Ascent of Beckler Peak West on 2013-09-01
|Date:||Sunday, September 1, 2013|
|Ascent Type:||Successful Summit Attained|
|Peak:||Beckler Peak West|
| Elevation:||1536 m / 5040 ft|
Ascent Trip ReportBeckler Peak, Beckler Peak Central, Beckler Peak West and the Beckler Peak lookout site
Arriving at this popular trailhead at a late 10 a.m. on a Labor Day weekend, I was surprised there was not a single other hiker here. And the weather was perfect. Soon enough though, three more vehicles quickly arrived to join mine. The only people already here were two rangers who, I presume, were unlocking the restroom. Beckler Peak is such a great family hike, with little distance and elevation gain. Much of the elevation gain is done in the car. I loved meeting a few dogs along the trail, except for one growler.
Just some of the enjoyable stairs near the top:
The summit: http://jeffkatzer.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/img_9374.jpg
The traverse from the trail to the boulder field is a simple matter. Just lose enough elevation to round around below the cliffs. The monolith on Beckler Peak Central, the highest point, is pictured here:
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-jR0pUSbN9d4/Uggs3TqqIHI/AAAAAAAAKC4/me39V6ixtAg/s1600/View+from+Beckler+Peak+-+Looking+West.JPG. Click to zoom in a bit further.
The monolith appeared too wet and dangerous on my first visit here in snowshoes on 4/11/91. It is still dangerous and scary in dry conditions. You fall, you die. My hat is off to Edward Earl and Greg Slayden who also both freesoloed it and made it sound easy. The start up the middle is easy. It led to a big step to access the slanting ledge. At the halfway point on the ledge was a scary move that would be more difficult on the descent. Arriving at the end of the ledge and slowly rising to my feet to see the continuation of the route gave me pause and took my breath away. There were no footholds above and just some fingertip holds I could just barely reach. After slowly getting my confidence up, I continued on up to the summit with its green register. Some folks on top of Beckler Peak had been watching my ascent and waved to me.
After waving back, out of curiosity, and not looking forward to the exposure of my up route, I checked out the backside for a different route down. It was hard to see down, what with some blocking vegetation, but it looked like it might be doable. There was much belaying with vegetation and one difficult move onto the top of a short tree, but after almost completely getting all the way down, it looked like I was stymied by a short drop off. There was a tree with branches I could use, but they didn't appear long enough and I needed to get sideways to some easier terrain. Well, it couldn't hurt to at least give it a try and surprisingly, it not only went, but it went a lot easier than I expected. So those not liking exposure can find an easier ascent up the monolith's north side. Rounding the monolith on the west led to a cliff, so I went back to my starting point by rounding it on the east.
There is an obvious old trail in the boulders that leads over to Beckler Peak West, but it becomes overgrown in spots after leaving the boulders. The register there dated from 11/3/46 and even without a lid, it was dryer than the completely soaked register on Beckler Peak Central. Deciding to look in my pack for a better pencil, I then realized I had left my pack back at the monolith. Oh well, I doubted anyone else would be heading up that boulder field with no shade to the monolith on this hot day. There was nothing of value in my pack, anyways.
Not expecting any remains left of the old Beckler Peak lookout, I just had to descend to its previous location at 4950', to find out for sure. Well I'll be. Besides a cable and wires, there is still a solid wooden foundation and, further downhill, a pile of wood from the lookout with even some stairs to the lookout still intact. A concrete block was so heavy I couldn't even budge it. Two rusted saw blades were on a rock not far away. The trail continued downhill in the woods, but I didn't follow it far. The lookout site was all completely buried under snow on my first trip here. On the return to the monolith, I noticed a wire, from presumably the lookout, that had been nailed up a tree.
Retrieving my pack, I followed the trail in the boulders downhill. It hugs the cliff that I avoided on the ascent on the chance of some rock tumbling down upon me. The trail eventually rounds the cliff at the first available spot and disappears. Earlier in the day, I had entered the boulder field further down. Now it was just some minor uphill to get back to the trail.
Beckler Peak Central ascent history
1st ascent - 12/4/99 - Don Beavon, Mitch Blanton, Stefan Feller, Tim ___ , James __ , and Greg Koenig: http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/trip-reports/tripreport-1999120403
2nd ascent - 11/06/02 - Andy Boos and Ernie Zeller
3nd ascent - 4/26/08 - Mike Collins and Martin Shetter: http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?p=366833
4th ascent - 5/17/08 - Randy Busch and Craig Beave: http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=7966837
5th ascent - 7/27/13 - Greg Slayden and Edward Earl: http://www.peakbagger.com/climber/ascent.aspx?aid=336012
6th ascent - 9/1/13 - Fred Beavon
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