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3 Days of Sliding & Bushwhacking Days 2+3: Dial Bushwhack, Nip, Colvin, Giant's Tulip

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  • 3 Days of Sliding & Bushwhacking Days 2+3: Dial Bushwhack, Nip, Colvin, Giant's Tulip



    Day 2: Dial Bushwhack, Nippletop & Colvin
    The second day was one with purpose regardless of how it may seem. I wanted specific photographs from certain perspectives. I wanted especially to photograph Dix N/NE slides from the open strip of rock about halfway to Dial’s summit on its southeastern flank…piece of cake, right? No way, at least not the exit.

    We awoke at 6:45 a.m., a bit late since we slept through my wristwatch alarm…I’d managed to lay on it which muffled the sound. We’d packed camp and were bushwhacking northwest (roughly 335 degrees) by 7:30. The terrain was nice with various ups/downs as we crossed the North Boquet tribs. They’d be scrubbed by Irene as expected. My only complaint for the initial bushwhack was the high-tension spider webs…I hate spiders. The last views of Dial’s open rock disappeared before we met the streams, so line of sight navigation gave way to a compass.

    On the far side of the river, the woods grew increasingly tighter and my need for breakfast became urgent. Breakfast was packaged and sold under the guise of dehydrated eggs and bacon. This seemingly benign powder turned into a yellow brine designed to trigger the human gag reflex. Doe urine could not have made it taste any worse. It did give me energy, however, so I counted my blessings and masked the taste with a starburst. The woods took my mind off any aftertaste.

    Open Rock on Dial facing Dix.

    Rich remembered bushwhacking down from the col toward Dix and found it to be extremely tight several years ago. We met with varied blowdown and increasing resistance as we gained elevation. This we expected. Eventually, some drainage streams came underfoot which I took as a good sign. Rich checked the altimeter: 3100’, 3200’ etc. We gained elevation quickly even though we were crawling on all fours to find purchase in the steep duff. No wonder part of the mountain slid. Finally, off to our right, we saw a small opening and stepped on to old exposure stone. It was weathered with intermittent moss, beautiful layered shelves and a view to die for. There were several such openings split by thin strips of cedars and fir.

    Shadow still engulfed some of Dix’ slides, so we took the time to relax. The time stood at about 9:45 a.m. It had been a tiring climb and tough to work through the exertion of the prior day’s events, but it was well worth it. Our extended break of about 10 minutes led upward into hell…I mean heavy growth.

    Balsams growing 10” apart shielding old blowdown started the adventure. If it loosened up even slightly for 20’, we felt blessed, like we dancing about in an open meadow. Hundreds of vertical feet higher the trees stiffened as usual, but never loosened substantially. Rich jokingly commented that he was only 5 feet away, but at least 3 minutes behind my position. Ledges soon broke the monotony of the trees where we used curved cedars like a ladder to climb 15 feet of vertical anorthosite on one occasion. An hour(ish) from the slide moving at a steady pace, the slope dropped off slightly and the trees grew in a slightly more airy growth pattern (above the blowdown). By 10:30 we were on the summit. Rich needed to head home and I had many more pictures to take.

    Rich gave me a bit of his water before departing. This would be key later in the day. My plan was one of constant, but slow motion thereafter. The bushwhack with a full pack had taken a small toll on my energy and I’d still to climb the long ridge to Nippletop. I reached it at noon and photographed the Buttress Slide on Dix along with all the other great scars on its western flanks. Descending to Elk Pass was rough on the knees as I expected, but I lightened my pack at the herd path to Nippletop Slide.

    Elk Pass.
    With only water, some food and a camera I descended to explore the route downward after the beaver-kill area; a graveyard of dead trees in a marsh/pond. The tight herdpath over huge sod-holes seemed other-worldly, at least in my tired state. The cliffs of Colvin, boulders, hanging moss and rotting blowdown were beautiful in a primeval way. I felt insignificant.

    I didn’t want to climb the slide, just explore the route downward since I’d never been that way. I’d only climbed the slide several years ago after descending Blake’s Slide then ascending the stream. I did, however, want to photograph the slide. To do that I’d have to climb Colvin. Lightening my load once again at the path intersection at Colvin’s base, I climbed a very dry trail to the summit. Clouds played on Nippletop’s western side as I set to the task.
    Later, I marveled at the newly remodeled Gill Brook, my chosen route back to the Lake Road and finally my car. 8:30 p.m. found me camped at the base of the Chapel Pond Slab drawing a mental route map in my mind for the next day’s adventures.

    Day 3: Various on Giant
    I set the alarm for 7:15 a.m. on the August 20th. I felt a bit beaten up from the last two days, but figured I’d take it slow and drop parts of the itinerary off if need be. I looked up through the trees to find Bob’s Know illuminated by the morning sun. It reminded me of a campfire some other campers started late the evening before. 8 a.m found me walking up Dipper Brook in the footsteps of Greg Karl. He was right, the waterfalls were gorgeous. Steep walls, deep pools and cascades helped me awaken. After a couple hundred feet of elevation gain I came to a bit of a crux and the only option was to climb the loose duff/flaking stone on the steep stone walls of the gorge. That finished my route to the Dipper Slide, my initial goal. Tucking my tail, I bushwhacked to the Ridge Trail and down to my car to reevaluate my day. I’d been up Dipper Slide, but not via the drainage…another time.

    Tulip's new drainage.

    After some breakfast, I drove to the Roaring Brook Falls trailhead and slowly took the trail to the herdpath for the Eagle Slide. I wanted to check out the newly remodeled drainages. The herdpath let out atop a small sandy slide in the gouge that replaced the once quaint brook. (These little slides were countless en route up the drainage.) The canopy of trees was replaced by open air…amazing. I’d been up it enough times that I felt like an old friend had been washed away.

    I had all day so I checked out the Bottle Slide’s drainage for a bit (up some, then down), re-climbed some of Roaring Brook to get my elevation back and climbed to the Tulip. Much of the debris was still loose so I took care. I figured I’d climb the Tulip and descend the Eagle on the southern slabs where it’s not as steep. The last time I was in the Tulip’s drainage, it was a steep slick mess of moss and blowdown. The slab I found underfoot almost immediately was an incredible change.

    I’ll let the pics do the talking, but the slide basically doubled in length from a new swath that was exposed to the right of the old exposure slab. It’s now a unique combination of newly exposed ledges, mountain seams and the old weathered anorthosite near the top (after the bend). Mid-slide I felt a breeze and watched Sawteeth being enveloped by showers. Whiteface soon disappeared as well. I’d been on enough slides in the rain so I climbed as fast as I could to the top and ate lunch while studying the weather. I didn’t bother climbing to the summit after feeling the darkness close on two sides, but descended slowly taking a dip in Roaring Brook on the way back to the car…the perfect close to another adventure.
    Last edited by mudrat; 01-17-2013, 05:46 PM.
    May your ambition for the goal allow you to be a student of the journey.

  • #2
    Whup yo ass!