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NWAC Avalanche
+  Turns All Year Trip Reports
|-+  2006 Backcountry Trip Reports
| |-+  June 2006 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  June 18, 2006 chinook pass - cougar lake pk 6624
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Author Topic: June 18, 2006 chinook pass - cougar lake pk 6624  (Read 2381 times)

Posts: 386

June 18, 2006 chinook pass - cougar lake pk 6624
« on: 06/19/06, 01:13 PM »

I’ve been eyeing Pk 6624 near Cougar Lake from the Chinook Pass area for several years now, but never had the opportunity to check it out. From the saddle where the trail drops to Dewey Lake or from the Summit of Pk 6657 you can get an excellent view of it. The first time I noticed it was from the Crystal Mtn Ski area above Silver Basin. Located on the south shore of Cougar Lake, it stands out as kind of a half-pipe shape with 1000’ shear cliffs on its north and east faces. Not sure if anyone has skied it, but given it’s isolation and relative tameness for serious peak skiers, I thought there might be a chance of a first decent.

So last week I managed to recruit 4 of my usual victims for what promised to be very long single day tour exploring the area from Chinook Pass to Cougar Lake. The 5 of us headed out from the east side of  Chinook Pass at around 7:30 AM. We were greeted with somewhat cool temps and rock hard snow. Brenda managed to take a little ride on the icy suncupped slope just off the highway, bruising her hip and ego. Her little spill was a bit of a refresher in the dangers of steep snow. We continued on to the saddle where the PCT drops to Dewey Lake. Due to the ice and trees we all chose to walk this part. From there we climbed up to the ridge on the southeast side of Dewey and followed the ridge on the east side to Anderson Lake. From there we all packed our skis for the hike through the mostly melted out  and densely treed west side of Pk 5982.  From a small saddle on the south side we dropped down to traverse the huge bowl above American Lake. At the other side we arrived to the ridge above Cougar Lake and our objective directly before us. There’s an open slope with old fairly smooth avalanche debris that we descended down to Little Cougar Lake.

We now began our climb up Pk 6624. To get into the main bowl one first has to climb a somewhat steepish, semi-open slope. We all booted this section, and continued this way for the rest of the climb. The bowl continues to steepen until approximately 150’ from the summit. Here there is a kind of berschrund that was clearly too steep for any of us – especially seeing the holes opened at its base, and given the firm snow conditions I wasn’t in the mood for taking a ride. We ditched the skis at the strip of dirt just lookers left of the ‘shrund and made for the summit. After a short break at the summit, it was time to head out. We skied from just below the ‘shrund in what I would consider perfect corn. Looking back it appears that it may be possible to ski from the summit.down the south shoulder, then drop into the bowl to avoid skiing the ‘shrund. The trip back was uneventful, but long. Backtracking always sucks.

« Last Edit: 06/19/06, 02:30 PM by md2020 » Logged

Mike Metz

Posts: 1818

Re: June 18, 2006 chinook pass - cougar lake pk 66
« Reply #1 on: 06/19/06, 04:06 PM »

That is a very impressive effort!
How long did that take? Is that about 16 miles RT?
Thanks for the pictures, I have always wanted to do that trip, but always thought it was to far out.
I always thought that entering in from Bumping Lake may make an easier approach, but hey you folks put it down!

Posts: 386

Re: June 18, 2006 chinook pass - cougar lake pk 6624
« Reply #2 on: 06/19/06, 07:17 PM »

one of the members of the group with a GPS had it just under 16 miles. It ended up taking us until 7:30 to get to the car.  I was kind of surprised it took so, but there's a lot of up and down and we were damn tired on the trip back. We were at the base of the peak near Cougar Lake at 12:30, which I thought was reasonable.  I think we summitted around 2:00.  I think the climb out of Cougar Lake on the return really took a toll.

I thought about Bumping Lake, but I wasn't sure about access to any of the nearest trailheads. In any case part of my interest was to explore the area south of Dewey Lake. There's a lot of interesting terrain there that was mostly new to us.

Mike Metz
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