Ascent of Blue Lake Ridge on 2017-08-17

Climber: Eric Noel

Others in Party:Bobby Boxer
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Thursday, August 17, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Hi-Clearance Vehicle
Peak:Blue Lake Ridge
    Elevation:5738 ft / 1748 m

Ascent Trip Report

Public. Take 21 a long ways to 78 to 7812. Alternate approach from Randle is currently blocked by washouts so this is the only option for now. Follow 7812 until the end of road. I rate 7812 clearly 2WD High Clearance. There is significant rutting and drainage ditches. More troubling are some narrow spots due to boulders in road that must be dodged and eroding road. The final very narrow spot at the end of the road can be avoided by parking with minimal additional distance. If you want to do this peak by this road access you should do it sooner than later because the rockfall and steep eroded placement of the road suggests the road will not last too much longer and it's too pointless to be repaired. I parked at the same place as Bob, past the eroded spot but where the road seems to be beamed. On closer inspection, the berm is probably passable and I'd think a determined 4WD vehicle driver could make up the extra 200' vertical on the old grassy road.

But I hiked the road easily until the end. After reading Bob's comment on getting off a gendarme, I elected a more traversing route since Bobby was with and that didn't sound like canine friendly terrain. Overall, I think it worked fairly well and there's a lot of ways to bag a peak but I suspect my route probably works about as well as any. From 4800' to 5000' is moderate brush but not pokey. Not much to be done about this. Mostly blueberries or huckleberries being traversed. As mentioned, I angled more directly to the summit while Bob went straight up. At 5000' I broke out into nice open terrain as noted on map. Easy going on this rocky gash in the forest. I traversed the right edge of the clearing on rocks. I could see a rock face up on the ridge which looked to be where Bob mentioned getting off of the gendarme at 5280'. I was glad not to be up there. As the clearing narrowed to its end and became grassy, I dropped at perhaps 5120' and crossed up and then went more directly through the forest. Pretty open travel from here really all the way up to maybe 5550'. Angling directly and easily ascending, and then I paralleled the ridge a little below it at 5240' on a narrow flat bench for a bit. Angled up past the 2nd 5280 and found no real gendarme there or anywhere else on the ridge. But for sure it drops off on the N so I stayed clear generally with Bobby. Nice view towards the peak I think at 5440'. Ridge is not straight line-ish so I contoured climber's right a bit here and there to give space from the drop-off. For whatever reason it starts to get brushy again for maybe the last 200 vertical so that was less pleasant but whatever. Easy forest on the South side aside from maybe BW2 at worst. I continued all the way to the top which is rather flat and has peak-a-boo views of Adams and Rainier. Pretty straightforward, no real crux. Just don't walk off the N edge and suffer the brush.

Took roughly the same route down and that's my track. The only excitement was at 5650' where we ran into some goats. I caught a fleeting glimpse as they ran off down the cliff side. Bobby didn't see them thankfully or he probably would have pulled both of us off of the cliff. But then he heard them and tried his best to pull away but too late. Anyway, that was about the only excitement on the descent. Some more brush. I definitely feel the clearing traverse looks better than the extra distance, up and down and gendarme in the other route but I haven't tried it so who knows. Pretty quick peak. Nothing worthwhile besides a peak bag. You do get some really nice views of Adams from the road which are better than anything you see on route. Did see Blue Lake and Rainier I guess, but a peak bagger peak is all this is.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1338 ft / 407 m
    Extra Gain:100 ft / 30 m
    Round-Trip Distance:3 mi / 4.8 km
    Route:NW Ridge
    Trailhead:FS 7812  4600 ft / 1402 m
    Grade/Class:Class 1+ Schwack
    Quality:3 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Open Country, Bushwhack
    Gear Used:
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Eric Noel
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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