Serpent's Tail Ridge to Chinidere - 2/21/15

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Bosterson
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Serpent's Tail Ridge to Chinidere - 2/21/15

Post by Bosterson » February 22nd, 2015, 11:26 am

After seeing Chase's report about an unnamed ridge from Eagle Creek to the Benson, and then finding out Viking's variation from 2005 was possibly unrepeated - well, Ben and I couldn't resist.

We left the upper Eagle Creek parking lot at 7:30am.

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After crossing the Fern Creek bridge, we left the trail and started heading up the steep hillside, fingers crossed that it wouldn't cliff out.

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The only way up was this steep slot.

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Hard to capture the steepness in photos. It was not uncomfortable, but slipping would suck. For most of it, there were some trees and sword ferns to grab.

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The silly thing looks even steeper from the top. We were a little dumbfounded it'd worked.

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However, the top of the slot yielded a magnificent and rarely visited viewpoint. Looking north:

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South:

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Precipitous, too.

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The ridge continued above us. It was wonderful to follow.

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Around 2400 ft we hit a 30-ish ft rock step.

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After scaling the prow - a little 5th classy, kind of exposed, a little loose up top. Lower stuff is solid. Non-climbing options exist on the hillside to the climber's left.

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Great view across the valley at the knifey sections of 4.5 Mile Bridge Ridge (aka Bear and Antler Ridge).

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Note that the trail log is above the 2400 ft rock step.

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Northridge! Thank you for adding new, dry paper and pens to the trail log! But please use less super glue to close it back up next time! :D

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15 minutes of prying and hammering later, we got the damn thing open. While we had a snack break, I tried to dry out Viking's original paper in the sun a bit, but it's still pretty damp.

Onward into some brush.

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The big rock formation around 3000 ft. Many fun and easy scramble options up it.

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Cairn up top - yours, Viking?

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Really wonderful view. We'd already eaten, but this would be an ideal lunching spot.

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The last 1000 ft of climbing is just steep uphill through the forest, kind of like the last section of Ruckel Ridge.

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We reached the Benson and then motored over onto the PCT.

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After a brief stop to climb that rock stack at the saddle, we continued to Chinidere and veered up its west face.

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Mellow scramble up. Beware of knocking loose bits onto your partner, if applicable.

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Windy up top. Not a speck of snow in sight, pretty different from the last time I was here in February.

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Wahtum Lake is decidedly unfrozen.

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When did this burn happen between Wahtum and the Indian Springs junction? I don't remember it from the last time I was there in 2013...

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Usual slog back out, but lovely to have the Eagle Creek trail to ourselves at that late-in-the-day hour. It really is magnificent, if you avoid the crowds and just enjoy the scenery. Headlamps went on at 4.5 mile bridge around 6:30, and we were back at the car a little before 8.

About 22.5 miles and 5500 ft EG.

<map redacted>

A little cold for "June," but a lovely, full day out! :D
Will hike off trail for fun.

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Charley
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Re: Serpent's Tail Ridge to Chinidere - 2/21/15

Post by Charley » February 22nd, 2015, 11:49 am

Excellent! It's amazing that, in a relatively confined area which sees lots of visitors, there are so many less explored, challenging routes. The nature of the terrain lends itself to such exploration, I suppose. Well done.

pablo
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Re: Serpent's Tail Ridge to Chinidere - 2/21/15

Post by pablo » February 22nd, 2015, 1:18 pm

Very nice. So there's nothing technical about the slot at the beginning, just really steep? I like the direct approach.

--Paul
The future's uncertain and the end is always near.

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Eric Peterson
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Re: Serpent's Tail Ridge to Chinidere - 2/21/15

Post by Eric Peterson » February 23rd, 2015, 6:21 am

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:lol:

Slopes always look steeper from the top...

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Peder
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Re: Serpent's Tail Ridge to Chinidere - 2/21/15

Post by Peder » February 23rd, 2015, 7:08 am

Great hike and great pictures. I think I will go for the less steep (un-Viking?) version of that ridge!
Some people are really fit at eighty; thankfully I still have many years to get into shape…

northridge
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Re: Serpent's Tail Ridge to Chinidere - 2/21/15

Post by northridge » February 23rd, 2015, 6:32 pm

Northridge! Thank you for adding new, dry paper and pens to the trail log! But please use less super glue to close it back up next time! :D
The secret is having the right tool for the job.

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I have many favorite "off the beaten track" spots in the gorge, but that flat viewpoint near the top of the "knob" at ~3K ranks right up there with the best of 'em.

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Solid work you guys. Most would call it good upon reaching the Benson after that never-ending final push. Continuing on to Chinidere is a BIG day.

Thanks again Chase for the original report, and Viking/Tim for planting the seed up there a decade ago that led to a very interesting and rewarding chain of events.
Last edited by northridge on July 30th, 2017, 7:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

viking
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Re: Serpent's Tail Ridge to Chinidere - 2/21/15

Post by viking » March 1st, 2015, 8:28 pm

First, yes the cairn is in all likelihood mine, I have over the years left many route markers at many different interesting to visit spots in the gorge (and else where).
The register is one of 8 to10 that I have left at different spots in the gorge. 2 have been noted on PH others I remember where they have been left and several I have no idea where they are. Keep looking. I am interested in knowing who, if anyone has visited them. But NEVER show GPS coordinates of them, that would make them geo-cashes and meir tag points not part of a full exploration.
There are also 8-10 peak/route/place registers elsewhere in the gorge placed by others that I have seen over the years.
I have also left Tibetan prayer flags 6-8-10 locations in the gorge (who knows). Flags in high wind area need to replaced every couple years due to the wind striping them down to the string. So if you see a string between 2 trees that makes no sense, hang new flags there. Hint, 1 of them is show in an edition of Olsen's CGCC.
Last, for you people who think that I am a SOB for leaving junk in the woods everywhere, sorry.
Don't flame me too badly, or do.

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