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Trip Report    

Three Fingers/South Peak

Trip Date: Sept 27-28, 2014
Distance: ~15 miles (round trip)
Elevation gain: ~4400'

Bike Distance: 9 miles (one way)
Bike elevation: 1400' (one way)

It is not easy to find FS Road 41, it is not marked and we all ended driving by it the first time. If you get to Robe Valley, you have gone too far. About 7 or 8 miles outside of Granite Falls, look for a road that slants off to the left. Once on it, stay straight on all turnoffs. I was surprised by the number of cars already there by the time we got there.

We started biking around 8:45 and arrive at the trailhead around 10:30. I walked my bike in several sections. The road itself is in very good condition, it is hard to tell why it is even closed, just one section where the side of the road has eroded down a cliff. We locked our bikes in the trees and proceeded up the "trail". It had rained extensively the day before, and the trail was a rushing river in most places for the first .5 mile. Beyond that it was still muddy and slippery in places. We had a relaxed pace (due to the wonderful huckleberries around 4000-5000') and arrived at Goat Flats about 4 hours later, where we set up camp. Enjoyed an amazing sunset. Goat Flats is an excellent camping destination. We had heard that 11 people spent the night in the lookout that night, so we were glad we didn't go there. I also talked to some people that were there the night before, and apparently it was rather miserable with all the rain that occurred. Another group turned around before reaching the lookout as they were unable to go past the moat/snow.

The next day we headed for the lookout starting out around 7:30am. The trail was mostly easy to follow. The first tricky spot is past Tin Can Gap where you have a choice - go up the moat, or put on crampons and cross the snow. 3 of us (including myself) took the moat, while the others crossed the hard snow with crampons on (a very short 50' section). The moat proved to be the more difficult option (so on the return we all crossed the snow). We put on crampons for another section of snow, although it wasn't strictly necessary. Found the ladders - they were as slanted and creaky as I had been told. Little bit of trouble pushing myself into the crack above ladder #2. Otherwise, just need to be careful not to get any splinters. Lookout in good condition after previous work parties have painted and added mortar to the foundation.

There were 2 people up there when we got there (and were still there when we left an hour later). Heading back was mostly uneventful, we made it back to the bikes in pretty good time. The last half mile before the road had dried up, but was still slippery. The bike ride down took me about an hour. One person did it in 30 minutes. We passed several people who had walked the whole way, long way to walk on the road, but it can be done apparently.

 

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