17 June 2012

Little Devil's Peak 2-Day Trek - Part 1


In late April, Kevin decided he wanted to make one more attempt to summit Little Devil's Peak, an obscure, indistinguishable peak in the North Cascades that tops out at 6,985 ft. Kevin, who you remember from Slot Coulior, had made two previous attempts to summit but had been turned around due to inclimate weather. Never one to turn down an opportunity to get outside, I jumped at the invitation to join Kevin and Ben in their little adventure. With the last minute addition of Ryan, our summit team was born.

THIS is how you pack a car
We met at my house on a Friday afternoon and loaded up the Subi. One thing to note - Kevin got skunked a few weeks prior to this trip, and let's just say his car did not exactly smell like daisies....

A few hours and mild nausea later, we arrived at the trail head and pitched our tents. Grandpa Max, never one to be left out of the action, poured a few back, and even made a new friend!: Wammie, Kevin's Action Figure Mascot! 

Gpa's FIRST wombat ride!
After a restful night's sleep (once the skunk-smell headache subsided) we packed up our gear and set off up the trail. This was my first ever multi-day ski trip and my first time snow camping. I learned many things on this trip:
  1. Load up your skis, then clip the boots into them for ease of carrying
  2. Bring plastic bags - they go over your ski boots to keep stuff from getting in them while you're hiking, AND they serve as a place to stash your hikers once you're done with them
  3. Always bring extra caribeaners. Always.
Skis + Boots + Skins +++ Camping Gear = Seriously heavy pack 
Boys scoping out the trail; Post-holing pre-skinning. Post-holing is the worst
Trail hiking took about 90 minutes before we hit enough snow to warrant putting our skis on our feet. By the time we "skinned up" I was ready for a break!

Gpa helping Kevin with the route finding - is it this way?; Skinning up
Once up on the snow, our route split from the trail that we had been sharing with Lookout Mountain trailhead and we (read: Kevin) cut a steep, wandering skin track up through the trees. Searching for the safest route, we meandered a little bit, but ultimately came to a series of mushroom pillows that needed to be navigated to get us to our camping destination for the evening. It made for some challenging skinning, ultimately resulting in a little scramble to get to the top. Great views though!

So. Fluffy!

Lookout Mountain, complete with a Lookout

Our dicey snow scramble - skis were passed up conveyor belt style
After the mushroom pillow debacle, we were pretty much home free! Kevin led us to a flat col on the mountain, out of the wind and safe from any avy danger.  

Last traverse

In all, it took us about 7 hours, with breaks, to get to camp. Quite a big day - but it still gave us plenty of day light to set up camp. Everyone pitched in to dig us two sweet tent platforms, a 'kitchen', and a bathroom - even Grandpa Max!

Shoveling tent platform; Digging out the latrine, Grandpa got interrupted doing some business
Boys in the kitchen, as it should be

The views were breathtaking. I feel like I've said this a lot in these backcountry blogs, but there really is nothing like being out in the mountains, especially the North Cascades. And when the weather gods shine on you, you've just got to take a moment to breath it all in. I feel very fortunate to lead the life I do, and I am definitely not taking any of this for granted.

A picture says a 1,000 words
Glacier Lake
Perfect spot to enjoy my bag o' wine
Panoramic - wish there were a better way to share this. Click on image to expand.
After dinner we were treated to a lovely sunset which I enjoyed from the comfort of the 'kitchen'. Kevin was concerned about the snow freezing over night, so he took off to lay in a skin track across the nearby ridge to anticipate saving us hours of skinning the following morning.

Kevin taking in the views at the top of the point

Gorgeous Campsite
Cloud whisps saying goodnight
Good Night Ridge

The sun went to bed and so did we, anticipating an early start to avoid avy danger. Did we make it to our destination summit? Tune in to the next blog to find out!

1 comment:

inthelandoffjords said...

Amazing views for sure!