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|GuideBook||Climbers Guide to the Olympics|
|Weather||Sunny to cloudy, never cold|
|TrailConditions||Bombers to scree|
|Mailed to WacList|| |
Brooks Brainerd, Shauna Bryce, and myself ventured out to the "other" mountain range this prior weekend to ascend the south peak of The Brother's. The primary reason for climbing The Brother's is because it stands so prominate in the westward view from Seattle and demands to be climbed. It is also a pretty mellow outing with a short (timewise) approach.|
The three of us arrived at the trailhead on the Hamma Hamma river road just shy of the crack o' noon on Saturday. The total distance to the main campsites in the Valley of The Silent Men (apparently Jonathan is not allowed to visit here) is a bit over 6 miles. The first three miles (and only 1000 feet of elevation) take you to Lena Lake along a most bomber trail. The next 3+ miles and 2000 feet of vertical are along a slightly less bomber trail but still quite good. The scenary is spectacular and exactly what you would expect in the Olympics: thick trees, high forest canopy, lots of moss covered rocks, and streams cascading into pools of water. It is very pleasant.
Camp was made after just three hours of travel. Damn! Could have slept-in for a couple more hours that morning. Soon the many hours to kill before heading off to sleep became apparent. Shauna kicked things up a notch by playing the "pull my finger" joke on Brooks, who actually fell for it. He laughed and mentioned something about not being able to wait to try that one on Anne.
To further pass time we broke out the 11th and 12th Essential: the signle malt scotch Brooks brought and the wine I brought. This unfortunatley lead Brooks to regale us with exciting tales of his days at Harvard. Yawn! Apparently Brooks was quite the hooligan in his day and would routinely give those MIT savages a thrashing when they dare step on the wrong side of the Charles. When I mentioned both schools were on the same side of the Charles, Brooks lashed out with a barrage of words so intense I didn't know what to make of it. Seriously, I didn't understand a single word he said. Apparenlty my simple public school education can't compete with a Harvard trained vocabulary. Shauna attempted to "keep the peace" the only way a Montana girls knows how - firearms. I dug deep into my soul in search of a solution and found one from the college days in Santa Cruz: roll a phat one and pass it around. This did mellow everyone out and complimented the brownies Shauna brought quite well. Still, Brooks did manage to prance around the campsite singing a Harvard fight song:
Fight fiercely, Harvard, fight, fight, fight!
Impress them with our prowess, do!
Oh, fellas, do not let the crimson down,
Be of stout heart and true!
Come on chaps, fight for Harvard's glorious name,
Won't it be peachy if we win the game? (Oh goody!)
Let's try not to injure them,
But fight, fight, fight!
Sunday morning came and we headed out for the summit at the early hour of 7:30am. The first 30 to 45 minutes of travel is very straight forward: follow a trail through increasingly thick forest and steep grade until you emerge from treeline. The way is also marked with pick survey tape for the few sections where the trail is covered with avalanche debris. From here one will either be on snow or a dry river bed (currently snow). Head up in a general NW direction and vere slightly RIGHT along the way. Straight ahead is a headwall which is to be avoided. Look right and you will see an open drainage. Head in that direction and continue up. A couple narrow gullies on the left will be seen along the way and are to be avoided. The travel should be no more than 3rd class when on bare ground. Eventually you will be forced left and into a wider gulley which I have to guess is best ascended with snow present. Currently it is. Once in the gulley you should have about 1000 to 1100 feet of elevation left. Ascend the gulley and head RIGHt at the only spot available in the gulley. From here it is straight forward scrambling to the top. Ascent time was about 3.5 hours from camp. We had ZERO view from the top due to clouds. But it was warm and with zero wind allowed for a short nap before descending.
Descend the same route.
Overall the snow when present is in decent shape. It is only getting thinner, though, with the warm weather of recent. If you are thinking of doing this trip, do it sooner rather than later.
Arrived back at car a bit after 6pm and ate in Tacoma at the Rock Pasta. It is a couple streets beind the Harman's Brewery and is open late, even on Sunday. Food is pasta, pizza, calzones, etc.