Last Updated: August 7, 2014
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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Mount Carrie - South Route, July 2014

For those that have driven westbound on Hwy 101 and wondered about the glaciated peak that briefly comes into view as one rounds a bend shortly before crossing the Elwha River, wonder no more. Having glimpsed Mount Carrie and the adjacent Cat Peak from this very spot countless times while en route to other adventures on the Olympic Coast, the time had finally come for me to experience the opposite viewpoint.

Considered by many as the first and highest peak in the Bailey Range, Mount Carrie offers an outstanding perspective on the mighty Olympus Massif to the south as well as the deep trough formed by the Hoh River flowing from its headwaters at the foot of the Hoh Glacier for 56 meandering miles out to the Pacific Ocean. The hike up the Sol Duc River Valley to where I camped at Heart Lake is also incredibly scenic with old-growth forest, raging creeks and waterfalls crashing into gorges of polished basalt, and a thriving population of mountain goats. Heart Lake is also part of the popular High Divide backpacking loop that passes through the Seven Lakes Basin, so unfortunately there's not much solitude here. The route to Carrie is all trail to The Catwalk – a moderately exposed but easy ridge traverse across the Cat-Carrie saddle, followed by a steep grind up Carrie’s SW Ridge and traverse of south-facing snow and scree slopes to the summit. Looking carefully to the northeast I could see flashes of sunlight reflecting off of cars on Hurricane Ridge Road, reminding me of that other place from where I first viewed Mount Carrie so many years ago. It was a scorching afternoon by the time I returned to the trailhead, making for an easy decision to pass on the Sol Duc "hotsprings" and instead cool off with a refreshing dip in Cresent Lake!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Cardinal Peak - West Route (std), June 2014

At 8590 ft, Cardinal Peak is the tallest peak on the long divide immediately west of Lake Chelan. Along with neighboring Emerald and Saska peaks, it towers above the alpine cirque at the headwaters of the North Fork Entiat River Valley. Its relatively high elevation, prominence and position makes for excellent 360-degree views, which combined with good bikeable trail access for the bulk of the approach amounts to a very reasonable day trip (about 9hrs c2c). As I was already in the area for a MTB ride on Klone Peak, I figured a bike-n-hike to nab the tallest of the NF Entiat peaks the following day would round-out the weekend quite nicely.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Eagle Harbor to Bremerton (kayak), June 2014

This is probably one of the more interesting kayaking day trips in Puget Sound, and being able to carry kayaks aboard the ferries allows for a casual 10 mile one-way paddle. We parked the car at a grossly overpriced pay lot near the Coleman Dock, walked our boat aboard the Winslow ferry and enjoyed a scenic paddle through Rich Passage and Port Orchard to Bremerton. We then took the Bremerton ferry back to Seattle. The current was quite strong near Point White, but fortunately we had timed it so as to go with the flow. No carrier sighting unfortunately but the fair-weather rainbow hanging above Sinclair Inlet was a sight to behold!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

June Gloom MTB (Part 2), June 2014

Three early summer rides in the E-WA county of Chelan, featuring a bit of everything including unseasonably dry trail conditions, blow-down, patchy snow, hike-a-bike, and thankfully also some great downhill with views galore. (Part 1 - here)

Leavenworth (Ski Hill Trail) - A consolation ride after abandoning a Horse Lake Mountain - Sage Hills loop thanks to pouring rain near the top of the No. 2 Canyon in Wenatchee. With the original Freund Canyon loop trail partially destroyed thanks to recent logging, the ~10 mile Ski Hill loop is probably the next best alternative in the immediate Leavenworth area?? Inquire with the folks at Das Rad Haus for trail beta, or check their trail map below. Expect some route finding difficulty, steep and floury singletrack, several dismounts, a boring stretch of logging road, but also some enjoyable machine-built switchbacks with fun berms to play with.

Horse Lake Mtn/Sage Hills Loop - The Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance has big plans for this vast area just outside of Wenatchee. The goal, as was relayed to be by a local chapter member is to develop the area into a mountain bike destination to rival more popular mountain biking destinations such as Bend, OR or Stanley, ID. There are hundreds of miles of trails and old roads here, and with the great weather (normally), excellent views and impressive vert potential, the opportunities are truly limitless. The ~20 mile loop starting from the bottom of No. 2 Canyon, up and over HLM and down into Sage Hills and ending finally near the bottom of No. 1 Canyon is a classic ride linking many of best trails the area has to offer. Visit the Wenatchee Outdoors website for more information on this and other rides in the area.

Klone Peak Loop - Was it not for the annoying blow-down along the North Tommy Trail (Tr 1425), the VERY annoying snow ‘patches’ at Klone Meadows and along various stretches of Blue Creek Trail (Tr 1426), and yet more blow-down on the only sustained downhill on Middle Tommy Trail (Tr 1424), the ~20 mile Klone Peak loop would probably be a classic ride on par with Angel’s Staircase in the Methow Valley. Certainly the two rides have some tedious ups-and-downs as well as long, gruelling sections of hike-a-bike in common. But assuming the connecting trails were cleared of all obstructions and free of snow, and with the turning larches and meadows exploding in a vibrant end-of-season flash of autumn colors, a late September or October ride here would make for a memorable day on the single-track. See the Cascades Singletrack site for more information and a detailed topo.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Unicorn Peak - Std (via Snow Lakes), June 2014

Of the peaks that comprise the Tatoosh Range on the south-side of Mount Rainier, Unicorn is the tallest and probably the most interesting of the bunch. Thanks to the Stevens Canyon Road, the peak also benefits from great spring and summer access, making for a very casual 6-mile day trip (car-to-car). The views of Mount Rainier from various points along the way, not to mention the summit itself are outstanding and is the obvious attraction for climbing Unicorn. Making the most of my soon-to-expire National Park entrance permit, the great weather and the fact that the approach was still mostly all snow, there was no time like the present to mount this horned equine!

*Master list of trip reports and photos here: climbing or snowboarding.

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