Trip Report    

Basic Alpine Climb - Mount Mystery/East Col

Not an easy peak to summit. Better to do with more snow if you're going to have a larger party.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • The gravel road to the Upper Dungeness TH has some potholes.   The parking lot is fairly large, but was still pretty much full when we arrived  at 9:45am on this 4th of July weekend holiday.

The 6 of us left the TH around 10:30am.  It was an easy and lovely hike to Upper Royal Basin. Note to get a camping permit for Upper Royal Basin, one must call the Olympic NP Wilderness Information Center to request it.  You cannot go directly to Rec.gov  for it.53023179755_8b4a7d3ea5_o.jpgCamping at Upper Royal Basin is strictly regulated to the large and flat sandbars. 53021283135_8948707965_o.jpgThe Imperial Tarn is worth a visit on its own.  Part of our route for tomorrow as seen from the tarn.53021060729_3d51352e58_o.jpgReaching Deception Pass the next day was not a problem.  Looking back at Upper Royal Basin as we near the pass.   P/C - Sylvester J.53026394618_ea1261ae5d_o.jpgFrom the pass, we have a beautiful view of Mt Mystery and the no name glacial lake below it.53023253438_60f8c720c5_o.jpgWe now need to loose about 700+feet to reach Deception Basin before heading up for the east ridge of Mt Mystery.  Plunge stepping down from Deception Pass.  P/C Sylvester J.53026079854_9e74e119b7_o.jpgIn Deception Basin.53022869699_159394c8bd_o.jpgNow to gain the saddle (6000') at the base of Mt Mystery's east ridge where the scrambling/climbing will begin in earnest.53022786151_2126359de0_o.jpg53022121227_db5fc807e9_o.jpgWe can finally see the our route to the 6000' saddle clearly.  It looks super steep, but that's forshortening.53023273778_a7ce2b59dc_o.jpgHeading for the saddle.  P/C Sylvester J.53026222410_bc448d066f_o.jpgAt the saddle and looking at the no name lake below.53023089495_a5b5ee7b4b_o.jpgIt's been easy getting here so far, but now we're sorry to see how little snow is left on this route.  We were expecting more of an alpine snow ascent rather than this chossy mess.  53022121762_c3cc930a20_o.jpgAlthough we're trying to take turns or stay together moving through the loose rock, there is just too much of it and it becomes evident early on this route can't take 6 people.  It's too unsafe and would take too much time.  Three people decide they are fine turning around.  I usually don't split a group, but I was super fortunate to have 3 leaders on this trip so Emma took 2 down while I continued up with my co-leader, Brian and 1 Basic.   Looking down at the 2 groups.  This is where the lower group decides to descend.  P/C Sylvester J.53026319988_129c272d9a_o (1).jpgThree continue up.53023089965_666a427b26_o (1).jpgThe rock quality does get bettas  higher up.  Soon we will come to the steep snow above.53022870844_498be74957_o.jpgA photo taken from below by someone who turned around showing us on the snow.53022958049_7df8a57122_o.jpgOur beta was mostly for a snow ascent so we had to do some looking around to find a doable route.  Getting off the snow took a little effort due to the moats.  P/C Sylvester J.53026241500_e82e923aab_o.jpgOnce off, more rock scrambling straight up until we reached somewhat of a headwall.  Luckily  this route worked.  We set up an anchor at the top of the ridge and belayed down.  We left a couple pieces on the return because of the exposure.   Once on the other side, the summit was a hop, skip and jump.53023090225_f73547644a_o.jpgSummit selfie.  Both super helpful participants, but special thanks to Brian who did the hard lifting as they say.53025747803_0f0307ebf5_o.jpgThe views were magnificent from the top on this clear day.  We spent about 20 min here and left at 3pm, our turn around time.  My battery was running low so I only took a few photos on the descent.   I also needed to concentrate as the descent was more difficult than the ascent.  Scrambling rock after the roped portion and then we set pickets for the steep snow.53023746136_5a134642c3_o.jpg53022124447_d0be5cccf8_o.jpgOne at a time again for the last part before back at the 6000' saddle. P/C Sylvester J.53026328558_d0900bf602_o.jpgNice and easy hike out the next day.   Great group and fun for most of it.53025994964_7a89ffa863_o.jpg

Take away:  Read Dave Morgan's good report for a good snow ascent.  I would not recommend this route without more snow, but if you must, 3 people max.