Sinister Peak - 8440' - West ridge class 3
I met up with Josh for another Bulger trip climbing Sinister Peak; #91 for me. We drove up the Suiattle River Road and began hiking the Downey Creek trail at 9:15am on the 4th. We celebrated Independence Day by a pleasant approach up to the Dana Col, before some rain and serious winds made us decide to camp there, rather than continue up to the Dome Col. Snow began shortly before crossing over the 5800 foot ridge above Cub Lake, however the 500 foot drop down to Cub was almost completely dry. Almost continuous snow was encountered from the lake to Itswoot Ridge and beyond. We swapped into our mountaineering boots from trail runners just before reaching Itswoot Ridge. The clouds kept the snow a little less mashed-potatoey, and since the weather sucked that evening I didn't get many photos. There was no sunset worth looking at
We began setting up Josh's trekking pole tent at the Dana Col, and low and behold a solo climber was coming down off of Dome and Sinister. It was Fred, who was returning to his camp at White Rock Lake. We briefly chatted then he went down the Dana. With the wind picking up, we utilized many rocks to anchor the tent, however with only one trekking pole (Josh forgot his), the tent would flap very loudly in the wind. This would continue all night, preventing me from getting ANY sleep as the noise was very variable. Josh however managed to sleep through it.
By 5:30am in the morning, we started up the Dome Glacier, over the Dome Col (we had both done Dome Peak and Spire Point back in Sept 2012), and descended the Chikamin. The routefinding was already done for us since Fred had made steps the day before. Weaving around crevasses, we dropped all the way down to 7,100 feet, then ascended to the Dome/Sinister Col, bypassing the giant schrund guarding the saddle on the far left. We then crossed over to the south side and ascended around below the lower west ridge, and up a steep Class 3 gully to a notch in the ridge. The remaining snow/rock walk was an easy class 2 romp to the summit. This summit has a particularly outstanding view. We were also able to verify the legend of the ledge traverse from Dome directly to Sinister, although I can confirm it would be pretty sh##ty.
Some exploring on the summit led us to the top of a steep couloir on the NE face of Sinister, that ended merely a few feet from the summit! I wonder if anyone has ever climbed it? It was a little broken up now, but a few weeks ago would have been a good route. Approach for it would be same for North Face, just a little further around the north side of the mountain.
We signed the register, and began the descent. The sun was out full force, and re-gaining the 1,500 feet or so back to the Dome Col was misery, with the blazing heat and whatnot. We made it back and after a quick break, began running down the Dome Glacier, back to camp. We packed up and glissaded down back to the 6000 foot level and just as we began the horizontal traverse on the snow back to Itswoot Ridge, I realized I left my $300 climbing pants at the Dome Col
Running on only 2 hours of sleep going on almost 60 hours (2 nights in a row with next to no sleep), I was not feeling that great and wasn't able to go back for them, however Josh was generous enough to run back up 2500 feet to pick them up for me while I took his pack the rest of the way to Itswoot Ridge and waited. Thanks man.
So with a 3 hour time delay, we started down from Itswoot at 5:45pm, and made our way back to the bottom of Bachelor Creek around 9:15. Sitting on the footlog as it was getting dark, my lack of sleep was really catching up with me. Despite both of us being totally out of food, I asked Josh if he minded we sleep there for the night, then just hike the 6 miles out in the morning, as I was getting dizzy and couldn't keep my eyes open! I used to be able to run on this little sleep, but now at the ripe old age of 28, I need at least 4 hours of sleep over a 60 hour period
We made the quick hike back this morning and immediately drove to Arlington, where we had a fantastic breakfast at Blue Bird Cafe. Between the two of us we spent $60 in food! Worth every penny.
Another Bulger in the books, only 9 more!