Ascent of Opportunity Mountain on 2020-08-16

Climber: Patty Cokus

Others in Party:Sean Albert -- Trip Report or GPS Track
(The Dog) Ava
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Sunday, August 16, 2020
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Opportunity Mountain
    Elevation:7502 ft / 2286 m

Ascent Trip Report

Long story But will try to be short....Or not

Sue and I had plans to finish Ragged Ridge. I had taken off Friday but on Thursday Sue received beta there was water in the gully up from Cosho camp that was making the 4th class steps treacherous and not recommended. So we bailed on Cosho/Kimtah last minute, revised plans with no prep time for Horseshoe (and Buckner for me as Sue had done) via the lower waterfall route into the Upper Horseshoe basin.

We were up early Friday and drove out, got Horseshoe Basin permit, tried for breakfast at Mondo and then Eatery but all was closed for breakfast (covid times) so after getting minimal food at the gas/convenience store started driving to TH when I got extremely nauseous and sick feeling. Got to TH, parking was insane, and bailed because I really didn’t feel well and neither of us wanted to do that route if I wasn’t 100% and there is the possibility of c.... needless to say we Left and as a consolation since the road was now open to Hwy 20 at Rockport so stopped at Cascadian Farms for blueberries and blueberry icecream (prepacked in a to go dish only) and came home Friday afternoon. I rested (as best I could with Sean working on the house painting/scraping) and ate a small amount for dinner...not sure what it was but I didn’t have a fever and seemed to get better after rest so I then decided I was ok and went with Sean and Ava Sat/Sun. She went on Spire mt trip on Sat.

Sean’s plans were to head out to Leavenworth area, Chatter Creek to Frosty and Opportunity peaks - but due to factors including me, starting later, and the heat we scaled back to just Opportunity. It was a bit more strenuous than I had anticipated, especially with the heat but we all managed.

Saturday- left Tukwila just before 7am and Chatter creek TH was full so parked the van just a bit up the road. Started hiking about 10am. Lots of water breaks to drink and keep Ava dunked and as cool as possible. Gotta pay attention when she stops on her own in a shade spot...So had to take a longer rest break in a little shade spot along the steep trail up to the first pass before dropping down. More snow stays in that valley section than one would think so mice for Ava to eat some snow and cool her paws. Got to Lake Edna below Cape Horn & Ladies Pass and despite the giant horse flies and numerous little black flies we all got a swim in to cool off. Lovely lake and last time we were here it was totally frozen over around July 4th a few years ago and we had some of the worst wind overnight had ever had. I think around 3pm. Decided to keep going up to Ladies pass, great views including of Opportunity and talked about our planned route, and to drop down to either Brigham or Flora lake to camp. Did see two people heading down switchbacks we assumed would probably camp as well at either lake. Took our time descending and passed Brigham lake (didn’t see obvious trail to it) and passed a horse camp, and went to Flora lake - passed a closed for restoration trail and then a bit after found a trail in the woods leading to the lake. Found the younger couple we had seen on the switchback setting up camp here in a big open flat spot. We checked out the water access as they suggested then headed around and found another nice big flat slightly more wooded Shaded spot. Also NOTE there is a toilet right by here. Always a nice to have. Set up camp around 5pm, Ava had a nice swim, access to lake from our spot had lots of various sized logs and some floating so when pumping water I did make one bad choice and put my foot slightly in the water. Luckily my approach shoes are leather and it was ok. With Ava in the tent and bugs far more bearable than previous trips this year (very few mosquitos mostly black flies and GIANT horseflies as big as the BD logo on the tent...that hurt a lot when they bite but do tend to be Slow enough you can smack them off). With head nets on We hung out watching lots of fish jumping and saw some nice sized ones swimming around even right close by...fisherman take note! - until the sun went behind the peaks and we were hungry enough for dinner. No stove brought - GIANT Chipotle burrito for Sean and a rice bowl in a bag for me with My newfound GF tortillas that don’t crumble and the wax paper between does work to keep them from sticking together. Warm night.

Sunday - hiking by 6:15am. Headed down switchbacks and then into valley With gorgeous morning light - streams and light brushiness until into More into forest. Saw a decently open spot to head off trail but went down a bit further to check...seemed a bit more choked with slide alder so returned to the first spot which went well. Mostly found game trails to follow or just path of least resistance up. Some fairly steep mostly in beginning and only a bit of downed trees Here and there to navigate. Mostly better than I had thought. Came out of deeper brush forest with more open. Streams or creek beds here and there. Making upwards and rightwards progress. Found obvious ramp weakness and ascended easy slopes to hug rock wall rightward traverse to avoid steeper into a flat spot with gorgeous running streams, meadows and marmot heaven. Quick step up into a larger flat basin with bigger tarns. Sean has seen what he thought were tarns on google earth and considered camp up there...would be well earned and quite a bit of solitude...Would need more than 1 night out for that for me. Easy travel up to ridge and summit for a rarely climbed peak. Cool to see back to Flora lake and Ladies pass and Beyond. What a stunning area and we appreciate the stillness. Snowgrass and looking at the terrain some reports said they traversed you avoid the brush....we all make different choices. Tons of smaller flying ants were covering rocks at the summit... There was a teeny tiny Pvc tube summit placed in 2005 by of course Fay Pullen confirming the peak is rarely climbed. We got on page two of the small papers. Summit around 10am I think. Dropped down to flat meadowy tarns for a snack and filter water, 10:45... Ava swam to cool off. Descended same and felt actually a bit harder going down than up once back to steeper lower section. Slipped and slid down spots and after Ava was not listening and treeing chippers or the like we put on leash but Sean slid into her on accident so off again for her. She isn’t as young though any not and with the heat I worry. Noticed her legs shaking (for real) and also like she was favoring her front left. Quick inspection found her large paw pad missing a huge layer....bandaged up with vet wrap and some athletic tape then luckily I had brought the new booties Danielle had given us after their ‘pup’ had passed. Definitely a useful item thankful to have. At this point we only had 200 ft left to drop to the trail so very thankful for that. Once back on trail ascended Maybe 1500ft back to camp at lake flora about 1:15pm.

We let Ava swim to cool off then into the tent and unbandaged her foot. Sean suggested we let her rest awhile which also would hopefully lead to hiking out in cooler temps since Leavenworth was supposed to be 100 or so. Sean and I took turns swimming and then packed and snacked. Eventually we re-bandaged and packed up and Left about 3pm. It worked and seemed much cooler overall than anticipated. Had thought might be back to van by 9 but was a bit before 8pm. Made it out to Heidelburger when still open maybe 8:45pm And van read 92 degrees. Home before midnight.

GPX track - first time uploading. Figured a good one to practice on and not many would see.

Started track when went off trail, up to summit, down to trail and back up to camp at lake flora

Next update is that Ava did injure her paws due to the heat and wear and tear so on our way down Opportunity in the very steep bushwacking we saw her favoring a leg and found the large pad was missing a big section. We bandaged and luckily I had gotten booties from Danielle’s now passed on dog and rested them out before our trip and brought them with us. So we used a booty and Ava touched it out.

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