Sunday, July 30, 2017

Rainbow Ridge-Twisp Lake loop, North Cascades National Park

Thanks to Sir Hikes A Lot for the trip and writing the conditions report!

Sir Hikes A Lot and I had talked about doing Rainbow Ridge two years ago, but it never came to fruition.  I brought it up again this week and it seemed like a good idea.  Sir Hikes suggested a couple of XC add-ons, but due to the heat and slower going, we only did the Twisp Lake addition...but on a day as hot as this, that was plenty.  One really nice part about this route is that it was well watered.

Aside from 12 people in the first 6-7 miles we had good solitude.  The day was lacking in the wildlife department, which surprised us, but at least there was a good amount of old bear scat.  One thing we really enjoyed about the XC sections, besides the beauty, is that we saw no cairns.  It's always a pleasure to get out together and this loop was laced with gorgeous views and terrain....

Trail conditions:
  • The ~ 6 miles of the PCT we hiked from the Bridge Creek TH to the Rainbow Lake tail junction has been cleared and brushed.
  • The ford of Bridge Creek was 2-3 ft deep depending on where you crossed.
  • The Rainbow Lake Trail is in good shape overall, with 18 downed trees.
  • The Hidden Meadows Camp spur has been cleared and is in good shape.
  • From where we picked up the Twisp Pass Trail, there were ~ 5 downed trees down to the McAlester Trail trail junction, with the trail being in good shape overall.
  • The Stiletto Spur Trail was in good enough shape with a few downed trees.
  • Bugs were out of control!
29 miles, 8900' gain

Love pink paintbrush! 

Few snow patches left on the north side of Bowan Pass

Rainbow Lake and the east side of McGregor

Nice buck near Rainbow Lake

Some slabs and ledges climbing up to Rainbow Ridge

Climbing up to Rainbow Ridge; Sir Hikes photo

Getting close to Rainbow Ridge

West end of Rainbow Ridge; Sir Hikes photo

Bonanza and Glacier

Chikamin Glacier on Dome, Spire Point to the right

Human-caused Diamond Creek fire; sadly burning one of the last remaining unburned (in recent years) parts of the Pasayten

Came down slabs to the left of the moat, then down this scree

Where we came down as there was a 20' cornice on the normal route; Sir Hikes photo

Looking back at the pass; normal route would be on the right, we came down under the smaller cornice on the left

Sir Hikes

Tarn 6495' on Rainbow Ridge

Tarn 6495'

Tarn on Rainbow Ridge

Tarns on Rainbow Ridge

Western end of Rainbow Ridge is a lot of this...Sir Hikes Photo

...and this; Sir Hikes Photo

Sir Hikes surveying the eastern end of Rainbow Ridge

Lake 6111' on Rainbow Ridge

Tarn and tons of flowers on the southern portion of McAlester Pass

Flowers above Hidden Meadows, our pass is in the center

Looking back down on Hidden Meadows and McAlester Pass

Rainbow Ridge across the midground

Looking down over the pass at Twisp Lake and the South Fork Twisp River drainage


Traversing above Twisp Lake; Sir Hikes photo
    A cliffband we had to work through; Sir Hikes photo

    Traversing toward the pass south of Twisp Mountain

    Last pass of the day...

    Massive Hock Mountain scree slope

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