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Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble - Osceola-Carru-Lago-Blackcap-Lost Traverse

We were able to summit Osceola, Blackcap and Lost Peak in 4 days. Cut the trip short due to a fairly powerful weather system and left Lago and Carru for another trip.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Buckskin and Robinson trails easy to follow and cleared of blowdowns.  Trail to Doris is steep but easy to follow.  Trail to Shellrock Pass is thin but generally easy to follow.  Once over Shellrock Pass, the Monument creek trail is still defined all the way to Butte Pass but slowly disappearing in places.

The original plan was to climb all 5 peaks in 4 days and hike out on day 5.  On the morning of the drive to the T/H, the weather forecast had degraded substantially giving us just 3 good days with the last 2, 50% rain.  We carried 5 days worth worth of food regardless.  We also had a Delorme with the weather report app that would be the deciding factor later on the trip.

Day 1:  Hiking by 9am on easy trail to the Eureka Creek trail and a sign noting Shellrock Pass.  Steep all the way to Doris where we camped on the north side of the lake.  6hrs.  Made camp and began our assault of Osceola.  From camp head NNE and drop 100ft picking up faint trails through the cliff bands until at the base of the Summit scree pile.  Even though I had beta to gain the ridge on the left and climb easy terrain, we opted for the face.  It's a mess, don't do that, just don't.
There is a trail on the ridge which we took down.  15 mile day with approx 4200ft gain.  10 hrs.

Day 2:  Back track from Doris to the trail high point.  Locate a very faint tread heading east in a flat area.  This took some looking to find at first.  Hike east dropping 1300 ft and slowly gaining elevation all the way to the several acre Meadow Camp at 6400 ft.  Good camps on the east side.  Take note as you hike of the Lago approach gully, it's the Red Gully that starts as a talus fan.  Not the gully that goes to the saddle between Lago and Carru.
Made camp and headed for Blackcap.  As you hike toward Shellrock Pass, you will exit the trees with a massive talus field to the south.  Head through grass then talus to the low point on the ridge saddle. Class 2.  From here scramble an a nice solid ridge for several hundred feet mostly class 2-3.  Form a notch, continue up where the route gets more exposed and a bit stiffer until you reach the summit block base.  Yes, the rock is black and the summit is intimidating with no obvious line.  Go directly up the ridge on a few 4th class moves, then stay on the climbers right following a wonderful ledge system to the top on great rock.  In all, this was one of the finest scrambles I have done.  It's a true classic.  8 miles, 2900 ft day back at camp by 3pm.

Day 3: Thurs night we verified on the Delorme that the weather was indeed still going to crap Saturday and decided we would get up a 3:30am, climb Lost, return to camp and move to Fred's Lake that evening to avoid as much weather Saturday and trim down the time hiking in the rain.  This turned out to be a wise decision even though it would be long and painful.
Got up at 3:30am and left camp by 5am.  Hit Shellrock Pass an hour later and watched the sun rise in the east and the moon set in the SW.  Hiked down about 800ft through some grass meadows where the trail disappears.  Follow cairns to Shellack Tarn.  Note this is your last water source.  Continued on the Monument Creek trail to the Butte Pass turn off where there is a sign.  Hike steeply to the ridge, then directly east to the Pass.  Find about path and follow the ridge dropping steeply in places through a few notches.
The first steep ridge climb will present itself and faint boot path exists.  Climb steeply until forced to the right to avoid cliffs and slabs.  Traverse until the Pass Butte connecting ridge is above you and ascend dirt and crap to the ridge.  Do a gentle rising contour around the steep face of Pass Butte until you reach the south ridge.  We found it easier to follow this ridge to the top of Pass Butte and scramble over the top, then very steeply down to the next notch below Point 8107.  Some in the party tried to avoid the elevation gain and traversed under Pass Butte, but it took longer as it's just a scree and dirt junk show.
Drop down and traverse under point 8107, or follow the ridge up and over the point.  No time or elevation difference.  Once past the Point, there is an amazing, slightly exposed class 2 ridge run that is a blast finishing with scree and talus to the summit.  5 hrs to the top, 12.1 miles r/t.

Packed up and made it to Fred's lake by 7 pm.

Day 4: hiked out at 8am in the rain which got progressively worse.  Cars by 1:30pm.

Hornets got one member in the face and another in the knee.  Yeah, that's fun.

 

 

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