Forum Index > Trip Reports > Snowfield Group (Neve, Snowfield, Horseman's Pack, Paul Bunyan's Stump) 7/21-23/2022
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awilsondc
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awilsondc
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PostSun Aug 07, 2022 5:15 pm 
Rope team approaching Neve Col
Rope team approaching Neve Col
"Mountaineering is a transient experience. I need to continuously repeat it to live it." - Ueli Steck This quote instantly resonated with me when I read it years ago. The essence of what I love about my time in the mountains is being in the moment and moving through the terrain. The beating of your heart, the burning in your legs, the mind occupied 100% with what is going on in that very moment, and the plethora of experiences your senses go through is like nothing else. Sometimes you have a trip so good you say to yourself, did that really just happen? Or was it all a dream? Day 1: TH to Neve Col, Neve Peak The day started out with an annoying 1 hour wait to get our permit at the Marblemount Ranger Station. Come on NCNP, you can do better. While waiting we ran into Neek and Co and chatted about their planned trip to Logan. Our trip had originally started out as a planned Logan ascent, but we changed objectives in the days leading up to the trip. After permits were obtained we drove to the trailhead where we waited another 20 minutes for Trevin's fancy new Coros watch to sync. lol.gif We were finally on our way around 9:40. The trail was warm and we soon stopped to switch into shorts. I had been up a few years ago to climb Colonial, but holy smokes I didn't remember the trail being to steep! After Pyramid Lake, the trail really gets after it... steep, overgrown trail, hot and buggy... We stopped again to put on bug spray. It was quite the slog up to the high ridge where we ran into snow. We switched into mountaineering boots here and began the traverse across, stopping once to fill up water. The snow was firm and we managed in just boots but crampons would have made things easier. Once you get close to the Colonial Glacier Lake basin, the trip really starts getting good. Cascading waterfalls on our right accentuated the experience as crossed the melting out lake in the basin. We spotted a party of two heading towards Colonial, and a party of two nearing Neve Col who we'd share a camp with. We made it up to Neve Col in 6:45, and the other group had set up in the "best" spot right at the saddle. We searched around and picked a spot maybe 100 feet uphill where someone had put a flat rock into a hole to make a spot flat enough to camp. After the trip was over, I was convinced we in fact ended up with the best spot at the col. We had better views than at the col, bench seating, and running water right by our camp. We set up camp, ate dinner, and headed up Neve Peak.
Starting out
Starting out
Easy part of the trail
Easy part of the trail
Colonial reflection
Colonial reflection
Gaining the ridge
Gaining the ridge
Traversing snow, Jack behind
Traversing snow, Jack behind
Pickets
Pickets
Starting the traverse
Starting the traverse
Entering the basin
Entering the basin
Colonial Glacier Lake
Colonial Glacier Lake
Crossing the melt out
Crossing the melt out
Ice
Ice
Almost to Neve Col
Almost to Neve Col
Arriving at the col
Arriving at the col
Dinner
Dinner
Stream by camp
Stream by camp
Snowfield
Snowfield
Dappled light on Neve Glacier
Dappled light on Neve Glacier
Neve Peak - Neve was a fun class 2-3 easy scramble where we had our most clear summit views of the trip. Golden hour was upon us as we descended and we enjoyed the sights as we made our way back to camp. Sunset was great, what a beautiful place! After the sun was down, the soft evening light really brought out the colors and textures of the Neve Glacier. We watched as the two climbers who had camped at the col made their way down from Snowfield and back to camp just after sundown. Soon we were all crawling into our tents. Neither Trevin or I nailed our warmth layers this trip. Trevin only brought a puffy vest to go with his sun shirt and had to resort to wearing his sleeping bag as a robe after dinner time. I brought my 40 degree quilt and was cold both nights, just barely warm enough to not shiver. It got into the 30's both nights, but not quite freezing. I got up in the night to take some milky way pics was too lazy to set up a good composition. I saw a few shooting stars while I was up. What a beautiful clear night! After being up I decided to sleep through sunrise in favor of a bit more shut eye.
Heading up Neve
Heading up Neve
Logan
Logan
Gabriel and east NCNP peaks
Gabriel and east NCNP peaks
Summit of Neve
Summit of Neve
Horseman's Pack
Horseman's Pack
Camp and Neve Glacier
Camp and Neve Glacier
Golden
Golden
Sunset, Campside
Sunset, Campside
Evening light on Snowfield and Cat's Ears
Evening light on Snowfield and Cat's Ears
Sunset
Sunset
Hozomeen
Hozomeen
I believe I can fly
I believe I can fly
Climbers descending Neve Glacier
Climbers descending Neve Glacier
Blue hour
Blue hour
Neve Glacier
Neve Glacier
Milky Way
Milky Way
Big Dipper
Big Dipper
Snowfield at night
Snowfield at night
Day 2: Snowfield, Horseman's Pack, Paul Bunyan's Stump, and Pinnacle (Trevin) Snowfield - We woke up to an alpine dreamland. Clouds were gently drifting through the peaks around us while the dappled sunlight lit up the visible terrain. Two mountain goats were cruising around camp scavenging for salt and what could be found to eat for breakfast. As we had breakfast and got ready for our day, the group of two packed up to depart. Before they left one ran up and gave us some valuable beta for Snowfield's summit block. They said after the glacier you reach a saddle on the west ridge and make your way up class 2 terrain to the scramble portion. There are two rocky ridges separated by a narrow but roomy gully. About a third of the way up the gully there is a cairn and a red band of rock that leads over the climber's left ridge where a cairned route continues on up. Both rocky ridges end up getting cliffed out. They ended up being spot on. We finished our breakfast and roped up at the first snow just down from the col.
Goat 1
Goat 1
Goat 2
Goat 2
Goat 3
Goat 3
Climbers leaving Neve Col
Climbers leaving Neve Col
I was on cloud nine heading down the glacier, just basking in the peaks above me with the clouds drifting through. The glacier was starting to open up and there were dozens of thin cracks to step over with a few opened up, crossed by solid snow bridges. We un roped at the base of the west ridge and headed up to the summit. The route went as indicated above, and there was some fun class 3 moves on the way to the top. It was pretty clouded in at the summit, with views only to the northwest. After a brief stay we headed down, roped up again, and started towards our next objective.
Entering a Dream Land
Entering a Dream Land
First up, Snowfield
First up, Snowfield
Crack
Crack
Cracks opening up
Cracks opening up
Snowfield's West Ridge
Snowfield's West Ridge
Moss Campion
Moss Campion
Scrambling between ridges
Scrambling between ridges
Nearing the summit
Nearing the summit
Final stretch to the summit
Final stretch to the summit
Snowfield summit views
Snowfield summit views
Summit shot
Summit shot
Descending
Descending
Horseman's Pack - We didn't have much beta on this one, but had several GPS tracks to follow. We followed one to the saddle east of the peak where we ran into a moat with no easy way to cross. On the other side of a gendarme, I found a route that crossed a couple ribs and gullies and looked like it might go, but it was unclear. We decided to try another route up north. We found a nasty gully and I started up. It was awful. Looking above me I could see a ramp and it looked like it continued past my line of sight to the north. I descended the awful gully and hiked a bit more north where I found that the ramp I had seen earlier. This was the best way. It cut across to the east shoulder where it traversed across to finish on a gully on the south face. It was a little trickier scrambling on this one. We were in a white out at the summit so we just touched the top and headed down. This was a rewarding peak in that we had to try several different ways until we found a route that worked.
Heading for Horseman's Pack
Heading for Horseman's Pack
Trevin and Snowfield
Trevin and Snowfield
Horseman's Pack
Horseman's Pack
Group of three and Snowfield
Group of three and Snowfield
Horseman's head?
Horseman's head?
Scrambling Horseman's Pack
Scrambling Horseman's Pack
Just below the summit
Just below the summit
Heading down the Neve
Heading down the Neve
Glacier
Glacier
Paul Bunyan's Stump - We descended down the glacier and then back up to the col, again enjoying the moody views as we went. I was starting to get some foot pain on the way back up to the col, mainly a heel blister. We had a brief lunch at the col and dropped off our glacier gear at our camp before heading off for Paul Bunyan's Stump and Pyramid. We took a steep traverse from Neve Col over to Paul Bunyan's Stump Col and started heading up the scramble. I mostly enjoyed the route which consisted of some fun scrambling that corkscrewed to the left and finished from the north. Incredible views of Cat's Ears and over to the Little Devil area as we ascended. It was windy and mostly cloudy views at the summit. I took off my boots to confirm a broken open heel blister and relay that I was probably going to bail on Pyramid to Trevin. All that extra elevation gain did not sound appealing on an open blister. We descended and I decided I'd try for Pyramid if we could make a high route go. We traversed across a boulder field and came across a steep snow traverse with questionable runout that would lead to the upper mountain. I set in a couple steps, but in the end decided it wasn't worth the risk with the bad runout. That meant having to drop down several hundred feet to get around this section and that was enough for me. I headed back to the col and Trevin continued on to Pyramid. I watched him summit while having dinner and enjoying a break from my mountaineering boots. Trevin crushed it on Pyramid, making it to the summit and back to camp in 90 minutes. Dinner and a sunset and we were soon in bed for a second night at the col.
Paul Bunyan's Stump
Paul Bunyan's Stump
Base of the scramble
Base of the scramble
Cat's Ears
Cat's Ears
Summit block, route cuts under left
Summit block, route cuts under left
Scrambling
Scrambling
Excellent views
Excellent views
Heading down
Heading down
Flower gully
Flower gully
Trevin on the ridge
Trevin on the ridge
Trevin on the summit of Pyramid
Trevin on the summit of Pyramid
Dinner views
Dinner views
Small stream
Small stream
Burning clouds
Burning clouds
Dusk
Dusk
Day 3: The hike out I got up before sunrise and looked out of my tent to see if it was worth getting up. It was. There was a really cool cloud formation over pyramid that lit up with color during blue hour and turned into the shape of a phoenix as the sun rose. It was really cool to witness. A rope team of five came passing through the col right after sunrise (lead pic for this TR), taking a break before heading for the summit of Snowfield. We packed up and headed for the car. The snow was real firm in the morning, but manageable in crampons. The ambiance of bright sunshine, undercast clouds, and passing mist and fog made it again feel like a dream land. We switched back to trail runners below snowline and again had to put on bug spray to fend off a moderate horde of skeeters. It was a steep descent and at one point the trail looked like it went off in two different directions. I picked one and sure enough it was the trail, although a different one that led to the east side of Pyramid Lake but connected again with the main trail soon enough. We made our way back to the car and onto burgers and beer at Mondo's. This trip was amazing, easily one of my favorite of all time.
Dawn
Dawn
Blue hour, Snowfield and Camp
Blue hour, Snowfield and Camp
Phoenix Rising
Phoenix Rising
Hozomeen
Hozomeen
Above Camp
Above Camp
Trevin nearing the lake
Trevin nearing the lake
On the Traverse
On the Traverse
Above the clouds
Above the clouds
Descending in a dreamscape
Descending in a dreamscape
Pyramid Lake
Pyramid Lake
Trail out
Trail out
~21 miles 12k gain

Prosit, neek, Eric Gilbertson, pwrobinson, ozzy, Schroder, MangyMarmot, Slim, Silas, contour5, Roald, Route Loser, Theboywhocriedroute, Kenji, zimmertr, Bootpathguy, ONELUV1, Tom, Nancyann, hikergirl1234, RichP, rubywrangler  SpookyKite89, silence, resilient, jaysway, GaliWalker, wyattmullen  fourteen410  gumby  abkoch3, geyer, Gimpilator
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wyattmullen
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PostSun Aug 07, 2022 8:35 pm 
Just insanely good conditions and photos! Love that burning one for sunset on day 2! It sounds like you got the permits for a Thursday-Sat, but do you (or anyone else) know if they've been selling out of walk-ups on weekends? I might head up there in a couple weeks and would love not to have to drive up a day early.

awilsondc
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RichP
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PostSun Aug 07, 2022 8:50 pm 
You brought home the goods! Stunning photos. up.gif

awilsondc
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raising3hikers
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PostSun Aug 07, 2022 8:57 pm 
RichP wrote:
You brought home the goods! Stunning photos. up.gif
Very much agree!

Eric Eames

awilsondc
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Nancyann
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PostSun Aug 07, 2022 10:28 pm 
Exquisite photos of an ethereal dreamscape! I have no idea why, but this picture resonates with me the most!

awilsondc
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Bootpathguy
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PostMon Aug 08, 2022 8:00 am 
Nancyann wrote:
Exquisite photos of an ethereal dreamscape! I have no idea why, but this picture resonates with me the most!
Me Too!!!

Experience is what'cha get, when you get what'cha don't want

awilsondc
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jaysway
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PostMon Aug 08, 2022 8:17 am 
awilsondc wrote:
Sunset, Campside
Sunset, Campside
Wow! I can't believe how many insane views you had and the photos that you took to capture them are extremely well done. It's hard to choose a favorite but it's probably this one, although if I had to look through them all again there's a good chance I would choose another one because there are so many great ones smile.gif.

awilsondc
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pula58
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PostMon Aug 08, 2022 11:04 am 
What a beautiful high camp!

awilsondc
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GaliWalker
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Have camera will use
PostMon Aug 08, 2022 11:24 am 
awilsondc wrote:
Hozomeen
Hozomeen
Since everyone is posting their favorites, I will do so too. For some reason, this one jumped out to me. (The very first one, of course, is probably the best one, so it's a good choice to set the scene for the trip report.)

'Gali'Walker => 'Mountain-pass' walker bobbi: "...don't you ever forget your camera!" Photography: flickr.com/photos/shahiddurrani

awilsondc
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resilient
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PostMon Aug 08, 2022 4:50 pm 
I'll continue the trend. This indeed is the stuff of dreams for me. What a trip! Thanks for sharing.
awilsondc wrote:
Entering a Dream Land
Entering a Dream Land
Aaron a question for you: Would you say it is safe to go unroped till Colonial-Neve Col this time of the year? From the pictures it looks like you roped up for Neve Glacier but not before that.

awilsondc
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LukeHelgeson
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PostMon Aug 08, 2022 5:00 pm 
As always epic photos! I love that area and you captured it so well. That summit of Horsemans Pack.... tiny. Haha

awilsondc
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awilsondc
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awilsondc
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PostMon Aug 08, 2022 7:41 pm 
wyattmullen wrote:
It sounds like you got the permits for a Thursday-Sat, but do you (or anyone else) know if they've been selling out of walk-ups on weekends? I might head up there in a couple weeks and would love not to have to drive up a day early
Short answer, I think you're fine heading up the morning of the start of your trip. They issue permits for different zones, and strangely enough Neve Col is right on the dividing line for Snowfield cross country zone and Colonial cross country zone. The ranger wasn't even sure which one to go with. We ended up getting Snowfield. On our Thursday there was one other group in the Colonial zone and one other on Snowfield. We exited on a Saturday and only came across one group on our way down. They were stoked because they were the only permit issued for the whole area.
resilient wrote:
Aaron a question for you: Would you say it is safe to go unroped till Colonial-Neve Col this time of the year? From the pictures it looks like you roped up for Neve Glacier but not before that.
Yep. We only roped up for the Neve Glacier. The Colonial Glacier is basically a snowfield and a lake now. The only cracks we saw were near rock / cliff bands. That being said the group of five we saw on our exit day roped up for the Colonial Glacier as well. We also saw a group of three doing a single push and they were not roped up at all (not recommended).
LukeHelgeson wrote:
That summit of Horsemans Pack.... tiny. Haha
So small! I didn't even think about getting all the way up there and standing on it. Tag and go was good enough for me! lol.gif

resilient
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fourteen410
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PostMon Aug 08, 2022 11:04 pm 
Incredible shots. Well done!

awilsondc
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ozzy
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PostThu Aug 11, 2022 9:50 am 
Awesome trip with some even better photos Aaron! borank.gif That camp looks amazing too! All the clouds added some nice drama. Congrats on getting all those and cheers doods! cheers.gif

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

awilsondc
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PostFri Aug 12, 2022 8:01 pm 
It was great to meet you at the Marblemount RS! Little could I imagine what an amazing outing you had in store. Thanks for the wonderful pics and story.

awilsondc
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Snowfield Group (Neve, Snowfield, Horseman's Pack, Paul Bunyan's Stump) 7/21-23/2022
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