Paradise Park to Yocum Ridge: a modicum of success

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Chip Down
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Paradise Park to Yocum Ridge: a modicum of success

Post by Chip Down » September 14th, 2019, 10:11 pm

Another attempt to get from Paradise to Yocum offtrail, without glacier travel or severe bushwhacking. Having previously hiked offtrail from the Ramona area to Yocum Ridge and Sandy Glacier, today I continued to focus on getting from Paradise to the Ramona area.

From the north paradise junction, I cut over to the edge of Paradise Branch canyon, and looked for a safe drop to the creek, at a place where I could also climb up the other side. Almost pulled it off. It was a little sketchy though, and it would have put me in an awkward spot, mid elevation on the forested part of lower Illumination Ridge (or maybe a spur). I wasn't willing to endure a questionable canyon drop just to get to a place I didn't really want to be. So I climbed back up to the canyon lip and continued down, looking for a good place to drop in. By the time I found a candidate, I was so low that I had lost interest. I would have to drop to the Paradise/Sandy confluence and climb the ridge from its bottom at about 4200' up to about 6000', from where I know it's possible to continue climbing and loop above Mississippi Head. That looked very unpleasant, because gaining the ridge at the bottom looks tricky, and then there's a brushy zone. There might be a good route on the north side, but I've seen that side of the ridge from Sandy River Canyon, and I didn't see anything enticing.

So I just continued down the lip (or close to the lip) of Paradise Branch Canyon, then Sandy River Canyon. Around 4200' I found myself on a broad flat-topped ridge, open and easy to walk on (almost brush free). It had a old-maid-flats feel to it.

When I got down to Sandy River, I continued downstream, past the PCT crossing a bit, to the Rushing Water/Sandy confluence. Because Rushing Water Creek briefly runs parallel to Sandy, it would be easy for upstream hikers to believe that Sandy just splits briefly, except that Sandy is grey silty glacier water, and Rushing Water Creek is clear.

I wanted to follow Rushing Water Creek all the way to Paradise, but I quickly realized it was a boring brushy gully. I realize now, looking at GE image, that its character changes drastically above the 3500' switchback that takes the trail away from the creek. Maybe I'll try it again someday.

Although I succeeded in getting from Paradise to Sandy River offtrail, this wasn't a greatly satisfying day. I've already done a similar route in spring, on snow the whole way, so this wasn't entirely new. And I was distressingly close to the trail in a couple places. And I really want to utilize Illumination Ridge, just because it's a much more interesting and adventurous route, up high anyway. But in spite of the disappointments, I did establish that I can get from Paradise to upper Yocum Ridge and Sandy Glacier without setting foot on official USFS trail.
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0.jpg
That ridge leads to Illumination Ridge (or it is part of Illumination Ridge). Looks pretty easy, open and not too steep.
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That ridge on the right is the same ridge as the previous pic. Notice how brushy it is down low/left. To the left, up in the distance, is Illumination Park on Illumination Ridge.
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How the heck am I going to get across that?! I dropped down to the yellow X, and a little lower, but lost my nerve. To get out of the canyon, I aimed for the arrow tree.
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This is about where the yellow X is in the above pic.
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Looking down on the Paradise/Sandy confluence.
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Considerably lower, looking up Sandy.
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Finally, a safe easy escape down to Sandy.
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Confluence of Sandy and Rushing Water.
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This global warming thing is really getting out of hand. Sharks in Zig Zag Canyon!

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adamschneider
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Re: Paradise Park to Yocum Ridge: a modicum of success

Post by adamschneider » September 14th, 2019, 11:13 pm

What/where is "Illumination Park"?

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mjirving
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Re: Paradise Park to Yocum Ridge: a modicum of success

Post by mjirving » September 15th, 2019, 1:02 am

Nice to see it can technically be done.

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Bosterson
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Re: Paradise Park to Yocum Ridge: a modicum of success

Post by Bosterson » September 15th, 2019, 11:05 am

I thought I'd pulled a Chip yesterday and found a free mountain beer, but the poor thing was unopened but punctured. :(

Image

No sign of invasive Nevadan shark beers though. ;)
Will hike off trail for fun.

firelight
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Re: Paradise Park to Yocum Ridge: a modicum of success

Post by firelight » September 15th, 2019, 2:59 pm

Another variation along the south fork Upper Sandy River was done by me many years ago....going up onto Yocum meadow. It does have one steep-ish rock step (see image below), probably 4th class.
The steep gravel runnels aiming up north from the Sandy creek system land at the base of a tall rock bluff, which you traverse eastward till a very short section allows passage.

You might be able to connect your goal (Paradise-yocum) via some brushy ridge down near the big waterfall cove which is near the PCT (to the variation we already did).
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Chip Down
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Re: Paradise Park to Yocum Ridge: a modicum of success

Post by Chip Down » September 15th, 2019, 6:57 pm

Well done, firelight. I tried that without success. Maybe I was too timid about finding a climbable breach in the cliffs. I kept going east until I didn't feel comfortable going further. See map below.

Interesting choice you made after bypassing that first waterfall. I stayed as close to water as possible the whole way.
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Chip Down
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Re: Paradise Park to Yocum Ridge: a modicum of success

Post by Chip Down » September 15th, 2019, 7:01 pm

adamschneider wrote:
September 14th, 2019, 11:13 pm
What/where is "Illumination Park"?
The gentle verdant slopes on Illumination Ridge, above treeline but below the bare rocky zone. Haven't you been following my Illumination Ridge saga? :geek:

Another way to define it: the only parkland between Paradise and Yocum.

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adamschneider
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Re: Paradise Park to Yocum Ridge: a modicum of success

Post by adamschneider » September 15th, 2019, 8:00 pm

Chip Down wrote:
September 15th, 2019, 7:01 pm
Another way to define it: the only parkland between Paradise and Yocum.
So, this bit here?
Illumination Park.jpg

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Chip Down
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Re: Paradise Park to Yocum Ridge: a modicum of success

Post by Chip Down » September 15th, 2019, 8:30 pm

Yep, that be it. Lovely place, and it's all mine. I think it must be the most remote patch of green on Hood.
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markesc
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Re: Paradise Park to Yocum Ridge: a modicum of success

Post by markesc » September 16th, 2019, 5:26 pm

Wow nice report! High on the ambition level!! Inspirational as always!

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