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The Curtis raft program was run by Mike Monsos who retired from that endeavor. Next Toni Carlstrom took over and the DIY raft project helped many get into a raft of reasonable weight. Toni has since moved. Ask her about the possibility of help and material for a raft. Google DIY pack raft to see how the DIY guy might be of help his raft. Perhaps the HLers still have raft building materials available.
I spent a night at SCL a few years back after stocking an unnamed lake in the area. Raw beautiful rugged country. Had no luck in 15 minutes fishing in the terrifically silty water. Would love to ascend the glacier and visit lakes just beyond.
Come give a trip report at either a tb or hl meeting. Would be fun to meet you.
This from Mike Swayne Journals in TB’er annual s in members only section.
Dome, Spire and Spinster Peaks, Mule and Spire Lakes July 25-28, 1962.
Don Ihlenfeldt and myself had been planning a trip into the Dome and Spire area, but something had always come up. Finally, Friday morning we departed. After a few delays, including a flat tire and oiling on the Suiattle road, we were on our way up Downey Creek about 10 AM. The trail is good all the way to Bachelor Creek. The trail up Bachelor Creek starts about 200 yards north of the log crossing on Downey Creek. Since there is no second crossing, it is best to stay on the east side until the trail can be picked up again.
The first mile switchbacks up the north side of the creek and is in good shape. As the trail flattens out and heads up the valley it becomes littered with blow downs. About 1.5 miles up we met a guy from the Forest Service measuring distances on the trail with a bicycle wheel and noting improvements to be made. He said the FS had plans to make the Glacier Peak Wilderness one of the nation’s best recreational areas. He said that he was surveying the trails in the area for scenic beauty and that many trails in poor repair were going to be rebuilt. I guess he thought we would be happy about these “improvements”.
After chatting for a while, we continued up the left side of the creek following red ribbons. After about 2 1/4 miles the trail breaks out into fern and brushy areas and gradually climbs above the creek. After 1/2 mile of fern patches, blazes can be followed as the trail climbs up through sometimes dense timber. About 3 miles up, the trail crosses the creek. It stays close for about 1/4 mile, then begins to climb up through the timber for another 1/4 mile where it breaks out into the open. We followed switchbacks with the help of ribbons up the ridge to the NE. Shortly, we reached an open meadow with a creek coming down from the East. Mule Lake lays a short distance WNW from here. The trail to Cub Lake goes up the creek and over a pass to the East.
We reached mostly frozen Cub Lake in the afternoon. From the outlet of Cub we dropped and then climbed to a flat meadow area where there is a couple of camp spots. Itswoot Lake was open but we did not drop down to it, since we did not have any fishing gear. We spent the rest of the day loafing and cooking dinner. It was a little nippy that night bivouacking and we were up and about early in the morning to climb Spire Point.
It was going to be a good day and we felt good on the way up to Spire. We climbed to a pass on the East ridge that gives access to the upper Dana Glacier. From here we contoured to the base of debris covered slabs on the east face. We rested for a while then began to look at the route. The NE face looked steep and down slab but broken. The sun was beating down as we roped up. On the second lead a series of very steep down sloping slabs with few cracks presented themselves. We backed off and went further to the left. This was easier and led us to a ridge that we climbed to the NW to slabs on the north face, which we then climbed to the summit.
The top is pointed, so we descended to the register located on a small ledge on the west face. We saw that about 15 parties had made the climb. By this time the sun was bearing down and we were hot and tired. As I started down the trickiest pitch below the slabs, the rope flipped my glasses off and they went bounding down the NE face. Later we searched the bottom but could find no trace of them. The rest of the trip would have to be spent in somewhat of a nearsighted haze.
As we reached the packs below the South ridge of Spire, the cumulus clouds were swiftly building up in the East over the glaciers. Smaller puffs were starting to form over our heads. We decided our camp was too exposed, so we packed up and headed down to Cub Lake. We made a shelter in the scrubby trees, and changed our plans. We had thought about taking our packs over Dome Peak, traversing Sinister and returning via the Bath Lakes and Sulfur Mtn. This would take us over much exposed terrain, and since we were only bivouacking decided not to take a chance on the weather. Later that night the cirrus that had been coming in with the cumulus evaporated and the sky cleared but we still decided not to take our packs over Dome.
Early the next morning we were off, eager to cover much ground before the sun got too hot. We made good time to the top of Spire ridge, where a beautiful clear morning sky greeted us from all directions. Heartened by this turn of events we hurried onward. From the ridge we made an even contour across rock slides and snow to the base of a 50 foot chute that leads between two small points of rock. We climbed through the notch and continued on a contour above steep going to some rock slabs that had many loose blocks of ice lying about. It was evident these ice blocks had come loose from the glacier and were sliding down the slabs. It was still cool and we saw nothing moving so we decided to chance it instead of making a circuitous detour.
We made an angling descent through ice blocks to slabs and ice that we climbed to neve slopes above some small cliffs. Once on the neve slopes we made a gradual ascending traverse in an easterly direction. Just before reaching the Dome Glacier, we stopped by a rocky pass where we had a view north along the Ptarmigan Traverse. We had a short rest then a short climb brought us to the almost flat slopes of the upper Dome Glacier. We crossed the glacier heading for the 8500 foot col north of the NE peak. We climbed the last few hundred feet to the col where we took a short rest to add snow to our water bottles.
From the col we climbed 35 degree snow to a ridge of snow that leads to within 100 feet of the summit. Without bothering to rope up we walked along the almost flat summit ridge to the six foot block that forms the summit. The only thing tricky is the exposure of several hundred feet down the west side and a 50 degree snow slope on the east side. One at a time we climbed up on the block, which lays on a sloping slab, hoping that the whole thing would not slide off. We signed the register and noticed that one or two parties had been climbing the peak each year.
We descended the ridge to the East where we noticed a triangulation point had been place. It consisted of orange slats nailed to an 8 foot mast, held in place by wire. From this point you could look down Sulfur Creek to the Suiattle and down Agnes Creek to the Stehekin. We also could look down on the tops of Blue and Sinister Peaks. Agnes Peak was also very prominent to the NE, and Bonanza stood out very prominent to the SE.
We reveled in the view for some time, then made the descent back to the col. From here we decided to traverse across steep snow slopes to look at the large cannon hole. There is a hole right through the granite ridge about 30 feet high and about 20 feet wide at the top. On the other side was a slabby chute, with several rappel slings on top. This is the main route from the SW ridge of Dome to the North Col. Hydromatic Spire thrusts its pointed peak to the sky just west of the hole and looks very impressive. Glacier Peak is framed by the hole.
By now cumulus clouds were building up again to the East, so we started back across the traverse. We made good time back, but when we reached the slabs there was much water running and chunks of ice were falling down. We decided to make a run for it watching the ice very carefully. We climbed along the blocks staying out from the icefall. Just when we started across, a good sized block came loose and came sliding down the slabs crashing into the ones near the bottom. This made all kinds of noise and threw ice crystals up in the air. We started across anyway, moving quickly and keeping an eye on the blocks. Luckily we made it across without mishap and proceeded back to camp by Cub Lake, arriving about 3 PM.
We rested for a short time and then decided to move camp over the ridge to Mule Lake. On the way past Cub I saw one fish about 16″ swimming along the shore. It didn’t take us long to get to Mule Lake, as it is only about 1/4 mile west of the trail at the extreme headwaters of Bachelor Creek. We built a fire at the large reddish rock on the north side that looked as it had once been used by miners. The lake lacks an outlet and must drain out underground. The water was about two feet up into the heather this time of year. There was no sign of the fish planted the previous year by the Trail Blazers Martin Messing.
We had a good rest that night and didn’t kill ourselves getting up. From camp we climbed a few hundred feet north to a pass overlooking Downey Creek. From here we followed the ridge east, then climbed steep heather slopes to a point near the outlet of Spire Lake. It was a beautiful morning, clear sky and excellent visibility. The snow glistened on the peaks. This is the best time of day. You are well rested with prospects for seeing lots of new things. The air is cool and visibility good.
Spire Lake is less than an acre and sits in a snow hole. It was completely frozen, and looked doubtful if it ever is free of ice. Our plan was to look at the pointed spire on the west end of the ridge. From every angle the peak looked to have very steep walls and ridges, except the SE ridge. From the lake we climbed to a notch on the east side of the peak. From this notch an extremely steep couloir dropped several hundred feet to the glacier on the north side. On the right side of the couloir was an extremely airy gendarme, which looked very difficult to reach let alone climb. A few hundred feet down was another tower that looked difficult. We could see several other towers on the ridge running north from Spire Point.
From the notch the route lay up a short gully to the ridge crest, then up steep rock with scrub juniper growing in the cracks. We entered a shallow gully and climbed a short distance to the notch between the two summits, the left one being the highest. The climbing was only class 3 so we didn’t bother roping up. From the top it was evident that any other route would be extremely difficult. We could find no evidence of a previous ascent so we built a cairn and christened it Spinster Point to go with Bachelor Creek.
After descending we circled Spire Lake and climbed the ridge to the South. Then we contoured east to snow slopes coming down from two large peaks on the ridge east of Spinster. We decided to climb the east one as it looked more difficult. We reached a col on its south ridge where we could look across to Dome and Spire. After determining that the east face and ridge were steep and rotten, we selected the south ridge. We passed a steep step just north of the col on the right side, then went back to the ridge top. We followed the ridge, sometimes staying on the west side, to the summit. The climbing was exposed class 3 on loose rock, so we belayed some pitches. We discovered a small cairn on top but no register. After eating we rebuilt the cairn and placed a film can with paper and pencil. We made the descent the same way, very cautiously over shattered rock. On the way back down to Mule Lake we jumped a two point buck. It didn’t seem very skittery and just kept a safe distance away. After eating we decided to head out. The trip down Bachelor Creek wasn’t as bad as coming up and we made good time.
As we passed the camp on Downey Creek, we saw a stout fellow on the other side of the river. Don whooped and on closer inspection we saw him to be that second cousin to a wounded rhino, Ed Conroy. We were across the river in about two jumps, knowing there would be plenty of good things to eat. Sure enough the place was loaded with goodies. Ed said that George Kniert was up planting Slim Lake, and that he had just aborted an attempt on Horse Lake after getting hung up in cliffs. We weren’t paying too much attention to what he said, since we were stuffing ourselves with cookies, chocolate, cheese and meat. Eating dried food for several days does have its disadvantages. After the meal we felt big hearted and said that we would take the fish up for him, seeing as how he couldn’t make it. George came back just before dark, having planted Slim and looking over at Long Gone Lake.
Welcome, Tony. Don’t want to sound like a salesman, but a Hi-laker membership includes the whole family. As a member, your 7 yo son could peruse the amazing Lakefinder and look for lakes you two could fish.
Did jack chinook ever attend a HL’er or TB’er meeting?
Welcome to the forum. i wish i was not over double your age so i’d have some chance to visit and fish half the places i’d like to go. Checkout this link for some lure info viewtopic.php?f=1&t=222
Check out this link for some big fish info viewtopic.php?f=1&t=62
Consider coming to a Trail Blazer or Hi-Laker meeting soon to learn as much as you have time to learn.
Welcome to the club Dan and thank you for sharing your adventure with us. The picnic takes the place of our July meeting every summer and this year is on July 20th at 6:30 PM at Park on the Lid.
Hope to see you there, bring the family.
You lucky dog! If I had five days to fish this month, I’d fish the basin lakes near Vantage and/or fish Chopaka in the Okanogan. Moving water- Yakima River if the flow was not too high.
Was your middle east tour with the military? If so, thank you for your service to our country.
So what’s the deal? Are these last two newcomers the latest means to sneak advertising onto a website? I mean numerology and bicycle garmins and kids bigwheels? Check out the links at the bottom of their posts.
Edit- My reference to the last two newcomers are not talking about posts still visible. Those sneaky posts have been removed.
If they’re small, say 10″ or less and there’s a bunch, keep and eat as many as you can. If they’re decent size and there’s not many, let them go so they’ll grow bigger. I caught a 29″ CT in a lake at 5000′ in ONP and even though we were out of food I let it go. I hope to catch it next summer as a 32″er.
Beautiful fish Caveman, congatulations!
Welcome to the site Chris. Think you might like to come to a TB’er or HL’er meeting? Great folks in each group with some overlap. Each club has a members-only forum much more active than this public forum. Hope to see you soon! It would be fun to share some stories of the old days and try to figure out who you might have seen at Gold in ’86.
Check out this link. Plants are listed by county. Either go to the lake you are interested in and see when fry were planted, or scan the county and see where just a few, 100-1000 fry were planted, that may be a high lake. With your list of interesting potential lakes, go to my topo dot com and check the maps to see where the lakes are and how you might get there. Asking specific questions about lakes of interest may get you some responses or PMs. Hope this helps.
Welcome to the Washington alpine lakes fishing scene Feenix! Follow the melting snow up to lakes that only Kings would be allowed to fish. Hope to see you at an upcoming Trail Blazer or Hi-Laker meeting where you can learn how to get involved with this amazing fishery. Good Luck fishing this season!