest.  Once the terrain flattened out, it became brushy but not terrible.  Drop Creek and High Log creek get somewhat close together, so I took water breaks at each.  I followed the rib of Pk 7004 for a ways before contouring high above High Log creek towards the Le Conte saddle.  Much steep side hilling on grass and heather made for a slippery time.   It was finally good to get into the alpine with some mountain views.

view to the West
view to the West

It was a mix of talus and snow fields the last 500' to the saddle.  I loaded up on more running water relieved to finally be on this small section of the Ptarmigan.  A few years, ago, I remembered crossing several awesome flat slabby camp sites in this area.  This time, the deep snow pack was hiding all of them.  I headed towards Le Conte Mtn and finally dropped my extra gear at the base not seeing an awesome spot to set camp.  I put on my crampons and headed up towards the peak.

Le Conte Mtn
Le Conte Mtn

Once on the rock, I left my ax and crampons and looked for the easiest terrain.  Many options for a way up, I used some grassy ledges, nice blocky rock steps to work my way to the northern ridge.  Nothing more than class 3 and I reached the summit to awesome views!  The incredible SF Cascade glacier and lake were cool to see along with the heavily snow packed Dome Pk.

S Cascade Lake
S Cascade Lake
Old Guard, Sentinel, Dome, Spire Pt with the S Cascade glacier below
Old Guard, Sentinel, Dome, Spire Pt with the S Cascade glacier below

I soaked in the views for a while before heading down.  It was all easy down climbing and didn't need to bring my short rope out for anything.  I grabbed my gear down in the rocks intent on finding one of those great bivy spots, I still didn't see them as I started up Pk 7004.  Goat trails and some snow got me to the top of this nice Pk that had a register.  It was especially nice to see some friendly names.

Pk 7004 and Formidable
Pk 7004 and Formidable
colorful heather
colorful heather
nice to see Jake's name in the register of Pk 7004
nice to see Jake's name in the register of Pk 7004

I soaked in the views as the winds began to pick up.  The clouds seemed to be moving in over Spider and Formidable, it wasn't suppose to storm but those clouds looked like they could.  Since I didn't see a great camp spot, I decided to head back down the valley.  It didn't seem like fun being in a windy bivy with much daylight left in the day.  I was dreading the one mile bushwhack and just wanted it over instead of waiting til the morning when it'd likely be damp. I headed down from Pk 7004 trying to stay on the rib but had to descend left many times to avoid cliffs before intersecting my up route way further down the Mtn.  I followed the trail a little better during the bad parts after the Drop Creek crossing and was happy to have easier and easier miles of trail to go to the road.

Le Conte glacier with a cloudy Old Guard and Sentinel
Le Conte glacier with a cloudy Old Guard and Sentinel
my last look at Le Conte Mtn
my last look at Le Conte Mtn

Even though a short section of trail was pretty bad, it was well worth the effort to be able to intersect part of the Ptarmigan traverse for these 2 peaks.  I gotta give some thanks to someone who has flagged this almost disappearing trail to try and keep it alive.  It's a wonderful river valley with some nice, big and fat old growth trees.  Hopefully, more people will keep hiking this area to make the way easier to follow in the future.

21.5 miles
8300 elevation gain
14 hours

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Eric Eames

Mesahchie Mark, Alden Ryno, SeanSullivan86, ozzy, Nancyann, NWtrax, reststep, awilsondc, shane w, contour5, rstoddard24, rubywrangler
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Gimpilator
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PostMon Jul 25, 2022 7:10 pm 
Love that view of the South Cascade glacier.   up.gif  up.gif

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YouTube | Peakbagger
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iron
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PostMon Jul 25, 2022 7:33 pm 
you took the camping gear for a walk again, eh?

no shots of le conte lakes? criminal!

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iron
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iron
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PostMon Jul 25, 2022 7:35 pm 
is that a second lake forming on the s. cascade?

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Stefan
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PostMon Jul 25, 2022 11:54 pm 
8300 feet of gain for a day.  What?  I think you are being kind....its gotta be more!

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Art is an adventure.
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Fletcher
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PostTue Jul 26, 2022 7:14 am 
Glad the approach worked out for you! Love that pic of Jake’s name in the register.

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b00
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PostSat Jul 30, 2022 9:14 pm 
i love the view from the top of le conte!!! what great memories you brought back.  it is so funny that a mountain that short would have such an awesome vantage point.  location, location, location, huh?
i pulled out my track from 2010 and realized i walked oh so close, but not to the top of 7004. another orphan.

you are amazing!  love reading your t/r's!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
:>)
ps - how does the snow level compare to mod and me trip 8-1-2010 ?

breaking camp below le conte
breaking camp below le conte
route up le conte
route up le conte

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