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Author Topic: Sept 21-23 Kololo Meanderings  (Read 3495 times)
mikerolfs
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Sept 21-23 Kololo Meanderings
« on: 09/23/12, 10:53 PM »

Ever wonder what an official "get outta Dodge" notice looks like?  Here is the one the sheriff left under my kid's shoes on our back deck:


The smoke is thick in Wenatchee, and I had already sent my family away to find fresher air.  This notice gave me a great excuse to go find some myself.  To our great disappointment, Matias and I left the Little Wenatchee River trail head on Friday afternoon still in fairly obnoxious smoke.  I took, and used, an N95 particulate respirator along the first leg of the approach.

 

This wasn't so weird to me, since for several days over the last week, I've worked at my desk in town, driven, and even slept with one of these. 

To complete the oddness of the approach, after navigating hoof dust and horse poop for the first 5 miles, we stumbled on a group who had set up their own personal semi-permanent high mountain ranchero in Meander Meadows.  On return, these cowboys actually watched us pass by through the scopes on their rifles.  Very uncomfortable.

Once on the crest, we were treated at last to clean air and a view of smokey haze to the East, and dense moisture to the west.  The clouds to the west would rise and fall like the tide and when they rose higher than the crest, the fog would spill over like a waterfall.  This was something I'd never seen before.

Fog spilling over the PCT into the White River drainage


Smokey haze over Wenatchee (and much of the rest of the state)


We camped on the PCT on Friday night and continued on to the south side of Glacier Peak where the skiing started.  Our Saturday tour started with a run on the White Chuck Glacier which was SO VERY WORTH THE EFFORT!  Next, we went back up the White Chuck and over a saddle to the White River Glacier which we ascended to the Kololo Peaks area at the top of the Honeycomb, Suiattle, and White River Glaciers. 

Green is up, Red is down.  Purple is the standard trek to the south-side route on Glacier Peak.


Nearing the top of the White Chuck glacier for our first run


Notice the blue sky (fresh air!). 


watering up for our second run


looking down on the White River Glacier


fog over the West side


top of the Honeycomb with Kololo's pt. 8197 in upper left


Looking down the Honeycomb toward the Suiattle River drainage (which is fog obscured).


Glacier from Kololo.  The non-technical south route is the obvious pumice ridge and snow below.


We dropped our stuff and scrambled up to point 8197 for a sunset semi-summit.  'Semi' because there are two Kololo's slightly higher than this one, and also because the last 5 feet of this nunatak are beyond my comfort level.

Gear drop


Summit snack


The sunset ski was super, with great lighting on the Honeycomb and White River glaciers, and finished off with a headlamp second run on the White Chuck.  Hard to decide what part was the best.

Clouds near Kololo


Skiing on the Honeycomb


The Honeycomb to White River transition


We camped on the rocky plateau near the base of the White Chuck.  The area reminds me of the upper Enchantment basin in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, except that the Enchantments require a lot less work to access.   Great spot to camp and it even had a "camp run" ski hill of 250' for an after breakfast treat

the Camp Run


The weather was nicer and the smoke less dense for our exit and much of the walk was like the Sound of Music

exit scenery



Matias taking a photo of one of our ski runs in the distance:


It was a great weekend no matter what, but it was especially nice to get out of the Hazardous air of the Wenatchee Valley and give my lungs a break.   As a final comparison, here is a photo I took on my way to work on Friday:



« Last Edit: 09/23/12, 11:04 PM by mikerolfs » Logged
FreeBird
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Re: Sept 21-23 Kololo Meanderings
« Reply #1 on: 09/24/12, 05:37 AM »

Nice work!
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rong
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Re: Sept 21-23 Kololo Meanderings
« Reply #2 on: 09/24/12, 06:30 AM »

Outstanding!
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Marcus
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Re: Sept 21-23 Kololo Meanderings
« Reply #3 on: 09/24/12, 07:18 AM »

Awesome Mike! Love the N95 respirator... that's dedication.
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Jason_H.
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Re: Sept 21-23 Kololo Meanderings
« Reply #4 on: 09/24/12, 11:35 AM »

Right on guys. Like others said, that's dedication. You rock. And man, what a great place to get turns for September!
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Lowell_Skoog
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Re: Sept 21-23 Kololo Meanderings
« Reply #5 on: 09/24/12, 10:28 PM »

Cool trip!

That's an impressively long hike for a weekend of skiing. My shoulders hurt just thinking about it. Great country though.
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alpenho
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Re: Sept 21-23 Kololo Meanderings
« Reply #6 on: 09/25/12, 06:05 AM »

great report and September dedication. 
Seriously not cool about those cowboys pointing the rifles - most likely that's a felony assault charge.  Glad everyone stayed safe...
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mikerolfs
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Re: Sept 21-23 Kololo Meanderings
« Reply #7 on: 09/25/12, 07:39 AM »

Seriously not cool about those cowboys pointing the rifles

Two guys had 7 horses enclosed in a white ribbon corral.  I think the white ribbon might have been an electric wire!  As we hurried by I considered stuff I might do to ham it up for the scope, but I was too chicken.  I wish I'd taken a photo of the camp.  It seriously looked like private property.

Because of the horse/hunter camp issue, if I were going to do this trip again, I'd pick a different approach trail.  We considered approaching from the N. Fork of the Sauk, but the extra drive time from Wenatchee outweighed the trail savings.

I suppose I should soften my accusation about the rifle before someone goes out and storms the homestead.  The trail is on a hillside above the meadow.  Proximity is maybe 300 yards.  The two guys passed something back and forth and looked through it at us.  It is possible that it was just a spotting scope.  I'm not certain enough to send them to jail.
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jtack
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Re: Sept 21-23 Kololo Meanderings
« Reply #8 on: 09/26/12, 08:16 PM »

Boy Mike that looks like a wonderful trip, sounds like the extra effort was worth it.  I think you get a gold star for that one.
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n16ht5
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Re: Sept 21-23 Kololo Meanderings
« Reply #9 on: 10/02/12, 08:29 AM »

great pics
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peteyboy
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Re: Sept 21-23 Kololo Meanderings
« Reply #10 on: 10/03/12, 07:29 PM »

Man, you guys are dedicated.  Looks like leaving Los Angeles to ski some of our heaven.
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