Thursday, October 6, 2011

Tanima Peak and Environs.

This week brought me another fun and long hike deep into the heart of Wild Basin. I started from the trail head shortly after 6, heading for Thunder Lake and Tanima Peak behind it.
As usual, I took the campsite shortcut trail to cut some distance and time off of my hike. The sun had risen enough by then...
Sun hits Copeland Mountain in the early morning.
Where I got lost last time.
Tanima Peak over the lake.
The NPS cabin.
I had made it to the lake in around 2.5 hours, and stopped at the cabin for a bite to eat. After finishing up, I surveyed Tanima Peak to try to find the most logical way to the top. Like last time, I opted to stay in one of the rocky gullies to avoid bushwhacking and dead fall. And like last time, that plan worked out quite well.
I crossed the lake at its exit, and started my way up. There was a little bit of a trail leading around the foot of the peak.
Mt. Alice, Chiefs Head Peak, Pagoda Mountain, Longs Peak, and Mt. Meeker as seen from Tanima Peak.
Thunder Lake from the ascent of Tanima Peak.
Isolation Peak, Frigid Lake, Moomaw Glacier, and Eagles Beak as seen from Tanima Peak.
Copeland Mountain and Mahana Peak.
The steep drop off of the north face of Tanima Peak.
Like Copeland Mountain, I found this peak to have numerous false summits. Time after time I thought I was about to arrive at the top, only to find I had more yet to go. But I made it!
Lake of Many Winds and Boulder Grand Pass from near the summit.
Summit register intact and signed. Only three ascents in the past month.
Looking south from the summit.
North from the summit.
Atop Tanima Peak, 12420 feet.
Looking back east along the ridge and down to Thunder Lake.
The next destination on my list was the Cleaver, a high point on the ridge marking the continental divide. I headed west along the ridge of Tanima Peak to the relatively smooth tundra. Along the way I saw these...
This marks the first time I have seen Bighorn Sheep in the park, and I was lucky to get my camera out in time as they quickly disappeared down this steep slope.
Looking east from the divide to Indigo Pond and Eagle Lake. Descending this slope was a bit harder for a person than a sheep.
Picture of the week? Looking west to Fourth Lake, Spirit Lake, and Lake Verna.
Looking south along the continental divide to the Cleaver. There is some third and fourth class along the way.
Interesting looking rock en route to the Cleaver.
Atop the Cleaver, 12200+ feet. Though there was some third and fourth class along the way, I didn't find any of it to be difficult or scary. I never felt like I was in danger of falling.
North along the divide to Mt. Alice.
The north face of Isolation Peak. Looks steep and loose. Wonder if anyone has ever climbed it?
Fifth Lake as seen from the Cleaver.
I descended back down the ridge to the most logical point to farther descent down the steep and loose slope to Indigo Pond. As with Boulder Grand Pass, the conditions led me to descend most of the slope not by hiking, but through a combination of butt sliding and 'screeing'.
It took some time, but I eventually made it down.
Nearing Indigo Pond.
Eagles Beak seen from the descent.
The blue green waters of Indigo Pond.
From the pond on down past Box Lake, I noticed a large amount of huge granite boulders. I know Tommy Caldwell has done some bouldering near Box Lake, but these higher boulders could be yours for the taking.
A great looking roof problem.
Some more huge boulders near Indigo Pond.
And more!
Looking back up from Indigo Pond. The Cleaver is on the left of the ridge line.
Looking east before dropping down to Eagle Lake.
Eagle Lake.
It started to rain when I got to Eagle Lake, something that would continue off and on for the rest of the day. Once I got to Eagle Lake, I was able to spy a trail and cairns that I was able to follow the rest of the way down. This made going alot easier.
A faint single rainbow seen from Eagle Lake. What does it mean?
Box Lake seen from above.
And looking west from Box Lake.
The Tommy Caldwell V3 Welcome to the Box.
The last destination on my list for the day was Mertensia Falls. The water that forms this fall comes from both Box and Eagle Lakes. I continued on the trail I found until I got to St. Vrain creek. I followed this down a bit before cutting back south to try to find the falls.
I ended up too far south, and had to head back up the creek a little bit before I found myself standing at the base of a spectacular and secluded water fall.
As seen from the Thunder Lake trail.
I found this small cascade/water fall on my bushwhack back to the trail from Mertensia Falls. I decided to christen it Gunner and Jersey Falls in honor of my dogs. The trip back to the trail was tough. By now I had been hiking for eleven hours or so, it was raining lightly, and starting to get dark. But I found it and started on my way back down.
I stopped here and there to take a short rest or have a bite to eat on the way back down. Over the summer I switched from eating Clif bars to my current hiking diet, which is largely composed of granola bars, Clif gels(for some caffeine), seitan jerky, and candy (thanks to Katie, who stashes some Spree in my bag). I have found this diet to work alot better, as after I had eaten two Clif bars, I really didn't want to eat any thing else, even though I know I have to.
Still by the end of the day I am excited to eat some real food that doesn't come in a wrapper or is pressed into a bar.
The sun was going down on my way back, and for the first time this year I got my headlamp back out. I made it back to the car at 702 pm, giving me a little bit under thirteen hours of hiking. Again, a large portion of that was off trail and above treeline.
This was a great hike. I felt great, saw some amazing sights, and had a good time. In retrospect, it would have been easier to get to the summit of Tanima Peak when I did Mt. Alice, but oh well. Fun nonetheless!
Tanima Peak east ridge via Thunder Lake, 12420 feet:
7.4 miles one way, 3920 foot gain. Strenuous due to gain and some second and third class sections.
Other destinations:
The Cleaver, 12200+ feet:
8.6 miles one way via Indigo Pond, 3700 foot gain. Strenuous due to gain and some third and fourth class sections.
Indigo Pond:
7.5 miles one way, 2680 foot gain. Harder moderate.
Eagle Lake:
7.2 miles one way, 2320 foot gain. Harder moderate.
Box Lake:
7 miles one way, 2240 foot gain. Harder moderate.
Mertensia Falls:
6+ish miles one way, 1860 foot gain. Harder moderate due to bushwhacking.
Thunder Lake:
6.2 miles one way, 2074 foot gain. Moderate.