Forum Index > Trip Reports > Glacier Peak circumnavigation, August 8-14th 2021
 Reply to topic
Previous :: Next Topic
Author Message
Opus
Wannabe



Joined: 04 Mar 2006
Posts: 3685 | TRs | Pics
Location: The big rock candy mountain
Opus
Wannabe
PostMon Aug 16, 2021 8:10 pm 
I did this same trip in 2017 but apparently never wrote a trip report. Recently did the hike again and making up for my previous omission. Day 1 Started up Indian Creek around 10 am. A later start than I usually get but I was hoping the weather would improve throughout the day. The first 5 or so miles of the trail are actually quite pleasant, starting off through deep forest with a nice tread, and entering some meadows. The trail crew is nearly finished replacing the broken bridge with a good foot-log. It was flagged off and only had partial hand-rails installed but I crossed it anyway. Nobody was around and it seemed safer than rock-hopping. Just past the boot-path to Airplane Lake the trail conditions take a huge nose-dive. Waist deep grass to start with, followed by increasing brush with downed logs in places. The trail is still easy to follow, just very overgrown. Pushing through the large fern-like plants was especially annoying since they interlock and resist your movement. Thankfully it was dry. Well, until the final three miles anyway. Then the distant drizzle finally dropped. I put on my full raingear but was still very soggy and tired by the time I reached Indian Pass. The price to pay for entry to this area I guess. I'd debated doing the loop in the opposite direction but this gets the bad part over and forgotten immediately, and also avoids carrying a heavy pack up and over High Pass. The campsites at Indian Pass itself were a bit waterlogged so I crossed the meadow and claimed a site under a tall tree. Brought my Helinox chair on this trip and it was quite nice to avoid sitting on the wet ground since I was already soggy. Glad I'd brought some tea. Turned in early. 12.7 miles, 3783 ft gain
Day 2 Woke up to clouds hanging on but the drizzle had stopped and it wasn't that cold. Putting my feet into soggy chilly boots wasn't fun. The sun began to break over the ridge and I got a later start out of camp than planned to try to dry out my tent rainfly a bit. On the climb up the PCT to White Pass I climbed above the clouds to clear blue skies and great views! Very green everywhere. Not many flowers though, I guess the heat wave last month fried them. Continued over to Red Pass on trail which had been improved since my last visit 4 years ago. Ran into a southbount thru-hiker just over the pass. Very nice descent into the basin and a nice lunchbreak next to the creek. No bugs! Lots of southbound section-hikers through this area. One gave me some worrying info about crossing Kennedy Creek, saying there were two logs that would be underwater in the afternoon. I hadn't read any of that in my planning. Ran into another section hiker who was more reassuring, saying she had scooted across the log with no issues even though she was wearing a skirt. The foot log bridge that was broken both in 2012 and 2017 is indeed now gone. There is a very good solid log across the creek though. It's about 4 feet above the raging creek and I ended up scooting across for safety rather than walking it. Made my way up the ridge on the far side to a nice campsite in Pumice Creek basin. Nobody else around surprisingly! Some mosquitoes but not bad at all. Around sunset the clouds returned and enveloped me. 18.48 miles, 5089 ft gain
Day 3 Woke up to clouds again but they began to burn away almost immediately. Hiked up through soggy dew filled trail to Fire Creek Pass and great views! My previous trip this area was hazy with fire smoke. Today perfectly clear. Wished I'd camped up there! No good water source but one could access the top of a snow-finger to melt it. Nice long break here, talking to another pair of southbound section-hikers, before dropping down to Mica Lake. Such a pretty lake. Still some floating snow and cold enough I could only put my feet in for about 30 seconds. Nice break at the lake, then the long drop down to Milk Creek. The trail is good about halfway, then the lower portions are very overgrown. I filled up on water before reaching the bottom, remembering how dry it was last time. One could probably get water from Milk Creek but it's not easy to get under the bridge, is really raging, and also cloudy-white and bad for filters. There is a small trickle on the other side, climbing out of the drainage, but then dry the entire rest of the way into East Fork Milk Creek basin. Long slow brushy and hot climb up the ridge but I was prepared for this. Very tiring since I'm in much worse shape than my 2017 trip. Still, made it with plenty of time to relax. Claimed a nice site in the basin. As it turned out I only had it to myself for about 15 minutes. As I sat there with my book I saw a tall soutbound hiker moving very fast make the turn down to my site. A tall blonde German woman said she wasn't sure she'd make it here, not finding water on Vista Ridge, and can she share the site? She was a southbound thru-hiker only 3 days into her trip and I'm not going to turn down another thru hiker. She was quite nice and maybe has the trail name "Souvenier" because she had to buy extra water bottles at the last minute. Two other hikers with an orange tent also dropped down and camped nearby. All of them were using the Guthook PCT app which directed them to this site. It's a pretty spot but not somewhere to go for solitude apparently. Oh well. 15.91 miles, 4495 ft gain
Day 4 Nice clear night and saw a few meteors. I could also feel the air change with warm breeze blowing through around midnight. Got out of camp around 7 am to beat the heat and my German friend was still in her tent when I left. Soggy meadows through Vista Ridge but several nice campsites up there that I don't think existed 4 years ago. Also a small but usable water source just off the trail. Dropped down to the Suiattle River on good trail, aside from a few large blowdowns. By then it was quite warm. Good lunch break at the bridge, then began the long climb up to Miner's Ridge. Somehow last trip I had the energy to do a small peak early in the morning before this trip. Glad I skipped it this time! Long climb up the Miner's Ridge trail. It's a lot of gain but a nicely graded trail. Only one nasty blowdown about a half mile from the top, where I ran into another southbound section hiker. Finished off the climb and paid another visit to the lookout. The same volunteer I'd met four years ago was here again! Nice guy named Russ spending 2 months (I think this is what he said) in the tower. Grand views everywhere and tons of ripe berries! Continued on to Image Lake for a swim while it was still warm. Last trip the camping area was full and I got the last site, even midweek. This time there was nobody anywhere! Russ did say the tower and lake is a lonely place with the Suiattle trail closed. In my mind I just associate Image Lake with Spider Gap loop and forget it's actually a shorter approach from the Suiattle side. Had a great long swim in the pleasantly warm waters and very few mosquitoes! After dinner I hauled my chair up to the viewpoint behind the lake for a nice sunset. I could smell fire smoke and see a bit of brown in the evening light. 19.54 miles, 5397 ft gain
Day 5 Woke up to smoke, smelling it before I saw it. I was right at the top of the smoke so had a nice sunrise to the east, and a white out sky to the west robbing any view of Glacier Peak. Oh well, I was committed to finishing the loop now. Made a quick visit to Lady Camp to see the carved tree before continuing on to rejoin the PCT. One large and somewhat nasty stretch of downed trees to cross where I ran into a few more section hikers. Didn't see a single northbound thru-hiker this time! Too early I guess. Made good progress and was soon at Buck Creek Pass. I was hoping to camp at High Pass but it was so smokey and hot I decided to call it a day early at Buck Creek, hoping for clearer skies in the morning. Dropped my gear in one of the upper sites and dropped down to the pass itself to scoop up some water. Biting flies were pretty bad all over here. Saw two people go by and a few tents in the lower sites but very few people. Spent the rest of the day hiding in the shade with my book. Pretty decent sunset through the smoke and very warm overnight. 11.94 miles, 3315 ft gain
Day 6 Slightly better smoke conditions. I could at least see Glacier Peak now. Got an early start and made my way up to High Pass. Such an awesome area! Huge meadows filled with anemone flower and marmots area. At the pass itself huge rocky pointy peaks. Triad Lake is fully melted out. No snowfields to cross anywhere. Nice break at the pass before beginning the drop to the Napeequa. Easy to follow trail almost the entire way. It does disappear for a few miles in the middle but the route is very self explanatory. At the end of the valley there is a huge snowbridge. The steep boot path down into the Napeequa River valley is off to the right. Very steep in places but not too hard. Glad to be descending this instead of hauling a pack up. Bugs were pretty bad along the Napeequa trail and water is surprisingly limited. Good water from the waterfall next to the bootpath and Louis Cre ek a few miles later but aside from that dry and hot. Very pretty though. Ran into a couple and a dog hiking up towards High Pass here. Reached the river ford and at the crossing point I'd used last time it was so deep my trekking pole went all the way underwater just two feet off the bank. Backtracked a bit upstream through a sandbar and some campsites and found a better spot. It still ended up waist deep and very swift, much harder to cross than the Chilliwack river on Copper Ridge last month. Also tricky crossing diagonally downstream with the current. Hopefully easier earlier in the day or on a cooler day. Refreshingly cold anyway. The climb up to Boulder Pass is nicely graded if heavily eroded in places with one very large blow-down. I'd planned to camp in the lower meadows on the east side of the pass but it was quite dry here. Climbed to the upper meadows where I had to go a distance off-trail to get water. It was still quite smokey so I decided to continue over the pass and hope for clearer skies. Not really much better on the west side but I did find a really nice site just a short distance down from the pass. No bugs here thankfully! Right at the top of the smoke cloud too with nice blue-sky and a pretty orange sunset. Great temperatures overnight. I could see some stars through the haze but not good meteor viewing. 14.29 miles, 4769 ft gain
Day 7 Picked a bunch of huckleberries for my granola breakfast and headed down the trail. Rocky in places but overall a good trail. Ran into two bear hunters heading upwards as I reached the bottom. Somehow I'd spent 7 days in the Glacier Peak Wilderness and not seen a single bear! Had a nice break along the White River trail before finishing off the five miles to my car. Very tiring through here in the heat and smoke and I was glad it was good condition and flat. 10.7 miles, 709 ft gain
Great trip!
Hike-A-Thon 2021!

Foist, KurgansDad, IanB, thename, GaliWalker, Nancyann, Bloated Chipmunk, contour5, zimmertr, YoDutch, rubywrangler, Snuffy, capbiker, BarbE, kite, LukeHelgeson, JasonK806, olderthanIusedtobe, Schroder, GeoTom, Slim, RichP, Dave Weyrick, Chief Joseph, Pef, Tom, achildinthesehills, Bernardo  awilsondc
Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
zephyr
aka friendly hiker



Joined: 21 Jun 2009
Posts: 3133 | TRs | Pics
Location: West Seattle
zephyr
aka friendly hiker
PostMon Aug 16, 2021 8:18 pm 
Opus wrote:
What a beautiful morning walk this must have been. ~z

Chief Joseph
Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks



Joined: 13 Feb 2007
Posts: 7098 | TRs | Pics
Location: Stuck in the middle
puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks
PostMon Aug 16, 2021 10:09 pm 
Nice mix of photos. I appreciate the bridge info -- might have a use for that this fall.

Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
Chief Joseph
Member
Member


Joined: 09 Nov 2007
Posts: 6965 | TRs | Pics
Location: Verlot-Priest Lake
Chief Joseph
Member
PostMon Aug 16, 2021 11:02 pm 
Opus wrote:
Amazing Photo!

Go placidly amid the noise and waste, and remember what comfort there may be in owning a piece thereof.
Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
timberghost
Member
Member


Joined: 06 Dec 2011
Posts: 1115 | TRs | Pics
timberghost
Member
PostTue Aug 17, 2021 9:05 am 
Nice trip and write up!! Bears are smart and avoid the heat, typically hitting the high country in Sept when berries ripen up and it's cooler. Now they will be along cool streams and water sources

Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
BarbE
Member
Member


Joined: 28 Jul 2006
Posts: 1127 | TRs | Pics
BarbE
Member
PostTue Aug 17, 2021 11:11 am 
Great trip and images! Thanks for the write up!

Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
iron
Member
Member


Joined: 10 Aug 2008
Posts: 6339 | TRs | Pics
Location: southeast kootenays
iron
Member
PostTue Aug 17, 2021 8:29 pm 
top notch post and photos. good to see an opus TR

Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
cascadetraverser
Member
Member


Joined: 16 Sep 2007
Posts: 1389 | TRs | Pics
cascadetraverser
Member
PostWed Aug 18, 2021 8:32 am 
Cool trip! I remember that Napeequa crossing as being difficult. Nice to have Image lake to yourself!

Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
Froof_D_Poof
Member
Member


Joined: 24 May 2016
Posts: 23 | TRs | Pics
Location: Richland, Wa
Froof_D_Poof
Member
PostMon Aug 30, 2021 8:26 am 
Awesome report Opus! I did this loop solo in 2016 and my partner and I are planning to do a variation later in September this year. Your pics have us doubly excited to get out there for a week. smile.gif

Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
zimmertr
TJ Zimmerman



Joined: 24 Jun 2018
Posts: 784 | TRs | Pics
Location: Newcastle
zimmertr
TJ Zimmerman
PostMon Aug 30, 2021 10:49 am 
This looks like an epic trip for next summer! Thanks for the beta.

Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
Nancyann
Member
Member


Joined: 28 Jul 2013
Posts: 2185 | TRs | Pics
Location: Sultan Basin
Nancyann
Member
PostMon Aug 30, 2021 9:14 pm 
Nice to see a trip report from you, Opus! Great write-up and photos, especially of the adorable marmots. Hiking Partner and I finished up a slightly different version a week ago, beginning at Little Wenatchee Ford and accessing the PCT at Meander Meadows. Even though its slightly further south than Indian Pass, it was a pleasant stroll to the PCT, thanks to the efforts of the Youth Corp and perhaps BCH, well worth the extra miles.

Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
Popcorn
Member



Joined: 20 Aug 2008
Posts: 150 | TRs | Pics
Location: Another Place
Popcorn
Member
PostWed Sep 22, 2021 3:05 pm 
Great to see that Fred the Marmot and Guardian of Red Pass is still alive. First met him in 1978!

Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
zimmertr
TJ Zimmerman



Joined: 24 Jun 2018
Posts: 784 | TRs | Pics
Location: Newcastle
zimmertr
TJ Zimmerman
PostWed Mar 30, 2022 10:56 am 
Trying to put together an itinerary for this this summer... Looks like you didn't cache any supplies. Do you happen to remember what your food carry weight was on day 1? This is quite a long trek to go without any caching. Looks like the best place to cache might be around Vista Creek (~48 miles).. But that would require a separate 19 mile dayhike/overnight trip the week before from the Suiattle River Road. Shown here in orange:
It would certainly be better to cache at the Milk Creek crossing (~36 miles). As that is closer to the half way point of the loop. And a shorter cache run. But I hear that river crossing is pretty sketchy and the trail itself is best described as a schwack. Shown here in green:

Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
Bramble_Scramble
Member
Member


Joined: 28 Dec 2012
Posts: 216 | TRs | Pics
Bramble_Scramble
Member
PostWed Mar 30, 2022 1:54 pm 
I've been planning this trip for this summer and was wondering the same thing. I guess you could cache near the PCT Suiattle bridge which would save some miles but that depends on whether or not they reopen the road this summer. Really hoping they get that road open but with the fire damage it could be a couple years out? I'm thinking I might do the loop CCW. The Napeequa crossing could be a make or break point and I don't want to run into trouble at the end of the loop. Maybe the Indian Creek trail will be easier to follow going downhill too. I did the the section from High Pass down the Napeequa last year and it was hardly brushy at all.

Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
zimmertr
TJ Zimmerman



Joined: 24 Jun 2018
Posts: 784 | TRs | Pics
Location: Newcastle
zimmertr
TJ Zimmerman
PostWed Mar 30, 2022 3:09 pm 
I forgot that road was closed... Just called the ranger station and they told me it's currently closed through October but may be reopened sooner but he can't quote a date. And the closure is about 3 miles from the end of the road. I asked him if it was a "serious no going beyond this point" or "wink wink nudge nudge" closure and he seemed to imply that, while sometimes the latter is the case, this is definitely an example of the former. Due to their perceived danger of the standing dead trees. So I think that means they would not approve of me biking the last 3 miles with my cache. SO, seems like the only reasonable option at this point is a full-supply carry for the length of the loop. Turbo bummer.

Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
   All times are GMT - 8 Hours
 Reply to topic
Forum Index > Trip Reports > Glacier Peak circumnavigation, August 8-14th 2021
  Happy Birthday detekt!
Jump to:   
Search this topic:

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum