Foss Lakes Loop
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Ben W
(bpwood)

Locale: NW Center for Volcano-Aided Flight
Foss Lakes Loop on 10/30/2011 23:30:34 MDT Print View

A midweek escape to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness to take advantage of a bubble of nice weather and a hole in my schedule.



The title of this trip report was originally "28: Foss Lakes Loop", but 28 lacks the cachet of 24. Alas, I have not mastered the 24-hour trip. Somehow, I always think a little bigger when planning one-night adventures. This has been no great source of distress, however. This trip was about 28 hours car-to-car, covering somewhere around 25 miles, roughly 7-8 miles of which was fairly slow-going off-trail travel, and viewing 14 named lakes, plus several more unnamed tarns. (They don't call it the Alpine Lakes Wilderness for nothing!) I'm glad I got a chance to do this trip, as the trails in this area are ones I'd usually avoid in summer due to the crowds... I saw 4 day hikers on the trails. Otherwise it was nice and lonely.

Edited by bpwood on 10/30/2011 23:32:44 MDT.

Matthew Marasco
(BabyMatty) - F

Locale: Western/Central PA, Adirondacks
r: on 10/31/2011 00:36:16 MDT Print View

Ben, that's some beautiful photography. Looks like an awesome place, and I've never heard of it. Is it one of the less-traveled areas in WA?

Ben W
(bpwood)

Locale: NW Center for Volcano-Aided Flight
popular on 10/31/2011 10:02:20 MDT Print View

Thanks! Actually, the ALW is probably the most heavily used national forest area in WA, which is one reason I was glad the midweek fall trip opportunity presented itself, as it would improve my chances of avoiding the crowds. It is beautiful country, but only a short drive from a few million of our closest outdoorsy friends around the Puget Sound, and I would say the Foss and Necklace trails are both overused. The off-trail portion of this route is a little more lightly traveled, but people do make it up to Tank Lakes from Necklace Valley reasonably often. The upper Middle Fork Snoqualmie valley, just south of here, is more lightly traveled than it used to be since the shortest trail access was made several miles longer a few years ago by the permanent closure of a FS road, even though, like the Foss/Necklace area, it's within a 90-minute drive from Seattle.

Brian Austin
(footeab) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: popular on 11/01/2011 00:45:05 MDT Print View

When I climbed Chimney rock(awesome climb) encountered some of the worst scree I have ever seen at the base of Summit Chief(middle peak)

Little Chief/Middle Chief/Summit Chief/Chimney Peak/Overcoat Peak in the picture.

Yup Tank Lakes is great. Going to lake Ivanhoe below Bears Breast is great too. Better not be afraid of heights as you have to cross the top of a water fall and a slip here sends you 200 feet down on a not gentle water slide as the North Facing side of Lake Ivanhoe holds snow and a slip there sends you into the lake without any chance of getting out.

Another Area like tank Lakes is square lake area and surprise mountain over by Stevens pass where HWY 2 makes its switchback on the west side.

Edited by footeab on 11/01/2011 00:52:54 MDT.

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: Foss Lakes Loop on 11/01/2011 10:51:23 MDT Print View

Ben,
Yeah, thanks for sharing the great photos and text.
Tom

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: popular on 11/01/2011 17:10:10 MDT Print View

"When I climbed Chimney rock(awesome climb)"

East Face Direct?

Whatever, it's a great climb.

Brian Austin
(footeab) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: popular on 11/05/2011 02:43:08 MDT Print View

North Face via overcoat glacier. Had dad along, so 5.8 was out of the question for the east face. As it turned out we bivied at the base of the "chimney" due to very slow out of shape dad, but hey, in compensation it was a beautiful night and we got awesome sunset shots that are now hung on my wall. 3rd/4th and bit of fifth to base of chimney. The Chimney is 3 feet wide 140 feet grunt up with 3 pieces of good "pro", slings around chockstones. Don't ask me how to rate "chimney's" though all the old timers just called it 4th class. Don't know about you, but 140 feet of air under my rear and heels AIN'T 4th class. Top is like a STEEP angled sidewalk wide to the top with Giant rents cut out of it that you face climb around with 1200 feet of air straight down till the first bounce. 2nd bounce probably around 1500. Oh yea, perfect bivy site on top as well.

Danged pikas chewed my pack and boots at the base of the climb! Salt, YUM!

PS. I believe if you look at Google earth, and put cursor on Chimney rock will get a picture of our climb under the name of randylikestoclimb.

Edited by footeab on 11/05/2011 02:44:46 MDT.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: popular on 11/05/2011 17:27:21 MDT Print View

"though all the old timers just called it 4th class. Don't know about you, but 140 feet of air under my rear and heels AIN'T 4th class."

My personal system goes from 3rd class directly to 5th class. 4th class never made a whole lot of sense to me. 140 feet? Generally, in rocky places anything over 30 feet or so is just a number. You're still likely to end up dead, or wishing you were...

"top is like a STEEP angled sidewalk wide to the top with Giant rents cut out of it that you face climb around with 1200 feet of air straight down till the first bounce. 2nd bounce probably around 1500."

After the first bounce it ain't gonna matter, except maybe to your next of kin if they're the type that prefers an open casket funeral. ;)

Ben W
(bpwood)

Locale: NW Center for Volcano-Aided Flight
yikes on 11/05/2011 22:45:48 MDT Print View

I look at these things and wish I could get up there, but that kind of air is awfully intimidating! This area in particular (Overcoat east through Little Big Chief or so, maybe Bear's Breast too) fascinates me since it is so spiky, it's got a little glaciation, and it's right there "in the backyard," closer (at least psychologically) than any of the classically alpine areas that come to mind when asked to name this sort of peak.

Brian Austin
(footeab) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: popular on 11/09/2011 20:08:36 MST Print View

I pretty much agree on 3rd/4th/5th class designations.

I would consider nearly the whole of NE Ridge on Mt. Triumph 3rd/4th as there is only 1 move of 5.7. Lots of air under your feet even though its pretty much a sidewalk up the mountain though on a 45 degree angle.

It was a DEEP chimney on Chimney Rock. I don't know how deep into the mountain it went. I wouldn't be surprised if it went all the way through. End of 'light' let me see at least 40 feet back as we were climbing anywhere from the lip of the chimney to 15 feet inside to get around chockstones.

Go to early and it would probably be filled with snow/ice. We did the climb in late august and the inside was still jammed with snow/ice.

Pretty much anytime I read a rating of 4th class from the original party circa 1970 I automatically think "old-timer" fourth class which pretty much means anything below 5.6 for long stretches and above 3rd class. Becky does seem to like sandbagging his ratings as well.

If you have ever climbed Sabre(Petit Grepon) in Colorado(600+ foot Needle in RMNP) then "old-timer" 4th class is what they labeled the 1st "pitch" even though newer ratings place 1st pitch at 5.6. Course its only 2 moves of 5.6 as I recall and the rest is 3rd/4th. Nearly everyone runs up this "pitch" without a rope as one has to 1) beat the other parties on route and 2) get off the mountain before the daily afternoon thunderstorms.