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| | |-+  July 3-5, 2004, Mount Spickard, N. Cascades
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Author Topic: July 3-5, 2004, Mount Spickard, N. Cascades  (Read 5504 times)
kam
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July 3-5, 2004, Mount Spickard, N. Cascades
« on: 07/07/04, 05:00 AM »

This is an unforgettable place, with an unforgettable waterfall and, of course, an unforgettable approach.

I have Kevin Steffa to thank for suggesting the location and also thanks to Ned_Flanders for his strong enthusiasm over the Depot Creek approach. There was seven in the group (including Chris Cass, Ryan Forsyth, Jonathan Jantz, and Leor).  I decided to pack skis and also conned Casshole into bringing his utensils, too. Two days before our departure, Kevin sent me a link to Lowell Skoog's April trip report.  I read it briefly and also looked at some photos from Eric Hoffman's website. Lowell and Carl ascended/descended via the north glacier of Mount Spickard.  After comparing the reports and aerial images from Terraserver, Casshole and I decided on the south route.

The seven of us, packed in two cars, left Seattle Saturday at 6:30am under rainy skies and headed for the border.  We drove to Chilliwack Lake, then onto Chilliwack Lake road until we reached Depot Creek road.  Chris managed to scrape his four-door Mazda Protege 0.75 miles up Depot Creek road (click here to see a movie of our wonderful drive).  From the cars, we hiked about 3 miles before reaching the US/Canada border.  A good portion of the 3 miles was over an abandoned road, overtaken by alder wet from morning rain (click here to see bush movie). After the border, we meandered through old growth trying to follow the faint trail, while at the same time, trying to negotiate downed trees.  This is not a well traveled trail, but I enjoyed the hike nevertheless, especially with the Ladies strapped to my back!  About 2.8 miles later, we whacked our way to the base of the Unforgettable Waterfall; wow, how can anyone forget such a waterfall? The approach through the waterfall requires a few scramble moves up wet rock, see. For the next half-mile, it's a somewhat steep climber's trail that starts off with a 12-foot hand-line.  Note to self: by definition, a trail is steep if one has to down-climb on the return.  An hour later, we found ourselves standing in a marsh at the base of the Depot Glacier which flows from Mount Redoubt's northeast side; it was an impressive view.  A nice hike up the valley brought us to Ouzel Lake (~5600 ft.), where we camped the first night (6-hours approach). The view from camp appeared a bit bony, but there was enough.

The next morning we woke up to a somewhat low ceiling and slight drizzle.  Due to lack of motivation, we waited until 11am to start.  Chris, Ryan and I left for Spickard while the others decided to move up onto the Redoubt Glacier to camp the second night at the col, and then climb Redoubt in the morning and hike out the same day.  We carried radios to maintain contact in the event that the three of us decided to join them after Spickard.  As planned, we ascended toward Silver Lake Pass and then traversed climber's right at 6800 ft. to the base of a small southwest glacier.  We booted up the glacier toward a small saddle at 8000 ft. in hopes of dropping over and contouring around to get at the south slope Without thinking, however, we made a wrong turn and had to down-climb before reaching the saddle. From the saddle, we were rewarded with views of the Pickets and various other peaks in the Cascades, but the clouds were moving in and out exposing and hiding views throughout the day.  Finally, from the south side, we found an obvious approach to the summit over a mix of moderately steep snow slopes and class 2/3 rock.  The rock is bad and very loose.

Chris and I stubbornly shouldered our skis to the summit.  From the summit, we got a good look around and radioed the others.  Looking down the north side, we could easily see the wide-open bergschrung with a couple thin bridges.  It also looked like there was a boot-track starting at the bottom of the north glacier that terminated at the schrung.  After a few photos and snacks, the three of us retraced our steps.  Chris and I downclimbed ~400 feet to get at the snow, then we skied a 300-foot patch, dismounted, scrambled down a bit, remounted and continued all the way back to the saddle.  The snow was very nice, but the visibility was poor on the south side.  From the saddle, the small southwest glacier was in excellent condition (see movie).  Finally, we skied two long patches down from Silver Lake Pass toward camp:



We camped another night, but this time at a location to catch the morning sunrise over Mount Redoubt and the Redoubt Glacier.  The next day, we hiked out by noon after getting word from the others that they had returned from their climb of Redoubt.  In terms of skiing, we got 2300 ft. of turns.  Was it worth it?  Does a bear poop in the woods?  

There's so much terrain to explore and I will return. More photos are posted here.

-kam
« Last Edit: 07/08/04, 12:19 PM by kam » Logged

What do you mean you didn't bring skis?
Paul Belitz
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Re: July 3-5, 2004, Mount Spickard, N. Cascades
« Reply #1 on: 07/07/04, 05:13 AM »

Sweet! Spectacular terrain, looks like fun.
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skip
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Re: July 3-5, 2004, Mount Spickard, N. Cascades
« Reply #2 on: 07/07/04, 05:15 AM »

And me with a wedding to attend!  Alas, we again find all too evident the plight of the tragic hero that is me.

Fantastic report - congrats on the trip.
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cascadesfreak
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Re: July 3-5, 2004, Mount Spickard, N. Cascades
« Reply #3 on: 07/07/04, 06:35 AM »

Nice account of the trip Kam!  It's definitely an unforgettable approach...I think the scars on my legs from the logs and brush will be lasting for quite awhile....of course the skiing was worth it  Grin

A few more photos are posted at:

http://www.cascadesfreak.com/gallery/MtSpickard-July2004

--Chris
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Ned_Flanders
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Re: July 3-5, 2004, Mount Spickard, N. Cascades
« Reply #4 on: 07/07/04, 07:07 AM »

What do you mean you didn't bring skis?Huh??

Kam/Cass, why did you bring skis??  I personaly did not understand why you lugged in your ladies all that way, with the mileage, brush, down trees, waterfalls, steep terrain, boulders, etc.

Kam,Cass, and Ryan, nice job on Mount Spickard.  Maybe Kevin will write a trip report on our climb of Mount Redoubt altough it didn't involve skis.

BTW, I will post the lyrics to both of my hit songs, "My name is Chris Cass" and the newly released chart topper "I'm Just Kam".

Josh, from Ned's Group

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cascadesfreak
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Re: July 3-5, 2004, Mount Spickard, N. Cascades
« Reply #5 on: 07/07/04, 09:34 AM »

Quote


I personaly did not understand why you lugged in your ladies all that way, with the mileage, brush, down trees, waterfalls, steep terrain, boulders, etc.



You're soooooooo jealous  Grin  Of course we brought skis; can't pass up that sweet fresh-shucked corn, even if it takes a lot of effort to get to it Wink
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Bill_G
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Re: July 3-5, 2004, Mount Spickard, N. Cascades
« Reply #6 on: 07/07/04, 10:11 AM »

Nice trip - nice to know about the Depot Creek Approach - we went to Spickard and Redoubt via Perry Creek traversing to Whatcom Pass several years ago.  That approach was pretty brutal.

Bill G
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Kevin Steffa
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Re: July 3-5, 2004, Mount Spickard, N. Cascades
« Reply #7 on: 07/08/04, 09:36 PM »

The brushy Canadian logging roads will quickly be forgotten, but the memories of this incredible place will last for a long time. A stone obelisk at the border marks the transition into the old growth. The trail through the riparian zone of Depot creek valley shows a good history of maintennence over the years - many sawed and notched logs on the trail. Despite numerous awkward clambering over recent blowdowns, and swampy places where the creek is doing its natural meander, a significant portion of this trail in the middle is in fine shape. A good mile of thick mossy terrain, tranquil views of the creek, many towering giants and not a single fallen one in the way.

The ascent by the waterfall is definitely the highlight of the approach - followed by some of the steepest 'trail' that can possibly be called so. At the top, staying to the left side of the basin gets around most of the brush, but there are still plenty of boulders to hop.

Ouzel lake was a small gem in a sea of moraine choss, great night spent there - good food, good company, and a moody sunset with the clouds hanging low.

In the morning the group split to head up different lines. I had abandoned the plan of doing Spickard in addition to Redoubt due to the lingering clouds and also to focus energy toward a high bivy. The smooth rock shoulder up to the redoubt glacier was great fun after dodging a little bit of loose moraine rock. While crossing the redoubt glacier the clouds parted to glorious blue skies with ominous billowings still around the peaks. We camped at the high col to the south slope of redoubt as views of the pickets danced in and out of the fog. At sunset the clouds lowered and my camera achieved a framerate that has not been reached in a long time!

Morning brought good cramponing, and most of the south route was on snow up to the ramp into the rock gullies. The climb to the top was particularly enjoyable, mostly solid by scrambling standards, ascending a ramp, up between small spires, and finally through the cannonhole to the summit.

On the descent the snow would have been fun for skiing -- steep on the south side with some interesting narrow constrictions, and a cruiser down the wide open glacier, but I cannot imagine that I could summon the energy to carry them that far, as I was definitely stumbling the last few miles out. Although I may return with skis in the future for an early season trip!

Here are some links to a few pictures - more will follow later. A great time in the North Cascades!

Walking on clouds above camp:
http://www.catdaddy.com/people/kevin/images/04_07_Redoubt/CloudwalkerPan.jpg

Rappelling from the summit:
http://www.catdaddy.com/people/kevin/images/04_07_Redoubt/Cannonhole.jpg

- Kevin
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- Mossman
kam
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Re: July 3-5, 2004, Mount Spickard, N. Cascades
« Reply #8 on: 07/09/04, 08:19 AM »

Kevin and Co.

it sounds like you guys had a wonderful time at the 7800 ft. col, as well as experienced some impressive views.

thanks for sharing your photos.  i can't wait to see the rest!

say, exactly what time did you guys exit the woods?

-kam
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What do you mean you didn't bring skis?
Kevin Steffa
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Re: July 3-5, 2004, Mount Spickard, N. Cascades
« Reply #9 on: 07/09/04, 08:38 AM »

We were running down the glacier and it seemed progress was quite good. Somewhere however between the boulders, the steep trail, and the brush, exhaustion set in and we started taking long breaks to recover and dry the feet. We made it out right at dusk, that final bit of 'quite driveable' road seeming MUCH longer than the way in.

I found an alternate descent of the waterfall slabs - walk 'skiers' right around the block, sit down, and slide down a wet slab into a gravelly pocket, which avoids the downclimbing or rappelling...

We got some wildlife paparazzi viewing through the headlights on the road out - first a bunny, then a bobcat, a 3-point buck, and finally a lumbering black bear!

- Kevin
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- Mossman
kam
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Re: July 3-5, 2004, Mount Spickard, N. Cascades
« Reply #10 on: 07/09/04, 08:56 AM »

bear!  i wonder if that was the same bear that belonged to the fresh tracks in the mud that we saw just before reaching the car.  i wanted a chance to video tape an interview with the bear.

-kam
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