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 Cascade Bill (William Mooseker) | Home > Backpacking Trips > 1997 Backpacking Trips > 
1997 Chelan Summit
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Chelan Summit
AKA "The George Hike"
July, 1997

Climbing the Angel Staircase - Cooney Lake

This was a 7 day backpacking trip along the Chelan Summit. We call it the "George" Hike, because at the pack check the night before we left, Bill Peckinpaugh's childhood friend, Jorge (George) Gonzalles was looking wistfully as we were getting ready. I asked him if he wanted to go, and he agreed to come.

Unfortunately, I didn't get photos for the middle of the trip, and so I missed a lot of scenery. At the Junction Camp (below Boiling Lake), I missed Shelby's Bug, where on a bet he ate a "cricket" like bug about 2 inches long, not just swallowing it, but crunching it with his teeth. When asked why he did that, he said that "If I'm going to eat it, I might as well see what it tastes like!

Another memorable moment (well that may be stretching it, maybe unforgettable is more appropriate) is when we got a double full moon, as the moon was rising above our camp at Surprise Lake, George decided to bend over when he was taking a bath in the creek.

Troop 24 Scouts: Adam Phillips, Danny Stallings, Charles "Chip" Walker, Peter Goodwin, Roger Shively, Brian Sisk, Shelby Stong, Austin Peckinpaugh

Troop 24 Adults: Bill Mooseker, Bill Peckinpaugh, Jorge Gonzales

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

Date(s): July 1997. Album by Cascade Bill. 1 - 53 of 53 Total. 661 Visits.
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It's a long grind to Martin Lake, and since I'd been on this hike a couple of times already, I didn't get any photos on the first day.  This is on the morning of the 2nd day at Martin Lake.

First day stats: 7.2 miles, 2900' climbed, 930' dropped.

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Gang at Lower Martin Lake.

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Martin Peak and Lower Martin Lake.

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Shelby, Peter (behind tree), Danny, and Adam.

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On the trail between Martin and Cooney Lake.

Adam, Peter, Danny, Chip, Brian, Bill P., Austin, Roger, and George.

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It was an easy day to get to Cooney Lake from Martin Lakes.  All the good camps at the lake were taken so we made our camp in the meadows below the lake.

Bill Peckinpaugh bringing his gear into the campsite.

Day 2 stats: 2.6 miles, 920' climbed.

Additional stats for side trip up the Angel Staircase: 1.8 miles and 800' climbed.

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Brian and Bill P. on the Angel Staircase above Lake Cooney.

Not having hiked the Angel Staircase before, Bill P., Brian, and I headed up the trail to check it out.  There was a large snowfield that we could see from the lake, and I was worried that the trail would not be open (it was still early in the year).

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Brian on the Angel Staircase Trail - Martin Peak in the background.

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Cropped version of previous photo.

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The first pass along the Angel Staircase - we found that the trail was open (the trail skirted the snowfield that had me worried).

The signpost here marks the junction with the Sunrise Lake trail.

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View of Sunrise Lake and Merchant's Basin from the pass above Cooney Lake (Elev 7950').

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Looking West.

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On our way back down - Brian and Bill.

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Day 3: Danny, Chip, and Peter in camp pumping water.

Peter got his nickname as "Bucketfoot" by putting his foot in the Pot we had cooked supper in.  Fortunately, we had already doled out the portions.

As you can see, if you are going to hike the Chelan Summit in July there are going to be hordes of bugs!

Cascade Bill tip:  If you are going to pump water, always pump from a water jug or pail and not directly from a stream or lake.
Doing so allows sediment to settle and you can find a comfortable spot to sit while pumping. As a bonus, your filter will last much longer.

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Packing up: Shelby, Austin, Roger.

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Heading up the Angel Staircase. You can see the snowfield that had me worried.

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Brian, Bill P., Shelby, and George heading up the very steep Angel Staircase.

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View of Cooney lake from this vantage point is very spectacular.

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Standing: George, Peter, Chip, Danny, Bill P., Adam, Austin, and Roger.
Kneeling: Shelby, and Brian.

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If you look close you can see Brian's purple Jansport Pack.  He took so much crap about it we never saw it on another trip.

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When you get to the pass above Cooney Lake you groan as you see that you have another 150-200' to climb to reach the ridge above Merchant's Basin.

You can see the guys going up the trail as it crosses the talus slope just below the ridge crest.

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Chip, Peter, Adam, and Danny at the crest.  You can't see Lake Chelan from here but you can see the peaks on the western side of the lake.  
You can just make out Glacier Peak at the center as it is masked by a nearer peak on the west side of Lake Chelan.

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Once you reach the crest, the trail continues to traverse in a southerly direction before going over to the other side for the descent.
Pyramid Mountain can be seen on the opposite ridge at the center of the photo.

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Another view.

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Its a steep descent on the western side of the Angel Staircase to the junction with the Chelan Summit Trail.  This typical of the stretch north of the trail junction as the trail traverses pleasant meadows with views in all directions.
Chip, Peter, Danny Adam, George, Roger, Austin, Shelby, Bill P., and Brian.

Unfortunately, when I changed the film after this shot, it wasn't engaged and I got no pictures from here to the pass above Tuckaway Lake.

Day 3 stats (Cooney Lake to Junction Camp): 4.5 miles, 1200' climbed, 1850' dropped.
Day 4 stats (Junction Camp to camp above Surprise Lake): 7.2 miles, 2200' climbed, 2000' dropped.
Day 5 stats (Surprise Lake camp to Tuckaway basin camp): 5.1 miles, 2200' climbed, 1550' dropped.

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Hey, the camera is working again.

Roger, Austin, and Chip taking a break at the pass above Tuckaway Lake.

Some of us headed up the ridge to climb Gray Peak.  While we were away, Bill and George put a 15 pound rock in Adam's pack. (to be continued.)

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On the way to Gray Peak - we get this view of tiny Tuckaway lake, aptly named as it is truly tucked into a basin.

The previous day we had day hiked up to the lake to do some fishing for small trout.

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Another view from the ridge on the way to Gray Peak.

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Grey Peak is a "bump" along the ridge.

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If you enlarge the photo you can see the guys as stick figures along the ridge.

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Adam, Shelby, Austin, and Brian at the summit of Gray Peak.

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Looking SW from the summit - Pyramid Peak can be seen at the left side of the picture (peak with finger like snowfield extending to the ridge.

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The guys are heading back down the ridge.

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Looking north from the summit towards Tuckaway Lake.  If you enlarge to original size, you can see the packs and the guys that didn't want to climb Gray Peak.

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Looking east, we can see West Oval Lake, which is our day's destination.

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Looking south from the summit.  If you enlarge the photo to original size, you can see the old sheepherder trail as it reaches the crest of the ridge below Gray Peak.  The Chelan Summit Trail comes over the pass to the right of the peak above the snowfield at the center of the picture.

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Another view of Tuckaway Lake.

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Packs on and heading down.  We don't go on the trail that extends up to the top of the photo as that goes over the ridge to Middle Oval Lake.  You can't see the junction with the Oval Lakes Trail from here.

By the way, I wonder if Adam is feeling the extra weight!

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On the way down, a snowfield covered the trail.  Shelby took a spectualar spill along here, and Adam found a "lucky" horseshoe.

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On the way down.

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Chip and Danny - taking a dip in West Oval Lake.

When we got to the lake, we were all sitting around deciding where to set up camp, when Bill P. and George pulled big rocks of their packs (which they had just surreptitiously put in).  George looked at Adam and said, "I can take a lot of things, but this is just BULLSHIT!.  Adam said "It wasn't me, it wasn't me", and then found the big rock in his pack.  We all got a big laugh.

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The fishing was good in the lake.  We had a pool going for the biggest fish (about 25 bucks), and there were some big fish caught.  

Adam (it just wasn't his day) got a really big one on.  Bringing it in he picked up the line, and gave it a whack with his "Lucky" horseshoe.  Instead of killing the fish, he knocked it back into the water.

Day 6 Stats (including Gray Peak): 4.3 miles, 1250' climbed, 1350' dropped.

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Bill Peckinpaugh tells the story of the "Lucky" horseshoe and the rocks in the pack. - Troop 24 Kickass Trekkers 2010 reunion.

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Day 7 - heading out from our camp at West Oval Lake.

Day 7 stats (valley pounding down Oval and Eagle Creeks): 9 miles and about 4200' drop.

Trip stats (including side trips):
43 miles, 11800' climbed, and 13500' dropped.

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Cascade Bill, Austin, Shelby, Brian, Peter, Adam, Bill P., George, Danny, Chip, and Roger.

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Another view.

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The Peckinpaugh Clan:
Bill, Brian "Buckwheat" Sisk, and Austin.

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The old Farts:
Bill P., Bill M., George.

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The "kids":
Austin, Shelby, and Roger.

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The "veterans":
Bucketfoot (Peter), Danny, "Lucky" (Adam), Chip.

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George's Mountain Goat Award - showing his stats for the trip.

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