Ascent of Bismarck Peak on 2002-07-31

Climber: Fred Beavon

Date:Wednesday, July 31, 2002
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Bismarck Peak
    Elevation:7585 ft / 2311 m

Ascent Trip Report

Bismarck Peak and Pear Butte

Directions: From Chinook Pass drive east to the first paved road to the right, Bumping River Road, and go to the end of pavement at the hugh and pretty Bumping Lake. Continue on #1800 to #1808 to the Pear Butte #979 trailhead. It's was a slow 25 minute drive on the rocky road to the trailhead.

Soon after the switchbacks to obtain the ridge is an obvious rock spire on your right. I climbed it on the return. It's a bit exposed with lots of loose rock. The cairn on top had no register, so I left a plastic film container w/paper.

Continue on to Bismarck Peak Trail #983. The trail is eliminated from the 1993 Naches Ranger District Recreation Guide and their 2000 Naches Ranger District North Half topo map says the trail is not maintained. However, it's in the 1988 Naches Ranger District Trail Guide and is in fine condition. There's wooden signs on a tree indentifying the intersection. #979 disappears for 50' in a meadow near the intersection. Just bear left to pick it up again. I bore right by mistake and apparently recrossed it not knowing and continued out the ridge before coming across #983. Be sure to check out the neat looking 6126' rock spire on a connecting north ridge. I didn't, but wish I did. If it's a climb as it appears to be, instead of a scramble, perhaps one could make a first ascent? #983 now goes around Point 6816' to the left. This was taking too long for me so I backtracked and just went right over the top of 6816' to reach the saddle on the other side. Traversing Point 6816' on the right where the trail originally went, didn't look appealing. From the saddle, the first part of the scramble is a delight, the route going in and out good rock and scraggly trees. The upper half has some loose rock.

The register was placed by the Cascadians in '97. Only one signing in this year from just a few days before was Stefan Lofgren, a climbing ranger at MRNP, who said "put here here instead of Disappointment Cleaver anyday". Johnny Jeans (Jabberwocky) was here 7-10-99, Mike Torok 9-5-99 reported foggy and windy conditions with no views and was continuing on to Aix. One person mentioned there being 6" of fresh snow on July 1, 2000. Some 55 year old claimed he was the oldest one to climb it that year, but it took him three days. On the return, from the saddle I descended north around Point 6816' on trail that disappeared for ~100 feet, but I could see the main trail below me. Upon reaching the trail it continued to the right but I didn't check it out. I think it continued as another route up to the saddle.

Back at #979, I wasn't really feeling like going to minor Pear Butte, but since I didn't make it to the 6850' and 6583' Rattlesnake Peaks below Bismarck as I was hoping to, I felt I had to redeem myself and live up to the peakaddict moniker so I went on over to it. Was hoping it'd take just an hour, but it took 1 and 1/2 hours round trip. I think both Apple and Pear Lakes are in view below but I noticed only one of them. The register from '99 had not very many names, but those signing in had come from Goldendale, Grapeview, Moxee, Poulsbo and Selah. The ridge walk back was much more enjoyable, being as it was mostly downhill and I had that fun, though a bit tense, side trip up that rock spire. Ten hours round trip total. Four seemingly long hours up Bismarck. One sees good looking Bismarck all along that first ridge but it never seems to get any closer for it's on the other side of a valley from the ridge one's on. Even from the last saddle it appears a long ways up. I think Bismarck is more enjoyable than the higher Aix, but Aix had some great glissades since I did it earlier in a previous year.
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