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Trip Report    

Sloan Peak Corkscrew Route via Cougar Creek Trial #648

Turned Around

  • Sat, Sep 3, 2016 — Sun, Aug 28, 2016
  • Climbing
  • Turned Around
  • Road suitable for all vehicles

Trip Date Planned: 8/27-8/28/2016

Actual:  8/27/2016 - Turned around on the glacier

Party size: 6

6:45 AM Departed Trailhead (Sloan Creek/Cougar Creek #648)

8:30 AM Cougar Falls

10:45 Arrived at 4900' camp; setup tents

11:15 AM Departed camp for summit attempt; stopped for water en route to glacier

2:00 PM Turned around on glacier (weather had turned to white out conditions)

3:45 PM Back at 4900' camp (light precipitation falling)

4:15 PM Departed camp

7 PM  Back at TH

Some notes on the water crossings: Following the flagging! If you lose the flagging, stop and go back to where you last saw it. There is flagging on each side of the water for each of the three significant water crossings. If you put on water shoes/sandals for the first crossing, leave them on for the short distance through the woods  and use them for the second crossing as well. The second crossing was mid-thigh deep. After the second significant crossing, follow flagging to climbers left. Third (of 3) significant crossings is on a giant log jam, no water shoes required. Flagging marks the start of a well-defined climbers trail on the other side of a large gravel bar.

 The vegetation was dry, making for a pleasant hike. There are a few large logs across the trail to climb over/under. Above Cougar Falls the trail passes through open forest filled with more blueberry bushes (filled with berries) than I've ever seen on a hike. We setup tents in a large and well-sheltered meadow to the left of the climbers trail at about 4,900'. There was water nearby (uphill)  where the trail drops down and crosses a creek.

 Notes on the glacier crossing/conditions: Glacier was pretty broken up, as expected. We ascended some low angle glacier ice on the lower portion of the glacier. We proceed up and left on snow below the lower rock island. Left of the lower rock island we explored and backed off from three snow bridges (using different ends of different ropes each attempt), progressively making our way (rightward) closer to the snow bridges in the vicinity of the rock island.  Utilizing the snow bridges near the rock island (as described in Brian Starlin's August 2014 TR) was not our first choice because we'd have to pass very close to the rock face where there was evidence of rock fall.  We ultimately turned around when conditions had turned to a white out (around 2 PM).

 Gear: 2x40m ropes; 3 pickets; 4 ice screws