Shellrock Mtn: SW ridge up, Summit Creek Canyon down

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Chip Down
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Joined: November 8th, 2014, 8:41 pm

Shellrock Mtn: SW ridge up, Summit Creek Canyon down

Post by Chip Down » December 8th, 2019, 8:22 pm

When the utility road ended at the talus slopes on the north side of Shellrock, I turned south and followed the broad gully along the west side of Shellrock. The forest was open, almost no brush. I figured that wouldn't last. As I ascended, the gully became less distinct, steeper, brushy. Wasn't really confident I was on the best route. Was relieved when I reached the crest of Shellrock's SW ridge.

On ridgecrest, I turned left and worked my way towards the summit in dense fog. I knew there was an intermediate high point, and then a drop to another saddle, then up to the junction where SW ridge meets NW ridge. This put me in known territory. I was nearly at the top of the cloud layer, or maybe it was starting to clear. Anyway, I could see a bit of blue. I few more minutes put me on the true summit.

From the top, I veered a bit right/east of the standard descent route, into Summit Creek Canyon. It was fun and easy, and soon I could see the creek below me. The terrain was gentle along the canyon bottom, but as I followed the creek down, it became increasingly cliffy. I traversed high, following a contour line as the creek dropped below. As the steep rocky slope yielded to easier but brushier slopes, I dropped to the creek, and followed a very old road briefly, then down to creek again, eventually to the top of falls, no way to continue down, so hopped creek at a slot where it was just 8" across, then east until I hit the powerline road.

Saw one person all day, maybe an hour before sunset, just east of Wyeth.

On a dry sunny warm day, I might give this hike a slightly better rating, but honestly that SW ridge was just ugly. Going SW, away from Shellrock, it can eventually grant access to Wyeth Trail for an easy descent, but I wonder if it's worthwhile.
Attachments
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Saddle on SW ridge.
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Getting a bit steep, just below the NW ridge junction.
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Summit Creek Canyon, the easy part.
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The sketchy traverse above the creek.
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Road! Didn't last long.
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Top o' the falls.
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On powerline road now, challenges over.
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High in Summit Creek Canyon.
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My friends say I drive like an old lady. Now I drink like one too (sherry). This was on a little side trip to a talus slope in the canyon.

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