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.
Saddle on SW ridge.
Getting a bit steep, just below the NW ridge junction.
Summit Creek Canyon, the easy part.
The sketchy traverse above the creek.
Road! Didn't last long.
Top o' the falls.
On powerline road now, challenges over.
High in Summit Creek Canyon.
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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