Here are some pictures of the trip Mike and I took in early August
traverse the northeast ridge of Black Peak... The plan was to meet at
Mike's around 5:00 pm, drive to the trailhead, get some sleep at the trailhead,
get up around 5:00 am, hike in light, do the traverse, and get out. We
ended up getting to the trailhead at around 8:00 pm and decided to get in as far
as possible before it got too late. We made Heather Pass a little after
9:00, put on our headlamps, and actually made it to Wing Lake at around
10:45. Mike did some excellent route finding through the boulder field
under headlamp! The route
from camp to Heather Pass can be seen in this aerial view I took from the
ridge... We apologize to those climbers we woke up as we made our way
around the lake looking for a camp spot at 10 o'clock in the evening! The route
from the lake to the base of the ridge can be seen from this shot I took as
we left on Sunday...
morning sunshine... - Since
we saved a couple hours by hiking up the previous evening, we were able to
observe this spectacular sunrise. Actually, Mike wanted to do the
observing, I wanted to sleep! But Mike got up too fast - and was
lightheaded, so he persuaded me to take the dawn patrol - man, what a con
artist! I was rewarded with a pretty spectacular show though...
camp site... - We
arrived at Wing lake around 10:00 pm, and set about looking for a camp
site. Of course, choice sites we had used previously were in
use. After 20 minutes or so of groping around under head lamps, Mike
found this site next to the lake, which was actually pretty nice. I
took this shot during sun rise...
streams... - From our
camp site, we were rewarded with varied views of mountain terrain -
glacier, moraine, valleys, snow fields and wonderful drainage systems that
cascade down slopes. I took this shot of the system that drains the
east side of the Northeast ridge.
- The traverse was a very
pleasurable experience! There are fantastic views of most of the
North Cascades. With the summit almost at 9,000 feet, as you
approach the top, there isn't much you can't see. Also, while there
may be some class 5.6 or 5.7 pitches, most of the traverse is class 4 or
low class 5 scrambles, with some technical stretches. Although we
brought our rock shoes and pro, we were able to complete the traverse in
our climbing boots, and placed very little gear. We mostly used
webbing for belay anchors. I took this dramatic shot of Mike on the
right as he lead one of the pitches...
These other shots were taken while
Chased out rather quickly by some weather, Mike took this shot of me at
the mouth of Wing Lake, with both ridges of Black Peak in the
background. We ascended the ridge on the right, and came down the
one on the left...
relaxes at the boulder field... -
The boulder field at the second lake (Lewis Lake) is the biggest pain of the approach
to Wing Lake. Here the scale of the size of the rocks is plainly
visible as Mike waits for me to catch up during hike out. Heather
Pass, which leads us down to the car about 2 miles is on the right. To get there, you must hike down
to the lake, and then back up 450 vertical feet to the pass. When we
came in, we traversed the entire way across these rocks by headlamp!
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