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Trip Report    

Mox Peaks (Twin Spires)

July 2-9, 2015; completed 6 of the Bulger peaks in the Chilliwack area—Redoubt, Hard Mox, Easy Mox, Spickard, Custer and Rahm. Day 1—obtained permit at the Sedro Wooley North Cascades Ranger Station. We crossed the border easily. The road along Chilliwack Lake is quite long and rough. Finding the correct overgrown Depot Creek road was a bit challenging as there are several side spurs in the area. Once on the road just one of our two vehicles could get under a fallen tree. We moved everything into one car to get another .6 miles up the road. We parked within .8 miles of the road end. You still follow what appears to be an old logging road for a couple miles to reach Washington and the official start of the trail. The first part of the trail goes every which way to navigate around downed timber, but it gets better after 30 minutes of walking. The trail is relatively flat and follows Depot Creek until the last .5 miles where it rises steeply to reach Depot Creek falls. Wow! What an experience the falls were! Three of us used light ponchos; they helped, but wished I had not decided to leave my gaiters in the car! We were all exhausted after ascending steeply above the water falls and camped in a flat area (room for 3 tents) around 4,800’. Day 2—Left camp for upper camp between Redoubt and the Moxes at approximately 6 a.m. Some work (and wet feet) to get across Depot Creek. The water was moving fast and hard. We crossed at approximately 5100’ and where the water is broken up into several fingers. We still lost one trekking pole in the crossing. Ascending the ledges towards Redoubt was straight forward, although very loose rock. We gained the glacier at approximately 6,500’ and headed for our upper camp. The lower part of the glacier was broken up up; good condition on the upper/flatter area. We set up camp and headed off to do Redoubt. We assessed the first snow finger on the south side and determined travelling a bit further brought us into the finger described in most route description. We heard before and after that climbers go up the slabby rock at the first snow finger and it is a bit sketchy. Go over one more ridge and it is just a steep snow finger before a nice gulley system. We generally headed up and left in a gulley. While the rock was very solid and fun scrambling there was still loose rock to contend with. Once at the cannon hole we turned left to gain the final 50’ and summit. This final area we used a handline. We summited at about 6 p.m. and dropped back to camp at almost 10 p.m. There were 3 other teams we became aware of who were climbing Hard Mox the next day. We decided to take a rest day and attempt Hard Mox on July 5th. We were the only ones on the mountain. Which is good due to incredibly loose rock along the entire route. It also allowed us time to obtain additional beta from returning teams. Day 4—left camp at 3:50 a.m. (sufficient light to travel by 4:30 a.m. this time of year). The route across the gendarmes and foot prints in the snow made it relatively easy to find the gulley that goes up to the start of the technical climbing. We lead two pitches up the gulley. The route was fairly easy to follow, but very loose! There are a lot of pictures and beta available to help in staying on route. Our total climbing time was 18 hours. Day 5 –NW Mox—Left camp at 7:45 a.m. and reached the first ridge easily. Moats made it a bit challenging moving from rock to snow and vice-versa, but it was manageable to with a bit of investigation. We gained the low point in ridge for Easy Mox at 12 p.m. Scrambling was ¾ class with a couple place that had a difficult step. The drop down the gulley to the left, just prior to the false summit is easy to locate and marked with a cairn. The final technical pitch was fun; easy to find using beta available. A class ¾ scramble takes you to the summit. A new summit container is needed (current one is cracked). We summited around 2:30 p.m. and returned to camp at 9 p.m. Day 6—We broke camp by 8 a.m. and headed down to Lake Ouzel (9:30 a.m.). The glacier had melted out substantially; finding our way down the rock steps was easy with cairns marking the way. A few hundred feet short of Silver Lake Pass we cut right (11 a.m. and dropped all our overnight/extra gear), traversing over boulder fields and then snow to gain the steep snow going up to the notch. Once over the south ridge we traversed east on easy snow to a rocky step (and water) to gain the open slopes below the south face of Spickard. The snow gets steep near the top where we gained gulleys and made our way to the summit (3:15 p.m.). We retraced our steps to collect gear we had dropped and headed up to Silver Lake Pass. The lake was so beautiful we decided we had to drop into the basin for the night. One of the most beautiful high alpine lakes I have seen. We reached camp around 7 p.m. Day 7—(Custer and Rahm)-we left camp at 4:30 p.m. and made good time making it up to the south ridge of Custer. We were feeling great about our time general progress until we came to the narrow and exposed ridge of Custer! It knocked the wind out of our sail for sure! We protected the lower portion of the ridge and most exposed with the 30m rope. Extremely loose rock gaining the summit. We retraced our route and headed over to Rahm (the white filled gulley is the correct route!) Go one at a time to clear it as there is a lot of rock fall. It is then just a class 2 walk to the summit. We were back at camp at 7:15 p.m. Day 8—left camp at 7 a.m.; back to car at 3:45 p.m.
Gear: 1 60m 8.7mm, and 1 30m 8.0mm, set of nuts, cams--.3, .5, .75, 1, 2 & 2 small Link Cams. We had a very small BD x4 (yellow) we used on just about every climb. 2 pickets which we used twice to access moats and the snow thickness/stability. Webbing—left a couple pieces; wish we had brought more. Two cordelettes.

 

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