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peter707
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peter707
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PostThu Jan 18, 2024 11:54 am 
Today I planned some route ideas for Summer 2024 in MRNP, avoiding the major trailheads that would require reservations. Here is what I try to include / avoid in the routes: + loop routes + peakbagging + views + lakes + fire lookouts + a bit of off-trail / scramble is fine, up to class 3 + emergency road access to a crowded road within ~8 miles is a plus + ability to extend or reduce length of route mid-route depending on group - committing scrambles on the second half of a loop - committing creek crossings on the second half of the route Here is a caltopo link: https://caltopo.com/m/47RG3 Idea #1 Huckleberry Creek Trail + Skyscraper Pass + Lake Elinor Trail + a bit of road run https://www.strava.com/routes/3183130299481269846
Idea #2 Cowlitz Divide + Wonderland Section to Frying Pan Creek + Eastside Trail https://www.strava.com/routes/3183131622536660566
Idea #3 Florence Peak + Alki Crest + Howard Peak + Tolmie Peak (Carbon River Entrance) https://www.strava.com/routes/3183128271535074902
Idea #4 Northern Loop via Carbon River Entrance Lake Elinor TH https://www.strava.com/routes/3183129245471853958 (Northern Loop) https://www.strava.com/routes/3108783832859048434 (Northern Loop)
Idea #5 Westside Road + St. Andrews Creek Trail + Wonderland + Kautz Creek Trail OR Westside Road + Gobblers Knob + S. Puyallup River Trail + Wonderland + Pyramid Peak + Kautz Creek Trail https://www.strava.com/routes/3183146393690785158 or perhaps https://www.strava.com/routes/3183152990903212630 is better
If anyone has any information about the following sections I'd appreciate the details: a) Linking Florence Peak to Alki Crest / Howard Peak / Tolmie Peak - how hard is this scramble? https://www.alltrails.com/explore/trail/us/washington/tolmie-peak-alki-crest-and-florence-peak?mobileMap=false&ref=sidebar-static-map b) Is Huckleberry creek trail a good option? c) How reliable is crossing Ipsut Creek? Idea #3 is fairly committed to crossing Ipsut Creek, with the only way to avoid it being all the way around spray park as far as I can see. d) How reliable is crossing the Lower Carbon River? I am not sure about idea 4 in general, since the Lower Carbon River would have to be crossed twice. If lower carbon is out, it seems like it'd be required to go all the way around spray park to use upper carbon river instead, which would add many miles. Swapped for different start point

SpookyKite89, awilsondc
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Sculpin
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PostThu Jan 18, 2024 1:47 pm 
peter707 wrote:
How reliable is crossing the Lower Carbon River? I am not sure about idea 4 in general, since the Lower Carbon River would have to be crossed twice. If lower carbon is out, it seems like it'd be required to go all the way around spray park to use upper carbon river instead, which would add many miles.
You have succinctly summed up the danger of the lower Carbon River crossing. It's not just that you can get swept away and drowned on a hot day, it is that when hikers get there and see the raging river, they are immediately in crisis. They don't have permits for going back. They don't have permits for going around. So they go for it against their better judgement and then drown. A woman drowned down there the same day my group was crossing the upper Carbon on a partly-submerged log bridge from which the handrail had already been torn off by the current. I crawled across. The water was roaring. It was terrifying. People see themselves as achievers. The permit is precious and was hard to get. The combination can be deadly.

Between every two pines is a doorway to the new world. - John Muir

peter707  Joseph
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peter707
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PostThu Jan 18, 2024 2:36 pm 
got it, I removed the `Northern Loop from Carbon River` idea and swapped it for `Northern Loop from Lake Elinor TH`. Although the west-fork-white-river crossing is on the route x2, it's not bad to go out and back instead if necessary. It is good to reiterate `itineraries can be adjusted to accommodate safe river crossings.`

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Sculpin
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PostThu Jan 18, 2024 4:33 pm 
I followed the "itineraries ..." link you posted but did not see where the NPS says that itineraries can be changed. Did I miss it? The image from that page almost exactly mirrors the Carbon River crossing we did except that the railing was gone.

Between every two pines is a doorway to the new world. - John Muir
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zimmertr
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PostThu Jan 18, 2024 5:46 pm 
When we backpacked Wonderland the White River crossing was partially submerged like that too. I wouldn't ever want to ford one of these glacier rivers. At least in the afternoon/evening. Listen to the boulders tumbling in this video I took of South Mowich River from the same trip:

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Carbonj, SpookyKite89
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Pyrites
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PostThu Jan 18, 2024 5:47 pm 
I wish I had a photo for constrast of the same crossing at first light. The change is dramatic, and hard to impress on people from outside the area.

Keep Calm and Carry On? Heck No. Stay Excited and Get Outside!
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thuja
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PostThu Jan 18, 2024 5:49 pm 
Westside road is inside of the Nisqually entrance, so you may need a permit even if you are not going to Paradise, you do have to go through the Nisqually gate. Not sure, but merits exploration.

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Joseph
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PostThu Jan 18, 2024 7:03 pm 
Sculpin wrote:
A woman drowned down there the same day my group was crossing the upper Carbon on a partly-submerged log bridge from which the handrail had already been torn off by the current. I crawled across. The water was roaring. It was terrifying. People see themselves as achievers. The permit is precious and was hard to get. The combination can be deadly.
Was that in 2018? When we arrived we heard a female hiker had drowned crossing White River below Winthrop Creek. Then a couple days later we heard a man drowned crossing Winthrop - the log was partially submerged and no railing to hold on to. Never been so scared in my life. Photo below is what the Winthrop bridge looked like when we crossed in midday during peak glacier melt. Never again. Not worth it.

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peter707
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PostThu Jan 18, 2024 8:58 pm 
Sculpin wrote:
I followed the "itineraries ..." link you posted but did not see where the NPS says that itineraries can be changed. Did I miss it?
I saw it in the "Crossing Streams Safely" section.
thuja wrote:
Westside road is inside of the Nisqually entrance, so you may need a permit even if you are not going to Paradise, you do have to go through the Nisqually gate. Not sure, but merits exploration.
Hopefully timed-entry reservations are not required on foot, but if not 300ft off trail from boundary trail should not be that hard. Speaking of the boundary trail, I bet Mt. Wow will get more popular with people who get turned away at the gate.

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Carbonj
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PostFri Jan 19, 2024 8:50 am 
Alki crest you will find no problems, you could have other options such as going to arthur or gove peak both easy walk up or down ranger creek which we had to batman down a cedar branch to get past a little boulder just above green lake.If I was doing eleanor huckleberry loop stash a bike at eleanor trailhead and start at huckleberry. Since the 100 peaks of rainier came out social trails are more prominent. Also crossing Ipsut creek can be a problem when the carbon moves into ipsut, but there are many trees across the ipsut by the campground.

peter707
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Sore Feet
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PostFri Jan 19, 2024 10:02 am 
peter707 wrote:
c) How reliable is crossing Ipsut Creek? Idea #3 is fairly committed to crossing Ipsut Creek, with the only way to avoid it being all the way around spray park as far as I can see.
Per a TR on WTA from last month the Park has log footbridges in place over Ipsut / the wandered Carbon River channel that merged with it, so that crossing shouldn't be a problem unless there's more serious flood damage over the winter. Similarly, the lower Carbon River crossing is generally fine in the summer. The only days I'd be wary of it is if / when we get another heat wave that spikes the temperatures above 95 degrees at elevation for several days to cause the volume of melt in the glacier to increase. Under normal summer temperatures, that crossing is usually fine. I wouldn't expect the bridges to be in place for the season until late June at the earliest however.

Bryan Swan Pictures - http://www.bryanswanphotography.com Waterfalls - www.waterfallsnorthwest.com

peter707
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