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Joined: 01 Oct 2010
Posts: 517 | TRs | Pics
Iíd been searching for Riesenstein since first reading about it on the internet, in the Summit blogs, back in the 60ís. I kept my eyes peeled for all the clues. Visible from the trailhead. Circuitous routing. Pleasant alpine travel. Mostly I just found ants, wandering in ignorance like me. All of us hoping to uncover and discover a useful track.
Once, I saw an interesting mountain at one of the better trailheads in the area. It had all the right moves. Riesenstein? I dared to dream. Mental explorations and expeditions were already in formation on the drive home.
Life ainít easy for a girl named Dale.
Before long I was back at la RiviŤre Blanche trailhead, ready for that action, at the princely hour of noon on a pleasant fall day. Water is mercurial. Sometimes blue and sometimes white. It all depends on the light.
Forgot the food, but thatís OK, I still have Rainiers. Besides, the mountains are calling, so I have to go. Eat what I can forage and wonder, ďIs this what the kids call Critter Style?Ē Probably not.
The plan was to ford Big Rock Creek, head up trail, through the woods paralleling the stream. When the terrain leveled out, Iíd look to reverse ford Big Rock Creek, and then execute an off-trail cutback maneuver to access the high country. Quickly found a makeshift bridge, took a right, and began climbing gentle switchbacks.
I said, Feed Me.
Vibrant colors induced blurry visions. I felt on the verge of passing out. Whatís going on here?
Big Rock Creek
magic carpet ride
Figuring out where to reverse ford Big Rock Creek unlocks the key to the whole Riesenstein approach. The yellows get more intense and Iím overwhelmed by brush and claustrophobia. Cannot continue to push on off-trail. Give up the dream of Riesenstein.
Pass Out Pass?
Relocate the trail and pushed forward, to and through Chair Peak Basin. The new plan is to camp out at Big Rock Pass, drink some consolation coffee in the morning and head back home. Colors remained vibrant, but do a better job following the rules and staying within the lines. Felt good getting out of the brush and into the great wide open. More organazized. Less congested.
Brush and claustrophobia
Getting high in the afternoon added perspective. Routing mistakes looked clear in hindsight. Suddenly I see where Iím supposed to be. I feel the words building inside me, I can't stop them, or tell you why I say them. These words come to me in a whisper. I say them as prayer, as regret, as praise: Riesenstein ... Riesenstein Ö Riesenstein. Riesenstein.
Chair Peak Basin
Color inside the lines
My what nice teeth you have. K9 lives up to the name. Almost to the pass.
Look to set up camp near the summit of Big Rock Pass. Some trees are turning yellow and the opposing ridge reflected the color and the shape of a literal kaleidoscope back at my own lyin' eyes. I tasted the textures. So tired I tried to ignore all this and crush the last Rain cans before bed.
My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim. Time to put out the lights.
the color and the shape
silver and black
My Oh My!
Awakening. Excited. Stiff and erect, in a carnival funhouse forest of preposterous proportions. Lost in the deep dark woods, where 2+2=5, hoping I could find a pathway out, and that it would be wide enuff, at least, for 1 more.
|A man looks into the abyss, and thereís nothing staring back at him. At that moment man finds his character, and that, is what keeps him out of the abyss.
The pathway out leads to a boulder field, where I meet Tony, my spirit guide for this trip. They say I should exit the boulder field, head over the pleasant meadows, through Cascade Falls, and up to Pass Out Pass.
the pathway out
A hidden, frozen, snow gully separates the boulder field from the pleasant meadows. Too solid and slick to kick steps and climb. Too steep to arrest a fall. I stand awkwardly in the middle and catch my first view of Pass Out Pass, while also taking pictures of the thinning roof and water flowing underneath. The outdoors is scary and I remind myself to be careful. Accidents can happen to anyone.
Lush green meadows are followed by firm, compact snowfields. Travel is scenic in mixed conditions. Itís easy to get hypnotized. I attempt to remember to turn around sometimes, enjoy the view, and smell the flowers and all that.
Pass Out Pass
Captain Vancouver never got off the boat, but still accurately named the Cascade Range. He just knew. Looking down past Cascade Falls I can see the entire high route. I yodel. Over the woods and through the boulders across the meadows we go ♪
peeking through look back time
Above Cascade Falls I pause and admire Big Rock Pass and Chair Peak Basin. One last push to Pass Out Pass.
When I look to the west thereís a feeling I get. The possibilities seem limitless, but every summer a few more expire.
Pass Out Pass
When I look to the east things feel dark. A disturbance in the force? I opt to head down and to the right, aiming for a flat spot to set up shelter before night.
Big Y Junction
It's all good, man.
Looking back at Pass Out Pass in the golden hour. Finishing shelter after sunset. Try to fall asleep, counting satellites inside my tent, and wondering what will happen once I do drift off. If this is an Inception type situation, or what? I resolve to let it go.
Dry Ice Hose
down and to the right
Wake up next morning to a golden shower of sunshine. The mountain is calling again and I must plan. Direct ridge probably cliffs out, but thereís a potential weakness on the flanks.
Pass Out Pass
Terrain is casual. Wooded hillsides and soft meadows are followed by mixed conditions over rock and ice.
A clean, solid scramble leads to the ridgetop. Alternatively thereís a dirty, loose gully full of phablet to phone booth sized rocks. Most ready to fall, some for no reason at all.
rock and ice
Iím greeted by the Middle Finger of Success, before looking ahead to assess the final assent.
Racing the terminator to the sky. Maintaining shade is worth the pace. Climbing up meadow staircases and looking down toward the TH, contemplating shorter routing.
Middle Finger of Success
One last look down to Pass Out Pass before I conquer the summit. Notice the Dry Ice Hose again in the background and feel an awkward phase distortion.
Stoked to find a small film canister on the summit. Hoping to prove my Riesenstein ascent in the Summit logs. The canister contains only a single sheet of paper, with only a few names, written in a bygone millennia. No location documentation. But itís the internet, so Iíll claim the ascent and check off the excel.
Pass Out Pass, Dry Ice Hose
Not a good enuff photographer to take crisp summit photos. They provide an interesting survey nonetheless.
ancient writing from bygone millennia
Some mountains almost climbed, others never attempted. Daydreaming for years of high routes Iíve seen only for minutes. Some things deserve closer attention when you get the opportunity.
Of course thereís a lake. Thereís always a lake. Shimmering and reflecting. Color changing on a whim. I christen it Chameleon. Tony invites me down to explore on the shore.
The surface shore of Chameleon Lake lives up to the hype. I could spend all afternoon here.
A small, messy, pile of rocks, and some hidden structure underneath, cleaves the outlet into two equal flows. The left fork falls and slides about thirty feet, before taking a 90į turn, pooling and undercutting a large rock, then cascading down a pitch of classic class3 Cascade splitter. Interesting.
shimmering and reflecting
Look across the plateau. From one falls to another? The Dry Ice Hose has been sticking in my craw all expedition and now requires further research. I scout a route , navigating a level traverse along the tree / meadow line.
cleave, I cleave
30' slide, 90į undercut
Mark time in transit watching Black Hole Couloir open up and say ah, slowly exposing their secrets. I reminisce to a long ago time, when the internet was great again, and heroes like Philfort (+ many, many, many other fine athletes) posted unbelievable content practically every week. Gapers like me gobbled it up in cube farms, pretending to work, straight check cashin'. It was a glorious era.
There is no trace of water, or historic water flow, (drainage, erosion etcÖ) either above or below the Dry Ice Hose. The arc of the Hose is painted on rock, perfectly following gravityís rainbow and obviously displaying a heritage of intelligent design. A glitch in the Matrix conceived a falls but forgot the water The programmers goofed the codes. Further proof of the simulation.
wet falls, dry falls
routing to Dry Ice Hose
I ponder the implications, subdued by the soft roar of the Napeequa far below. Canít imagine what youíd have to be on to dream of portaging a kayak over Little Giantís Pass, down the river, and out through the gap. More modern action heroes are writing cheques my body canít cash.
Dry Ice Hose
Wake up, pack up, and resolve to gtfo. Negotiate another hidden ice field and admire the last views of Riesenstein while ascending back to Pass Out Pass.
Trying to enjoy Glacier Peak when the low altitude plane attacks with scanners. Yankiní and bankiní above the Napeequa. I always feel like somebodyís watching me. Iíve got no privacy, even here. All because I diagnosed the glitch in
pack in, pack out
hidden ice field
final sendoff to Riesenstein
Suddenly wake up, trailside, in a pile of emptys and a puddle of puke. I look up for salvation and pray.
Started out pretty strong and fast. But it's beginning to get to me. When does it end? What do You got in mind for me? What do I do now? Right! All right. On my knees, asking.
The only responses are taunts from deranged tree huggers.
Dreaming is free
Slowly wake up, on top of Big Rock Pass, in cloud of mental haze and literal fog. Less than 24h away from the car, but my body feels like itís been backpacking for days. Multiple trips even? I hoped it was just a bad headache and begin again to pack up and get down.
The world is black and white for a time. Washed the sleep up out of my eye and color and clarity slowly return. Consolation coffee is refreshing and helps with pondering the views.
Beneath the fog and the colors rush back with blistering intensity. Calmly meditate to manifest them away chanting positive affirmations. Thereís no place like home. There's no place like home.
black and white
coffee w/a view
Rest of the hike out was uneventful. The reality of thoughtless slogging slowly erased bizarre memories about last night; as dreams are want to do. After all, it was just a dream.
still more color
There's no place like home.
JimK, Get Out and Go, RichP, HitTheTrail KascadeFlat
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Joined: 30 Oct 2007
Posts: 5443 | TRs | Pics
Interesting TR! A rugged area of the cascades. I was even able to identify some of the route, having camped just below your so called 'Big Rock Pass' myself once. Thanks for posting.
At least one other person has shot the Napeequa since Chris Korbulic did it. He lives right here in Wenatchee. My son-in-law helped him carry the kayak up Little Giant Pass. I know him from meeting on local trails over the years. I even saw him at a social event not long ago. That subject didn't come up, but at least I know he made it back alive.
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Joined: 01 Oct 2010
Posts: 517 | TRs | Pics
I never learned to paddle. Can't even eskimo roll. Can at least pretend to ski a little bit though. That's a neat story / opportunity.
My Dad used to paddle whitewater slalom kayaks in southern CA in the 70s. In the late 80s / early 90s World Cup White Water Slalom racers would come to race in the midwest. South Bend IN and Wausau WI. Kathy Hearn? and Jon Lugbill? were competitive Americans but the field was dominated by Europeans. I never understood why the best in the world flew across the ocean, to backwater USA for 2 legs of their World Cup series? But it was rad to watch them navigate down these contrived man-made ditches in front of a small crowd of disinterested locals.
Twitch 2000 is good collection of WA river porn. There's kayaking too. @ 12:00 they run Dingford Creek. Lots of Skykomish near Deception Falls Park, Middle Fork Snoqualmie, Entiat... Trying to map these runs on my WA Gazetteer atlas, before I had a car or an internet connection, are some of my first back country experiences.
|My son-in-law helped him carry the kayak up Little Giant Pass. I know him from meeting on local trails over the years.
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