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Ascent of West Craggy on 2001-08-16

Climber: Fred Beavon

Date:Thursday, August 16, 2001
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:West Craggy
    Location:USA-Washington
    Elevation:8366 ft / 2549 m

Ascent Trip Report

Big Craggy Peak and West Craggy Peak

I drove up to Winthrop Tuesday evening leaving Edmonds at 6:15pm and at 7pm, I was still stuck in Everett's usual traffic mess. Arrived at the trailhead at 10:45pm and slept in my car. At midnight scratching noises awoke me and after turning on a light I discovered a mouse in my car. I'd only cracked my front windows just a small amount but it was still large enough for him to squeeze through. Luckily he found his way back out, where I then closed the window entirely and left my driver's window to about 1/8 of an inch, so I'd still have some oxygen to breath. Arose at 5:30 to eat a stale piece of pizza and drink a quart of water, yuck, but it got me to the summit before needing to sip any of the water I had with me. I was on the summit from 8:30-9am after leaving the car at 6.

The route's pretty straight forward taking the Copper Glance trail to meadows, then a nice cross country route from meadows north to the summit. There are thimbleberries to eat at the beginning of the trail and a mine to explore along the way. I wonder how far back it goes? There are two high points that look similar in elevation with just a short jaunt between them. The register was just a small slim aluminum container with a rubber stopper with just four scraps of paper in a ziplock bag, thanks to the 9-3-94 Mike Torok, Johnnie Jeans and Chris Weber party. Some others signing in were Flynn and Goldman on 9-23-95, Houston and Blanton on 6-29-96, Pantera led a group up on 6-25-97, Jim Pritchard on 6-29-97, Andy Boos on 8-12-97, David Housley #40/100 solo in rain on 9-3-97, Rob Cure on 9-10-99, Erich Koehler on 8-27-00 and Charlie Hickenbottom on 9-2-00. Bruce Tracy on 9-6-99 of Omak wished he had his paraglider as he did in '96 where he launched it at the 6000' meadow and rode thermals to 11,000' over the summit. No one had signed in this year.

West Craggy looked a long ways away, but with two Clif bars, I got there by 10:30, climbing the first gendarme by mistake but made up for it by rounding the last false summit. Quicker but not necessary. This register was in a good plastic container brought by the Torok party. Mike Bromberg, Mason, NH, #15/100, called it the scree traverse from Hell, but it's actually fun and mostly large enough talus so sliding was kept to a minimum. L. Keith Wilson, Flynn and Goldman were here 9-23-95, Blanton and Houston 6-26-96, John Stalk and Andy Strand 9-1-96, Andy Boos 8-12-97 called it a summit only a peak bagger could love, but it's a great peak with great views. I particularly liked the close up views of the cliffs of South Craggy, 8112'. Pat Ewing 7-19-98, Dave Housley 9-7-98, Craig Miller #1261/5000 (Hey, I want this top 5000 list) said it took him 44 years, 11 months, 27 days and 4 hours from Bellingham to the summit. One person mentioned coming from Big "Slaggy". Bruce Davis a homeless signed in on 8-3-00 and Erich Koehler of Lakewood on 9-2-00. By year it was 4 parties in '95, 2 in '96, 2 in '97, 5 in '98, 0 in '99, 2 in 00 and now one in '01.

I didn't like leaving at 11:15 knowing I probably wouldn't ever be back. This state just has way too many peaks to climb, but hey, that's just one factor making this the best of the states for mountain climbing. I traversed Big Craggy hitting the trail at 12:45 at the exact spot I'd left it. Forgetting to eat my lunch on the summit, I now ate two pb & j sandwiches and a bag of fresh peas on the way down the steep trail, which made it a quick trip back to the car at 1:45. Smoke from Chelan fires really limited visibility from Winthrop to Washington Pass and farther west but it was clear at the Craggys.

The highlight of the trip was stopping at the Winthrop Skate Barn one block north of Hwy. 20 on the W. Chewuch Rd. and watching Karma Suchan skate. She came in first place in the World Amateurs last year and is now only one of only eight pro women skaters. She's 40 and beat women half her age from around the world, being televised by ESPN's Exteme Sports. She's also the owner with her husband of the place. Their web site, Skate Barn.com , doesn't do it justice. It's a world class facility. I wanted to try it out but I knew my legs would turn to jelly after what I'd done this morning. Since I've never tried ramps I'm sure my legs would collapse anyway, but it'd still be fun to try out.
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