Mt. Forgotten Scramble
I will write about my Mountaineers Scramble course on a seperate post, but to graduate from the course you have to sign up for 3 scrambles. One rock, one snow and one of your choosing. I already had snow done by doing Foss peak in April, so I signed up to do Mt. Forgotten when I saw that one was posted in the North Cascades! My goal this summer is to get the North Cascades as much as possible.
Location: Mountain Loop Highway, Perry Creek Trailhead
Elevation Gain: 4,009 feet
A group of 10 of us or so met at the trailhead early to start our scramble. I knew 2 others in the group from my class and everyone else I met for the first time this day. We started out at a quick pace (which often happens in these larger groups). The first 4-5 miles are rather flat and easy going along Perry Creek. Many people stop here for a nice day hike. After this, the elevation gain comes in. It was hot and there wasn't much shade on the trail. We slowed our pace as I took the lead and led a good "moderate" pace. Other complimented me on my pace. I'm pretty good at going not too fast and not too slow. We climbed through woods next and lost the trail a bit as we were now hiking on snow. We pulled out Gaia and tried to follow the tracks as close as possible. We emerged from the woods and saw our objective come into view eventually and other peaks around. We stopped briefly to take in the views and then continued on. The next part is flat meadows that were all still covered with lots of snow. Glacier Peak and views of all the North Cascades were fabulous from here. We studied our route and picked the best way we thought to go. First we would have to down climb a steep section of snow and do self-belay down with our ice axes. Ice axes and helmets came out at this point. This was a slow going process with so many people as you have to go rather slow to no slip and have secure footing. After this was a traverse across a steep snow slope. I am rather slow going on this kind of terrain as well. We came to an area where we could continue traversing on snow or start to try scrambling up rock, we were now at the base of Mt. Forgotten. We all decided rock sounded more fun so we went for it. The issue was we kept getting cliffed out and eventually summited the false summit basically and had to climb back down a way to where we almost were before. This whole ordeal took over 2 hours and the summit was looking out of reach. We gathered as a group and discussed our options. The leader wanted to continue on towards the summit even though we had all agreed that the summit was not happening this day. It was already later in the day so I spoke up saying this was not a good idea. We still had 6-7 miles back to the car and I did not want to be doing it in the day. Everyone else spoke up right away afterwards and also agreed with me so we headed back to the car. We stopped in the meadows to have a late lunch- at 4:00. It is hard in a group setting not being able to stop and eat and rest when you want to exactly and doing it when it's convenient for the group. The rest of the hike back was easy going and we made it back to the car by 6:00. There was no summit attained this day at Mt. Forgotten, but I think greater lessons were learned. Speak up with your opinions, even if you are a newbie in the group. Your opinion is valuable. Check the maps frequently and don't get too far off route. I will be back some day I'm sure to reach the summit, but I would prefer it to be with no snow even though there is a lot of loose scree and rock on this trail.