Ascent of Lost Peak on 2020-05-28

Climber: Jeff Podmayer

Others in Party:Carolyn Blessing
Date:Thursday, May 28, 2020
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Lost Peak
    Elevation:8464 ft / 2579 m

Ascent Trip Report

Day 1 - Hike It In.
On Monday evening we hiked in after having dinner at our place in Winthrop. We started hiking around 7pm and ended up stopping just before the second bridge that crosses Robinson Creek. We passed the turnoff up towards Mt. Robinson via Beauty Creek and the trail looked to be in somewhat good condition.

Day 2 - Hike It Out.
We woke up and were packed up and walking by 8am. Just after crossing the bridge we started hitting a few blowdowns and some snow started showing up in the trees. Not too much. We came to another crossing of Robinson Creek and found a precarious log to cross it on. We sat on it and scooted across. We hit snow on the way up to Robinson Pass and started to see some footprints up towards Devil’s Peak and wondered if other folks had been out this way on the weekend. We found the sign saying Robinson Pass and headed down the trail. The trail was fairly easy to follow - especially because an animal, most likely a deer, was following the trail almost exactly and we were just following their footprints. Down towards the river, the trail was flooded for a few miles with some thin snow to walk on. We broke through the snow and were often demoralized by the feeling of soaked boots. Dang, that can be frustrating. Eventually, we climbed out of the drainage and up onto a trail that was beautifully maintained all the way to the junction. We took a break and mentally prepared for the long uphill to Lake Doris. The trail was easy to follow and became snow covered at around 5800 feet. We were happy to see Fred’s Lake and passed by an awesome little campsite there. Making our way up to the pass above Fred’s lake afforded us great views across towards Buckskin Ridge and down at the lake. We made it to the top of the pass and we were able to see some of the peaks we wanted to climb! We made our way down to Lake Doris for the night, made camp and dinner and went to sleep.

Day 3 - Energized and Excited
The night was cold and our tarp was covered in ice when I woke up in the middle of the night to pee. But, we woke up and the weather was stunning. Our plan for the day was to climb Osceola, then pack and move camp down to the headwaters of Eureka Creek, then attempt Mt. Carru and see how we felt about Mt. Lago if daylight still existed.
The climb up Osceola was pretty simple and the snow made for some really easy travel. There were some traces of some folks who skied the peak recently. I am sure this is an awesome peak to ski in the early Spring. We made it to the summit at around 9:30am, took a few photos, and then headed back down. The peak is mostly a choss pile, but the ridgeline affords for some great views on the way up. We packed up camp and started the journey into the headwaters of the Eureka Creek drainage. The trail was fairly easy to follow, but we got caught too high a few times, so we made our way back down to where the trail was. We stopped and unpacked and set up our day packs at the base of the gully that leads to the Carru- Lago Saddle and mentally prepared for the climbing ahead. We started up and were feeling tired. Eventually, after much work we found ourselves on the ridgeline to the Mt. Carru summit. Carru is a big peak….also a choss pile. We were the first folks to sign the register on Mt. Carru - probably not the first folks to be up there this year though. We made our way down the same way we came, except this time, we stayed on the ridgeline most of the time. This put us out almost at the saddle and we had a discussion about attempting Mt. Lago. It was 5:30pm and we knew that we moved at about 1000 vertical feet per hour. The summit was 1500 feet above from where we were. We decided to go for it. We kicked steps most of the way and then scrambled to the top. We made it to the top at 7pm and enjoyed the sun as it began to set. We were the second signature in the register this year - the first was the past weekend from a ski tour of a couple folks (probably the same people we saw on Osceola). We could see there ski tracked headed down the snow below. We glissaded in their ski tracks and we were back to camp before we knew it. We were tired, so we quickly made dinner and headed to bed. Phew! What a day. The views on top of all three of those peaks were stunning. We were able to see Mt. Baker and all the way south to Mt. Rainer. Wow - fully across the Cascades.

Day 4 - Half Hearted and Low Motivation
We woke up tired. We packed up camp and headed towards Shellrock Pass. The walking down low was hard. We postholed through to unseen trees for most of the first hour of hiking. We made it up to Shellrock Pass and were talking about trying to attempt Blackcap mountain. All of our conversation was pretty half hearted and we eventually decided, after way too long of a break, that we should at least try. We walked the ridgeline up to a spot where the snow got really steep and the runout was pretty scary. We just decided to turn around and were not feeling any motivation to make it to the top. Oh well…..We came back down to Shellrock Pass and collectively decided that we wanted to sleep on dry ground that night - we were getting pretty tired of having wet feet all day, every day. We made a plan to walk down into the Monument Creek Drainage and sleep down there. This whole area was burned and so we really had no idea what to expect. Our map said there was (emphasis on was) a trail there at some point. We found a way around the big cornice off the east side of Shellrock Pass and walked down the drainage until we were able to find a place to camp where we didn’t think any trees would fall on us. We made camp and ate dinner. This day we were feeling very uninspired by peaks. It may have been all of the things going on in the world that we were finally processing. The outdoors does tend to bring out the parts of you that you normally ignore or push down when you are able to have distractions away from the wilderness.

Day 5 - Feeling the Burn on Lost
We woke up and decided we would give Lost Peak a try. We had decided the day before that we were just going to climb it from the valley floor as it looked dry and would have fairly easy movement through the forest as the burned area had cleared out all of the underbrush. Just a really chill walk through the forest and then on some small talus to the summit. Great views from this peak. We are glad we did it from the valley floor instead of going over Pass Butte from Butte Pass. We headed back down and stopped at the river before we got back to camp and went swimming. First swim of the season for us! Always good to remember how refreshing cold water is. We spent a bit of time lounging by the creek and then headed back to camp, packed up, and were on our way towards Pistol Pass. The trail was really hard to follow and we did end up finding the spot where it crosses Monument Creek (we knew because we found a half burned Monument Creek sign). We were able to find a spot to cross Monument Creek just below where the drainage from Blackcap Mountain and Monument Creek meet. It wasn't too bad, but still went up to our waist at the highest for a few steps. We found the trail on the way up to Lake of the Woods and ended up camping there for the night. As we were headed to bed we remarked on the clouds that were coming in and wondered what weather that would bring. The forecast we wrote down earlier in the week showed good weather up until the end of this day - so the weather after this was unknown to us.

Day 6 - Climb a Lake and Swim in Your Sleep.
We woke up and took off around 8am to climb Lake Mountain. The air was humid and we could tell that there would definitely be some weather at some point. We climbed the east gully. Almost fully snow - except for some fun scrambling right at the top. First signature in the register this year and it has a really cool little summit register tube. At the top we could look over and see the other peaks we had climbed, as well as, a huge storm brewing over Silver Star and the Gardners. The clouds looked gnarly and we knew we had to get down pretty fast. It was obviously headed this way. As we left the summit to descend the same way we saw a few flashes of lightning and heard some thunder. We both thought we better be quick and efficient on the descent. We glissaded most of the way down. About 5 minutes from our tent we started getting poured on and so we hustled back to hunker down until the storm hopefully passed. We waited out the weather for a few hours in the tent. At around midday the sun started coming out, we packed up and kicked steps over Pistol Pass. The trail down from Pistol Pass was awesome up high. Once we started dropping down towards Eureka Creek and the Lost River, the thought of if actually crossing Eureka Creek was even possible was on our minds. We had already resigned to the idea of swimming if we needed to. About 5 minutes from the camp spot where the two waterways join another big storm rolled through. We got down there - set up our tent - took stock on the creek (didn’t look good) and decided to sleep and see what it looked like in the morning. That night we went to bed with the sound of Eureka Creek booming with the amount of water and rocks that were falling because of the amount of rainfall that had happened.

Then, of course, to continue to make it more of an adventure, we woke up at 1am with our tent flooded out because the creek had overflowed the banks and seeped its way into the campsite. Our haste in setting up the shelter because of the storm has us set up our shelter in a lower spot than a few other spots at the campsite. Of course! We moved camp and re-setup our shelter on higher ground hoping the river wouldn’t continue to rise.

Day 7 - Swim…...In Your Dreams?.....I mean….for Your Life!
We made it to the morning without getting flooded out again - but were not hopeful about the crossing. We knew that we needed to get across this river or we would end up walking back around the way we came. We thought we could ration our food enough to make it. Being Outward Bound instructors for the last 7 years…..we started weighing all of the options, risks, consequences, outcomes, feelings...etc. Ultimately, for a moment, we decided to turn around and walk back. We had gotten into the creek up to our waist and we weren’t even close to getting across. If we were going to do it - we were going to swim and we would need to swim hard. We started, sadly, back up towards Pistol Pass. About 10 minutes in we got a good overview of what the conditions down river looked like. From there, we decided to go for the swim instead. The runout looked really good for a couple hundred yards, no huge hazards, and a few big eddies to shoot for on the other side. We know both options were not the best - but success was possible with the right plan. We entered the creek a little bit above the confluence - trying to get as far into the middle as possible before entering river position (feet downstream, on your back). Then, we made it through one small rapid and swam as hard as we could towards the eddies. We made it and enjoyed the nice walk on the Monument Creek Trail out and on the road back to our car at the Robinson Creek TH. Wow….glad to be done with that - epic.

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Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3184 ft / 970 m
    Grade/Class:Class 2
    Quality:3 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Snow on Ground
    Gear Used:
Tent Camp
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3184 ft / 970 m
    Route:Western Slope
    Start Trailhead:5280 ft / 1609 m
Descent Statistics
Ascent Part of Trip: Shellrock (6 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Osceola Peak2020-05-271612 ft / 491 m
2Mount Carru2020-05-272595 ft / 791 m
3Mount Lago2020-05-271545 ft / 471 m
4Lost Peak2020-05-283184 ft / 970 m
5Lake Mountain2020-05-301771 ft / 540 m
Total Trip Gain: 10707 ft / 3263 m
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Jeff Podmayer
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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