Forum Index > Trip Reports > Sitting Bull, Bannock and Plummer Mtns  7/30-31
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raising3hikers
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raising3hikers
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PostMon Aug 01, 2022 6:31 pm 
Sitting Bull Mtn 7759'
Bannock Mtn 7760'
Plummer Mtn 7870'

Since the Suiattle River approach is closed due to the fire a couple years ago, I chose to come in via Phelps Cr for these 3 peaks.  I started hiking at 5am Sat morning glad to get an early start to get as many miles in and get into the alpine before the heat really gets going.  The trail to Spider meadows is in great shape and the early morning views were great as they always are.  I kept on going and made my way to Spider gap to see my far off distant views of the peaks I was going after.  A nice blue bird day and it was still really early, so I had time to go get them.

view from spider gap, Plummer Mtn to Sitting Bull Mtn
view from spider gap, Plummer Mtn to Sitting Bull Mtn

As I hiked down to the upper Lyman lake, I remembered one of my first and still one of the best family backpacking trips I did with my boys when they were much younger.  The lakes were as awesome as ever as I kept going down the trail to the lower but even more amazing lake.  That glacial silt makes for some pretty colors in the water.  A nice log with a rail a little down from the outlet crossed the raging stream.  Then it was up the trail to the beautiful Cloudy Pass.  The flowers are not yet out but the meadows are pretty still.

view from near Cloudy Pass
view from near Cloudy Pass

At the pass, I finally took a short break to eat a couple snacks before heading down the trail to find the PCT.  I headed N and quickly found some thru hikers along the trail.  I was only on the trail for a little ways as I left it below the SE basin of Sitting Bull ~5200' or so.  There were large boulders, snow fields and cliff bands above as I had to figure out how to get up above them all.  Somehow, I weaved my way back and forth, scrambling a bit in spots but nothing too technical and I was in the upper basin with Sitting Bull Mtn ahead of me.

Sitting Bulls SE basin
Sitting Bulls SE basin
finally on easier ground on Sitting Bull
finally on easier ground on Sitting Bull

I put crampons on for the last steeper part of the snow field before the S face rock scramble.  It looks like several ways could go and I picked one that did.  Again, nothing too tough and I was soon at the summit but didn't find the register that I thought was there.

Dome and Sinister from the summit
Dome and Sinister from the summit
a jagged ridge to Plummer
a jagged ridge to Plummer

I soaked in the great views for a while before heading back down to the snow and then the notch that would give me access to the other side.  On this descent, my ice ax came out as I downclimbed for a bit on the steeper snow.  The rock along the sides were very loose, so I was grateful for snow.  Then, I reached amazingly beautiful meadows as I traversed towards where the Canyon Lake trail would be.  This is really a scenic area of trail and am happy to have got a chance to do it.

looking back at Sitting Bull
looking back at Sitting Bull
Bannock Mtn ahead
Bannock Mtn ahead

There was lots of water flowing, looked like good places to bivy in the meadows if needed as I finally had to descend 800' or so the Canyon Lake.  To my surprise, I saw a fresh boot print in the mud, nice to know other people are getting a long ways a way from TH's!  I reached the lake to much daylight left, I dropped my overnight gear and started up to climb Bannock Mtn.  I took the most direct route I could see, by taking a steep snow field that led to heather slopes.  Neither were too bad as I made it to the ridge with easier ground to cover to the summit.  I especially liked the view of Gunsight Pk, a special one I climbed with my oldest son a few yrs ago.  I found the register that Adam left a few yrs ago and enjoyed the views after a long day.

Canyon Lake with Bannock Mtn above
Canyon Lake with Bannock Mtn above
Gunsight Pk
Gunsight Pk
Saddle Bow Mtn
Saddle Bow Mtn
Stonehenge Pks
Stonehenge Pks

I made my way back down to my dropped gear wondering if I should stay at the lake or go back up to the amazing meadows for camp.  Once I took my wet boots off and washed myself off in the lake, it was decided that I'd stay at the lake.  I was done but I had a chance to let my boots dry out while resting.  A couple rocks to the shins and ankles during the day also helped with the decision.  The sun went behind Stonehenge ridge early, so after dinner, I went to bed before sunset.

I was packed up and hiking back up to the meadows by 5am on Sunday morning.  It was nice to see the light on Glacier Peak as the sun rose.  Too bad the trail doesn't stay in the alpine for too long as I followed it to Miners ridge.  It drops quite a bit before gaining back up the the ridge.  I'm glad I went this way for climbing Plummer, Miners Ridge was gorgeous in the morning with Image Lake down below.  Again, the flowers are not at prime time yet, but still very pretty area to be hiking in.

early morning Glacier Pk
early morning Glacier Pk
Glacier above Image Lake
Glacier above Image Lake
a few flowers
a few flowers

There were lots of ups and down along the beautiful West ridge of Plummer.  None of the false summits were difficult and soon I was at the summit soaking in the early morning views.  I signed the register then studied the way I'd take the East ridge back to Suiattle Pass.  There were snow covered lakes below with cliffs, steep snow and loose rock that looked like had to be dealt with.

view back to Miners Ridge from Plummer
view back to Miners Ridge from Plummer

I headed down towards the East, basically looked for the easiest way and there was always an option.  Nice lake basins and the views back up to Plummer were great as well.

snowy lake E of Plummer
snowy lake E of Plummer
basin below Plummer
basin below Plummer

I eventually found a (climbers/campers) trail as I neared Suiattle Pass.  It was good to be back on the trail back up to Cloudy Pass with a lot of time left in the day to get back to the TH.  I ate a quick lunch at the pass as the mosquitos were eating me.  Those rock dings on my lower right ankle were really starting to get sore so I kept moving to keep it loosened up.  Once at the Lower Lyman lake, I had one more elevation push up to spider gap and then it would be all down hill from there.  I wore my head net past the lakes, the black flies were also getting annoying.  I could feel the heat of the day as I slogged along, I must have filled my water bottle 7-8 times during the day but it still wasn't enough.  It was great getting back to the car to change into clean clothes.

lower Lyman Lake
lower Lyman Lake

It was another nice place to visit in the Glacier Peak Wilderness! Also now have more ideas of nearby places to visit someday

23.25 miles day 1
9900' elevation gain day 1

23 miles day 2
6700' elevation gain day 2

46.25 miles
16600' elevation gain
2 days

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Eric Eames

MangyMarmot, freddyfredpants, neek, BarbE, Route Loser, Nancyann, Justus S., SeanSullivan86, rstoddard24, Lindsay, gumby, Char May, Silas, jaysway, Slim, runup, dave allyn, reststep, RichP, Bramble_Scramble, Tom  Gimpilator, awilsondc  GaliWalker
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Tom
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PostMon Aug 01, 2022 6:45 pm 
Nice, brings back memories, although it took me 5 days sans the peaks. clown.gif

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awilsondc
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PostMon Aug 01, 2022 8:37 pm 
Amazing trip!  I really need to make it over to that area some day.  So much beauty in that part of the state!   up.gif  up.gif

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puzzlr
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PostMon Aug 01, 2022 9:46 pm 
I enjoyed your description and associated memories. RE: "let my boots dry out while resting", I'm glad you're becoming a little familiar with this thing called "resting"  smile.gif

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Mid Fork Rocksflickr

Lindsay, reststep
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neek
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neek
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PostTue Aug 02, 2022 9:09 am 
raising3hikers wrote:
Somehow, I weaved my way back and forth, scrambling a bit in spots but nothing too technical and I was in the upper basin with Sitting Bull Mtn ahead of me.

So it's possible! I failed on this last year after getting into some too-treacherous terrain up one of the gullies. Guessing the trick is to stick mostly with the green stuff to the right of the cliffs?

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Stefan
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PostTue Aug 02, 2022 11:51 am 
Dude.  That's a 5 day trip.  Not a 2 day trip!

Thank you for all the info!

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Art is an adventure.
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Backpacker Joe
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PostTue Aug 02, 2022 12:25 pm 
Stefan wrote:
Dude.  That's a 5 day trip.  Not a 2 day trip!

Thank you for all the info!

When Stefan says that it means something!  Great work as usual.

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"If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide."

— Abraham Lincoln
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raising3hikers
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PostTue Aug 02, 2022 7:04 pm 
neek wrote:
raising3hikers wrote:
Somehow, I weaved my way back and forth, scrambling a bit in spots but nothing too technical and I was in the upper basin with Sitting Bull Mtn ahead of me.

So it's possible! I failed on this last year after getting into some too-treacherous terrain up one of the gullies. Guessing the trick is to stick mostly with the green stuff to the right of the cliffs?

Hey neek, in the SE basin pic, I started scrambling the rocks center of the pic between 2 waterfalls. Worked my way right looking for easiest ground,  crossed back and forth over the stream with little bushwhacking and class 3 rock at the most. A couple veggie belays but nothing exposed.

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Eric Eames

neek
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Fletcher
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PostWed Aug 03, 2022 6:00 am 
I have really fond memories of that area with Jake back in 2017 but we didn’t climb any of those peaks. I need to go back there! Also, incredible 2 day effort. Excellent!

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jaysway
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PostWed Aug 03, 2022 9:55 am 
What a cool trip!

Reading reports like this inspires me to get into better shape biggrin.gif. 9900 of gain and 20 something miles day one, damn! I think I'm an odd duck because I do OK with large elevation gains with a large pack but my shoulders and back get pretty sore by 10 or so miles even if there is minimal elevation change.

I would love to visit Bannock Lakes during larch season sometime. There are so many gorgeous but hard-to-access spots with larches in that general area.

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ozzy
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ozzy
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PostWed Aug 03, 2022 6:15 pm 
f### sick trip as per freakin usual Eric!! rocker.gif Damn I've been digging your unique set of peaks as of late!! cheers.gif Sitting Bull looks so badass as does the Lyman lakes area! Thanks for the post and kudos for making it seem so casual like always...keep em coming baby! It'll be cool seeing what else you do considering you've pretty much done everything! breakdance.gif

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“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
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cascadetraverser
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PostWed Aug 03, 2022 6:51 pm 
Great place; well done!

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