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 Cascade Bill (William Mooseker) | Home > Backpacking Trips > 1996 Backpacking Trips > 
1996 Pasayten Crazyman
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Camping at the Ashnola Shelter

Our big backpacking trip for the summer of 1996 was the Pasayten Crazyman. This was a very strenous 8 day trip in the Pasayten Wilderness covering 60 miles with almost 13000 feet of elevation gain. This trip would probably not be feasible today as large portions of the route were ravaged by forest fires in 2003.

Troop 24 Adults: "Cascade" Bill Mooseker, Greg Phillips, Steve Goodwin

Troop 24 Scouts: Jason Smith, Adam Phillips, Jon Younger, Danny Stallings, Peter Goodwin, Andrew Mooseker, Kyle Meissner.

Troop 24 "The High Adventure Troop" Backpacking Trip
-Cascade Bill Mooseker


Date(s): August 1996. Album by Cascade Bill. 1 - 124 of 124 Total. 1302 Visits.
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Day 1: Lake Creek Trailhead to "A Good Half Hour Camp"

It's a long drive from Lynnwood over the North Cascades highway. Then with a lunch stop in Winthrop and another long drive up Chewack River Road and on the the Lake Creek Trailhead, you're not getting an early start.

The first part of the trail is an easy valley pound up the valley to long and thing Black Lake.

Numbers on map correspond to Trail Log waypoints.


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After leaving Black Lake, it was a relentless valley pound. After a while the guys were asking me when we would be getting to a campsite.  I told them "about a good half hour or so".

The Lake Creek Trail above Black Lake has been abandoned due to the hundreds of downed trees across the trail due to the 2003 Fawn Peak fires.


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The "good half hour or so" camp never materialized and after about another three hours we came to the junction with the Diamond Jack Trail.

A short way down the trail we found a widening in the trail with an old fire ring, that we dubbed "A Good Half Hour Camp".  A long day - 9.2 miles with a little over 2400' of climbing.


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Trail Log Waypoints: Day 1

See Map for location of waypoints.


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Taking a break along the trail to Black Lake:
Andrew, Pete, Steve, Jason, Greg, Adam, Jon, Danny, and Kyle.

This part of the trail was burned over in 2003.  The trail to Black Lake is maintained - a fairly current photo of the trail to Black Lake can be found HERE and you can see it has changed since our trip in 1996.


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Soon the lower end of Black lake is reached, about 4 miles from the trailhead. If you enlarge the photo, you can see the guys traversing the talus to the right of the picture (Steve's red pack stands out prominently.)

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Taking a break at the upper end of the lake:
Adam, Danny, Jason, Pete, Kyle, and Andrew, and Steve.


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Greg at our break. Due to the slope of the hill along the trail there aren't many campsites, and those that were there were occupied as shown here - just a few feet off the trail.

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View looking down the lake from our break spot. In hindsight, It probably would have been a good time to start looking for a campsite, but there was still plenty of daylight left so we picked up our packs and headed up the trail.

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Day 2 was a short day - from "A Good Half Hour Camp" to Lower Fox Lake.
Day 2: 3.1 miles & 1523 ft climbed.


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Trail Log Waypoints: Day 2
For location of waypoints see Map.


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Andrew & Peter greet the new day at "A Good Half Hour Camp".

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Jason

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Greg and Kyle.

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Tent locations were sparse so we had to jam them together to get enough room.

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After breakfast we headed up the Diamond Jack trail. After hiking about three miles and climbing about 1300 feet, the trail came to this camp in a meadowed basin.

The Diamond Jack Trail continues switchbacking up to Diamond Jack Pass, but we took a break here before heading off cross country to Lower Fox Lake.


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There was a sort of a way trail going very steeply up the slope, which we named "Hell Hill".

Peter is making his way up here.


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Andrew making his way up "Hell Hill".

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The top - Jason, (Peter behind Jason), Jon, and Danny (in the trees).

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Andrew near the top.

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Kyle making his way up.

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Greg Phillips - We went down this way in 2001 and Greg fell on the way down.  A little while later someone noticed that Greg had a big piece of wood stuck in his leg!

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Steve coming up - I doubt that this route is possible now due to the fires.

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Close up of Steve.

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After making camp at the Lower Fox Lake, several of us made a day hike up to the upper Fox Lake, shown here at the camp at the upper lake.

Greg, Jason, and Steve.


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Upper Fox Lake - Jason, Steve, Bill, & Pete.

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Greg and Steve - Looking back at Upper Fox Lake.

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Camp at Lower Fox Lake

This is the ceremonial "Burning of the Underwear" by which Greg Phillips underwear and socks are burned.

Pete (previously named "Bucketfoot" on the 1997 Chelan Summit Hike) lived up to his name as he was trying to throw a frog into the lake and slipped on the mud and ended up on his keister.


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Day 3-Map 1: Lower Fox Lake to Larch Pass

Cross country from Lower Fox Lake via Upper Fox Lake & upper basin. Climbing to shoulder of Peak 7553 and traversing to ridge to descent to Diamond Jack Pass. Proceed up Ridge along Tr 532 (Diamond Jack Sheep Drive - not really a trail, some vague tread in places but more of a high route).


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Day 3- Map 2:
Route follows Diamond Jack Sheep Drive over saddle above Diamond Creek to descend to the Larch Creek Trail.  Follow trail to Larch Pass. Camp 3 is in meadows south of Larch Pass.

Day 3: 6 miles & 2049' climbed


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Trail Waypoints Log: Day 3

For waypoint locations see Maps.


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Kyle & Andrew leaving Lower Fox Lake.  Peaks in back are the summits of Fool Hen peaks: pt 8082', 8168', & 8107'.

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Another shot of Kyle & Andrew.

Fortunately this area was not touched by the Fawn Peak Fires - If you look at Google Earth there is a thin green band extending around the lower Fox Lake outlet marking the limit of the fire.  The upper basin and the upper lake also escaped the fire.


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Diamond Point from shoulder of Peak 7553.

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Andrew - following vague tread along the meadows of Diamond Point. Looking back at the Fool Hen peaks.

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Steve & Greg along the route above Diamond Jack Pass.

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Steve - Point 7553' is to the left of the picture. We had traversed across the shoulder of this peak to get to Diamond Jack Pass.

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Traversing along the slopes of Diamond Jack (this is near waypoint 3 - see Map).  We had our raingear on as there were some showers.

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Looking down at the pass we would go over to reach the Larch Creek Trail. Larch Pass is the low point beyond.

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A deer we saw in the meadows near Diamond Creek.

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Kyle & Andrew taking a break at an old sheep herder's camp near Diamond Creek.

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Jason, Peter, Danny, Jon, and Greg taking a break.

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Finally on the Larch Creek Trail.

We had a nice camp at Larch Pass. The guys saw a 2-man saw in a horse packer's tent near our camp and they borrowed it to saw out a number of camp stools (more than enough for everyone).  When we camped there again in 1998 many of the stools were still there.


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Day 4: Larch Pass to Quartz Lake
This was a fairly easy day - about the same distance as day 3 but less than half the climb, and all on trail.  The only down note was the weather, which was overcast with occasional showers.

Totals for Day 4: 6 miles & 933' climbed.


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Day 4: Trail Waypoint log

See map for location of waypoints.


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Heading north a short way from Larch Pass, yo can see Whistlers Pass (Notch) come into view.

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Rolling meadows of McCall Gulch.

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Leaving the Larch Creek Trail, we started up the trail to Whistler's Pass.  

This trail is not shown on the map.


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Going up the slopes above McCall Gulch on the Whistler's Pass trail.

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Whistler's Notch - the guys climbed up to the top of the ridge and took this photo.  If you enlarge it, you can see Bill, Greg, and Steve taking a break at the pass.

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Looking back towards Larch Pass, with the back side of Fool Hen Peak in the distance seemingly sitting in the saddle of Larch Pass.

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View down into Whistler Basin.

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Getting ready to head out - Steve, Adam, Danny, Jason, and Peter.

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Steve getting ready to head out - standing in Whistler's Notch with Larch Pass behind him.

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As we followed the trail through Whistler's Basin, the clouds lowered and it began to rain.

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We took our lunch break at this old sheepherder's camp near Waypoint 10 on the Day 4 Map.

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Almost to the Boundary Trail - Greg and Danny looking back along the west side of Sand Ridge - you can see the trail as it traverses the ridge.  At this point, our camp at Quartz Lake was a little less than 1.5 miles away.

This photo was taken near waypoint 15.


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Day 5 Map: Quartz Lake to Ashnola Shelter

It was a fairly easy day, and one of the most scenic as the trail stays high in the meadows with sweeping views for most of the way.

Totals for Day 5 - 6.8 miles and 925' climbed.


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Day 5: Trail Waypoint log

See map for location of waypoints.


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Camp at Quartz Lake - Adam, Peter, Danny, Jon, and Kyle getting their packs ready to go.

This was one of the coldest nights I have experienced while backpacking.  We stayed in bed late as we didn't want to get up when it was so cold.

For breakfast, I remember that we had a freeze dried omelet.  I remember that because it was the last time we ever had an omelet on the trail.  I used to have them every 5 years or so, and would forget that after an omelet breakfast, you would be belching up eggs all day.


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On the scenic Boundary Trail.  This is near Waypoint 5.

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Taking a break at near Waypoint 10 - you can see the distinctive Cathedral Peak in the distance.

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Looking back at the east side of Sand Ridge.

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View towards Cathedral Peak.

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Wide angle view towards Cathedral Peak - Bald Mountain is to the right.

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Greg & Adam have a little wrestling match - Looks like Greg has the upper hand here.

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The remains of the Barker Brown Cabin from the trail.

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Having traversed the meadows of Sheep Mountain, we are beginning the descent to the Ashnola River.

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Jon crossing the Ashnola on a precarious log bridge.

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Greg making his way across.

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Another shot of Greg

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Our camp at the Ashnola Shelter -
Peter, Kyle, Jason, Jon, Andrew, Greg, Danny, & Steve.


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Dinner time - I first camped at the Ashnola Shelter in 1981 (See photo album Here)

When I stay here, it seems as if I've entered a time warp, and I'm in Boonesborough back in the 1700's.  There is a little meadow near the shelter; you have hiked for days getting here far from any vestige of civilization; and the river is flowing north.


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The nice thing about the shelter is that there is a table that you can do your food preparation on.

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Day 6: Ashnola Shelter to Remmel Lake
After a couple of fairly easy days, day 6 was going to be pretty tough with a long climb out of the Ashnola valley and up and over Bald Mountain.
Note that the trail has been relocated from what is shown on the Topo map. I've plotted the new location using coordinates obtained by using Acme Mapper, which allows you to switch between Google Satellite and topographic views.
Totals for Day 6 - 8.5 miles and 2864' climbed.


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Day 6 Map 2

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Day 6: Trail Waypoint log

See map for location of waypoints.


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Looking across Spanish Creek Valley from the trail up Bald Mountain.

While most of the trail goes through seemingly endless lodgepole pine, there is one short stretch that has a stand of aspens making you wonder how they got theres.


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It's a long climb but you eventually break out of the scrub forest into the broad meadows of Bald Mountain.

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Looking South (more or less) from the meadows of Bald Mountain.

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Summit of Bald Mountain - the topo map shows the trail going much closer to the summit.  
Back in June 1981, we were going west on the Boundary trail and the Green Trails map that we had showed the trail going right over the top of Bald Mtn, which was covered in snow at the time.  We opted to go via the Spanish Creek trail, which was one of the muddiest awful slogs ever.  Later on a day hike up Bald Mtn from the Ashnola Shelter, we found that the actual trail was snow free.


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Another view - on Google Earth you can see the old trail location.

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Looking back over the Ashnola valley towards Sheep Mtn (partially obscured by trees).

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Andrew and Bill

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Close up of Andrew and Bill - See Here for photo of Bill & Greg near the same spot in 1981.

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Our Group - Bill, Andrew, Jon, Kyle, Danny, Peter, Steve, Adam, Greg, and Jason.

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Another shot - Cathedral Peak as a backdrop.

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This is the spot where the trail dips down over the side of Bald Mtn, which you can see just to the right of center.

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On the trail towards Remmel Lake.

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Jon & Bill on trail to Remmel Leke.

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Andrew, Adam, Peter, & Kyle at the Spanish Creek Guard station.

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Remmel Mountain is to the right of the photo.

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Looking for a camp site on the north side of Remmel Lake - seemed like every spot was taken, so we hiked back to look on the south side of the lake.

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Another view from the north side of Remmel Lake.

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View from our camp on the south side of Remmel lake, with the alpenglow on Amphitheater Mountain.

One of the memorable things from this camp was that Jon was the cook and when he was dishing out the chow, he managed to spill half of it on the ground.  After that, whenever anyone spilled the food, it was called "Doing a Jon".

At night, the horse campers across the lake having brought ample supplies of alcoholic beverages, we in fine spirits whooping and riding horses up and down.

Finally after we were able to get to sleep, in the middle of the night we heard a horse go galloping on the trail just south of our camp.  As we were preparing breakfast, a cowboy came through asking if anyone had seen a horse.  That horse was probably back at the thirty mile trailhead by then.


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For highest quality, click the "Download MPEG4" link
(may have to allow time to buffer).


Jon describing our dinner at Remmel Lake and the origin of the term, "Doing a Jon".


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Day 7: Remmel Lake to the Basin east of Peepsight Pass

On Day 7 we backtracked to the Spanish Creek Guard Station and then turned south on the Andrew's Creek Trail. At Andrew's Pass we turned off on the Crazyman Pass Trail and followed it our camp in the Basin below Peepsight Pass.

Totals for Day 7 were 8.3 miles and 2401' climbed.


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Continuation of Day 7 Map.

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Day 7: Trail Waypoint log

See map for location of waypoints.


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It was pretty boring backtracking to Spanish Cr Guard Station and following the Andrew's Creek Trail to Andrew's pass so I didn't have any pictures.

However, climbing on the Crazyman Pass Trail we soon got some views.  This is looking towards the west side of Remmel Mountain.


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Bill Climbing on the Crazyman Pass Trail.

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The trail is pretty sketchy - Steve and Greg making their way.

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Here the trail disappears in a meadow.  The guys are looking to see where the trail goes.

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Climbing up we get a good view of Andrew's Mountain to the left and Remmel to the right.

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Another view a little further on.

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Looking down Glory Creek from near the top of Crazyman Pass - I think the mountain to the right of center is Bald Mtn.

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Andrew & Greg coming up to the top of Crazyman Pass.

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Bill & Steve from the top of Crazyman Pass.

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Looking south from the top of Crazyman Pass - Andrew, Adam, Jason, Kyle, Danny, Jon, Peter, Greg, Steve, & Bill

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Getting ready to head out.  Unfortunately most of this valley was burned over in the 2003 fires. The trail descends these meadows into the forest to the right.  We took a break along the trail and as we were sitting there, we heard a radio squawking and a Forest Ranger soon came around the switchback.  He was really surprised when he looked up and saw all of us sitting there watching him.  I asked him where he was going and he said Peepsight Lake.  I told him that he was going the wrong way and pointed him in the right direction.
 
As he put his pack back on he flipped it over his head and slid his arms into the straps - which became what we called the "Lost Ranger Flippy" method of putting on your pack.


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VIDEO - Click Photo to View.
Video from the 2010 Troop 24 Kickass Trekker's Reunion with Bill telling the tale of the "Lost Ranger of Crazyman Pass".
Note: I mistakenly had the year as 1995 instead of 1996 and "Pinnacle" instead of "Peepsight" Lake.


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The sun setting on Peepsight Peak - photo taken from our camp.

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Our camp in the basin below Peepsight Pass.

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Kyle with his mosquito netting on.

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Twilight at out last night on the trail.

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Day 8: Basin Below Peepsight Pass to the Andrew's Creek Trailhead

Total was 12.4 miles and 808' climbed.


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Continuation of Map for Day 8.

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Continuation of Map for Day 8.

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Day 8: Trail Waypoint log

See map for location of waypoints.


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Peepsight Mountain from our camp.

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What Bear? - Enlarge the picture to original size to see the bear we came upon as we went down the Andrew's Creek Trail.

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Near the end of the trail at the footbridge over Little Andrew's Creek.  Following troop tradition, we changed into our uniforms for our trip home.
Seated: Kyle, Jon, Adam, Greg
Standing: Andrew, Steve, Peter, Danny.


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Another shot.

When we got to the trailhead, there were two Forest Rangers asking everyone who came out if they had seen a Forest Ranger, who had gone missing and had not been in radio contact.  We reported that we had seen the "Lost Ranger" and that he was headed to Peepsight Lake the last we saw of him.

When we got to my car, the battery in the Silver Bullet (aka the Grey Ghost)was dead.  I had the guys push me down the road, and I popped the clutch to get it started (Whooo!).

Then after picking up the other cars, we headed back to Winthrop for a Pasayten Burger and the long drive home.


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