Home  •   Field Guide  •   Forums  •   Unread Posts  •   Maps  •   Find a Hike!  •    Register  •   Search  •  
Jump to:  
Login  | 

Board index » Trail Talk » Trip Reports




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 20 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Coldwater Peak 6/6/12 - success!
 Post Posted: June 9th, 2012, 1:10 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: May 28th, 2008, 11:03 pm
Posts: 1694
Location: Vancouver, WA
I got a day off on Wednesday, and with my crampons and axe finally arriving and a great forecast for MSH area (60F, partly cloudy) it was no question where to go. Coldwater Peak, just north of Mt. St. Helens, evaded me at least 5 times over the last 3 years, and now it was a chance to make it and also test my new gear on some steep terrain.

Long story short, when I arrived at almost empty Johnston Ridge parking lot it was gray, windy day with low clouds & brief sunbreaks, and it even tried to snow! It felt more like November than June. New snow didn't stick to bare ground - the first 2 miles of the hike were mostly snow-free, with only a few snowdrifts left from the winter. Good news is that the trail is now legally open - red tape at the trailhead is gone and I saw two rangers doing tread work at Devils Elbow, about 45 minutes into the hike.

The view of Coldwater Peak from the beginning of the hike at Johnston Ridge
Image

St. Helens from Devils Elbow
Image

Past Devils Elbow, it was on and off snow hiking. Followed the tracks of two hikers to Harry's Ridge saddle (met them near the saddle); they were the last people I saw all day.
Image

There's something eerie in the eruption blast zone... even 30 years later
Image

Wildlife
Image

Once past Harry's Saddle, all tracks ended and I was on my own. Getting to Coldwater requires going over the summit of smaller, unnamed mountain (steep terrain doesn't allow to go around). It was referred as Godgwater Peak, I sometimes call it "Stump Hill" for the amount of stumps left from the eruption
Image

Looking up Stump Hill - still a while to go (Coldwater Peak just shows from behind it on the left)
Image

Had great views of Spirit Lake almost the entire time
Image

In a couple of weeks there'll be lots of glacier lilies in bloom
Image

The amount of fresh snow quickly increased and by 5000' it was about 6-8 inches of fresh, wet stuff over hard snowpack left from the winter. This really got me concerned, because on the steep terrain ahead this fresh upper layer won't allow my crampons to anchor to harder snow below, and it may easily slip off under my weight. I decided to go ahead and see if there's any alternative route.

Once past this small summit, great views of Coldwater Peak and St. Helens Lake open up. Red line shows the route I took in the end - rather than taking a long sidehill slog on the east side that roughly follows the trail (and risk slipping down or running out of time), I kept closer to SW side which has mostly melted off and, aside from some snodrifts, mostly had fresh snow, well anchored by huckleberry brush.
Image

I changed to crampons and went down and past icy Rock Arch. Going along arch ridge was steep and pretty exposed, so I took it slow
Image

Past the Arch Ridge (my toponym, for reference purpose only), I went steep up to a saddle between Coldwater Peak and "Snag Peak", and then went around rock outcrops on the left, without knowing if there's any passage at all.
Image

Here is second rock wall from just past first wall (you may already see antennas on top). Other than a few snowdrifts, this part turned out pretty straightforward. It was interesting how the wind changed due terrain - on the saddles it was really cold because of strong gusts, but on mountain sides it became dead calm and pretty warm.
Image

Summit block comes into view (the 3rd rock wall on my ascent) - that's where the things get interesting again. The only way to go around it was on snow-laden and steep east side
Image

Image

The slope below third rock wall was steep, it almost stopped me. Had to get into "snow well" (at one point, it was about 7 feet deep) and was able to get around the bad spot
Image

Frozen St Helens Lake and Spirit Lake (upper right corner) from my snow balcony
Image

Just before the top, I connected to an actual trail. Antennas has been a welcome sight - they meant I just did it the hard way!
Image

It wasn't as clear day as promised, but got nice view of Mt. St Helens
Image

There wasn't much time left to rest, so I just hiked to actual summit and the N tip of the summit to take the pictures of surrounding landscape.

Mt. Whittier (the ridge at left background) and Margaret (extreme right)
Image

View to NW
Image

Coldwater Lake valley (only the small portion of the lake is visible)
Image

Spirit Lake
Image

Mt Whittier zoom-in
Image

Mt. Margaret zoomed in (rounded summit on the right)
Image

On the way back: rime frost on the trees
Image

Arch Ridge and my tracks
Image

Back side of "Stump Hill", as seen from Arch RIdge. Note a huge snowdrift at the saddle
Image

The lake finally turns blue, as the skies started to clear by the evening
Image

Down at Harry's Ridge junction
Image

Got treated to a great sunset light on St Helens, and returned to my car just before the dark :)
Image

Image

It was a difficult but fun day for sure. Cannot wait to go back on a bluebird day!


Top 
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Coldwater Peak 6/6/12 - success!
 Post Posted: June 9th, 2012, 1:58 pm 
Offline

Joined: June 1st, 2012, 10:24 pm
Posts: 22
awesome photos and TR!

I would love to give this a go, I have not explored much on the north side of MSH.
Those photos make me want to go NOW :D

Thanks for the great TR!


Top 
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Coldwater Peak 6/6/12 - success!
 Post Posted: June 9th, 2012, 3:02 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: May 28th, 2008, 11:03 pm
Posts: 1694
Location: Vancouver, WA
Thanks Pyrogen,

There's a trail all the way to the top, but with the snow I think it's much more interesting! And it's sure got better views than MSH (since you can see all those views plus MSH). :)

Roman


Top 
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Coldwater Peak 6/6/12 - success!
 Post Posted: June 9th, 2012, 3:37 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: May 28th, 2008, 11:02 pm
Posts: 2657
Location: Lake Oswego
Well done Roman! That should be under "mountaineering" rather than trip reports. :) It sure looks like a beautiful day out with some exciting route finding. I'm glad that the trail is already fixed. What would you have done if you had ignored the "trail closed" signs and then met two rangers working on the repairs? :shock: "Hi Guys! I just came out to see if I can give you a hand with fixing the trail? I even brought this nice pick along."

_________________
Some people are really fit at eighty; thankfully I still have many years to get into shape…


Top 
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Coldwater Peak 6/6/12 - success!
 Post Posted: June 9th, 2012, 8:13 pm 
Offline

Joined: June 4th, 2012, 3:33 am
Posts: 27
Roman YOU DID It and with style to way to go my friend.

I have had my run ins with that hike its so much harder IMO than the 12 or so miles and 2500 ft gain.,

always fly up mt maragrete similar distance and eg in half the time,

enough about me it was your day .

the photo of the arch wow.

take care Tom -roy -troy call ,me what you want,


Top 
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Coldwater Peak 6/6/12 - success!
 Post Posted: June 9th, 2012, 10:02 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: May 28th, 2008, 11:03 pm
Posts: 1694
Location: Vancouver, WA
Thanks Peder and Tom! Yes I thought about posting it in off-trail reports, but it was on or close to the trail most of the way (except for the last part) and those views are familiar to people who did Coldwater on trail. It's been fun route; I had to work on my vertigo for sure.

Peder wrote:
What would you have done if you had ignored the "trail closed" signs and then met two rangers working on the repairs?

Maybe would ask them where does this trail go :? . Then hope they forget to say me this trail is closed.


Top 
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Coldwater Peak 6/6/12 - success!
 Post Posted: June 9th, 2012, 10:27 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: May 18th, 2009, 4:17 pm
Posts: 836
Location: NE Portland
Nice work, Roman! Really stellar pictures, too.

Now that you've ticked off Coldwater, you should get out there and do the Whittier ridge - it's a blast.

_________________
Will hike off trail for fun.


Top 
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Coldwater Peak 6/6/12 - success!
 Post Posted: June 9th, 2012, 11:56 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: May 28th, 2008, 11:03 pm
Posts: 1694
Location: Vancouver, WA
Bosterson wrote:
Now that you've ticked off Coldwater, you should get out there and do the Whittier ridge - it's a blast.


It's great suggestion, Bosterson - I may try it later in the summer, most likely with an overnighter or two. I remember Peder's and your reports from Whittier - the terrain is so rugged, with open views, just fantastic to explore!


Top 
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Coldwater Peak 6/6/12 - success!
 Post Posted: June 10th, 2012, 12:33 am 
Offline

Joined: June 4th, 2012, 3:33 am
Posts: 27
romann wrote:
Thanks Peder and Tom! Yes I thought about posting it in off-trail reports, but it was on or close to the trail most of the way (except for the last part) and those views are familiar to people who did Coldwater on trail. It's been fun route; I had to work on my vertigo for sure.

Peder wrote:
What would you have done if you had ignored the "trail closed" signs and then met two rangers working on the repairs?

Maybe would ask them where does this trail go :? . Then hope they forget to say me this trail is closed.


you not the only that has ingnored the signs up there :D you just take off running they never chase you :lol: :lol: :lol:

mods will have to delete this for ileagle conversation :lol:


Top 
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Coldwater Peak 6/6/12 - success!
 Post Posted: June 10th, 2012, 12:52 am 
Offline

Joined: October 5th, 2010, 11:43 pm
Posts: 268
Congratulations, Romann! 8-)
Your summit approach qualifies this TR as an "Off-Trail" Report as well (I would think). Pretty ballsy route, too...
Any sign of trail disturbances on the Devil's Elbow?
I trust images from your expedition will also appear in one of your Picasa galleries in the future?


Top 
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
 
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 20 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

Board index » Trail Talk » Trip Reports


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: raftingdog

 
 

 
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  

Disclaimer: Information found on PortlandHikers.org and PortlandHikersFieldGuide.org is provided by website visitors and volunteers and should be considered anecdotal. All trails and directions and subject to current conditions. Trails and roads can be rerouted due to natural events and the website is not able to provide current information for every hike. Please verify against two other sources before planning a trip. Outdoor activities present inherent risks. Portlandhikers.org, nor any of its members, accept liability for injuries relating to information found on this website.