Ascent to Cardinal Peak-Random Spot on 2010-07-24

Climber: Eric Noel

Date:Saturday, July 24, 2010
Ascent Type:Unsuccessful - Turned Back
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Point Reached:Cardinal Peak - Random Spot
    Elevation:4200 ft / 1280 m
    Remaining Elevation:4390 ft / 1338 m (93% left to go)

Ascent Trip Report

This is possibly the weirdest trip I have ever been on. I was originally thinking about Stuart but then I had sort of an urge to go visit Cardinal as I had never been hiking in the area between the Entiat River and Lake Chelan. Well, I did drive up to Steliko Lookout once but that doesn't count. So I headed over that way. On the way, it was very hot and the AC in my car is pretty much tapped out. So I was toasting but that's life. I got a late start around noon and hit the TH at like 4 or 5 PM. It was hot, damn hot. But I headed off in search of a P2000. I wasn't feeling so hot. Or rather I was. After a while I was getting kinda naseous so I pulled over to the side of the trail and took a break. I guess I was just dehydrated and suffering in the heat. I took a break for about an hour and then just said screw this. I didn't feel good and this was not enjoyable. So I bailed and went back to the car. Lame, I know but I just lacked the motivation to continue on. I probably should have and now I regret it. I'm sure with some rest, water and evening temps and a little elevation I would have been doing better. This was also my fault for having a hot car and not getting a reasonable start. I'm notorious for late starts when solo. At heart I'm rather lazy.

So then I went up high to car camp after driving up road 5900. Sleeping in the back of my car as is my habit. I wanted to regroup in the morning and see what I could salvage out of the weekend. I got up at some point in the night to take a leak. I stepped out of the rear driver's side door. As I was stood there in the crook between the door and the car in my half-conscious state, I suddenly became aware of some sound. It was the sound of padded feet moving in a fast rhythmic staccato. I realized that some sort of animal was running. Instinctively, I dove back into my vehicle and clumsily shut the door. I waited a few seconds, thinking that I was being sort of ridiculous and had probably just scared off a deer or something. But after a few seconds a cougar rolled up to my car. Now I reached for the door again which had not closed properly and I slammed it shut. At this noise the cougar ran off up the road and then darted into the woods. I was quite scared and considered my next move. Could the cougar get through my window? Dunno. I moved all of my junk out of the front seat so I could drive off if need be. I grabbed my ice axe and kept it by my side. I decided to stay there rather than try to drive out. So I just sat there wide awake for a while and after a few hours I went back to sleep. And it was OK. Oh, but one other thing. Of course I never did get to take my leak. And I sure as hell was not going outside the car again. Well what to do? Thankfully there was a Wendy's cup handy or else I would have had to sacrifice one of my water bottles. Naturally I used the car door on the other side of the car in case that cougar was still stalking me. I opened it oh so briefly and flung my Wendy's biggie size cup full of piss out the window. Problem solved.

Eventually it was light out and I drove off and that was that. In retrospect, I know it is very rare for cougars to attack humans. I'm not sure that this cougar was specifically trying to kill me but he certainly came up on me at at least a jog in the dark. My guess now is that because he was in front of the car most of my body was blocked by the black car door. So he may have only seen two little Eric calves which looked like KFC leg bones to this kitty. A lower leg is probably comparable in size to a rabbit or something similar that cougars like. Hence the decision to check me out. But that is just my guess, I really have no idea. All kidding aside, it was quite terrifying.

I considered hiking Pyramid the next day but I had no idea how long the trail was since I had no map for it. Plus that cougar was still out there. I wound up taking the long way out by driving down FS 5900 all the way down to Lake Chelan which is a moderately interesting but looooooooooooong drive. Then back home to where there are no big cats but there is AC.

Bizarre weekend.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:430 ft / 130 m
    Extra Gain:75 ft / 22 m
    Distance:4 mi / 6.4 km
    Trailhead:North Fork Entiat TH  3920 ft / 1194 m
    Grade/Class:Class 1
    Quality:1 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Hot, Calm, Clear

This page has been served 596 times since 2005-01-15.

Copyright © 1987-2018 by All Rights Reserved. Questions/Comments/Corrections? See the Contact Page Terms of Service