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| | |-+  May 4, 2013, McGregor, North Buttress-Sadalee Gl
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Author Topic: May 4, 2013, McGregor, North Buttress-Sadalee Gl  (Read 2721 times)

Posts: 40

May 4, 2013, McGregor, North Buttress-Sadalee Gl
« on: 05/07/13, 06:24 PM »

No takers for this a trip, so went I solo. Friday after work and Saturday I was off to give McGregor a try (a double Mac weekend...).  The idea was put to me by Tom.  At the time seemed like a lot of work, but proved a great enjoyable trip.  Except I never care for the PCT walking.

Left Bridge Creek parking lot in hot sunshine.  Couldn't locate the PCT in the woods, so followed (no skins) snowmo tracks then traces of the PCT. 


After 4.8 miles it was booting it to Bridge Creek in sloppy snow patches or bare trail -glacier lilies, large windfall trees, signs of bear...

Crossing bridge Creek at the South Creek camp was an issue with raging and deep waters.  I found a partially submerged log to cross.  The water was swift and deep enough that my fully extended poles were only a foot above the water (4 1/2 feet water depth). 

Log to cross Bridge Creek

I'd had a late start and by dark was in the Dan's camp area (8.5 miles).  A Large tree with a dry patch under it in a wide open snow field made a great place to though out the bag.  It didn't get too cold and the stars were phenomenal.

I had an early morning start to snow firm enough to boot.  Filled up on water and headed up the creek basin.  I was a little started to see glowing eyes (not a small critter), then settled back to my meditative skinning.  About 1.1 miles (c4100') from camp veered right up a large basin. The head of it had a monstrous slide from the previous day or so.  My route turned right (1.5m, c4300') away from it and up through the woods to the next basin (1.8m, c4580').  Again a beautiful basin, even more so from the rising sun and light on the upper mountain tops -clean white snow, trees and a running creek.  I traversed past the steep cliffs on the south and where the basin opened headed left (south) toward a doable gulley and ridge.  The now was firm enough to require ski crampons.  A section of the gulley/ridge I booted (firm kicksteps). I skinned up and right onto the Sandalee Glacier, found a nice bump for a breakfast break,

The upper Sandalee Glacier

then up and right again, then up to the saddle east of the summit.  Ice ax out, now a steep side traverse up onto the north buttress, then boot the final 100 feet.  The last bit being rather steep (measured at 60deg).  Luckily, that section was less than 20' (a wind berm of sorts).  Topping this I was within 50' of the radio antenna on an easily breaking crust (8122', 9:58am)

McGregor Mt Summit (8122'). boot steps and descent stage ---left

I took a 45 minute break enjoying the views and waiting for the snow to soften. Great views in all directions, Stehiken valley far below looking
very dry already.  I didn't want to leave so soon, but when the corn is ready to harvest, it's time to harvest.

The crust on the top pitch had softened perfect to make great use of the light powder snow underneath.  A test couldn't get any movement.  After the first pitch a break to put the ax away, then down the Sandalee.  Ski cuts went well and I opted for some rather steepfun pitches, down and right, down and right.  A few stops for photo ops.  Right and down, I used the steeper ridge right of the lower gulley. Still firm and more fun than the lower angle gulley.  Good skiing, but didn't leave a mark.  The last lower flattish pitch was getting cooked, heavier, but not quite mush. Timing was perfect!  What had taken me 4h15m to ascend was a joyful 10-11 minute descent.

3000+ feet of goodness : -)

I retrieved a water bottle at the base, took a last look around, then started the skate/pole/push out the flat basin.  The lower trees had firm snow with corral heads.  Made for faster travel dodging and weaving deep tree wells.  The snow at the lower elevation in the openings was soft and slow going.

Back at camp (58 minutes from summit). I packed and headed down to the awaiting Bridge Creek crossing -ugh.  Trail runners made for a better crossing and I kept the wet shoes on for the entire hike back to the car (6.5 more miles).  The snow was firm enough in the trees and with a tendon issue was feeling better.  Well, the last 45 minutes I should have skinned, but I was being lazy. I finished earlier than expected in the hot parking lot at 5pm.

A great trip.  Thanks Tom for the idea!


trip in 8.5m, +661'/-1336
summit: 4.3m, +4260
return: 12.1m, +1352/-4920
total:24.7m, +/-6320

Gear: (no tent, ice ax, ski crampons,  trail runners for creek crossing and plenty of sunscreen

Map of basins and summit
« Last Edit: 05/08/13, 08:27 AM by fwb » Logged

Posts: 30

Re: May 4, 2013, McGregor, North Buttress-Sadalee Gl
« Reply #1 on: 05/07/13, 09:54 PM »

nice stuff franklin!

Posts: 323

Re: May 4, 2013, McGregor, North Buttress-Sadalee Gl
« Reply #2 on: 05/08/13, 08:11 AM »

good trip Franklin !  careful on those creek crossings ;-)

Lytt til erfarne fjellfolk!

Posts: 140

Re: May 4, 2013, McGregor, North Buttress-Sadalee Gl
« Reply #3 on: 05/08/13, 12:00 PM »

Very cool, and gorgeous pictures. I remember doing this same trip many, many years ago. It's a haul in there!! Very cool area and well worth the distance though. I remember the view down to the Stehikin area being quite dramatic.

Posts: 18

Re: May 4, 2013, McGregor, North Buttress-Sadalee Gl
« Reply #4 on: 05/08/13, 01:53 PM »

Good work, Franklin.  Maybe I'll have a look next week.  Thanks for the report!

Posts: 22

Re: May 4, 2013, McGregor, North Buttress-Sadalee Gl
« Reply #5 on: 05/08/13, 06:44 PM »

Where's the copyright for the map?
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