Langille Ridge and McCoy Peak, July 12th, 2018

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Don Nelsen
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Langille Ridge and McCoy Peak, July 12th, 2018

Post by Don Nelsen » July 13th, 2018, 6:12 pm

14.1 miles of hiking, both on and off trail
4.8 miles of mountain biking
5,763’ EG
10 hours, 3 minutes
Number of other hikers: 0
Number of mountain goats: 2
Temperature: 54 to 82 degrees,
Bugs: A few, but no big deal



After reading Sean’s excellent TR’s of his Dark Divide adventures from a few years ago I put both McCoy
Peak and Langille Ridge on my ever lengthening short list.

One of Sean’s TRs:
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=19412&hilit

Kelly Wagner had a lot to do with getting into the area but somehow I never quite got up Langille Ridge or McCoy Peak until yesterday, July 12th.

Weather promised to be clear though very hot so I arose at the ridiculous time of 3:30 and was on the road a few minutes after 4 am. As I made the turn off of I-5 onto SR 12 the sky continued to brighten and finally I could see rays of sunlight streaming past the summit of Mt. Rainier. It was a cool 54 to 58 degrees as I headed east through Morton and finally turned right at Randle heading to the TR off forest road 28.

Mt. Adams in the distance over the morning mist:
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Watching the sky slowly brighten and finally seeing the sunrise is something I haven’t done in years. Note to self: do more of this!

The road is still washed out at the junction of FR 28 and 2809 and anticipating that, I brought my mountain bike to shorten the long hike. 2809 is a good road but unused for several years, it has mostly reverted to just a single track through the annuals:
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There were only two or three logs across the route I couldn’t just jump my bike over so the first 2.4 miles went fairly fast, gaining 575 feet. I stashed the bike off the road, covered it in ferns just in case, and headed up the trail in the now brightening forest.

The first mile is a somewhat rutted section of switchbacks and the next 2 ¼ miles a long steadily climbing traverse to a beautifully scenic saddle with stunning views. There are only a couple of good views through the forest in this traversing section but they are very good viewpoints:

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From there, it was a photographer’s heaven!
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Once at the saddle, I headed north to see if I could get to the top of Langille Peak. There is no trail and some of the ridge is a horrible bushwhack but the scenic rewards are well worth the trouble. Spotting a mountain goat I decided to get a little closer but he wasn’t having any of it, leaving his perch and heading away across some pretty steep terrain. I thought, well, maybe if he can do it, I can, as I saw him traverse a very steep rock wall and get to within a few feet of the summit. Wrong! That goat crossed a section of sloping rock with about a hundred feet of exposure and I decided I didn’t really want to summit Langille Peak after all.

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Here is the crux move that goat made. Not for me, at least not on this trip:
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I headed back the way I came and decided that McCoy Peak would be the ultimate goal for the day.

A very nice trail took me another 1 2/3 mile to a very hard-to-spot trail junction and then another ¾ mile up to the summit of McCoy. This last bit has a couple hundred feet where the trail just plain disappears but I was able to fine it again without much trouble and the rest of the way was a breeze. McCoy’s top is a long ridgeline with a barely eroded out dike running along the top giving unobstructed view in all directions. I could see Jefferson, Hood, Adams, Rainier and St. Helens plus the Mt. Margaret area, the Goat Rocks and everything in between. A wonderful area and I hope to get back up there again.

A few more pics:

Another goat as I headed towards McCoy:
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Looking back along my route:
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The long summit ridge of McCoy Peak:
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The map:
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dn
"Everything works in the planning stage".

cfm
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Joined: June 18th, 2008, 6:49 am

Re: Langille Ridge and McCoy Peak, July 12th, 2018

Post by cfm » July 15th, 2018, 6:25 am

That looks fun Don, thanks! I love using a bike to cover the easy miles and get deeper faster.

I dont see any snow. There is usually still some on the higher ridges keeping out the motor bikes until August. Did you hear much motor whining?

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Don Nelsen
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Re: Langille Ridge and McCoy Peak, July 12th, 2018

Post by Don Nelsen » July 15th, 2018, 8:59 am

There were only a couple small patches of snow on the uppermost part of McCoy and that came in very handy to cool and replenish my dwindling water supply.

No sounds from motorcycles or saws and no gunshots either. Turned out to be one of the best days ever to be in the Dark Divide.


My long neglected mountain bike is getting a workout these days and it's been fun. The best part is coasting back to the car on a hot day.

dn
"Everything works in the planning stage".

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K.Wagner
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Re: Langille Ridge and McCoy Peak, July 12th, 2018

Post by K.Wagner » July 16th, 2018, 6:55 pm

Don,

Really glad that you made it up there! Looks like you missed the "new" trail. A little surprised you didn't pick it up on the way down. Some pretty amazing stuff up there!

It looks from your Langille pictures that you got stopped (what? Don let a little exposure stop him?) while on the east facing slope. Did you try the west side? I haven't been on Langille yet, just trying to save a few steps when I do get up there.
Kelly
There is no shortcut to anyplace worth going to.

PM me about the soon to be released:
Skamania 231
"How to really get off the beaten path in Skamania County"

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Don Nelsen
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Location: Vancouver, WA

Re: Langille Ridge and McCoy Peak, July 12th, 2018

Post by Don Nelsen » July 17th, 2018, 6:02 pm

K.Wagner wrote:
July 16th, 2018, 6:55 pm
Don,

Really glad that you made it up there! Looks like you missed the "new" trail. A little surprised you didn't pick it up on the way down. Some pretty amazing stuff up there!

It looks from your Langille pictures that you got stopped (what? Don let a little exposure stop him?) while on the east facing slope. Did you try the west side? I haven't been on Langille yet, just trying to save a few steps when I do get up there.
I guess I missed the new trail - nothing I saw looked suspicious. And, yep, I totally wussed out on the route that goat took and I couldn't find another possibility on the west side of the ridge. It looked real cliffy but I didn't investigate all the way into the forest. There could be a way and there could even be another possibility on the north side of the peak. I think it's worth a trip back - the scenery alone is worth the effort.

dn
"Everything works in the planning stage".

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Sean Thomas
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Re: Langille Ridge and McCoy Peak, July 12th, 2018

Post by Sean Thomas » August 3rd, 2018, 8:16 pm

Great report and pics DN! I scrambled up to Langille's summit last summer while looping the ridge, rough trail and the 29 road. On the ascent I slipped around the east side via a steep, loose gully. On the trip down I just stayed on the west side(also loose). Here are some pics,


Curling around the east side:


Image19054916_10213212323679649_4606667701460477416_o by Sean Lawson, on Flickr


Looking back down some of the east side approach:


Image20452017_10213212323919655_8083037133073842799_o by Sean Lawson, on Flickr


Final obstacle before the top and me on the summit:


Image20545424_10213212325199687_8669089353607433675_o by Sean Lawson, on Flickr


Image20507628_10213212322239613_5694704072496401539_o by Sean Lawson, on Flickr

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K.Wagner
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Re: Langille Ridge and McCoy Peak, July 12th, 2018

Post by K.Wagner » August 5th, 2018, 7:26 pm

Sean,

Thanks for the route ideas. Didn't know that you did that sort of route..... thought that Don & I were the only ones off-kilter enough to do that sort of thing!

You have upped the bar several notches, now I have to give it a go!
Kelly
There is no shortcut to anyplace worth going to.

PM me about the soon to be released:
Skamania 231
"How to really get off the beaten path in Skamania County"

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