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 Cascade Bill (William Mooseker) | Home > Backpacking Trips > 2012-2016 Trips > 
08 Kickass III -2012
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Kickass III - August 2012
Day 1: Phelps Cr to Spider Meadow
Day 2: Spider Meadow to Lyman Lake
Day 3: Lyman Lake to Image Lake
Day 4: Image Lake to Miner's Creek
Day 5: Miner's Creek to Buck Creek Basin
Day 6: Buck Cr Basin to Massie Lake
Day 7: Massie Lake to Trinity

Heading Down Snowfield to Lyman Basin

Attendees: Bill Mooseker, Fred Stong, Mike Stong, Shelby Stong, Jill Stong, Roger Shively, Danny Stallings.

This photo album documents a week long backpacking trip by the Troop 24 Kickass Trekkers in August 2012. In fact it was basically this hike in 1997 that put the "Kickass" in our name, when Bill Peckinpaugh made the observation that this hike "really kicks your ass!". The 1997 hike was thereafter known as Kickass I.

Originally we had planned to do a trip in the Pasayten, but time constraints and accomodating travel plans ruled that out. This is the fourth time that I've done most of this route (1980, 1983, 1997) and as I've reached the age (69) where I realize that it is the last time, which is kind of sad as this is probably one of the most challenging and scenic trips around.

Normally I've started this route by following the Carne Mountain/ Leroy Creek High Route, but that would have required another night on the trail, and we didn't have that available. Instead we just hiked directly to Spider Meadow (one of my favorite camps) rather than arriving there on the third night. From there the route goes over Spider Gap down to Lyman Lake; from Lyman Lake to Image Lake; Image Lake to Buck Creek Pass;and, finally, retracing the Massie Lake High Route in reverse from our 2001 Kickass II hike, before returning to Trinity via the Chiwawa Basin Trail.

Our group for the trip: Cascade Bill (Me), Fred Stong, Mike Stong, Shelby Stong, Jill Stong, Roger Shively, Natasha Shively, Danny Stallings, and Penny (Shelby and Jill's dog).

Included in the album are photos by Roger and Natasha (file names ending in "r"); Jill and Shelby (file names ending in "j");and, Mike Stong (file names ending in "m"). Note that Jill's and Mike's photos were copied from their Facebook albums and are fairly low resolution.

Troop 24 Kickass Trekkers Backpacking Trip
-Cascade Bill Mooseker


Date(s): 08/26/12-09/01/12. Album by Cascade Bill. 1 - 219 of 219 Total. 904 Visits.
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pic&vids

To get the plugin just Google "videolan" or CLICK HERE FOR DOWNLOAD for Windows. There is a MAC version as well. Disable the Quicktime plugin if you use Videolan.

If you want to save photos to your computer, click the box under the thumbnails of the photos you want to download. Then click the "Download" button at the top of the album. Pick the size you'd like to download (Original is best)and the photos will be downloaded to a folder of your choice.



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Route of our First day of Hiking.
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Continuation of our first day on the trail.
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Menus for our trip.

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Danny waiting at the Phelps Creek (Spider Mdw) Trailhead.

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Roger and Natasha ready to head out. It was quite a logistical job to get everyone together. Danny and I came in my old Corolla, having met Roger and Natasha in Monroe.  Roger and I shuttled the cars, leaving Roger's at Trinity. We left half the food/gear in the Corolla for the Stongs who would arrive much later.

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Jill, Shelby, and Penny at the Phelps Creek Trailhead -   Shelby and Jill drove down to SeaTac to pick up Fred who flew in from Arizona.  Mike drove from Kenniwick and met the rest of the Stongs at the 59'er Diner.  You can see my Corolla to the right.

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A little past Leroy Creek, the forest opens up and the trail passes through this lovely meadow.

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Natasha at Spider Meadow.

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Roger at Spider Meadow.

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After starting out with blue skies and sun, high clouds gradually blotted out the sun.  This view from lower Spider Meadow, just past where the trail emerges from the forest.

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Trail leading to campsites on the west side of Spider Meadow.

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Camp at Spider Meadow - Danny, Fred, Bill, Roger.   Natasha and Jill are seated.

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Shelby preparing dinner for our first night's camp - The Dragonfly stoves are really humming.


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Day 2: Camp 1 at Spider Meadow to Spider Gap.
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Day 2: View from our camp in the morning.

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The morning sun has not quite reached our camp yet.

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View looking north from our camp.

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Danny, Mike, and Fred camped across the trail from us.

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Jill and Shelby getting ready.

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Getting Penny ready to carry her share of the load.

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Shelby and the "Pink Flamingo".  It was originally introduced on our Beartooth's hike in 2003, and has accompanied us on many of our hikes since.

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Jill and Natasha atop large boulder at our camp.

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Fred - leaving camp Monday morning.

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Bill leaving Spider Meadow. (compare to photo from October 1982, when there were no gray hairs in my beard): Click Here

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Approaching the upper end of Spider Meadow.  The trail to Spider Gap closely follows the Rock face above the trees.

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Natasha - looking back down Spider Meadow.  The False Helebore dominates this portion of the meadow.

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Climbing up the old miners' trail, we get this view of Spider Meadow below us.  If you enlarge the photo to original size, you can see out first night's campsite at the edge of the meadow next to the forest (Look for the big rock).

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The miners' trail - a lot of steep switchbacks.

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Looking back at Spider Meadow - Bill, Jill, and Natasha emerging from the brush to climb the switchbacks.

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Fred - on climb up to the Spider Glacier.

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Roger and Natasha going around the hill for the final ascent to the foot of the Spider "Glacier".

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Penny, Natasha, and Roger head out onto the Spider "Glacier" (Really just a snowfield).


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Out onto the snowfield - there is a trail that takes you near the top, but I think that going up the snow is a little easier.  One year (1994) the snowfield was really pockmarked and unsuitable for travel, so we took the trail.

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Heading up the Snowfield - Fred ahead.  The snow is steep in places, and sometimes you slide back aways after taking a step.

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Fred, Jill, Shelby, Natasha, and Roger (in front), going up the snowfield.

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Looking back, Natasha, Shelby, Jill, Fred and me (way back near the start of the snowfield.)

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Another view - you can see that the snowfield makes a bend after the beginning.

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Bill heading up the snowfield (Fred took the picture).

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Bill on the snowfield - at about the center of the first bend.  You can see that the snow was in good shape for climbing - soft, but not too soft.

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I've made it around the bend and am looking up the snowfield - the others are making much better time than I am.  You can see that the climb is very steep.

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Getting closer to the false summit - you can see Fred's silhouette (and yellow bag) against the blue sky at the center of the photo.  You can measure my progress, by comparing the previous photo.

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I think this photo was taken about the same time as my previous photo showing Fred at the false summit - Mike and Danny are already on top.  Shelby and Jill, followed by Roger and Natasha, with Fred bringing up the rear.  Boy was I slow.

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Danny, bless his heart, coming down to get my pack and carry it to the top.  You still can't see the Gap from here.

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Danny with my pack.  He also brought me two sections of cantaloupe he had carried - quite a treat.

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Danny.

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Past the false summit, the slope lessens a bit and it is a little easier going.

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Danny, coming up the last part.

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A cairn at the top.

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Looking over to the other side of the Gap you see a trail heading up.  This trail leads to the old "mine".

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Spider Gap.

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Looking back down from the Gap.  There seemed to be a lot less snow than there was in 1997   Look at the rocks at the left of the photo to compare.

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Taking a break at the top - Fred, Danny, Jill, and Mike.

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Map from Spider Gap to Camp 2 at Lyman Lake.
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Our first glimpse of Lyman Basin.  We've still got a long way to go before we get to our camp.

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Roger and Natasha hiking down to the snowfield above Lyman Basin.


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Looking down the snowfield on the Lyman side of Spider Gap.  You go down this snowfield as far as it goes.

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Fred and Mike on the snowfield.

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Our group makes its way down the snowfield.

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Another view - What's left of the Lyman Glacier is at the left of the photo.

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At the end of the snowfield you have to make your way down a steep talus slope.

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An Alpine Fireweed I saw on my way down.

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Remnant of the Lyman Glacier - In 1980, the front of the glacier was a massive wall extending as far as the ice covered snow does on the lake. Back then it was a really impressive sight. (Will add link to older photos when I have scanned them in).

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If you look closely you can see Mike making his way down the rocky slope.

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Looking back on the glacier - a shadow of it's former self - 1997

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As you make your way down through the rocks, there are various cairns supposedly guiding the way. Shelby followed one down and ended up rolling down a steep slope.  A better way is to bear to the right at the end of the snowfield and make your way down to the stream flowing from the snowfield.

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Can you find the Cairn?  I had a bad fall in this area and really skinned my shin.

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Penny - even hard for a four legged hiker.

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Shelby.

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Looking toward Cloudy Pass.

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Roger.

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There's the cairn.

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Finally you get down to the valley floor and a bootworn path appears to guide your way.

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Roger's photo of the sun through the clouds.

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Natasha

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Looking back you can see the path.

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Finally a real trail!

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Looking back - Spider Gap at the left.

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A small pond along the way - before the descent to Lyman Lake, you climb this small hill.  Jill and Mike are at the top of the hill (enlarge to view).

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From the top we get our first view of Lyman Lake.

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Cloudy Pass and Cloudy Peak to the left and right above Lyman Lake.

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Jill and Mike appear on the trail at the left as the camera pans past Cloudy Peak on to the impressive Bonanza Peak.


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Cloudy Peak and Bonanza Peak- you can see Shelby on the trail.  He came back up from the lake to get my pack.  At the end of the day I was exhausted and went right to bed (Roger put up my tent) without eating supper.


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Map from Camp 2 at Lyman Lake to Glacier Peak Mines on the Miner's Ridge Trail.
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Day 3: Getting ready to leave in the morning.  We stayed at a camp near the outlet of Lyman Lake.

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Mike and Penny ready to go.

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The weather had changed - it was cloudy and cool as this photo of Lyman Lake shows.

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Railroad Creek flowing out of Lyman Lake.

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A little stream along the way up to Cloudy Pass.

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Taking a Break - Fred, Mike, and Shelby.

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Shelby, Jill, and Penny

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Roger and Natasha - taking a break below Cloudy Pass.

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Jill

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We took a break where the trail breaks out of the forest below Cloudy Pass.  We didn't want to break at the pass as we thought it would be windy and cold.


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View of the meadows below Cloudy Pass.

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Flowers abound even in late August.

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Alpine Bistort. Click Here for Description

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Mike striding out.

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Looking back towards Spider Gap and the Lyman Glacier (telephoto view).  You can see the snowfield and the talus covered slope you have to come down.

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Normal view.

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Looking to the left of the previous photo - view is down Railroad Creek across to Dumbbell Mtn.

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Shelby & Jill - almost to the top of Cloudy Pass.

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Following Jill and Shelby just before reaching Cloudy Pass.


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Cascade Bill at Cloudy Pass - this is listed as one of the 5 best views in the Cascades.

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Cloudy Pass lived up to it's name today.  You can see Lyman Lake below.

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View from Cloudy Pass.

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Jill and Natasha at Cloudy Pass.

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Jill, Natasha, and Roger going over Cloudy Pass and beginning the descent.

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Fred and Mike heading down towards Suiattle Pass - Plummer Mtn in the background.

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Fred communing with nature looking down Agnes Creek.

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Field of Lupine set among alpine firs on the way down.

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Taking the "Hiker's Alternate" to Suiattle Pass.  This sketchy route saves about 400 feet of descent and then 400 feet of climbing.

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You can see the group ahead along the "Hiker's Alternate" - I'm going slow along this stretch.  We took a break at Suiattle Pass (low point on the horizon) for lunch.

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Looking down Agnes Creek from the Hiker's Alternate.  You can see the main trail as it crosses the meadow to the left of center below.

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Day 3: Map from Suiattle Pass to Camp 3 at Image Lake.
Day 4: Map from Image Lake to Camp 4 at Miner's Creek.
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The "Hiker's Alternate" connects to the main Cascade Crest trail, which we follow down to the Miner's Ridge Trail. We headed out the trail to Image Lake along Miner's Ridge.  Here, shrouded in clouds is Glacier Peak (to the right).  Note the "foggy" area to the left of Glacier Peak.  We saw this again when we hiked over to Buck Cr. Pass.  Don't know whether it's dust, fog, or smoke.

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Lupine, Paintbrush, and Bistort are plentiful in the meadows along Miner's Ridge.

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More meadow flowers.

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Penny - looking back along the Miner's Ridge trail toward Plummer Mtn.

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Day 4 - During the night, we had a heavy rain and we woke up to a damp and cold camp.  Here we are getting ready to head out.

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Penny and Flamingo - Ready to Hit the Trail!

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As far as amenities go, this trip featured Kybo's at Spider Meadow, Lyman Lake and this one at the Image Lake Camp area. When there are no clouds, this "Kybo" has the best view of any other Kybo in the cascades as you can sit on the throne and contemplate Glacier Peak just across the valley.

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Image Lake - There would be no reflected image of Glacier Peak today.

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Despite the gloom, there were a few patches of blue sky now and then.  This one gives a peek-a-boo view of Glacier Peak.  We didn't get a chance to see the reflected view of Glacier Peak in Image Lake this trip, which is also supposed to be one of the 5 best views in the Cascades.

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Another shot.

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Image Lake is behind that small hill - you can see the trail heading down to the Image Lake camp area.

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Penny and Jill have just about caught up with me above Image Lake.

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Jill

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Meadow flowers on Miner's Ridge.

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Another shot.

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Paintbrush - vivid red compared to the usual washed out red that is more common.

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We sighted a bear just above the timberline below (black dot).  We didn't feel threatened, but Shelby had a face to face encounter with it sometime later when he was on the trail.

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Telephoto view (digitally enhanced) of the bear.  It definitely knew we were there.

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Jill heading back along Miner's Ridge.


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Looking back towards Plummer Mtn.

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Snowfield just below Lady Camp (Greg & I camped here in 1980) - it is the horse camp for Image Lake.

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Fred crossing stream along the Miner's Ridge Trail.


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Fred.

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Bill - looking across to Fortress Mtn.

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Bill - I remember this stream from our 1997 Kickass I trip.  Steve and Charlie were adamant about filtering their water at the beginning of the trip.  I told them that where there was little risk if there was nobody camping in the basin, they religiously pumped their water in the morning.  Then on the 6th day, I came around the bend to this stream and saw them filling their water bottles directly from the creek. (Note no one got sick after the trip, or on any of our trips).

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We stopped for lunch near the junction with the Crest trail.  While we were there we saw four more bears high on Plummer Mtn.

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Near our lunch spot, there is an old cabin in the meadow (you can see it on the Topo map).  Shelby, Natasha, and Roger check it out.

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Shelby found a pair of old iron bedsteads, which he was contemplating carrying out (we convinced him that that was a bad idea.)  Shelby also found a 1950's era Army stretcher and also had to be dissuaded from carrying it out.

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Inside the cabin - an old coleman stove and other junk.

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Bunk beds - of newer vintage than Shelby's bedsteads.

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More junk. (doesn't the Forest Service believe in it's motto: "Pack it Out").

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Heading down the Cascade Crest Trail we take a photo break looking down Miner's Creek.

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Bill - The Cascade Crest Trail originally climbed up the ridge to Image Lake and then along Miner's Ridge to Suiattle Pass.  This section bypassing Image Lake passes through non scenic Suiattle Pass and the views along Miner's Ridge.  Most Crest trail travelers miss both of the best views at Cloudy Pass and Image Lake and just valley pound up Miner's Creek and then down Agnes Creek. Shame on them.

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We found this creeper along the trail. Don't know what it is.

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Another view.

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Our original plan was to hike back up the Buck Creek Pass trail and camp at Sheep Camp along the ridge, but we decided to forgo the long climb and camp where the Crest trail crosses Miner's creek.  Here Shelby and Roger are preparing our big dinner, Chili.  Originally we just added sausage and cheese.  Now there are onions, garlic, garnishes, etc. for quite a gourmet meal.
Just after dark, two through hikers (Mexico to Canada) stopped to camp - they had been 165 days on the trail.


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Day 5: Map from Camp 4 to Miner's Creek to Camp 5 at Upper Buck Cr Basin.
View at "Original Size" for best detail.


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Day 5: Bill and Fred - After a short hike down the Crest trail from our camp we come to the junction with the Buck Creek Pass Trail to begin the steep climb up to the top of Middle Ridge.

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Climbing up the Buck Creek Pass trail after climbing through forest, we finally break out into meadows. From the meadows you can look back across to Miner's Ridge and Plummer Mtn.  As you can see the weather was great - not a cloud in the sky, quite a change from the previous day.

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Gurgling brook in the meadows along the Buck Cr Pass Trail opposite Miner's Ridge.


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Looking back down the trail.

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View along the trail

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Jill

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Natasha.

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Near the top - looking back towards Miner's Ridge.

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The end of Miner's Ridge and Western Peaks of the Cascade's beyond.

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After a stiff climb we reached the top of Middle Ridge, where we took a well earned break.


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Fred discussing a range of topics from the Troop Gliders in WWII to the Space Shuttle (Why we love him!).


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After climbing to the top of Middle Ridge (to the right), we drop way down (about 1100') to Smalls Creek (shown below).  Then its another climb up to Buck Cr Pass.  Here the trail switchbacks up the side of a steep and hot avalanche slope. (I fired Buckwheat as the pace setter here in 1997 for going too fast).

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Roger on his way up the trail - getting a drag on his Camelback.

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After climbing out of Smalls Creek we hit the ridge leading to Flower Dome and get the first view of Glacier Peak.

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Ahead we can see Buck Creek Pass and the distinctive Liberty Cap.  If you enlarge the picture, you can see the trail to High Pass switchbacking up Liberty Cap.

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Looking down towards the vast Suiattle Valley on the back side of Glacier Peak.

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Looking toward Buck Cr Pass.

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More and more of Glacier Peak becomes visible from behind Flower Dome (hill at the right).

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Another view - Enlarge picture to "Original Size" and look at the "fuzzy" area just to the left of Flower Dome.  Wonder if it is caused by smoke? This was the same area that we saw this from Miner's Ridge.

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Mike came back and got this photo for me.

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Cascade Bill - Flower Dome beyond.

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We took a short break at Buck Cr Pass before heading back down the Buck Cr Trail.

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Our crowded camp site.

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Following the trail down from Buck Creek Pass, we camped in the basin below Pass No Pass.  Our camp was pretty cramped, but we found room for all our tents.

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Shelby rebuilding the fire ring.

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Way to go Shelby!

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Roger cooking dinner as Bill watches.  You can see that the temperature dips when the sun goes down.

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Day 6: Map from Camp 5 to Camp 6 at Massie Lake along the Massie Lake High Route.

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Day 6- Getting ready to leave camp.  We'll be taking the Massie Lake High Route over to Massie Lake.  You can see Buck Cr Pass and Liberty Cap beyond.

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Looking across the valley.  If you enlarge to "Original Size", you can see the trail to High Pass as it crosses the steep meadowed slope opposite.

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Telephoto view of the ridge opposite.  The trail to High Pass is just to the right of the snowfield at the canter of the picture.

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Pass No Pass.

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There is fairly good trail on this end of the Massie Lake High Route near Pass No Pass.

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If you enlarge the photo, you can see Fred, Mike, Penny, and Shelby going along the trail.

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I startled a marmot along the trail.

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Marmot giving me the eye.

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Looking back we get a good view of Glacier Peak framed above Buck Creek Pass between Liberty Cap on the left and Helmet Butte on the right. The trail you see going up to the pass is the Buck Cr. Pass trail.

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Looking back towards Pass No Pass - You can see Roger and Natasha if you enlarge the photo.

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Another view of Glacier Peak.

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After a short while, the trail crosses a meadowed bench.  We stayed at this camp site in 2001 as we hiked the high route in the opposite direction (Massie Lake to Buck Cr Pass).  Click Here

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As we move along the ridge, Glacier Peak disappears behind Liberty Cap.

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Another view across the valley.

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Danny - The "trail" disappears in the meadows and some bushwhacking is required.

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Scrabbling along in the brush.

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Shelby and Fred - We took our lunch break in a small basin with a babbling brook with an outstanding view of Buck Mtn across the valley.

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This basin is the one west of the little knob (elev 6082') on the Topo Map.

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Getting ready to head out.

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Mike.

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Fred and Mike.

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Climbing up over pass between the ridge and the knob (elev 6082'), we cross another basin.  In 2001 this basin was as dry as a bone with no snowfield.  There is vague tread leading out of this basin into the meadows beyond the trees above.

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If you enlarge this photo, you can see the route up the slope beyond.  You go above the fir near the rocks and follow a vague tread to the right.  See This from 2001 as we cross the rocks leading to the slope, and This as we head down the steep slope - you can see the knob (elev 6082) and the basin (sans snowfield) below.

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As the group goes ahead, I realize that we have to climb up the steep slope to the left that we had come down in 2001 - for route see previous photo.

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Coming up the very steep slope - Fred, Natasha, Jill, and me - way down there.

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It was a hard steep climb up the slope.  This view is from the rocks above the slope.  You can see the basin with the snowfield below.

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Another View.  From here you traverse steep slopes heading east until you hit the ridge that separates the Buck Cr and Chiwawa drainages.  Try to stay at about 6500' elevation.  We climbed a little high and had to scout along the ridge to find the trail down.   When you hit the ridge, head for the "hunchback" rock seen in this Photo which shows our 2001 group taking a break at the spot where the trail hits the ridge.

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Day 7: Camp 6 at Massie Lake to Trinity Parking area.
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Day 7 - Sunrise at Massie Lake. We spent our last night here.  I was exhausted when a dragged into camp, and went to bed as soon as got my tent up.   The rest of the group, being younger, enjoyed our last night.

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Massie Lake is a beautiful spot (even more so when the larches turn in the fall).

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Getting ready to leave camp.  The so called "trail" down to the Chiwawa drops about 1800' in a little over a mile and it has gotten worse in the 11 years since we've been here.  I don't know what's worse - going up or going down.  I took one bad fall going down, but was ok.

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Death of the Flamingo! R.I.P. (2003-2012)

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Penny, Roger, and Natasha ready to cross the Chiwawa after the long steep descent from Massie Lake. Those other guys are heading up to the lake.  When Fred and I got here, Fred was able to "shinny" up that log acrosse the stream.  I tried it and got stuck, and had to get my feet wet to get off of it.  Should have forded the creek in the beginning.

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Almost done - at the wilderness boundary near Trinity.  Danny, Mike, and Shelby hiked back to meet Fred and I coming out.  

After meeting at the 59'r Diner for Burgers and Shakes we all went our separate ways and Kickass 2012 was officially over.


 
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