September 22-26, 2010
Lost Peak (8464’)
——————– Summary ——————–
Golden Larch Hiking & Climbing Trip: Pasayten Mountains
Central Pasayten Loop: Pasayten River to Monument Creek
Starting Point: Robinson Creek & Robinson Pass & Middle Fork Pasayten River & Fred’s Lake & Rolo Pass & Eureka Creek & Shellrock Basin & Shellrock Pass & Monument Creek Basin & Butte Pass & Pass Butte summit & Lost Peak summit & Monument Creek & Clint’s Cabin & Creek of the Woods & Lake of the Woods & Pistol Pass & Pistol Ridge & Lost River Camp & Eureka Creek (hike & scramble)
Campsites: Middle Fork Pasayten River & Monument Creek Basin & Lake of the Woods & Lost River Camp
Sidetrip: Lake Doris (hike)
Summit: Pass Butte (climb via West Ridge)
Summit: Lost Peak (climb via Northwest Ridge; descent via Southwest Ridge)
Summit: North Pistol Peak attempt (climb to false summit via Southwest Ridge)
——————- Full Report ——————–
I just returned from a wonderful 5-day swing through the center of the Pasayten Wilderness with Eileen, Fay, Doug H, Kevin W, Kevin K, Maria, and Lisa L (who joined us for the second half). Our weather pretty well matched the forecast: it ran the gamut from warm and sunny to cold and snowy. The higher larches were golden but not quite at their prime. We also experienced a few mishaps along the way. Thanks to a great group, though, it was a fun and successful trip.
Day 1: We dropped a car at the Monument Trailhead, then drove 2 miles up-valley to the Robinson Creek Trailhead. Under sunny skies, the 9-mile hike to Robinson Pass went quickly. We descended the other side about 3 miles to reach a campsite beside the Pasayten River shortly before dark.
Day 2: It rained briefly during the night, and intermittent showers continued all day long. We hiked farther down-river, then up past Fred’s Lake and over 7100’ Rolo Pass. Several more hours got us past Eureka Creek and fog-bound Shellrock Basin, then up to 7500’ Shellrock Pass. Mt Lago, Blackcap Peak, and other surrounding peaks wafted in and out of view at the whim of the low-hanging clouds. We dropped into Monument Creek Basin and set up camp next to a tarn just at nightfall. Eileen coaxed some welcome flames from soggy wood, which helped ease the damp chill, but we all retired early to the sound of spitting rain and sleet.
Day 3: At 7:00am, I peered out of the tent, fearing the worst. What a delight it was to see morning sun on snow-dusted rocks and heather!
We had a group breakfast before Fay packed up and headed off to climb Trailblazer Peak and Many Trails Peak. An hour later, the rest of us followed her tracks up to Butte Pass for views, then we split into two groups.
Maria and Eileen planned to hike down the Monument Creek Trail and back up to Lake of the Woods.
Meanwhile, Doug, the Kevins and I did a carryover ascent of Pass Butte and Lost Peak. The high ridges were snowy, cold, and wind-blasted, making for a “full conditions” feel on this technically easy climb.
While descending the west ridge, we made radio contact with Eileen and Maria, who were heading cross-country to Lake of the Woods but having trouble finding the lake among the dense forest.
We eventually all hooked up on the trail and finished the day by headlamp. Lisa was waiting for us at the lake, next to a welcome fire, after having hiked up Pistol Ridge earlier in the day. Our eighth member–Fay–was camped way up Monument Creek this night.
Day 4: We awoke to blue skies and mild temps. Lisa, Kevin, Kevin, and Doug scrambled up Lake Mountain after breakfast while Maria, Eileen and I packed up and headed over Pistol Pass.
This was our first day for really good views, and we soaked it in. Eileen and I made a sidetrip 95 percent of the way up North Pistol Peak (ending atop a subsidiary crag–DOH!!). By 3:00pm, our Lake Mountain contingent and Fay had come over Pistol Pass, so all eight of us were able to reconnect on Pistol Ridge. We descended the abandoned ridge-crest trail to a large, inviting campsite at the confluence of Lost River and Eureka Creek. Everyone was a good sport about eating dinner in the dark…for the fourth consecutive night.
Day 5: We had a leisurely morning in camp before making the easy ford of Eureka Creek and hiking out to the Monument Trailhead. Having only a short hike on this sunny morning was a delightful ending to this terrific trip.
Stats: ~45 miles total; ~13,500 feet gained and lost.
——————– Photo Gallery (click to enlarge) ——————–