Ascent of Dome Peak on 1995-08-20
|Others in Party:||Paul|
Ken (stayed at camp)
|Date:||Sunday, August 20, 1995|
|Ascent Type:||Successful Summit Attained|
| Elevation:||8920 ft / 2718 m|
Ascent Trip ReportSaturday, August 19, 1995:
I woke up at 5 AM, quickly dressed and stuffed some food in my face, and left my apartment in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood at 5:15 AM. By 5:30 I was underneath I-5 at the 65th Street Park and Ride, where, shortly, the six of us going on the trip to Dome Peak assembled. They were:
Ken, the trip's leader. He was a grizzled veteran of Cascade climbing and worked at Boeing.
Paul, designated by Ken as deputy leader. Tall and strong, he had extensive climbing experience, from the Cascades to Broad Peak (8000m) in Pakistan.
Jeff M, an intermediate student signed on as a rope leader. Originally from Pittsburgh, he was an out-of-work (by choice) engineer using his free time to make some progress through the demanding list of intermediate course requirements.
Jeff S, but looked and acted much, much younger. I think he, too, was an intermediate student, and he was an avid amateur photographer.
Chuck, the least talkative of our group, he had just finished his Ph.D. in biostatistics at the University of Washington. A very experienced Cascade climber, I think that he, too, was an intermediate student.
Myself, a mere basic equivalent on only my third Mountaineers climb, and my third non-volcanic Cascade climb.
Dome Peak is located just north of Glacier Peak, in the heart of a huge, wild, roadless, trailless wilderness area. At 8920 feet it ranks between 18th and 22nd highest in Washington State, depending on the criteria used, and it dominates totally the Cascade Crest area between Glacier Peak and Cascade Pass. Not too technically difficult, the main obstacle to a climb of Dome is its remoteness, as we were to find out.
We decided to take just two cars, so Ken, Chuck, and Paul piled into my ancient Volvo wagon while the two Jeffs went in Jeff S's old Nissan hatchback. I bought gas at the Arco across from the Park and Ride lot, noticing how low my car was riding with all the people and packs in it and hoping that it would make it up a supposedly terrible dirt road to the trailhead.
It was very overcast as I drove north on I-5 out of Seattle and chatted occasionally with the three others in my crowded, loaded-down car, and just before I exited at Arlington it started sprinkling. I drove east on WA 530 towards Darrington as it rained heavily, and we were all thinking about maybe just forgetting the trip, or hiking a few miles and then maybe electing to bag it. Paul wanted some coffee, so we had to stop in a restaurant in the remote logging town of Darrington in the pouring rain--the rest of us used the restroom or got our own coffee.
I turned of WA 530 just past a one-lane, traffic-lighted bridge onto the Suiattle River Road, which, much to my relief, was paved for the first 12 miles. When the dirt section finally started, it wasn't bad at all, and by 8 AM or so I had arrived at the Downey Creek trailhead. Compared to the rutted, washboarded, potholed access roads I had taken my car up in the Rockies, this road had been a superhighway.
The rain had stopped, but it was still very overcast and foggy. I repacked my pack so everything was in a plastic bag, got changed, and soon we were all ready to go. We knew we had a long, long way to our campsite, so by 8:30 AM we started up the trail, Ken in the lead. He set a good, steady pace, and we all seemed to move along well with no problems. The Downey Creek trail started with a couple wide switchbacks through old-growth forest, then ascended very gradually for miles and miles while crossing the occasional brook.
The trail started out in great shape, but after about three miles obstacles became more and more frequent: fallen logs across the trail, muddy patches, and areas of dense bushes. It only rained on us for about ten minutes, so we stayed mostly dry, but the dense vegetation everywhere was wet, getting our legs, boots, and packs pretty sopped. We took rests every hour or so, where we would adjust clothing, put more plastic bags on things, and nibble food. We all chatted intermittently among ourselves, usually with whomever was in front or behind us in line, with most of the talk outside of the usual what-do-you-do stuff being about climbing--where have you climbed, what routes are cool, etc. We did manage to engage in a running conversation about Mike Tyson, his upcoming fight, and the brutality of boxing compared to other sports.
After 6.6 miles and about four hours we had arrived at Bachelor Creek, a major tributary to Downey Creek. We had only climbed 1000 vertical feet, but the last couple miles of trail had been pretty muddy and brushy. We crossed Bachelor Creek by shimmying across a slippery log and then took a long rest. This was the end of the maintained trail, and we now had to find the obscure path up the jungly Bachelor Creek valley. Chuck was the only one of us who had been up this way, and his party had turned back after they got lost in miserable brush trying to find the Bachelor Creek route.
Paul and Ken found a good path, though, leading uphill from the confluence, and we chugged on up. At first the path wasn't too bad, either, as it switchbacked up the initial steep slope through dark, deep forest. Fallen logs were the only real problem until after our first rest, when the trail became more obscure, muddy and brushy. The only good thing was the weather seemed to be improving--patches of blue sky could be seen among the heavy clouds, which seemed to be lifting.
By midafternoon the trail up the Bachelor Creek valley was a faint path passing through dense thickets of brush in avalanche slide areas. Forcing our way through these matted thickets felt like jungle exploration--a machete would have been a big help. Instead, we just bulldozed our way through, the path offering marginally less resistance than the surrounding vegetation. We took turns going first, since the guy breaking trail got most of the remaining water on him, plus had to carefully follow the obscure route. After getting a couple tiny thorns in my hands, I used my forearms as battering rams to clear my path, glad that I was wearing my long johns to protect my arms and legs.
After one particularly miserable uphill stretch of this jungle we came to a trail junction, where one branch went downhill to cross Bachelor Creek. I scouted this out, and the creek looked hard to cross, mostly because it was in a dense thicket with low headroom. Ken had heard from someone that it was better to take a shortcut through timber and not cross the creek, so, discouraged by the brush, we decided to head for the forest we could see up to our left and forget trying to ford the creek.
However, the path leading up there soon petered out, and we found ourselves thrashing around in trailless, head-high brush of thorn bushes, devil's club, and slide alder. Jeff S. struck off on his own to try to find forest, but Paul and Ken somehow found easier going off another way, and after more bushwhacking of the most miserable sort we all came together onto a ridge of open old-growth forest. Here the going was a hundred times easier, and I led our group uphill through the refreshingly open, mossy forest floor, staying as far right as possible without going back into the brush. It looked to me that we were almost up and out of the Bachelor Creek valley.
As the terrain flattened out we approached the brook, just to our right, and Paul crossed it on a log bridge, scouting around. I hadn't been looking at the maps while others discussed our route, since I was the one with the least amount of North Cascade experience, so I didn't realize that we had to be on the other side of the creek to get up out of the valley, and I was surprised when Paul found a clear path just across the log. We all walked over and were soon following the same path we had abandoned back at the earlier crossing. There was no more impenetrable brush, but the path was still very overgrown, with lots of fallen log detours and muddy stretches.
Ken went first as the trail started ascending more and more--he seemed very tired by our long day, but determined to make one more big push. I followed, very discouraged as we climbed higher and higher. I knew that once we got up and out of the jungly Bachelor Creek ravine we still had to drop down 600 feet to Cub Lake, and then possibly ascend another 900 feet to the optimal campsite on Itswoot Ridge. This was turning into a very long and tiring day.
At long last sky beckoned through the thinning trees ahead, and we crested a ridge, but it was not the top of the ravine--it was simply a minor transverse hogback guarding a small, hidden valley of meadows in the far upper reaches of the Bachelor Creek valley, with the real valley edge towering above us. A minute after we crested Ken threw his pack down at a rough campsite surrounded by low trees, and, knowing that we were overdue for a rest, we all followed suit. Ken surprised us, though, by announcing that this was our campsite for the night. He was beat, it was after 6 PM, we had done about 11 miles and 4000 vertical uphill feet of tough terrain, so we didn't argue.
Chuck had brought a floorless Chouinard Pyramid tent, and he, Jeff M, and Ken used that or bivvy sacks for shelter. Paul shared Jeff S's small tent, and I had brought my own small North Face to use for myself--a luxury worth the weight of hauling the whole thing uphill with no help. We set up our tents, fired up a stove (one of which I had carried), boiled water for various people's dehydrated meals, and explored the area. Some of us went ahead on the trail to see how far it was to Cub Lake Pass, the upper ridge of the valley we had been in all afternoon, but it seemed pretty far. The creek was a one-minute walk down to swampy meadows below the tent, and I filtered some water there. My dinner was some dehydrated beef plus a bunch of cold food, the bulk of what I brought.
The mosquitoes were fierce as we hung out around the stove, sitting on the ground or on logs Paul and I had retrieved from around the area. We talked more, mostly about tomorrow's climb (wake up agreed for 4 AM) and weather (looking better and better), plus whatever else came to mind, mostly other mountains and climbs. At dusk Jeff S. went off with his camera to hike up to Cub Lake Pass to take some pictures with his fancy Canon camera, and Paul and I went across the meadow below to hang our food up in a tree. By 9 PM I was alone in my tent, organizing my gear for tomorrow. I fell asleep easily once the concern over Jeff S.'s return or lack thereof died down. I slept well, and it was a warm night, so I didn't need to zip up my sleeping bag or put on a hat.
Sunday, August 20, 1995:
My alarm chirped me awake at 4 AM, and I opened my tent up to look out at my companions stirring under a clear, star-filled sky. I couldn't find my headlamp, though, for a minute, until I realized that I had slept all night with it still on my head. I put on my boots, and was getting my pack together when Ken came by and told me that he wasn't going to the summit with the rest of us--his back was acting up, and he designated Paul as leader in his stead.
I was hungry, so I went over to the hanging food bag in the dark and retrieved the heavy sacks alone, then went over to the stove area and ate my cold carbo-filled breakfast while the others had their coffee and oatmeal. I had my pack ready to go in the pre-dawn darkness first, and by 5:15 AM the five of us hit the trail, leaving Ken behind to wait for us. We knew it was a long way to the summit, due to our early stop yesterday, so we told Ken we'd probably be back after 7 PM--he said he'd start to worry at 7:30.
The trip to the summit was a long, long trip. First we hiked along the hogback we had camped on for almost a mile as it steadily ascended to Cub Lake Pass at 5900 feet. Jeff S. had been up a side path to a viewpoint yesterday while photographing, and everyone but me went up to scout out the route--I found a nearby grove to use as a bathroom instead. I guess it looked like there was no way to avoid a 600-foot loss of elevation by contouring, so we followed the good trail that led steeply down to Cub Lake on switchbacks. The grassy/scrubby/rocky slope was extremely steep, with poor, slippery, and treacherous footing in a couple places.
After dropping like a rock to the lakeshore, the path almost went into the water at one point before forcing us to scramble over some huge tree roots to a flat, grassy spot at the north outlet of the lake. Here we saw the only other sign of other people during the first two days of our trip, a quiet tent pitched nearby. After a rest here we started uphill towards Itswoot Ridge, happy that the sun still hadn't hit us yet. There was a good path for most of this 1000-foot climb, and the first part of it was across marshy meadows cut by numerous small brooks, but the second part was a very steep uphill grind on a route that was often muddy or marked by sections of loose rock.
We finally gained the crest of Itswoot Ridge at about 6300 feet, where I got my first view of Dome Peak itself: a massive, snow encrusted ridge of crags and spires, not looking much like a dome at all. It looked far, far away as the sun just came up over its highest twin horns. It was about 8:30 AM or so, and all 5 of us were moving along well and staying together--we were all in very good shape, happily--but we realized that we were starting from a campsite a long ways back. The day was perfect, though, with not one cloud in the sky.
After a rest, we started traversing across the wide, rocky, treeless basin of upper Spire Creek, crossing many small brooks, talus areas, small snowfields, and narrow ravines. There was a very intermittent path that finally died totally halfway across, and we stayed as high as possible while skirting underneath large rock buttresses coming down from the craggy ridge to our left. The snowfields were kind of hard and crunchy, but we didn't bother with crampons or ice axes yet. The biggest obstacle was a brook flowing over slippery slabs we crossed just before ascending to the crest of small, gravelly moraine.
We had gained no elevation since Itswoot Ridge, instead going up and down a lot while traversing, and we had to start going up. There were snowfields above us, and Paul decided that we should go for one up to our right instead of a closer one up to our left which he felt might lead to a dead end. So we scrambled up blocky talus a bit, something I was certainly used to and the others had no real problem with--it was actually pretty stable as talus fields went.
At the base of the snowfield we put our crampons on and started uphill, easier now on the uniform surface of the snow still hard from the overnight freeze. After a bit the snowfield got very, very steep, and whoever was leading (most of us, myself included, took turns kicking the initial steps) had to switchback up the slope. Chuck tried a route over to the right more, but the rest of us carefully cramponed up the 40 degree slopes carefully to the rounded top of a snow ridge. The run-out was good if we had fallen, so we weren't too concerned.
The snow slope got less steep up higher, although there were still some steep sections, and the sun had softened the snow to the point where our crampons were getting clogged, so Paul had us take them off at a rest stop. We were making good, steady progress up the basin, and the views were staring to open up dramatically--Glacier Peak dominated the view to the south, with peaks such as Sloan, Rainier, and Eldorado visible in the distance on this perfect day.
After a short snowy traverse under a rock buttress Paul told me to find a place on the rocks where we could rope up, since I was leading the group in switchbacking up the snow at the time. We stopped at some rocks and put on our harnesses, tied in to a rope, and got all our prussik slings tied on. Paul led one rope with Jeff S. and Chuck, while I was second on a two-man rope led by Jeff M.
We set off across the Dome Glacier, which was not much different from the snowfields we had just been on--there were only a few crevasses visible in the middle of the wide white expanse. I guess that the heavy snowfall of the previous winter was keeping most of the cracks in the ice underneath thickly covered. Paul led us across the largely flat lower glacier, then started uphill underneath the southwest ridge of Dome Peak, notable for its "cannonhole", a large natural window that had formed in the rock of the ridge.
On the glacier the snow became pretty miserable, with a thick breakable crust over softer stuff underneath, making each step a posthole--the leader usually broke down a foot or so, and the rest of us enlarged and deepened this footstep. Paul got tired leading, so Jeff M. took over, he and I passing the others. Jeff M. postholed his way up to the very top of the glacier, passing through a welcome area of shade from the brilliant sun, and finally brought us to a steep slope of mixed rocks and snow that led to a notch just to the left of the summit block. He continued up this slope, kicking deep steps in the high-angle snow, before he and I took a rest on some rocks.
Paul's rope team passed us, and then Jeff and I followed. On this section we held the rope in coils to keep us closer together, and soon we had switchbacked to the top of the snow and rock slope. At the top of this we continued up a snowy ridge, our progress slow because of rope management and people taking rests. But this slope was very short, and soon we had arrived at the very top apex of the slope, a pinnacle of rocks that turned into a knife-edged rocky ridge. We were way up there, and it looked like there was no more climbing to be done.
We took a rest here and decided that the highest peak was about 200 horizontal feet further, along the exposed ridge--this mountain had thrown so much at us that we knew that the final summit could not be attained easily. We saw the southwest summit, 40 feet lower, a long and difficult traverse away on sheer rock, and we couldn't tell if the horn we were on or the one 200 feet away was higher, but guidebooks, route notes, and common sense told us that we had to make it over to the nearby peak.
The 200 feet of ridge didn't look too bad--it was very exposed class 3 stuff, maybe class 4, with huge drops off both sides. I had done stuff like that before, and I think that I could have climbed it unroped and solo, as could have the others in our strong, experienced party. But we had ropes and stuff with us, one slip would have meant instant death, and Paul didn't know what kind of rock climbers Chuck, Jeff, Jeff, and myself were, so he decided to protect the route.
So the final ridge traverse turned into a real production. We all dropped our packs, Paul, Jeff S., and Chuck unroped, and then Paul was belayed out across the ridge to just below the large summit block. This rope was then established as a fixed line, and we all clipped into it with a sling and carabiner and climbed across, one after the other. Jeff M. and I came across next to each other, since we were still roped together. The "climbing" on this first traverse was trivial.
All 5 of us were now about 30 feet below the top of the final summit block, and again Paul led while being belayed from below, using the rope Jeff and I had been tied into. He was running out of camming devices and slings--we hadn't brought very many, since we weren't anticipating a rock climb--but he still placed a friend in a crack halfway up the block. After that, a short scramble across a flat rock on the very crest brought him to the summit. We all followed, clipped in to the fixed line. There was a reasonably tricky move, which Paul insisted was class 5, to get up to the crest, but I had no problems at all. I was pleased with how easy I found this "rock climbing"--I had by far the least rock experience of the five of us, yet was doing much better on this stuff than Jeff S. of Jeff M., the latter having said that he was a 5.10 climber at one point.
At the summit we all clipped in to the pro Paul had set, but didn't stay long. Time was getting short--it was 2 PM already--and we had left our packs back at the forepeak. I had brought my camera and some Pop-Tarts in my pockets, though, so I alone took pictures and had a snack. My ancient Olympus XA camera had been giving me problems all trip with the shutter, but I still managed a bunch of summit shots, including a self-timed group picture. Sadly, all of the summit pictures didn't come out--the negatives were just blank whitespace--forcing me to finally decide to retire my venerable old camera a few days later.
We could see a fantastic number of summits. Baker, Shuksan, peaks in Canada, Silver Star, Goode, Eldorado, Buckner, Logan, Bonanza, Maude, Fernow, Sloan, and faraway Stuart were visible, and, in the Olympics, the Brothers and Constance. Glacier Peak dominated the near view, but blocked 90% of Rainier. Although clear and beautiful, distant haze hid volcanoes south of Rainier and the Puget Sound shoreline.
We returned to our packs along the exposed rock ridge without incident. Paul had us all tie into the fixed lines with a sliding prusik along with a runner, for greater security in case of a fall. I was next to last across, just before Paul, and I belayed him twice while he brought in the fixed ropes and cleaned our route of the protection. The route just off the summit was a rather exhilarating twenty-foot stroll on a very narrow knife edge falling away hundreds of feet on both sides--good balance definitely came in handy. Back at out packs we took twenty minutes to sort through all the climbing gear, get roped back up for glacier travel, get our packs back on, and other chores. By 2:30 PM or so we were finally ready for the descent.
We went much, much faster on our way down than we had coming up. The hot afternoon sun on this cloudless day had turned all the snow into a soft, deep mush, and once down the steep mixed snow/rock slope and on the glacier, we really booked. Paul, Jeff S., and Chuck went first on the top part of glacier, but Jeff M. and I passed them for the easy hike along the lower, flat part. We reached the rocky area where the glacier ended and removed our ropes and harnesses, another long rest while we futzed with gear. We then took off on what is always the best part of a snowy descent--glissading down the snowfields. There were a few traverses, but we found a number of big snowpatches where we could rip off some awesome standing glissades--as an experienced skier with good knees, I was the fastest at skiing atop the mush on just my boot soles. I and a couple others fell once or twice, but self-arresting in the soft snow was trivial, and after getting up we'd just continue on down, glissading or in huge, sliding plunge steps.
We ran out of snowfield just above a small rocky moraine where we had rested on the way up, and from there started the long, tiring traverse over to Itswoot Ridge. It was a mixture of talus, grassy slopes, slippery slabs, and small, icy snowfields, the last of which made me get my ice-axe back out for safety after a planned short slip on the first one. We were staying together well, despite taking different routes across the one major brook we had to cross, a wide, shallow stream flowing under a pile of weird snow blocks and over bare rock slabs.
We finally found the faint path that led us up a short way to the top of Istswoot Ridge, where we rested a bit. Here Jeff S. wanted to hang out a bit and set up his tripod and camera, so Paul OK'd the idea, leaving him behind as the rest of us--Paul, Jeff M., Chuck, and myself--followed the well-defined trail down towards Cub Lake. Jeff S. said he'd be back at camp by 9 PM, but I privately wondered about the wisdom of breaking up our group like that--the technical terrain was behind us, but we were still a long way from help of any kind and the trail back to camp was pretty rugged. Jeff S. sure liked to strike out on his own, which he seemed to be doing a lot.
Despite our fatigue and the steep, rough talus section of path, the four of us reached Cub Lake in forty minutes or so. At the lakeshore we took a rest, noticed that the tent from this morning was gone, and spied Jeff S. descending from Itswoot Ridge a half-hour behind us, and Paul even scrambled up to a small hillside cave to investigate a mysterious orange object which turned out to be an abandoned sleeping bag. The mosquitoes got bad after a few minutes, so we soon started up the fantastically steep, switchbacking path up to Cub Lake Pass, the last uphill of the trip for us. It was a miserable, heartbreaking grid, but we were all in awesome physical condition, even, much to my surprise, me, and I even passed everyone and made it to the top first, taking about twenty minutes for the 650 vertical feet.
Chuck was right behind me, and he took off down towards our campsite while I took a short rest. I followed him as soon as Paul and Jeff M. arrived, and after ten minutes or so I was right behind Chuck on the easy, gentle downhill through meadow and sparse forest. As soon as we were together we ran into Ken, up on a reconnaissance to find us, since it was almost 7 PM, the time we were expected to return. We chatted with Ken a bit, telling him about our successful climb, before I left alone--my feet were in great pain after an extremely long and tough day, and I really wanted to get back to camp.
I arrived back at about 7:15 PM and took off my boots first thing. Chuck arrived ten minutes later, followed by Paul, Jeff M., and Ken. The stove was fired up, and we all ate some dinner and did our camp chores--I organized gear, put on insect repellent, filtered water, ate some dehydrated chicken and cold food, and sat and rested on a rock. Ken told us about his less-than-thrilling day: he had napped in Jeff's tent, then my tent when it had gotten too hot, then sat around and swatted black flies and mosquitoes for several hours. He hiked up to Cub Lake Pass twice, once at noon or so and then again to go and meet us. He also aired out our sleeping bags and clothes for us.
Jeff S. came back by sunset without incident, and by 9 PM I had crawled into my tent for a restful sleep.
Monday, August 21, 1995:
I awoke to the sounds of others at about 6 AM as the sun was rising on another clear, cloudless day. We were all up soon, and by 7:15 AM we had eaten breakfast, taken down our tents and bivvys, distributed the common gear (I took a stove), and packed our full packs back up. We hit the trail, all of us (except Ken) still somewhat tired from yesterday. I was pretty footsore--not with blisters, but with large, red tender areas, particularly on the inside of my heels.
We hiked down the 4000 vertical feet and 11 miles through jungly forest on faint paths without major incident. We avoided the detour we had made yesterday, following the path past the brook crossing to open forest--instead of the forest and a short patch of trailless thicket, we subjected ourselves to muddy trail and a long, long stretch of dense vegetation in our faces where a machete would have come in handy. The morning dew got us all, especially the one going first, somewhat wet.
This path led us to the crossing of Bachelor Creek, which I had seen on Saturday from the other side. The brook was just deep and wide enough to make everyone but me take off their boots and wade. Blessed with longest legs in the group, I jumped across, getting just one boot toe a little wet as I careened into the far bank after two long stride-jumps. I had to wait in the dark, green tunnel of overhanging vegetation while everyone else dried off their feet and put their boots back on.
Once across we found Saturday's path down through more dense brush, but after a while the patches of thicket became smaller and more infrequent. Once past the worst of the brush we still had a long way down to the main trail at Downey Creek, and climbing over the innumerable logs that had fallen over the trail in the years since it had last seen maintenance was very tiresome.
For the most part we all stayed pretty much together, sometimes getting mildly separated into random groupings, and near the bottom of the Bachelor Creek path I was in front, with Ken and Jeff M. behind me, when the trail suddenly came upon the wide Downey Creek flowing beneath us. I didn't remember this, and as the trail dropped to the creekside and started making its very rough and brushy way along the bank we all agreed that we had somehow gotten on to the wrong branch of the trail.
Ten minutes of rough travel along the creek, helped at one point by two long, wide logs that provided a highway over the mud and brush, brought us to the Downey/Bachelor creek junction, where Paul, Jeff S., and Chuck were waiting--they had somehow found the easier path that took them directly down, and we agreed that I must have made the wrong turn after one of the innumerable detours around fallen logs.
While resting here I saw the first people from outside our group since leaving the trailhead, two biologists who were off across Downey Creek. Ken had seen two rangers while waiting at the campsite yesterday, and the summit group had seen a tent at Cub Lake, but I hadn't yet seen actual people myself. Not long after taking off from our rest we saw a young couple on the trail at a confusing log detour spot, and that was it for the whole trip.
The rest of the hike, down the steadily improving Downey Creek Trail, was uneventful. We all trudged along the 6.6 miles, stopping about 3 times for rests and staying together pretty well--I passed a lot of the time hiking behind Paul and talking to him about his mountain adventures, including an attempt on Broad Peak in the Karakoram.
By the time we were a couple miles from the trailhead the Downey Creek Trail had become a veritable highway, wide, flat, and free of logs, mud, and brush, but I was still tired from too many miles and too many vertical feet over the past three days. Alone I took one last rest to give my aching feet a breather, and by the time I had caught up to the group ten minutes later they were at the trailhead sign-in register. We all staggered over to the car and happily took off our boots and changed into clean clothes while oohing and aahing. My feet were pretty raw and tender.
We were back at the cars at about 2:15 PM, seven hours down from the campsite. Ken's trip description said that it was "5 to 7 hours down from Cub Lake", a good mile further in than our campsite, and we had been hiking pretty fast, so we really had to wonder about that. Indeed, we all agreed that the entire trip had been more than we had bargained for, and we were the first Mountaineer party to summit Dome Peak in the past four attempts.
Paul, Chuck, and Ken piled into my Volvo, and Jeff and Jeff followed me as I drove down the Suiattle River Road, through Darrington, and on to Arlington and I-5, where we stopped for a group post-trip dinner at Denny's. Here I got $5.00 in gas money from Ken, Paul, and Chuck as we waited in a long line to pay for our separate checks. An hour or so later both cars pulled into the 65th Street Park and Ride in Seattle at about the same time, and we all said goodbye and split up. I gave Paul a short ride over to his house on Green Lake, got a cheap, ineffective car wash to get the dirt road dust off of my car at the U-District Texaco, and I was home by 6 PM or thereabouts. After unpacking I was asleep by 9 PM.
|Photo: Dome Peak and the Dome Glacier from Itswoot Ridge.|
|Summary Total Data|
| Elevation Gain:||8720 ft / 2656 m|
| Extra Gain:||620 ft / 188 m|
| Trailhead:|| Downey Creek Traihead 1440 ft / 438 m|
| Grade/Class:||Class 4|
| Quality:||8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)|
| Route Conditions:||Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack, Stream Ford, Scramble, Rock Climb, Snow Climb, Glacier Climb|
| Gear Used:||Ice Axe, Crampons, Rope, Tent Camp|
| Weather:||Pleasant, Calm, Clear|
|GPS Data for Ascent/Trip|
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