Monday, April 25, 2016

Three Brothers (7303') and Navaho Peak (7223') via Ingalls Creek, Alpine Lakes Wilderness

Sir Hikes wanted miles and I wanted views, so he proposed a less-common approach to Navaho Peak via the Ingalls Creek trail and Falls Creek basin. Having done Navaho via the normal approach from the Teanaway side last year, I suggested we add on Three Brothers just to Navaho's east.

  • Ingalls Creek: first three miles are clear and then it gets surprisingly brushy (decent amount of alder) for such a popular trail; ~15 blowdowns. Immediately after the confluence with Falls Creek look for a log ~.25m upstream (5.4m from TH on my GPS) that is visible from the trail.
  • Falls Creek: faint trail leads up and east to cross Falls Creek (rock hop or ford) and a couple of cairns mark a well-worn trail to the unnamed creek flowing down from Three Brothers' middle summit. Although maps show an abandoned trail crossing both creeks and staying on the west of Falls Creek the terrain looked very difficult. We stayed on the east side of Falls Creek the entire way up the basin. Solid snow started at 4200'.
  • Navaho Peak: at 5400' we headed west into the large NE-facing basin toward Navaho's summit. Snow was solid and good for snowshoes (me) or microspikes (Sir Hikes). At 6600' SHaL took a steep, direct route to the summit while I trended a bit more toward the gentle north ridge and up to the summit. Large east-facing cornices on Navaho's south ridge. 
  • Three Brothers: we dropped down Navaho's SE ridge staying above the cornices and then descended straight east to the Navaho-Three Brothers saddle at 6050'. Taking the normal route up Three Brothers' west side was about half snow and half dirt/rock where we could actually follow the summer trail. On descent we went into Falls Creek basin from the Navaho-Three Brothers saddle, meeting our tracks back at ~5350'. 


Looking across Ingalls Creek after crossing the log
Scooting the Ingalls Creek log; Sir Hikes photo
Falls Creek crossing
Falls Creek crossing; Sir Hikes photo
Reaching some open slide slopes around 4600'
Upper Falls Creek Basin, Navaho summit back center-left
Some steep sections on Navaho's NE slopes
Navaho NE slopes, Three Brothers main/west (right) and middle (left)

Navaho Peak
Stuart-Enchantment and Teanaway ranges
Navaho's south ridge; we descended the ridge in the mid-ground down to the saddle, then up Three Brothers' west ridge
Big cornice failures and more to come, looking back at Navaho's south ridge
Three Brothers wide summit ridge
Reaching Three Brothers summit
Rejoining our tracks in upper Falls Creek basin
Falls coming off McClellan Peak
Zoom of the falls
Sir Hikes styles the Ingalls Creek log; I butt-scooted


Sunday, April 10, 2016

Lennox Mountain 5894', Alpine Lakes Wilderness

Lennox Mountain is not one I would ever pick for a beautiful clear day; in all honesty I'm not sure if I'd ever really heard of it before Saturday evening. But Neek suggested it and I failed at coming up with a north-facing alternative.

From the east (via West Fork Miller River), Lennox is a fairly-adventurous route: a few miles of old brushy/rocky/creek-y road and then a 3200' grunt in 2.4 miles up Lennox's SE slope to Coney Lake. It's brushy, but never terrible; snow was sloppy but still passable (beware of melting underneath and potential posthole/punching through to waist depth). There are a couple steep gullies en route as well (see slide photo at bottom). We crossed Coney Lake and followed the east ridge up mellow bumps, past a couple small cornices and up to the summit.

Great views up top from a vantage point I'm not used to. Always interesting to see what someone else picks as a route! Bonus: word is Lennox is visible from Seattle.

Route starting from Miller River Rd; we went left (south) on ascent and took a better, more-direct descent line
Quite a bit of the old mining road looks like this...
...and this, where it was washed out
Starting up Lennox's SE slope
Waterfall around 3500'; went left on the way up but came down on the ridge to the right of it in this photo
Breaking out of the trees around 4500'
Neek at Coney Lake; we crossed and took the east ridge ramp above the trees
Coming up the east ridge, looking back at where the above photo was taken; Alpine Lakes Wilderness peaks beyond 
With Glacier Peak and the Dakobed Range
Lennox summit, looking north to the Glacier Peak Wilderness
Looking south to Rainier with Kaleetan and I-90 peaks peeking above the clouds
Rainier, Alpine Lakes Wilderness peaks, Stuart, Daniel, Hinman, etc.
One of the steep gullies: we glissaded and Neek brought down this slushy surface slough in a small slide

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Rock Mountain, Nason Ridge

A last-minute change in plans had Eric and I hiking off Highway 2 Saturday morning, headed up Rock Mountain. Eric's TR with conditions is on NWHikers.

Arrowhead Mountain (l) and Jim Hill Mountain
Jim Hill
Cornices even in the forest, at ~5000'
Looking up toward the final ridge of Rock, ~5600'
Looking at the final slope to the summit ridge, from 6400'; summit above Eric's head
Eric about to pop through the break in the cornices
The steep ridge section at 5400'; we went right over the spine both on ascent and descent, though two skiers crossed the east-facing slope which we had sent surface slough down only an hour or two prior...
The Chiwaukum group: North, Middle, Big, Snowgrass
Back in warm temps and snow free below 4000'


Saturday, March 26, 2016

Stormy Mountain, Chelan Range

After turning around early a few weeks ago Stormy got under my skin a bit. Armed with a better forecast/conditions, a more direct route and a trail-breaking partner (Eric), we were under six hours car-to-car, which was almost too quick given the lengthy drive.

Instead of the sinuous southwest ridge I tried last time, we started on road 5501 at ~2100' and took the west ridge from 3150' all the way to the summit. Up until 6600' the snow was firm and perfect and we only had some fresh and windblown snow for the last 600' vertical.

The route goes fairly straightforward: no brush, it's reasonably open with no route finding puzzles and nothing steeper than about 45 degrees (and those are short sections). You do gain about 1800' in the last mile to the summit, though. A very good winter-spring route in the right conditions.

12.1m, 5155' gain
Starting out on road 5501 with Stormy 5k' above
Some outcrops to stay north (left) of at ~4900'
Easy travel before the final push to the summit
Ascent ridge behind Eric
Reaching the broad, open summit
The summit offers views from Mt. Adams all the way to the eastern Pasayten
Zoom pano of the northern Chelan range, Entiat range, Glacier Peak, the Dakobed and Glacier Peak Wilderness peaks
Lake Chelan, Manson and Chelan

XC starts at the saddle right mid-ground and follows the middle ridge all the way to the summit; taken at about 2700' on road 5501