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| | |-+  May 14, 2016, West McMillan Spire/Terror Basin
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Author Topic: May 14, 2016, West McMillan Spire/Terror Basin  (Read 1813 times)

Posts: 79

May 14, 2016, West McMillan Spire/Terror Basin
« on: 05/15/16, 01:14 PM »

Continuing my recent trend of attempting to bag peaks and ride in a single push. West McMillan Spire has always been on a lengthy list of places I have wanted to visit and with weather looking slightly promising Saturday and less on Sunday, I was not about to let the weather deter me from visiting this place any longer. Our group started at 8pm Friday evening and we followed the unmaintained trail, which was covered with downed trees and thick brush until the first creek crossing. The first crossing is not impossible, but for those who consider heading out there in the near future, keep an eye on where the road ends and one would think the path is immediately straight across the creek from that point. This is not exactly the case and by the time we realized it, we had already gone a mile off trail and stayed low next to Goodell Creek. Eventually we grew tired of bushwhacking near the creek with little progress and cut East, eventually coming across the old trail again. More of the same for the remaining 3 miles, two more Creek crossings, the final of which requires using a downed tree to get safely across. It was at this point, roughly 11 PM (thanks to my off trail shenanigans) one of our group had some blister issues and turned back. The rest of us pushed on, coming across the infamous arrow made of rocks shortly after the creek/tree crossing and excited that we were finally heading up to the "Promise Land". Excitement quickly faded into sweat and sore legs, as all of the elevation is gained pretty much straight up next to Terror Creek. The steep and rugged boot path is one of which I would not recommend trying to climb at night and we came across multiple sections where the trail disappeared entirely (on the descent we later found this to be because it switched directions rapidly) and we bushwhacked a majority of it, hitting the talus field (first cairn of the night!) and making our way above the rock bands above. Snow level started very high, basically when we broke out of treeline. This is where more route finding comes in. We took two different routes, one out of curiosity and ample time to mess around, but were disappointed to find overhanging snow blocking a sure path to a boulder field near the edge of Terror Basin. We backtracked to ascend a Notch overlooking Terror Basin at around 6400ft and opted to leave the skis there, as we were more interested in climbing McMillan with light packs at this point. Views were magnificent and we enjoyed a solid amount of sunlight until our ascent of Terror Glacier. Sun turned to clouds and the surrounding peaks began to become less visible, a sign I had anticipated being some rain moving into the area. We decided to play it safe and descend, saving the summit bid for another weekend where camping will most assuredly will be involved. We enjoyed some nice turns back at the Notch in soft snow and made our way back to Goodell campground safely just as the sun set. Great views, another great group and finally got a taste of an area I have been dreaming of for quite some time!

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