Ketchikan Gateway Borough High Point Trip Report

Mt Reid

Dates: July 12-16, 1999
Author: Bob Packard

My companion was Marcel LaPerriere, a big, strong, bear of a man with full beard. At home in the bush, his friends call him Sasquatch.

DAY 1: Michelle Marsden flew us from Ketchikan a few miles up Portage Cove in her Cessna 185. Portage Cove is west off Behm Canal which separates Revillagigedo Island from the mainland. See Ketchikan D-4. We worked our way along grass tidal flats (crossed over logs, beaver dam, a river, saw bear tracks) and got into the west part of section 2, northeast part of Ketchikan C-4. We then headed up the ungodly-steep, heavily-vegetated cliffs to the south. Hemlock, spruce, cedar, alder, devils club on cliffs as steep as 80 degrees. Hanging onto vegetation a lot of the time. We were wearing extra toughs (big rubber boots) and I used my crampons some of the time to get purchase on the steep slippery terrain. We had hoped to get to the flat area above the cliffs that night, but this was not to be. At about 1500 feet we found a small shelf where we could put up the tent held in place with ice axes, half on ground, half hanging out over a cliff. There was water trickling nearby. Not best night either of us had had in tent. For the day - 7.5 hours, 3 miles, 1500 feet of gain.

DAY 2: We found a bear trail which helped us get up to the top of the ridge. Now we used snowshoes and ski poles a lot. Saw ptarmigan which walked in front of us for 10 minutes. Saw a black bear before we summitted UN 3596 (section 22) which we were approaching on its north ridge. Then it was down ridge to the west-northwest, then southwest very steeply (crampons for grip on earth again) to camp in snow at about 1600 feet in a pristine basin in center of section 20. Again we hung on to vegetation, in one place letting ourselves slide down the branch of a tree then letting go and jumping to a ledge below. Mosquitoes, black flies. Marcel lost his glasses and my flashlight stopped functioning. For the day - 10 hours, 5 miles, 2400 feet of gain. Fair and warm.

DAY 3: Up to a 1800 foot saddle then up UN 4016 (southwest section 30). Piles of snow, big cornices. Crampons, ice ax. On to the top of Mt Reid (4,592 ft), HP of Ketchikan Borough, via ridge with considerable exposure. Cairn of stacked rocks at summit, 2 - 3 mountain goats just below. Wonderful weather, superior views in all directions. West ridge too dangerous so we went back down 400 feet and camped on soft vegetation. For the day - 11 hours, 5.5 miles, 3600 feet of gain.

DAY 4: Contoured below the southwest face of Reid on snow, sometimes steep, crampons and ax needed. Saw black bear quite close, which took off like lightning bounding down the snow field and out of sight. Worked west and southwest ridge of Reid back into intense bushwhacking through forest cover, sometimes steep. At times we had to lower ourselves facing the cliff and feel with our feet for footing below. Came across the P Line (a ribboned route), crossed a stream (east branch Carroll Creek, section 20, Ketchikan C-5) on a huge log and picked up the P Line again. Followed it off and on to camp in muskeg area. Beautiful fair weather. Blackflies. For the day - 10.5 hours, 5 miles, 400 feet of gain.

DAY 5: Followed P Line again until sick of it. Very hard bushwhacking with thick vegetation including devils club (don't want to touch that stuff) and windfall. After climbing over one huge fallen log I discovered I'd lost my watch. Followed a stream bed for a while (more brush, devils club, countless fallen trees to climb over or under), then into side forest again, then finally reached Carroll Creek which we waded for a mile downstream to tidal grass and mud flats then back into brush again following a bear track after the tidal flats got too hard with incoming tide (chest deep sloughs). We then hit the logging road which we took to the LTF (log transfer facility in section 17 Ketchikan C-5) where we found Alan (friend of Marcel's) and his skiff waiting to take us down Carroll Inlet and back to Ketchikan. For the day - 8.5 hours, 4.5 miles, 100 feet of gain.

This was very tough hike. Heavy packs. We had crampons, ice axes, ski poles, snowshoes with us and we used them all, a lot. Bushwhacking was intense and sustained, some of the hardest I've ever experienced and I've experienced a lot. Terrain difficult a lot of the time.