Eagle Cap Triptych: Tombstone, Diamond, and Off Trail Adventures

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Bosterson
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Re: Eagle Cap Triptych: Tombstone, Diamond, and Off Trail Adventures

Post by Bosterson » September 3rd, 2019, 8:22 pm

Well played, Brian, I stand corrected. :) I was thinking Traverse Peak just looked farther away due to lens perspective but I'd forgotten about that big talus wall the trail switchbacks down from Echo, which is visible in his pic.
BurnsideBob wrote:
September 1st, 2019, 1:37 pm
Bosterson, thanks for the kind words. I've much enjoyed your trip reports, and, noting that you've contributed about both the Eagle Cap and the Sawtooths, do you have a preference?
I've really only been to the Sawtooths once (2 "trips" in the same trip out there). It's great, but farther drive. I wonder if its vibe is more akin to the Wind Rivers (never been)? Eagle Cap is Eagle Cap, and I go there every year because it's just so great, and varied in its geology and flora, and just so pleasant sometimes. (I realized this walking through a field of desert sage.) If I had time to get out to the Sawtooths more regularly, there's plenty to check out there though.
Will hike off trail for fun.

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BurnsideBob
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Re: Eagle Cap Triptych: Tombstone, Diamond, and Off Trail Adventures

Post by BurnsideBob » September 5th, 2019, 8:49 pm

Bosterson:

Thanks for your comment re Eagle Cap vs Sawtooths. Susan saw your post and says to tell everyone that the Sawtooths are the best of the three (Eagle Cap, Sawtooths, Winds).

To me, they all have their individual character. While the plant and animal communities of the Eagle Cap and Sawtooths are similar, the Sawtooths have been more heavily glaciated.

I really like the Eagle Cap because of the granite, the shorter drive, and the multi day trip possibilities. We'll have to continue this "which is best" discussion around a campfire somewhere. Maybe the best is the one you are camped in!

Burnside


PS. Someone must have done the Echo Lake to 7500 Ft meadow traverse. Anyone? roninor?
I keep making protein shakes but they always turn out like margaritas.

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retired jerry
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Re: Eagle Cap Triptych: Tombstone, Diamond, and Off Trail Adventures

Post by retired jerry » September 6th, 2019, 5:48 am

are there grizzly bears in the Sawtooths?

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BurnsideBob
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Re: Eagle Cap Triptych: Tombstone, Diamond, and Off Trail Adventures

Post by BurnsideBob » September 8th, 2019, 8:15 am

No Griz in the Sawtooths or Eagle Cap.

Winds have significant griz population North end of range, with occasional trail camera/hiker sightings mid and south. Most backpackers carry bear spray.

The Winds are dramatically beautiful BUT you lose a lot of time getting to them if you travel by car.
I keep making protein shakes but they always turn out like margaritas.

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retired jerry
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Re: Eagle Cap Triptych: Tombstone, Diamond, and Off Trail Adventures

Post by retired jerry » September 8th, 2019, 8:57 am

thanks

I have an irrational fear of grizzly bears

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drm
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Re: Eagle Cap Triptych: Tombstone, Diamond, and Off Trail Adventures

Post by drm » September 8th, 2019, 10:03 am

If the Winds were close, they would be my favorite backpacking destination based on trips I did a long time ago. But distance and propensity of t-storms means I probably won't go.

The Wallowas get enormous attention here but for all my trips there I've never seen terrain as spectacular as what I've seen in the North Cascades. But the North Cascades of Washington exact a price for that - often long slogs through the forest and/or large altitude gains. And that is for trail hikers. Off-trail exploration often requires punishing bushwhacking to get above tree line, and then you are quickly on glaciers and exposed serious climbers terrain. And of course dry periods are harder to get that far north. The Wallowas are a dream for relatively forgiving off-trail wandering. The Wallowas are our little piece of the Sierra transported north.

Jerry - While grizzlies are an exagerrated threat, it is a real one, and minimizing that threat can sometimes mean changing your backpacking habits. I've backpacked enough in Alaska to know that this can be more than a minor issue for those of us kind of set in our ways for how we like to travel in the backcountry.

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retired jerry
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Re: Eagle Cap Triptych: Tombstone, Diamond, and Off Trail Adventures

Post by retired jerry » September 8th, 2019, 11:04 am

I'd rather not have to carry bear spray

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BurnsideBob
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Re: Eagle Cap Triptych: Tombstone, Diamond, and Off Trail Adventures

Post by BurnsideBob » September 10th, 2019, 7:20 pm

retired jerry wrote:
September 8th, 2019, 11:04 am
I'd rather not have to carry bear spray
You are an Eagle Cap man! Congratulations and how Oregonian!
drm wrote:
September 8th, 2019, 10:03 am
The Wallowas are a dream for relatively forgiving off-trail wandering.
I agree and I've noticed that there is a road ending at the wilderness boundary at 7,000' to the West of the Tombstone Lake Trail. Its on the divide between Trout and Catherine Creeks and exists to service two diversion canals that remove water from Trout and Catherine Creeks. Sure would be nice to access the Tombstone country starting at 7,000' vs the 5,400' of the West Eagle TH.
drm wrote:
September 8th, 2019, 10:03 am
I've never seen terrain as spectacular as what I've seen in the North Cascades.
That long green tunnel of not seeing forest-for-the-trees is an issue.
drm wrote:
September 8th, 2019, 10:03 am
The Wallowas are our little piece of the Sierra transported north.
Of all the granite palaces we have visited, the one I'd most want to revisit is the Enchantments. Haven't been to the Tuck and Robin Lakes area, which is carved from the same granitic pluton. Both the Sierra and the Winds have extensive areas above timberline which the others do not. There is something oppressive feeling about being completely above the trees--I felt happy and relieved dropping into the trees of LeConte Canyon after transiting the tree-less Evolution Basin and Muir Pass in the Sierra. But the sparse and even krumholz trees of the highest Enchantments were just right.

IMOP all these ranges have their virtues.

Burnside
I keep making protein shakes but they always turn out like margaritas.

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Bosterson
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Re: Eagle Cap Triptych: Tombstone, Diamond, and Off Trail Adventures

Post by Bosterson » September 10th, 2019, 10:19 pm

BurnsideBob wrote:
September 10th, 2019, 7:20 pm
Of all the granite palaces we have visited, the one I'd most want to revisit is the Enchantments. Haven't been to the Tuck and Robin Lakes area, which is carved from the same granitic pluton. Both the Sierra and the Winds have extensive areas above timberline which the others do not. There is something oppressive feeling about being completely above the trees...
I agree - as epic and pristine as some alpine areas are, being out in the open above the trees is not as "comfortable" as areas that have a nice mix. (Maybe this is our ape heritage talking.) Re Alpine Lakes, Tuck & Robin are very nice (mostly Robin, Tuck is smaller and more forested, with less of a view), though from what I gather on NWHikers they're very very popular these days. AL has so many fantastic areas there's no reason to go to the uber-popular spots; I haven't been back to the Enchantments core since 2009 because of the crowds and unbelievable hassle of the unobtainable permits. Similar scenery can be found most places out there. North Cascades is like a little slice of the Canadian Rockies though, undoubtedly it's the true jewel of the Pacific Northwest. That said, Eagle Cap has a cozy high desert flavor the others don't, which I guess is the difference that draws me back there year after year. There is something to be said sometimes for pleasantness and charm versus majesty. Of course, between all these areas there's no reason to debate their relative merits - a visit to any of them would be time well spent. :)
Will hike off trail for fun.

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drm
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Re: Eagle Cap Triptych: Tombstone, Diamond, and Off Trail Adventures

Post by drm » September 11th, 2019, 6:59 am

As they sometimes say, I fixed this for ya.
a visit to all of them would be time well spent

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