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Trip Report    

Glacier Climb - Dome Peak/Dome Glacier

This was a full value climb that includes a bit of everything the North Cascades are known for.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Beware of stinging wasps along Bachelor Creek Trail

August 18-20, 2017

Gear: 2 x 40m ropes, 4 x pickets, small rack #0.4-#1 and DMM walnuts #5-#9, 3 x ice screws, steel crampons, ice axe + helmet

 Late summer: Beware of stinging wasps along Bachelor Creek Trail

 Day 1 (Friday): Met in Woodinville at 4:30 AM. Started hiking along Downey Creek TH #768 at 7:30 AM. There were some blow downs along Downey Creek trail, but not too bad - progress to  the junction with Bachelor Creek trail was reasonably efficient. Bachelor Creek trail was much more established that I'd anticipated - it is a true trail/booth path all the way to Cub Lake (with a good number of trees to either hop over, under, or go around). The trail/route is very brushy at times, but you can always see the ground/trail or follow boot tread through open forest.  If you find yourself clawing through slide alder STOP because you're taking a much harder route than necessary. Go back and find the boot tread. Anytime the route passes through slide alder, a path has been cut.  On a BW 1-5 scale, it gets a BW1 with a good dose of logs to climb over, under, or around.  We crossed Bachelor Creek at about 4400' on a log at an obvious camping area with a fire pit and large boulders nearby.

A pole or two is nice for the stream crossings and boggy areas along Bachelor Creek Trail. Downey Creek Trail is a bit rough and wet for trail runner/approach shoes. There are abundant streams and access to creeks along the entire approach to Cub Lake, so no need to carry more than a liter of water at a time. One person received several wasp stings on the way to Cub Lake along the Bachelor Creek trail. Many blueberries and huckleberries were consumed between the trailhead and Cub Lake.

 As per the forecast, clouds moved as the day progressed. We arrived at Cub Lake at 5:30 PM (11 hours), just as it started sprinkling (precipitation was not in the forecast). We quickly setup our tents and dove in. Fortunately, the precipitation did not last long and things dried out overnight.

 Day 2 (Saturday): There were stars in the sky toward Itswoot ridge upon awaking at 5 AM. Left camp at 6 AM and headed up the climbers path to Itswoot Ridge, which was passing in and out of the clouds. Itswoot Ridge is definitely the primo spot to camp. There is a substantial creek near the ridge, fed by snowpack far above. We stopped and chatted with a group of people who'd camped here last night and were finishing up the Ptarmigan Traverse. Descent of Itswoot ridge toward Dome peak was a bit trail-ish. Further long we crossed glacier polished slabs and lots of class 2 talus. All of the rock was very white and grippy granite-like. Less snow on-route meant more on/off with the crampons as we crossed or skirted snow fields. We were roped up and starting to ascend the Dome glacier at 11:30 AM. By this time the clouds had burned off and we had clear views of Dome Peak ahead. Ascended loose (but manageable) sand and rock to reach Dome Col (8560') at 12:30 PM. Made a wide arcing path as we ascended moderate but bullet proof snow to gain the summit ridge. Hard snow was protected with 3 pickets on ascent. Lower portion of the summit ridge has sandy benches with room for 2+ tents. Arrived at summit ridge around 1:30 PM. Scrambled narrow and exposed class 3 summit ridge - setup hand line near end of ridge around a class 3-4 bulge to gain true summit. About 1 hour to setup handline, traverse, and clean. 3 PM the first rope team started descending the bullet proof snow, taking a more direct line down to Dome Col. We all descended face-in,  front pointing and low daggering, with pickets placed for protection. 4:15 PM we were starting to descend the Dome glacier. Arrived at Itswoot ridge around 7:15 PM. Other than the group exiting the Ptarmigan Traverse, we did not see any other people all day. We took a longer break at Itswoot ridge (nobody camping here this night) and enjoyed the golden sunshine before descending to Cub Lake, which was already in the shade. 8:30 PM arrived back at Cub Lake.

 Day 3 (Sunday): Left beautiful Cub Lake at 7:45 AM. Encountered stinging wasps (again) along Bachelor Creek trail. Two (different) people were stung by wasps along 3+ locations of the trail. We bushwhacked around one log where we'd seen wasps swarming and successfully avoided being stung at that location. Many blueberries and huckleberries were consumed between Cub Lake and the trailhead. We reached the trailhead at 4:45 PM.