Trip Reports






Rest Days

Tuolumne Meadows (July 2013)

Sherlock and i converged in California for a week romping around Tuolumne Meadows. Relive the fun a seen through Nick's phone or Sherlock's phone.

Scottish Lakes High Camp (August 28-30, 2009)

As a belated honeymoon, Daryl, Henri and i drove a zipcar up past Steven's Pass and caught a ride with Eric up to the Scottish Lakes High Camp. We spent two nights in the cute Gentian cabin, went for a couple short walks on Friday and Sunday, and a longer scramble on Saturday. The views were great and the weekend was super relaxing. Photos!

Rachel Lake (June 28, 2009)

Daryl and i took Henri on his first hike. I carried him in the Baby Bjorn facing forward, while Daryl carried all of our food, water and diapers. We managed to keep the Ira Spring pace despite frequent breaks to breastfeed and change diapers. Henri had a great time looking like a bandit.

Hidden Meadows (October 18-19, 2008)

Daryl and i joined in what is quickly becoming a fall tradition: the pilgramage to the East Cascades to watch the larches turn yellow and loose their needles. Although there was a higher concentration of big glass than any trip i've donw before, i whipped out my point-and-shoot on a few occasions and took some photos of my own.

Snow Lake Dip (September 16, 2008)

Nate and i, following Ben's beta, drove up to Alpental on a sunny summer weekday afternoon. We raced up the trail to Snow Lake, getting there a half hour before the Sun dropped below Chair Peak. We went for a quick dip (Nate double dipped), drip-dried then walked back out. Nate hit the nail on the head when he marveled at being only 2.5 hours away from the city. I took some photos.

Mailbox Peak (July 12, 2008)

Vaibhav and i met John at the Burke museum and we drove up I-90 to the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River, a part of our backyard that i had never visited. We hiked up the endless and surprisingly steep switchbacks to the top of Mailbox Peak. The fastest 4000 feet i've climbed in a while and the views from the summit ridge were great, specialy with all the wild flowers in bloom.

Joffre and Matier (June 28-30, 2008)

I bused up to Vancouver to join Clemence and six other BCMC climbers (Christina, Jane, Emanuel, Tony, Denis, Joss) up to the Joffre Group. This was my first time hiking north of Pemberton and Joffre was my most technical mountain climb so far. On Saturday we drove up to the Joffre Lakes trail head and headed up the trail to the Upper Lake. From there we negotiated scree and snow slopes to climber's left of the icefalls to access the Matier Glacier. We set up camp below the NW ridge of Joffre.

On Saturday we got up onto the ridge and worked our towards the summit of Joffre. This involved a lot of fun scrambling and the crux was a short 5.8 rock step which we tried climbing ropeless. When he was about 30 feet up, Denis ripped out a couple of microwave-sized boulders and came crashing down, but thankfully cratered into the relatively soft snow below. I downclimbed to him and determined that he was more or less unharmed, pretty impressive given that he had bounced off the rock a couple of times. Both Denis and i were a pretty shaken up by the experience (he and the rocks he pulled out passed within a couple meters of me as i was climbing) so we got Joss to give us a top-rope for the crux. From there the scrambling was exposed but not too technical. Denis and i opted to use a rope on a particularly exposed section of scrambling. From there it was an easy stroll to the summit where we enjoyed the views. We took the Aussie Couloir back down to the Matier Glacier. The steep, sun-softened snow and some falling rocks made the descent spicy. Clemence, Denis ad i headed back to camp while the rest of the crew set off to climb Mt Spetch in the remaining daylight hours.

On Monday Denis stayed at camp to nurse his leg, and the rest of us split into two rope teams: Clemence, Emanuel, Tony and i headed for Matier while the rest of the gang opted for Slalok. We accessed the NE spur of Matier via a steep snow slope then enjoyed fun ridge scrambling to the summit. We reconvened at camp before heading back to the trailhead. We had a surprisingly gourmet dinner at The Pony in Pemberton. I took many photos of the beautiful scenery!

Kanine and The Hydrant (November 18, 2007)

Brian organized yet another excellent snowshoe scramble, this time to a couple modest objectives on the South side of Hwy 2. Eleven of us booted up the path, eventually putting on snowshoes and even busting our axes for the occasional steep bit. We summited a pair of more or less annonymous peaks but had a grand ol' time frollicking in the snow.

Teebone Ridge (October 14, 2007)

Daryl and i picked up Bjoern a bit before 4 AM and drove up to Darrington, where we met up with Ian, Aaron Z., Mike, Brian and Jon. Completed the drive to Cascade River road and started up the Lookout Mtn trail. The switchbacks were relentless but he views from the ridge were well worth it. Daryl and i turned around at the ridge, while the rest of the gang pressed on to Little Devil Peak.

Aasgard Pass (October 6, 2007)

Brian led a group of UW climbers (Ian, Kris, Nathan, Jon and i) up to Aasgard Pass in the hopes of scrambling up Little Annapurna or Dragontail Peak. There were a couple feet of snow at the pass and a keg waiting for us back at camp so we made the right decision and turned back (after testing our alpine bouldering skills). Photos.

Three Fingers (September 15, 2007)

Jake and i got a 5:30 start from Seattle and drove up to Granite Falls. We were not the only ones with the idea of summiting Three Fingers, as attested to by the many cars at the trailhead. Thick fog discouraged us from stopping to snap too many pictures, so we made it to the summit in 4 hrs, including a good half hour scenic scrambling detour. After an hour on the summit, including a couple beers (courtesy of the guy who'd forgotten to bring socks!), we headed back down to the car for an 8 hr roundtrip. Fortunately, the fog only reached up to 5600 ft, so i ended up taking a few photos.

Naches Peak Loop (September 11, 2007)

Catherine was in town so we made a pilgrimage to Mt Rainier to bask in the big mountain views.

Mt Daniel (September 8-9, 2007)

Nate and i hiked a little ways past Peggy's Pond and set up camp. We made dinner after fooling around with ropes and prusik knots. In the morning, we set off up the SE ridge of Mt Daniel, which was mostly a walk up, with a few scrambly bits. We opted to skirt below the East summit in favor of the Middle and West summits (the latter being the tallest of Mt Daniel's many summits). There was a bit of a scramble to get to the top of the West Summit, but the impressive views were well worth it. Photos!

Kaleetan Peak (September 1, 2007)

Daryl and i hiked up to Melakwa Lake, then scrambled up Kaleetan Peak via the South Ridge. The route-finding was surprisingly easy and we had the peak all to ourselves. In a dramatic break with tradition, i took some photos ;-)

Kool-Aid Lake (August 19-21, 2007)

Travis convinced a big group us to spend a week in the North Cascades, ostensibly to attempt the Ptarmigan Traverse. We only lasted three days in the rain and didn't make it much farther than Cache Col. Given the conditions and the inexperience of the group, it is a small miracle nobody got hurt. Some of us (notably Jake, Daryl and i) had a great time anyways: it was a fun way to break in new gear and we got some tantalizing views of Mt Formidable and some other notable peaks. Some of the photos turned out pretty good.

Dissapointment Cleaver (July 27-28, 2007)

John agreed to show me the ropes on the Dissapointment Cleaver route up Mt Rainier. We didn't summit due to route-finding issues and altitude sickness, but the views were incredible and it was a spectacular first high-mountain experience for me. My photos are here

Mt Angeles (June 2, 2007)

Nate, Jacquie, Rok, Daryl and i drove and ferried out to the Olympic peninsula for a short scramble up Mt Angeles. We scrambled up the SW face, which was probably not the easiest way (some bits of Class 3), but boot-glissaded down the NW side, which was rather fun. The photos are here.

Heather Lake (February 19, 2007)

Rok and i picked up Claudius and drove up to Mt Pilchuk road. Sadly, although we'd spent hours studying weather and avalanche conditions, we failed to realize that the road up to Pilchuk was gated at mile 1. We therefore did not get the early morning turns we had been anticipating. Instead we spent a couple hours hiking up to Heather Lake. Here are the photos to prove it.

Mont St Hilaire (December 29, 2006)

Andrew, Ben, Natalie and i converged on Mont St Hilaire for a winter walk. Here are the pics.

Mt Pilchuk (November 18, 2006)

Zerah was in town and game for a hike in the snow, so we headed up Mt Pilchuk in what is becoming a yearly pilgrimage for me. (Photos)

Glacier National Park (October 2-4, 2006)

Nate and i drove up to Glacier National Park, hoping to do a big multi-day loop. Due to a severe weather advisory, we opted to do a few day hikes. My (lamely uncommented) photos are here. Nate's photos (of both Yellowstone and Glacier) and delightful commentary are here.

St Mark Summit (June 25, 2006)

Daryl and i bask in the awesome views.

David does the same.

Zerah, David, Daryl and i headed up to Cypress Bowl to go for a little hike. Got some views, ate some yummies and had fun in the snow. Unfortuntaely, my IT band started acting up so we were unable to get to the top of Unescessary Mountain.

Source Lake (November 26, 2005)

Natalie enjoying the fluffy white stuff.

Nick doing the same. --photo by Natalie Beckman

Natalie visited over Thanksgiving weekend and since she's been living in sunny Arizona for the last while she was pretty Keen about hiking in the snow, which we did, up at Snoqualmie Pass.

Saska & Emerald (October 22-23, 2005)

Looking at the forecast for the weekend Nick, Lindsay, and I headed east and were rewarded with great weather for two days out in the Entiats. Managed to scramble Saska and Emerald on Sunday, but got shut down on Cardinal on Saturday due to time and route-finding.

Getting there is probably the toughest part - about a 4 hr drive from Seattle to the North Fork Entiat River trailhead. From Entiat, Entiat River Road is in great shape and FS 5606 is in better shape than nearly any other forest road I've been on. In fact, I can't really say enough good things about how well this area is maintained - great signage, good roads, well maintained trails, informative trail signs. Hell, even the camp spots are marked with names like Good, Buck, Buddy, and Devil.

We chose to approach via the Pugh Ridge Trail. No real views until you break out on the ridgeline, but then *wham* Pyramid Peak is right there in your face. Great views of the valleys on both sides from the ridge. The whole area is just ablaze with larches and the ground golden with fallen needles. After about a mile along the ridge, we dropped down to Buck Camp and then quickly regained the elevation to Grousse Pass. From here, the trail winds down to intersect the N. Fork Entiat River Trail. We found a great campsite in the meadows about 5 minutes north of the trail junction and unloaded our packs for an ascent of Cardinal. Unfortunately, as we headed uphill from camp, we looked back to see what we first though was a BBQ grill, but then realized was the rib cage of a horse (head and legs still intact).

Slightly grossed out, we continued uphill ended up in the wrong basin (thanks to some brilliant route-finding on my part), and then ascended some gnarly, loose, 3rd class gully to within about 100' vertical of the summit. Great views of Glacier Peak, Rainier, and all that lies between. In the alpinglow, we considered the exposed 3-4 class rock in front of us and decided to turn around. Downclimbing and scree skiing got us back to our camp a few minutes after dark (GPS helpful). Unfortunately, the wind had changed direction and the whole place now stank of dead horse. With some haste, we tossed our gear back in our packs and headed further up the trail, finding a flat-forested area suitable for camping on the far side of the meadow. Here, Nick and Lindsay whipped up some amazing alpine burritos which put all three of us into a food coma.

Sunday, we woke to high clouds and got a liesurely start up towards Saska and Emerald. Given our lack of success with Cardinal the day before, we decided to start with Saska - which is the easier of the two. From where the trail curves around the south ridge of the peak (about 0.25 miles from the high meadow at 6900') we slogged up scree and fractured rock to the ridge proper. The slog is pretty benign if you leave the trail just after rounding the rib. The ridge afforded us some broken, but suitably solid rock and improved the higher we got. There is a large marker cairn where it is best to cross from the south side of the ridge to the north. From where you cross the ridge, the rock is quite sound and scrambling easy. From the summit, we could see that nearly everything to west looked pretty socked in. Maude, Jack, Fernow, Clark, and Bonanza all had their heads in the clouds. Hung out on the summit for a bit, signed the register, and then headed back down. 1.5 hours up, 0.5 hour down.

Feeling pretty good about our sucess on Saska, we decided to give Emerald a go. Returning to the 6900' meadow, we took off generally uphill following a dried up streambed into a basin. From there, the best route is to head to climber's left and up to a long scree and talus slope. We went to climber's right and had to cross over onto this other slope on the way up. From the correct slope, cross back to climber's right at an obvious marker cairn (do not go all the way to the top on the talus and scree) and then scramble pleasant rock to the summit. There are a few reassuring marker cairns if you're on the right route. From the summit, we could see that the clouds had advanced further west and had now engulfed Pinancle and seemed on the verge of swallowing Saska. A spritz of rain convinced us to head back down without loitering too long. We think the highest summit is the one on the left, but both are scrambles. 1.5 hours up, 0.5 hour down - consistent, eh?

The spritz on Emerald never materialized into anything worse and we made it back to camp, packed up, and hiked out the North Fork Entiat trail under a mix of clouds and sun.

This is a great area to visit this time of year. The larches are spectacular (I've never seen so many!), rock remains snow free, and enough rain has fallen to cut down on the dust and provide a steady run-off in most of the streams. Saska and Emerald are both fun scrambles (class 2, minimal exposure) and it's entirely possible that Cardinal is as well if you end up on the right route. All three involve some annoying scree on the uphill, but that provides for some scree glissades on the way down.

Good times had by all, of course.

-Brian Polagye

Mt Maude (October 8-9, 2005)

Our camp above Ice Lake. --panorama by Rok Roskar

Nate, Rok, Eric and i headed to the East Cascades, with the goal of scrambling up a Mountain. The weather was overcast and somewhat foggy on Saturday and -despite, maps, compasses and Eric's snazzy GPS unit- we managed to miss the route up Mt Maude. Instead we made our way up all sorts of steep snow and eventually ended up above Ice Lakes, without yet having caught a glimpse of our objective. We set up camp, spent some time looking for a route up the mountain and cooking up some mean burritos. The night was clear and cold. In the morning we made our way up the South slope of Maude, which had only one short section of steep snow. The windy sumit offered some spectacular views as we were above the clouds. We had brought our packs up the mountain in the hopes of descending the West face and getting back to the car faster. The descent went well for the first hour but (thanks to some imperfect route-finding on my part) we eventualy ended up at the top of a cliff. A spicy traverse through the trees brought us to a scree slope, which we then descended back to the meadows. The rest of the descent was speedy and relatively painless. Rok and Nate's photos are here.

Snowking (September 20-21, 2005)

Gratuitous posing on the summit. --photo by Nate Kaib

Nate getting to the top.

Nate and i headed up to his favourite neck of the woods, The North Cascades, to climb Snowking mountain. We drove as far as possible on the FS road 1570 before encountering a huge fallen tree followed by an impressive washout. This marked the end of the drive and the start of the hike. After a while the road ended and and we started up the super-steep climber's trail in old growth forest. After a few hours of root-pulling and wasp-stinging action we got onto a ridge, which we followed until Cyclone Lake, where we set up for the night. The night was was cold (well below freezing) so we had no trouble getting up before sunrise to prepare breakfast and be on our way. We got up onto Kindy Ridge, which is made of big ol' blocks of white granite, and followed it up to the summit. Plenty of crevassed glaciers on all sides, and some glorious views of notable peaks in every direction. The descent was mind-numbing and knee-busting, but at least we we avoided the wasp nest! All of Nate's photos are here.

Angel Lake (August 14, 2005)

Greg and i drove out to the Olympics to hike up to the Mildred Lakes but missed the trailhead by a mile (litteraly) and ended up hiking up the Putvin trail, reportedly "the steepest, most miserable trail in the Olympics". The hike was everything it was cracked up to be but we had a nice dip in Angel Lake and we earned some views of many Olympics notables, including (we think) Olympus itself. Sure beat sitting on our asses in Seattle!

Buck Creek Pass (August 6-7, 2005)

The meadows across from Glacier Peak. --panorama by Rok Roskar

Just as i had returned from cycling in Europe, Nate, Rok and i drove up to the Glacier Peak Wilderness for an overnighter. On Saturday we hiked up the dusty and fly-infested trail to Buck Creek Pass, where we cooked up some mean burritos and slept under the stars. The following day saw us hiking up to High Pass and beyond, where we saw spectacular views of Glacier peak to the West and Clark Mountain to the South. The hike back to camp and then to the car was rather arduous and we were all pretty beat at the end of it. The views were well worth it, though!

South Brother (June 19-20, 2005)

Our furry friend enjoys the view of Mt Rainier. --photo by Rok Roskar

The goat was mighty generous with his patch of rock. --photo by Rok Roskar

Temperate rainforests, anyone?

Boot glissading down some Seriously Steep Slush. --photo by Rok Roskar

After a day of post-qual detox, Nate, Rok and i borrowed Mark's truck and headed around the Sound to the Olympic Mountains to attempt The Brothers. We arrived at the parking lot without a proper route description but some nice folks let us look at their guide book and Rok took some digital photos of it for reference. We hiked in 6-7 miles, past Lena Lake and up to a camp just below some crazy windfall/avalanche debris. We got a full night's sleep and proceeded up the mountain in the morning, scrambling to the top before noon. We shared the summit with some mountain goats, who impressed up with their agility and patience. The way down was was a bit gruelling but we eventually made it back to the truck in the evening. I was glad to air myself out in the bed of the pickup on the drive back. Rok's pics are here.

Flatirons (April 16, 2005)

Nate climbing up the chimney.

Nate and Matt snacking below the 100' Maiden.

Matt led Nate and i up a class 3/4 chimney. On the exposed summit, we narrowly avoided disaster when a very angry bird attacked us to protect her (presumably nearby) nest. We traversed the ridge for a few hours, stopping to snack below The Maiden, before dropping back down to the valley on a brushy talus slope.

Walker Ranch (April 15, 2005)

Nate and i borrowed Matt's car for the day and drove up Eldorado Canyon for a hike. We lunched above rapids near Walker Ranch and made it back to the car with enough energy to tackle some bouldering problems.

Mt Pilchuk (March 5, 2005)

The usual suspects. --photo by Branimir Sesar

Hoping to impress a prospective grad students with the nartural beauty of Washington state, Saturday morning saw George, Branimir, Rok, Nate, Linda (the prospective in question) driving out to Mt. Pilchuck. The weather held up for most of the day, although some flurries and clouds closed in on us while we were lunching on the summit. The glissading on the way down was great fun, despite the exposed rocks and trees.

Mt Dickerman (February 21, 2005)

Greg and Rok truck up the snow slope.

A Whiskey Jack checks out Glacier Peak. --photo by Greg Stinson

Hiking back out of a nice glissade chute. --photo by Greg Stinson

Although i had promised myself a day of rest upon returning from Banff, Rok twisted my rubber arm so Presidents Day morning saw Greg, Rok and i hiking up the switchbacks on Mt Dickerman. The weather was perfect, the scenery incredible and the glissading was a blast. Add dinner at a Mexican restaurant in Granite Falls and it added up to fantastic day of rest :-)

Tronsen Ridge (January 22, 2005)

Rok takes a nap.

Good company, yummy food.

Big smiles, nice views. --photo by Rok Roskar

With a forecast promising to soak the west-side and the week's balmy temperatures and rain melting the mountain snow pack, we decided that this weekend it was time to head east of the Cascade crest to where canyon lands meet Ponderosa forests. Come Saturday morning, we encountered a surprise: lowland fog had settled in just east of Snoqualmie Pass and it gave no indication of lifting by the time we reached Cle Elum. Thanks to Kevin's atlas and familiarity with weather patterns in the region, we determined we'd jog a little north instead of traveling further east; in hopes of finding high country above the clouds and away from the rain.

Mid-morning found Gary, Dave, Kevin, Mark, Nate, Nick, Rok and myself just north of Blewett Pass headed up to Tronsen Ridge. We blazed through Ponderosa Pine and Interior Douglas-fir forest, eschewing the Forest Services roads and trails that crisscrossed the area. The terrain was a mix of open forest, grassy outcrops, rocky slopes and sagebrush. Ascending the ridge, we gained views of the Stuart Range-its base anyway, the peaks themselves were hidden in the clouds-and found patches of snow ample enough for a few snowballs. We followed the ridgeline to the high point of rocky outcroppings, sandstone slabs, wind swept pines and brilliant orange lichens. The sun made an appearance as we foraged on wasabi cashews (props to Gary!), varieties of Gouda and-of course-assorted baked goods. After lunch, we spent some time scrambling the rocky outcrops and lounging on a sandstone spire with excellent views. Looking east from the top, there was a sea of clouds extending past the Columbia Basin, its banks lapping at the edge of the eastern Cascade foothills. The trip down entailed a catnap in the sun accompanied by flute music, as well as photo ops of the cloud formations and a wolf lichen fortress. We ended the day with a stop at the Issaquah Brewery to sample some of the fine dark beers made by the folks at Rouge. Good times had by all.


Squak Mtn (January 17, 2005)

Greg, Nate and i were hoping to do some trail clearing for Martin Luther King day. Instead we spent the better part of three hours wandering around Squak Mountain in the rain searching for the work party. Unsuccesful, we eventually headed back for the car, after checking out the radio towers on the "summit". Props to the Washington Trail Association for their briliant logistics ;-)

Pilot Ridge (January 15, 2005)

Rok stays high and dry.

Melinda trudges down the path. --photo by Ben Long

Rok demonstrates off-piste snowshoeing. --photo by Ben Long

The Darrington Rangers are indeed good to their word - the Mountain Loop is driveable from Darrington all the way to the washout at Bedal. Though I wouldn't recommend doing much more than tapping your brakes as your drive unless your idea of fun is to be fished out of the Stillagaumish by a tow truck.

The Mountain Loop is covered by packed snow and ice starting at the White Chuck and kind of icy all the way from the center of Darrington. Though the snow does do a bit to even out the potholes. FR 49 to the trailhead is where the fun really starts (who knew snow could make such interesting shapes?) and alternates between powder and packed powder all the way to the North Fork Sauk Trailhead. Road conditions deteriorate a bit beyond this point, but for now it looks like a moderate clearance AWD vehicle (aka subaru) could make it all the way to the Bald Eagle trailhead.

But I digress... Eric, Nick, Rok, Melinda, Thais, Thais' friend (phoenetically Rhahim), myself, and Ben headed up the North Fork Sauk trail under cloudy skies. We had a spectacular view of Sloan Peak on the way up before dropping into the old growth forest along the banks of the river. I have rarely seen such enormous old-growth cedars and hemlocks. The log crossing to get to Pilot Ridge was a bit tenuous (as snow covered logs usually are), but we got across in good order and headed up the endless switchbacks to Pilot Ridge. As the snow deepened, we donned our snowshoes, and marvelled as Ben tirelessly broke trail towards the elusive ridge. Regrettably, we hit our turnaround time about 500' below the really good views, but that's what happens when you try to snowshoe in deep powder. Fun glissades on the way down. Props to Melinda for driving.

Good times had by all. Of course.


Pratt Lake (January 2, 2005)

Nate snacks at Pratt Lake.

Mount Rainier through the glare.

With the winter quarter looming ahead and a new year to usher in, Nate, Greg and I headed up to Snoqualmie Pass and hiked in to Pratt Lake. The weather was superb -despite the forecast- and the snow was light and easy to walk in.

Little Si (December 2004)

Mossy trees, heavy fog.

Andrew and Catherine: over-exposed but near the top.

With Catherine and Andrew in town for the holidays, it was time for a short hike into the hills to get above the low-lying clouds and catch some views. Little Si seemed a good option and was enjoyed by all.

Rock Mtn (December 2004)

Mountains rise like islands in a sea of fog.

Nessesary summit photo.

Looking back at the foggy valley.

With an exam and a couple presentations under our belt, Amy and i headed toward Rock Mountain to get a bit of fresh air. Based on the heavy rain during the past couple of days we decided to leave the snowshoes at home and try our luck on foot. Since the road up to the West trailhead was pretty snowy we decided to park right on Hwy 2 and head up the south face, with its 95 switchbacks. Although i'd read terrible things about this approach in the summer, we found it to be rather pleasant in early winter: there was little snow and the sun kept us toasty. We quickly climbed above the dense fog filling the bottom of the valley and eventually hit the open, gentle, snowy slopes beneath the summit. A bit of kick-stepping on steep snow got us up onto the ridge and from there we simply avoided the seriously over-hung cornices on our way to the summit. The views were terrific, particularly Glacier Peak, only 15 miles north. The way down was uneventful, although the snow had my then softened up consederably and we were postholing every few steps. Snowshoes might have been a good idea... In any case, it was a great way to end the quarter.

Lake Serene (November 2004)

Amy in the spray of Bridal Falls.

Snowy forest near Lake Serene.

In an effort to burn off Thanksgiving leftovers, Amy and I headed towards Stevens Pass and hiked up to Lake Serene. The weather was brisk, there was a powdering of snow near the lake and the rocky face of Mt. Index towering above us was downright snowy. We tried our hand at identifying a tree on the shores of the lake and concluded that it was probably a Utah Juniper (which of course don't grow anywhere near Washington!). In any case, it sure looked like a cedar! Got back in town with enough energy to cook up some delicious manicotti :-)

Mt Snoqualmie (November 2004)

Lindsay brought some damn good humus and cheese which nearly made up for the lack of baked goods. --photo by Ben Long

Lindsay, Stephanie, Ben, Eric, Jim, Josh and I hiked up Snoqualmie Mountain. The weather was spectacular, as were the views from the top. A little more snow would have made for an easier descent.

Melakwa Lake (November 2004)

Sunny day at Melakwa Lake.

Rok and Nate snacking at the Lake.

Nate, Rok and I hiked up Denny Creek to Melakwa Lake under blue skies. Nestled between some forbiding rock faces, the lake was crystal clear but the weather was a bit too cold to warrant a dip.

Strawberry Point (November 2004)

Rok and Amy in the Graveyard of Giants.

Breakfast on the rainy Olympic Coast. --photo by Rok Roskar

Amy, Rok and I hiked down the Olympic Coast to Strawberry point, where we camped out at the edge of the rainforest. The rain didn't let up until sunday but the views were impressive and hiking in the mud was good fun. Following Nate's suggestion, we explored a cleft in one of the small islands accessible at low tide. Frisbee on the beach is fun but can get rather tiring with a pack on...

Tiger Mtn (October 2004)

The Sun Sets on Mt Rainier

Sunset from Tiger Mountain

Nate, Greg, Amy, Rok, Rich and I booted up Tiger Mountain to see the sunset, moonrise and lunar ecllipse. The walk down was a good test of people's head-lamps and the post-hike Mexican food was muy bien.

Ingalls Lake (October 2004)

Ingalls Lake seen from above --photo by Ben Long

On Saturday Kevin, Stephanie, Ethan, Nick, Lindsay, Ben, Lissa, Dallas, Aaron, and myself headed out to the Teanaway area to take a shot at Ingalls Peak. I wasn't sure what to expect on the ground or in the sky, but what we found was snow. Lots and lots of snow. Starting at Ingalls Pass, snow deeper than a foot in places, blanketing the basin in winter. By the time we reached Ingalls Lake, the peak was completely socked in and, after some consideration, we decided it didn't make sense to make a push for the summit. The wind, snow, and general cold didn't stop Ben from swimming in Ingalls Lake, but given how fast he popped back out of the water, I think even he thought it was a little chilly.

We scrambled ("sporty" mixed class 2) up an unnamed ridge on the way back to Ingalls Pass and had some decent views of the area and the flanks of Stuart - but the clouds kept everything pretty hidden. Snow fell on us the whole way back to the cars, though not sticking very much other than our packs at lower elevations. Rounded out the day with dinner and drinks at The Brick in Roslyn.

Good times had by all. Only rain that fell on us was while leaving The Brick.

Brian Polagye

Panorama Ridge (August 2004)

Black Tusk in Late Summer

Garibaldi Lake and the Sphinx Glacier
My last TRIUMF hike, and it was a good one!

Coliseum Mtn (July 2004)

without joe to drive and generally keep me entertained, i hiked coliseum mountain in 7 hrs. it rained pretty much the whole time. except for that hour when it was hailing instead. visibility from the top was crap. i stumbled into a bear who refused to get out of my way until i started whistling the rocky theme. got back in town in time to drink 'till sunrise :-)

Wapta Icefield (June 2004)


The load-laden caravan filled with eager VOCers bombs down Route 1 early June 26. We telepathically agree that during this week we shall have no intelligent conversations about any 'issues'. And so resort to creative discussions on the topic of crap and its many shapes, textures, etc etc. At some point, we do veer off into mundane chatter, some nonsense debate about the then-upcoming federal election and ramifications of a minority government. But since yattering doesn't changing the world, we re-direct our energies into more useful ways of passing the time: burping and farting contests, and card games.

Getting there

Around Hope, it gets hilly and the rental dodge works hard. we pass needle peak, zoa and zopikos and at the toll booth become 10$ lighter. Beyond merritt, the fields broaden and traffic is slower. We pass a blurr of unincorporated highway towns and soon it is Roger's Pass. The weather of the Rockies emerges: a momentary splash of rain, sunlight streaks, and afternoon thunder rolls by – all within an hour. At Illicilewaet in Glacier Nat’l Park, the dodge eases to a halt - when it hits a big rock, oops - transmission oil pan still there, no problem. We all pile out and take a tour of the A.O. Wheeler Hut. the day concludes with Joe's delicious cooking.

Its a short amble up to great glacier trail to hail Sir Donald (who is he?) and the icy looking Illicilewaet Glacier. We try to see the hut situated somewhere across the Asulkan Valley. Back at the start, you see evidence of our park fee dollars 'at work' with literature on the CPR history of Roger’s Pass. This area now reclaimed by foliage barely resembles an abandoned railway town.

Although a great place for summer wandering and winter touring, our Adventure doesn't begin at Illicilewaet, so the dodge heads east again towards Yoho. At Golden’s Overwaitea, we raid the store for roast chickens, cheesecake, potato slaw, fresh tomatoes and eggs. I'm not used to the shoddy brakes on the rental and miss the Takakkaw Falls turnoff. The gang makes an unplanned visit to the Spiral Tunnels and joins the tourists who watch the train do the loopy-loop through the mountains. Jordan arrives and helps devour some chicken and cheesecake. It's a low output day 2 with bit of walking, driving, pretending to be tourists, eating, a late afternoon thundershower and cards.

Day 3 - Adventure begins with Jordan and I driving like cabbies, New York-style, shuttling cars from west Louise lodge to Peyto Lake. Eager to get on the glacier, the drivers regrettably take no time to savour the scenery along icefields parkway. We start off for the first hut upon reuniting with the gang. Soon we pass Sherbrooke valley and its lovely meadows, and up towards mt. Niles, along the Scheisser/Lomas route (correct?). We reach the moraine ridge after a sketchy stretch of loose shale where Veronic has close encounters with her mortality. Upon discovering that the sketchy part was unecessary if we dropped down onto Bath Glacier, there is cursing and we feel kind of silly. but we’re on the glacier anyway.

With no idea of what the hut looks like, we have several false sightings. it must be glacier-induced delusions because every shadow and snow bump resembles a hut. one snow bump looks just like a still-life of a mountain goat - and i dare say - it nearly fools all of us. Several mirages and hours later, the hut finally appears, perched on a ridge at the nw end of mt. daly. Thank goodness for sweet Scott Duncan hut because Jordan carrying the heavy rope is severely dehydrated and Chris is swearing incessantly (and its driving me mad). Everyone's normal again after water, rest, and food. The sun sets on mts. Balfour and Lilliput before us and mt. Niles and Daly behind us. All rock and ice blaze into orange and white on the horizon. The first day of Wapta Traverse.

Day 2 - As we pass mt. lilliput, Roland points out the crevasses and we follow some not-so-recent ski tracks. The exceptional output individuals attempt mt. Balfour, at 3272 m, the highest peak on the Wapta, whilst the rest survey the route from a rocky prominence. It turns out that our route to the next hut shall cut close to the base of mt. Balfour, and, upon their return from the noble attempt, the exceptional output individuals learn that we are to trek back to its base again. (perhaps, you guys can comment on balfour attempt). This next section, down balfour high col, is a bit of sketchy traveling, due to hidden crevasses and reported icefall off the NE face. We stop in the midst of this crossing for few photos and hope that stuff doesn't hit us or the rope. We arrive at the pass, where beautiful Balfour hut is situated, unscathed and totally exhilarated. From its windows is the expanse of balfour and the diableret glaciers. i'm very sunburnt.

Day 3 - It is a gradual ascent up the Vulture Glacier towards Vulture Col. joe, nick and veronic make a run up mt. gordon while the rest of us head in the direction of mt. st. nick. after some debate ( whining), we also decide to try to haul our asses up mt. rhondda south, and, many kick steps later, find a strange mailbox at the top. from these peaks, one can see the whole icefield below, including Bow Lake. We pass by and opt not stay at Bow hut even though we hear that its a facility of legendary quality. Because we also heard that it costs 4 bucks more than the other huts, and being minimalists (read: cheep) we feel that the extra luxury doesn't suit our lifestyle. here near peyto hut jordan discovers a novel way to traverse icefields if you don't have skis - black garbage bag, on your stomach, headfirst. steer clear of crevasses if possible. mental note: magic carpets. On this evening at peyto hut, after a delicious meal of chili, the competition seriously heats up in a game of whisk. and it continues through the evening when disgruntled players take venegance by producing copious quantiities of the nastiest methane fumes. we all suffer terribly. this also must have angered the gods as the skies darken and erupts in flashes of hail, then torrents of rain...

Day 4 - We are glad to descending from Peyto Glacier towards the lake. The weather is undecidedly overcast. We leave the glacier without incident and, onto the moraine, pass the Glaciology Research buildings, proceeding down the canyon towards Peyto Lake. We cross the deltas wherever possible to reach the east side of the lake. Unfortunately, no bridge. after several forgings through cold fast water we find the short trail that seems long in waterlogged boots. it takes us to peyto lookout, a tourist attraction. We charge past the tourists and their cute umbrellas towards the parking lot, towards the dodge. Marking the end of Wapta traverse.

But not quite! it's Canada Day and there is much celebration in Lake Louise. Us with our fine meal, Kokanee and hot showers. At the hostel, Roland and I send our laundry through rigous machine cleaning in preparation for the next leg of backpacking, while the rest enjoy a camp fire and toast some stinky socks. But all fun things always end rather too quickly. Early next morning, the dodge heads west along Route 1, and stops briefly at Takakkaw Falls. Roland and I, who are staying to backpack, bid joe, jordan, nick, chris, veronic and the dodge farewell and begin the next leg of our adventure in the Rockies.

-natasha tam

Ring Creek (February 2004)

Tenting across from the Tantalus Range

Fresh Tracks in Vrigin Snow

Ileana, Maciej and I succesfully got out of the city. We felt our way up to the lakes through foggy weather. Once at the hut, it started snowing pretty hard so we slept off hang-overs and played Whist. By the time the skies cleared up, the sun was setting and it was time for a delicious pasta dinner.

Sunday morning was pretty clear so we ventured towards Opal Cone. As we were nearing the crater some crummy weather started moving in so we retreated to the hut for lunch. Foggy, sleety, snowy weather accompanied us for parts of the return to the parking lot but the sun was shining brightly as we headed back to vancouver (!).

A pretty relaxing weekend :-)

Mt Elsay (July 2003)

So we climbed Elsay which was a grudge peak for me, as I last tried it seven years ago. We followed the description in "103 hikes", and there is a followable trail the whole way. We did get lost a couple of times, and it was killer hot up there, the bugs were fierce, and the bush very scratchy in places. I look like the victim of a cougar attack (a small cougar). Nobody up there but us.

Roland Burton

Statlu Lake (June 2003)

kris and i drove in on saturday. his van handled the waterbars valiantly but after digging it out of a particularly bad spot with shovel and jack, we parked and walked the rest. a 4WD vehicle with a shorter wheel base and more ground clearance should be able to get all the way to the trail head.

the trail up to statlu lake was well marked and the dry water-fall that has claimed so many lives was easy to avoid. the trail along the lake was nearly submerged in some areas but the water level dropped a couple inches overnight so should be nice in a couple weeks. the views from the lake are stupendous. the trunk of a fallen tree below the falls made for a great vantage point to see the water falling :-)

happy trails,

Elfin Lakes (June 2003)

Four of us drove up to the trail head saturday morning. We hit snow almost immediatly. It was pretty soft but we rarely sank in more than a couple inches, even off-trail.

The fog at Elfin lakes ruined the views and made us very grateful for the well marked winter route. On Sunday, Greg and I tried to get to Opal cone. Numerous avalanches on the west slope of Ring Creek had obscured the trail so after feeling our way in the fog for a few km we decided to head up to the Gargoyles instead. The soft snow aided us here since we were able to kick-step up steep slopes. When we got up to what we thought was the ridge and had taken a bearing on what we thought was the Gargoyles, the fog cleared for a few seconds and we realized that we weren't where we had hoped. The rain started up again...We eventually bee-lined across a big bowl to get back to camp.

Good times :-)

Cheakamus Lake (May 2003)

Hey everyone. The hiking trip was awesome, even though the weather was VERY wet the entire time. Our tarp shelters seemed to work quite well - that depends, however, if you put your tarp on the TOP, or the BOTTOM of your tent! -- he he. No bears, though -- I think we scared them off! But, we did have some creepy crawly rodents join us for dinner. I had various techniques to keep them away. Screeming seemed to work quite well.

Overall, an awesome trip!!
That's all for now.
See ya on the trails.

Presidential Traverse (March 2003)

yup, everything went acording to plan :) drove to nh friday. hiked in for a few hours by moonlight. layed our sleeping bags on a tarp and slept under the stars until 2:00am. had breakfast, then hiked up through the trees in the dark (the moon had set). the sun came up as we made it above the tree line. made the summit of maddison at 8:00am. some of us climbed a nearby peak and glissaded down some sketchy slopes. by early afternoon we were eating at a quaint restaurant. only problem: sleep depravation! for the record, the reason we started hiking so fucking early was to avoid the really high winds the get during the day on the presedentials.

Mt Baxter (February 2003)

Participants: Pierre, Dave, Mona, Me

Location: High Peaks, NY

Conditions: really, really cold, but otherwise beautiful

Casualties: 4 water bottles, 1 snowshoe

Day 1: i made it to shatner just a little late despite the tuesday morning traffic and was pleased to see that dave was waiting there in the cold. after loading his gear into the van, we waited around for pierre. after a while we got bored of waiting so we wrote him a note and painstainkingly tied it to the railing in front of shatner so that he would see it. we then went to pick up mona and her gear. we returned to shatner but my note was still there and pierre was nowhere to be seen. convinced that we had done our best and that pierre simply was n't going to show up (ah, we of little faith!) we headed for the highway. but moments before getting onto the on-ramp we got a call from (you guessed it!) pierre. he'd been freezing his butt off in the cold for 45 minutes waiting for us down at the roddick gates! needless to say, we picked him up and were on our way... as usual, the moc gods would not

aaarghhhh!!! in my frustration with the moc gods i accidently mashed the keyboard and sent the incomplete trip report! anyways, where was i?

oh right, the moc gods had yet again conspired to keep us from leaving montreal on time. nevertheless, we made it down ok, though the customs guy didn't believe we wanted to snowshoe in the cold weather so he checked out the contents of the van...

we started the hike from the garden, just west of keene valley and headed up towards the brothers. as we hiked out from the protection of trees we were greeted with very cold winds which seemed to be whispering discouraging things in our ears. the ridge over to big slide was sketchily marked at best. some people may have hiked there this winter but the trail was in dire need of some maintenance. in any case, with a bit of backtracking, looking for broken branches and ancient adk markers we were able to make it to our destination: wolfjaw lean-to. sadly we didn't all make it. the nalgenes which we naively thought to keep handy froze solid. when i suggested smashing them on trees to open them we managed to open 1 and break 2.

that night the weather got very fricken cold (-30C and windy). luckily, we were yummifed with spaghetti and mummified with 4-season bags. we also had more or less stuffy noses so the night was long and noisy...

Day 2: in the morning we found that one of our nalgenes had gotten pregnant! indeed, we suspect that mona's roomate's water bottle got involve with one of our wide tops in an attempt to stay warm during the cold lonely night. sadly all the nalgenes were now frozen except for the one i kept between my legs all night. i again suggested smashing the bottles to open them. it is a testament to our frozen brains that we managed to break yet another bottle in the process...

we poked a hole in a nearby brook but my water filter froze before filtering one iota of water! finally, with iodine tablets and tang in our bottles and sugar in our blood, we raced up upper wolfjaw where we climbed trees and boulders and nearly impaled ourselves on sharp sticks. after grabbing our packs and cleaning up the left over spaghetti in the lean-to, we trecked back to the van along the south side of john's brook. somewhere along the way i broke a binding on the new-fangled tubbs :(

when we showed up at keene farm, dave gallespie wasn't too impressed or surprised... mona had gone out of her way to let him know that we would be toughing it in lean-to's and here we were, defeated by a few liters of frozen water! we hit the hay after another great supper and some awekward conversations (we were sharing the hut with a group of christian ice cimbers and our thawing brains had us swearing, talking about sex and religion).

Day 3: after driving randomly in search of a small lump to hike we finally drove up baxter lane and started hiking a "trail". we eventually scrambled to the top of mt baxter but it was a tortured path (i think i was following a dog). once at the top we noticed a bona fide adk trail. oh well...we followed the official trail back down until our spider sense told us that it was time to start bushwacking again. this we promptly did and (amazingly enough) made it back to the van. after a quick change of clothes so that we wouldn't die of stench, we hit the rode and made it back alive.

memorable marcus quotes (to be read with a thick german accent)
"come pierre, we cook de coffee!"
"das mader faack!!"


First Brother (January 2003)

Trip Report: When a Bathroom is like a Beach
Location: near Keene Valley, NY
Activity: Snowshoeing, Winter Camping, and the new sport of Tele-SnowShoeing
Who: me (Ben Heumann), Nick Cowan, Jamie Ormond

We set out at 7am on Saturday with the destination of Johnıs Creek in the ŒDaks. Strangely enough we left on time. However, the MOC Gods could not allow its followers to reach their destination that way. At 29km on the 15 southbound, the car stalled due frozen gas (discovered at a later date). We called Mr. Rescue and the operator could not handle the fact that we were just pass exit 29 at km 29 on the 15 southbound. She wanted to know from us, yes, the stranded people in the car, where the nearest service station was. Finally a flatbed truck showed up and took us to a gas station where we put anti-gas-freeze in the tank plus lots of gas. The car was happy and we were on our way.

We hit the trailhead at 11:30 and took the south John's brook trail. It was a windy, but beautiful day and the path was easy to follow but had not been walked on that day. We hiked to the Wolf Jaw Lean-to where we ate and slept.

On Sunday we hiked out to the car on the main Johnıs Brook trail and were back to the car by before noon. We decided to take the extra time and hike up to First Brother. We had just amazing views of Giant Mountain and the John Brook Valley. Jamie was not convinced that we should have gone when we went up but once Nick and I discovered deep powder tele-snowshoeing (Tele position with snowshoes!), it was all fun. We made our own trail sliding in the waist deep snow all the way down. An uneventful trip back and I was not able to buy any alcohol (I'm 21 and I could) because it was Sunday.

Miles Hiked: 11
Hours Slept: 11
"I hate you!" from Jamie: more than 11
Personalized License Plates in the parking lot: 5

"The bathroom, it was like a beach!" -Jamie Ormond
"I HATE you" ­Jamie at Ben while making her climb First Brother
:) -Jamie after climbing First Brother

Snow Mtn (December 2002)

Hi All!

It sure beat studying for exams!!!!

And I promised Dave that I'd let everyone know that the Keene Valley Sunday evening community volleyball game is looking for players, so if you're ever in the mood for a little volleyball to round out your Adirondak Adventure, just stop by. The MOC now has a reputation to keep up... Nick (the Pres) managed to turn volleyball into a full contact sport!

So, good luck with finals!
See ya'

Black Tusk, Musical Bumps, etc (Summer 2002)

Getting sunburnt in Garibaldi Park --photo by Jason

Countless hikes with the boys of Squamish 99...