Ascent of Monument Peak on 2014-08-31

Climber: Patty Cokus

Date:Sunday, August 31, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Monument Peak
    Elevation:8592 ft / 2618 m

Ascent Trip Report

A weekend full of peacefulness and solitude...with threatening skies filled with mist, a few showers and one snow flurry.

For a more complete route version see Sean's photos as usual, but here are a few pictures showing my views from our long walk up Lake and Monument Peaks. Deceptively large mountains and long days. I love the remote Pasayten.

Drove out and hiked in Saturday. creek crossing was much easier this time of year versus the raging torrent of snow-melt in June - headed up the unmaintained trail. Steep and numerous options (old trail, new trail, animal trails?) with lots of cairns. Gained the ridge and then traversed...for awhile eventually to Pistol Pass then dropped over and down and traversed to Lake of the Woods below Lake Mountain. Threat of rain turned to real rain as Sean setup the tent and created drainage ditches in case of a torrential downpour while I pumped water.

Day 2 - woke at 4:45 to rain so slept in some more. Started out 7am and climbed up to a saddle at 7,400ft in the ridge to the left of Lake. Many traverses over ribs and gullies and talus and through trees...heading first towards Monument. Upon starting this traverse we were treated to a little SNOW FLURRY that luckily turned to mist. (water available in valley between Lake and Monument, likely year round). Ascended to southern most part of Monuments ridge up a crap gully (on way back found higher access via ramps off which would have saved a bunch of elevation and a mile or so off approach). Traversed ridge forever...harder choss gully in light grey rock where another ridge meets the one we were on...only to do more ridge traversing to summit block. We ascended via dark gully to left of summit which was a bit tricky with the dogs so then decided to descend via climbers right (skiers left) from summit which was easier. ***Ava during the ridge traverse approach started having her nails bleed from the wearing down to the quick on both front and one hind paw. Decided not to wrap because we didn't want her to lose traction. Kept an eye on it. Descended along ridge and around 7,000ft followed cairns down to the left towards Lake via ramps to get back to the valley (much better!). Debated returning to camp due to Ava's paws but honestly it wouldn't be any harder to climb Lake versus backtracking the traversing madness we did earlier. So up we climbed in the left leaning gully towards Lake's summit. When it got slabby just moved farther left and managed our way up. Summitted maybe 4:30pm? Following beta from Colleen and Stan who climbed the peaks a week or so earlier we followed the steep gully down the East side back to camp at Lake of the Woods. A time and mileage saver for sure. No problem for the dogs - just slow and steady to watch for rockfall. Back to camp about 6pm I think. Cleaned up Ava's bloody paws and wrapped the three up so our sleeping bags didn't soak it up. Overall felt lucky we only mostly had the threat of rain.

Day 3 - lazily woke about 6 and headed out about 8am I think. Back to the cars by 3pm. Iced coffees at the Mazama store and dinner at Mondo in Marblemount. Nicest day for sure with sun and dissappearing clouds.

OTHER - picked up some awesome quartz crystals! two on Monument and one super clear specimen on Lake. Also picked up a huge gold metallic balloon from Monument and two separate deteriorating green balloons (related? maybe but one near-ish the gold one and the other part on the hike out a bunch beyond Pistol pass). Feels good to pack out some trash that shouldn't be in such a beautiful area.

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