Ohio Peak,Buckeye Peak,Pop tart,Mt. Bullon,Salish Peak,Squire Creek Trail
Apr 30, 2000
- Type of Outing
- Day hike
Getting there: Drive to Darrington and follow FS road # 2040 up Squire Creek to its end.
The trail: Day One: Stefan, Matt and I & a couple others began up the Squire Creek trail around 7:00 am on Saturday morning. The plan was to go in and climb Buckeye Peak (5,840+’), Ohio Peak (5,903’), Salish Peak (5,645’), “Pop tart” and the mighty Mt. Bullon (5,974’). We started up the trail and upon hitting the wilderness boundary marker we went cross country in a NW direction crossing Squire Creek and a couple of small tributaries. The goal is then to get out of the scrub alder and to get on the forested prominent east ridge of Salish, (the massive South and Southeast faces of the Yosemite like Squire Creek wall should be visible to the north just across the valley, there is a flagged trail in places). At around 2,800 feet the ridge gets steep and slabby, the easiest thing to do at this point would be to traverse it low and then go up (this is what we did on the return). But on our up route we tried sticking to the ridge crossing a couple of marginal snow bridges clambering up small scrub cedars and wet rock to get above the slabs and into easier terrain. Once above this trouble spot the route eases up as you follow gentle slopes up to the saddle between Salish and Ohio (just left of the “Pop tart” tower) at ~5,100’ this is where we set up camp. At this point the sun was shining brightly and there were views everywhere. Stefan, Matt and I set up camp right at the saddle while the others set up camp just below on the east side of the ridge. After we’d set up camp Stefan, Matt and I set off for Buckeye while the others went over to do Salish (attempting to distribute the workload). We hadn’t brought snowshoes and there had been at least a half-foot or so of new snow, so at times they would have been handy (especially on the east facing side of the ridges) but it was nice not hauling around the extra weight! The three of us slogged over to Buckeye whose cairned summit offered a breathtaking view of the massive east face of Whitehorse. The route up was an easy class three scramble via the upper east face. It was then back to camp and the traverse over to Salish. We then summited Salish following their boot prints up to its gentle top, Matt stayed back at camp to rest up for Ohio later in the evening. Stefan and I then wrote in the summit register on Salish before our trek up to Ohio. En route we stopped back by camp and saw Matt resting inside the tent, looking quite comfy! From the summit of Ohio we saw the others in our party on the summit of Buckeye, the weather was beginning to deteriorate rapidly at this point. Stefan and I then descended to the col just south of Ohio waiting for the others to bring the rope over from Buckeye (which we’d left there just in case they wanted to use it), so that we could try and climb “Pop tart”. By this time Matt had woken up and was approaching the summit of Ohio as we were heading over to do “Pop tart”. Matt and the others then summited Ohio while Stefan and I started up Pop tart. I figured it was my turn to lead on one of our escapades, so up I went (this would be my first Cascade climb ever)! Just as I got started it began to snow. Talk about bad timing! With my legs shaking, the snow piling up, plastic boots that don’t fit into or onto anything, my hands freezing cold… well you get the picture, I was floundering something awful up there! The crux move was this ugly little traverse that I was having trouble finding adequate protection. As luck would have it I led it all the way to the summit with the others down below cheering me on. Stefan then followed up and we rappelled down off of about 3 or 4 old slings that were on the summit. Feeling pretty juiced about “firing” the route on the “tart” we got into camp where Matt was already “hunkered down” in the tent. Stefan and I then took off soggy boots and crawled into the warm confines of the tent where we ate dinner. We must have run that stove for a good 2.5 hours straight. Matt thought that everything that we cooked smelled great but when Stefan offered him the rest of his dinner (which consisted of some sort of rice or pasta dish, mixed with corn chips, cheese and bits of beef jerky), Matt emphatically declined. Within a few minutes of Stefan inhaling his grub the air began to become quite “odiferous” (if you know what I mean!) and we all passed out and went to sleep! Day 2: We all awoke groggily (me more than most) around 6:00 am and we all choked down some hot cocoa while Matt tried to convince Stefan that oatmeal really does taste good in the morning. Our compadres headed out first a little before7:00 heading for Bullon. Stefan quickly followed while Matt and I brought up the rear. In no time we found ourselves below the steep southeast gully that headed directly to the upper summit ridge of Mt. Bullon. The gully goes on for almost 1,000’, once on top the ridge was an easy walk to the heavily corniced summit. We used crampons for the last 100 feet or so with everyone making the summit. It was chilly on top and still slightly overcast but the skies began to clear and as we began our descent. The route down went very quickly but the slog back up to our camp at 5,100’ was a bit arduous. After reaching camp Stefan and I broke camp while the others went over to climb Pop tart. Stefan, Matt and I then descended back towards the vehicles while we could see our buddies atop the “Tart”. On our down route we bypassed the ugly section at 2,800’ (explained earlier) and the “muggy” descent in the forest back to the stream crossing and back up to the trail. We were back at the cars a little after 2:00 pm; the route back was highlighted by the amazing views of the “Squire Creek Wall” whose cliffs more than rival those of another famous park located in California. You really have to see it to believe it! Well we had a great trip with fabulous company that would have only been better had a certain “Mitchy” shown up who was out and about bagging peaks elsewhere. My brother-in-law, who had been itching to get out from his desk job, had had more than enough adventure for one weekend and was looking forward to sitting in the safe confines of his cubicle in the upcoming week! Well take care kids; see ya on the trail, Pilar.