Ascent of Three Pinnacles-Middle Summit on 2015-09-22
|Others in Party:||David Salinger|
|Date:||Tuesday, September 22, 2015|
|Ascent Type:||Successful Summit Attained|
|Peak:||Three Pinnacles-Middle Summit|
| Elevation:||8123 ft / 2475 m|
Ascent Trip ReportThree Pinnacles Middle Summit Summit Date: 2015/09/22
Itinerary: Three Pinnacles, (Lost), Johnny Peak/Trailblazer Peak, and Many Trails via a Lost River Loop from Billy Goat Corral TH:
On 2015-09-21, a late start at Billy Goat Corral TH. Hiked trail #477 westerly to Eight Mile Pass, then continued westerly on #477 to Drake Creek Trail #459 (faint tread) and went south to the Lost River Gorge and camped in the dry riverbed (camp 1). Day 2: 2015-09-22, started in the Lost River Gorge/confluence with Drake Creek and went downstream (south), searching slopes to the west for a way up and out of the gorge to gain the high ridge of Three Pinnacles above. We ascended the first Y gully to the south of point 5121 (east of point 6638) and took the right fork of the Y to the ridge, through short cliffs and steep slopes, then gained the ridge south of point 6638 and traversed southerly, then ascended westerly to the south ridge of Three Pinnacles, then turned northerly and scramble/hiked over Middle Pinnacle and North Pinnacle (did not climb the southernmost Pinnacle, point 8082), and stayed on the ridge crest on high ridge ramble to Pass Butte Pass (traversed on south flank of Lost Peak because we had already climbed it). From Pass Butte Pass we scrambled/down climbed to Johnny Lakes and set up camp near Lake 6825. On day 3 2015-09-23 we climbed Johnny Peak/Trailblazer Peak and returned to Johnny Lakes, packed up our gear and filled our water bags and water bottles (4 liter bag plus 2 1L bottles; and a 6 liter bag and one 1L bottle) and traversed steep slopes towards point 7850 until we found a 4th class "gully" of steep, clean (ish) rock to climb that took us to the ridge that leads to Many Trails (we ascended the first creek north of point 7850, and climbed really nice 3rd/4th class steep rock, with overnight packs and 6 (me, because I carry a big camera: my ball and chain) and 7 (Dave) liters of water to the Many Trails Ridge). On the ridge we had to scramble past a couple of gendarmes and teetering rock towers before attaining more 'walkable' terrain to the Many Trails summit. After walking up and over Many Trails, we found a beautiful camp at 7,200' on the ridge N Ridge of Many Trails Peak (no water on this ridge; that is why we carried it up!). On Day 4 2015-09-24 we made a steep, complex descent to the Lost River via Many Trail's NE Ridge (the first ridge west of Johnny Creek). This descent is not recommended. It is better to descend the broad, less steep NW ridge that descends towards Hidden Lakes which would also be a feasible ascent route (note: all off trail travel; must carry all water). After reaching the Lost River we forded it, and quickly found trail #477 and hiked the Lost River Trail over Lucky Pass and Eightmile Pass back to Billy Goat corral and drove to sister's house in Winthrop to spend the night. (party of two: Milda Tautvydas and David Salinger)
Additional notes: We had a late start from Billy Goat Corral, having driven up from Seattle, and having had to make several stops along the way, so on our first day we hiked from Billy Goat Corral TH to the Lost River and camped on the dry river bed near the confluence of Drake Creek. At the Drake Creek confluence, the Lost River goes underground (late season or all year?), and the river is in a gorge with tall, steep, broken cliffs and some solid walls (thus the name Lost River Gorge on USGS maps). On the morning of day 2 we walked south on the dry riverbed, studying the steep faces until we found a gully among the cliffs (south of point 5121, east of point 6638, see route description in earlier post above). It appeared it would get us out of the Lost River gorge, so we gave it try, and the route was a success. The rest of the route we took goes easily, as do the summit climbs (Three Pinnacles, Lost, Johnny Peak/Trailblazer Peak; however, Johnny Peak does pose some fun route finding puzzles near the top, and we did some route finding to gain Many Trail's south ridge from the Johnny Lakes basin). Take care to NOT ascend to the south ridge of Many Trails peak too soon from the Johnny Lakes/Johnny Creek basin. There are gendarmes on Many Trails Peak's south ridge, south and north of Pt. 7650'. We had to climb among teetering towers, with overnight packs, before we got to the easy walking terrain further on this ridge. On our last day, when we exited down the NE ridge of Many Trails (the ridge just west of Johnny Creek), in the rain, we encountered a burn, some steep bushwhacking, and then high cliffs above the Lost River. It looked like we had come to a dead end. After so much descending, and being rain-soaked, we had no interest in having to go back up to get to the NW ridge. We knew the NW ridge would go down to the river easily, albeit with a bushwhack, because we studied it from Many Trails summit and from our last high camp. We could see the toe of the NW ridge gently blend into the Hidden Lakes area. We took the NE ridge because it got us closer to our destination, and it was the devil we didn't know. We took a chance and went down it. As we got lower on the NE ridge, I could see steep, high cliffs across the Lost River. My heart sank because I could tell that the steep terrain we were on was dropping away below us, the way that cliffs do. Both sides of the Lost River are lined with steep walls under this NE ridge. We persevered, and found a very narrow, very steep break in the cliff. We down-climbed carefully, dangled on vegetation holds, slithered and slipped between steep dirt and rocks to the bottom. It was great to feel level earth under foot, near the river. A short bushwhack, an easy river ford, and another short bushwhack had us back on the trail, on our way to our car parked at the Billy Goat Corral TH. (party of two: Milda Tautvydas and David Salinger)
GEAR: map, compass, altimeter, hiking poles, MSR water bags (a 4-Liter and 6-Liter bag, for two people). No GPS.
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