Peak(s):  "Electric Pass Pk"  -  13,635 feet
Date Posted:  04/24/2016
Date Climbed:   04/23/2016
Author:  piper14er
 I got chills they'er mutiplying...  



I said to my wife Friday morning that I had a mind to go climb Electric Pass Peak. Well after this exciting climb maybe not much of a mind.

I drove up to Ashcroft and parked at the winter closure which by the way is not at the dirt road but right there at Ashcroft. This added about 3 miles roundtrip to the hike in winter, after going up the road to the Cathedral Lakes Trailhead and then hiking (snowshoeing actually) up the trailhead road to the parking.

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So with a full moon and waking up just after 4:00 am, I packed up and left the car just the other side of 4:30. Hoofed it up the road and found the Cathedral Lakes sign. Put on the snowshoes and wound my way up the road, which somehow I missed and walked to someone's house. Undaunted and with the moonshine ahead Billie Jean and I proceeded to follow a snowmobile track up the hill, across the trail from the parking lot and up past the mine.

I planned to go that way because I was not wanting to go through the constricted part of the standard trail. I was right about that but seemed to have lost my mind after coming back down off the summit to the Leahy/Electric Pass saddle. More later...

A road went to the mine and it was good snow beyond that up to the aspen trees. Skiing would have been good other than the slopes up through the trees were steeper and you would have to carry your skis through the tightly packed aspens.

Purple Skies, Purple Skies, a prince of a start.
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The slopes below.
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Aspens.
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Snowshoes on, snowshoes off...

We reached the top of the slopes just below this hump, which we skirted by to the left at 3+ miles.
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...Snowshoes on.

After zigzagging through the trees we were almost to treeline and white open spaces.
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We made our way across the snowy tundra on a more or less direct way towards Electric Pass Peak.

Off to our left.
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A closer look. The peak is non-descript at this point halfway between the rock.
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A closer look at the rock to the right.
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Off to the left again.
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The first look back.
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The second look back.
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Ok at this point I was looking at the best way to approach the ridge and decided to try going up the right side and cross left across to the peak. There had been some wet slides off to the left but this approach was wide open and far from any of the vagaries found this time of year. It also looked at the time, from below, that the wind was not as bad as off to the left. The wind was fairly brutal once out of the trees and the bowl below the peaks. A good 35 mile an hour that turned into 50+ miles an hour up on the ridges.

We made our way up above the rock in the earlier picture to the right, bad move though with the wind and also as we made our way up the ridge across was narrow and corniced. Once past that there were some rock formations between you and the top. Maybe I over estimated how much trouble that stretch might have been but I decided to traverse across and below the ridge and Electric Pass Peak.
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You can see my tracks coming across. It was a bit of work making that crossing. I should have looked harder at getting here more directly. The snow was hard packed 2/3rds of the way and then soft snow a few feet deep. My one snowshoe broke off a pin and that did not help either. It worked out okay and no slide problems while I was there although a few had occurred sometime before.

Okay so the winds were just as bad once we made it to the Leahy/Electric ridge.
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Up the ridge it is. The rock you see ahead is on a very narrow section and although the mountain goat tracks walked right on over, I opted to put on the crampons and pulled out the axe. It doesn't look that steep from here but from up there it does. The way the wind was blowing and it became hard packed it seemed the thing to do. A fall off the right side would have been fast and steep and you probably would not have stopped for about 800 feet.

Cathedral Peak and Castle Peak, quite the view in early spring from here. The first one shows some of the connecting ridge.
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Other views and the summit dog.
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The register and obligatory crampon on the foot shot with a register that is cracked and missing a piece that let in the moisture and froze the register picture...
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A look down the ridge and our tracks.
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A look back towards Hayden (unranked)
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A look down at the standard approach side of the saddle.
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The down climb was much easier than climbing up had looked and we headed back down over the rocks and on to the saddle. This would not be anything to think about without the cornices.

A look back up.
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The next bad move was to get down to the saddle and decide to drop off the standard way. I was down at the saddle below where I had made it to the ridge from the crossing. As I tried to decide and see that it was quite steep, soft snow the wind kept knocking me over. So I said what the heck and headed down towards Cathedral Lake and below Cathedral Peak. As I noted earlier I knew there was a "choke" point along the way back but there goes that mind problem again.

The first stretch down into the trees was windy but hard packed so not too bad but at about the 8 mile mark and at 11800 elevation you get to a point where there is only one way down as far as I could determine and it isn't a good choice for spring snow. If you look at my gpx track you can see I wandered off to look around and came back. If you are not on the trail (only know that from my gps) you are in limbo.
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Billie Jean eyeing the "trail". This takes you right into a steep slide chute that is deep soft sugary snow and not so good.

A look from the side and below the rock.
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I would definitely NOT RECOMMEND THIS ROUTE WITH SNOW PROBABLY ANYTIME OR SPRING CONDITIONS LIKE THIS. Enough said.

We made it down okay and started to traverse across another half dozen slide areas hugging the bottom where only the little trees still stand.

Do you want to build a snowman?
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I would note that I had not seen or heard any slides or rock fall all day.

A look back walking out and our tracks.
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We had found and were following a ski track back. A good skier from the way he/she was carving some steep turns through willows and by cliffs along the creek.

The trail was dry for a few feet and then slush capades.
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We followed the trail to the parking lot by crossing over our uphill route. The parking lot signage. I did not pay, have the dog on the leash or nothing. I did not see any bears either.
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The last mile plus the weather went from dark to hail and then to pouring rain.

I did try to find a good theme for this report but outside of Travolta there wasn't a lot of songs with Electric" in them that were not strange. I will add a few lines from Electric Light Orchestra (ELO of course).

I get a strange magic,
Oh, what a strange magic,
Oh, it's a strange magic.
Got a strange magic,
Got a strange magic.
Oh, I'm never gonna be the same again,
Now I've seen the way it's got to end,
Sweet dream, sweet dream.
Everywhere the sun is shining.
All around the world it's shining.
But cold winds blow across your mind.
Confusion--it's such a terrible shame.
Confusion--you don't know what you're sayin'.

Don't bring me down. Brrooss.
Don't bring me down. Brrooss.
Don't bring me down. Brrooss.
Don't bring me down.
You got me shaking, got me running away.
You got me crawling up to you ev'ry day.
Don't bring me down.
No, no, no, no, no. Oo, ee, hoo.

I kinda felt like Roy Wood looks after this trek.
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and then there is always Metallica...



all and all good to get a Bi-Centennial peak in other than optimum conditions, have to say I don't like wind all that much

12 miles roundtrip and 4800 feet

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):




Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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 Comments or Questions
Presto

Great outing ...
04/25/2016 08:17
Beautiful views. Glad the conditions and your fortitude helped you get the peak. Always wonderful seeing Billie Jean ... you two make such a good team. Happy trails!


piper14er

good to hear from you
04/25/2016 08:46
thanks Presto (Teri)always like to hear from you, Billie Jean is still putting up with me, which is good


Jay521


Billie Jean
04/26/2016 14:42
Ditto what Presto wrote. I always love seeing Billie Jean in a TR. And you, too Al...


piper14er

Billie Jean
04/26/2016 17:18
Is more photogenic that is for sure...
I had a good foot pic though, thanks Jay



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