Wanderlost Peak

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A solo adventure allows me to cross off one more challenge.

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I have slowly been picking off peaks in my home area, sort of following my Dad's plan. Except his goal when he retired was to hike to every lake in the area (and there are a lot of them). I am not yet retired, dang it, but I'm going for all the peaks.

Not all my friends share my enthusiasm for this area, so occasionally I have to work out my madness by myself. Today was one of those.

So on my feet at about 8:30 (late, I know, but I was watching La Vuelta d'Espagne), I hit Duck Lake in just 20 minutes. After snapping this pic, the next mile or so was cursed by a repeating chorus of "Smoke on the Water."

 

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I've hiked over the pass into Loon Creek many times. It's always a pleasure. Here's Lost Art Peak in full glory. Wanderlost Peak is peeking over the right shoulder.

My route today involved trying out an untested shortcut from Lost Art to Kathy's Lake. Step 1: head across the intervening ridge, traversing the slabs in the foreground.

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But before we leave, let's take a moment to appreciate the scenery. There North and South Loon above Hee Lake.

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Okay, proceed onto the slabs.

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More slabs. Just keep following the top of the ridge. Big fun. The ridge has a significant drop into the saddle with Lost Art, so it's okay to traverse the side as you get close.

When Jeff and I climbed Lost Art, this all had a bit of snow on it so we had to drop down and avoid this really fun terrain.

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After you pass through the saddle, there are some really nice grassy terraces and even some elk trails. But eventually those run out and you have to do about 200' of gain on some very steep terrain. It's all manageable, but don't trust anything. We don't want another Aaron Ralston here.

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At this next saddle, the views finally open up on Kathy's Lake. And that's the top of Wanderlost in the sun on the left.

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But first, you have to creep down the chute.

This photo does not do it justice.

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This view from about 200' down does a better job of showing the steepness. But not a great one.

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Somewhere down here I found what I think might be garnets. Ray?

Unfortunately, embedded in a many-ton boulder, so I couldn't bring any with.

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And we're still descending.

I got down to Kathy's lake and took a much-deserved break. I also spotted another human footprint (I think). Who else is nutty enough to hike back in here?

I had visited Kathy's before, but not the upper lake in the drainage (see the map below). So after some work, here below is my pano of another gorgeous lake that no one ever visits.

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From the upper lake, I got finally got a good view of the ridge going out to Wanderlost. Unnh, no thanks.

But the greenish swath below the summit (on the far right) held some promise. More stumbling through bear grass and deadfall ensued, and eventually I got to the bottom of that green swath.

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Yes, there is some green.

There is also a very steep hillside with a TON of loose rock. I had to laboriously check pretty much every rock for stability, even the huge ones. Tipper, sliders, and rocks rolling down the hillside. It was slow going and hard on my nerves.

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But oh, the views. There in the center is the dark north face of Lost Art above Kathy's Lake. More to the right is the upper lake. And you can see the corner of Hee Lake on the left. Trailhead
Looking west down the ridge of Wanderlost, you can see Rain on the left, Paintbrush, and then Black Pearl and Pearl. Trailhead
This picture isn't really clear, but I think you can see Storm Peak and Peak 8808. Trailhead
And of course, North (left) and South Loon. Trailhead
Summit shot. Trailhead

I carefully picked my way down the steep and loose hillside. It was only 800', but really tiring because you never knew if any given foothold was going to work. It was with great relief that I got down to the previously-cursed bear grass and downfall.

I didn't have it in me to face all that steep crap on the route I used to get here. Instead, I did some traversing and picked up the route that Julie and I had used to visit Kathy's lake a month or so ago.

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Map

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