Mason County Highpoint Trip Report

Mount Stone

useful route coordinates - particularly above Lake of the Angels

Date: August 7, 2012
Author: Adam Helman

note: All coordinates are in the WGS84 datum.

This effort was part of a larger journey collecting Pacific Northwest county highpoints in summer 2012.

As noted in my earlier report the Putvin trail eventually meets an old logging road at (47.58544° N, 123.24802° W), elevation 2,357 feet. The road is taken west (left) for at most 0.2 mile, whence the road continues west while one takes a trail steeply northeast, signed with "Angel Lake 2.0 miles".

What's new is that this short section along the logging road is now festooned with blowdowns, deciduous, not present two years previously.

In my earlier report I noted a shift in the trail's direction at an old log, suddenly turning right some 45° and heading uphill. I now report this log is at (47.58694° N, 123.25408° W), elevation 2,690 feet.

Just above the steep, quasi-Class 3 section noted in Edward Earl's report is an unexpected 90° left turn at (47.59470° N, 123.25849° W), elevation 4,261 feet. It is easily missed.

Prior to and near Frog Pond is a boggy, muddy section to the trail. It begins here at (47.59723° N, 123.26214° W), elevation 4,523 feet. Note these coordinates if you fail to follow the trail on the descent.

More useful coordinates for this hard-to-follow section are (47.59691° N, 123.26561° W) at 4,581 feet and (47.59564° N, 123.26743° W) at 4,555 feet.

I reach Lake of the Angels soon enough, filling water bottles alongside the outlet stream at (47.59715° N, 123.27242° W), elevation 4,911 feet.

Now the real adventure begins. After some several minutes I locate a climber's path, taking it northeast to the 5,400 foot contour. Then I head northwest, climbing this tree-studded slope to a 5,600 foot bench. From here I see plenty of snow - with moats several feet tall at the base of several gullys.

Here are several coordinate pairs along the climber's path in case you cannot visually spot it.
I recommend it be used to save navigational energy and time.

What to do? I cannot reasonably downclimb 7 or 8 feet of vertical snow without an appropriate ice tool...nor is any moat broad enough to admit passage through its entire extent. Then I locate one gully with a far more modest moat-snow interface, and head upslope on talus to meet it at some 5,900 feet. Then I jump down the three feet of snow, and commence climbing this nasty, steep and scree-choked gully. I have no choice. There appears to be no other option.

The gully's base is at (47.60376° N, 123.26720° W), elevation 5,888 feet. The gully's top is at (47.60404° N, 123.26670° W), elevation 6,123 feet - some 225 vertical feet of nastiness. It is not recommended if a suitable alternative is located. In particular, simple geometry based on the above coordinates suggests a mean slope of atan (1.426) = 55.0°.

I reach the gully's top-end and find no views of the goal. Instead my GPS unit claims that the desired 6,200 foot basin is northwest 279 feet. Huh? There are only stunted trees in that direction. Still, I enter them only to break-out after just 20 feet. Where's the basin? I downclimb several feet, and there it is - full of snow yet nearly level throughout. I am relieved beyond belief - this route is doable - I do NOT have to return another day or season.

I enter the basin at (47.60424° N, 123.26665° W), elevation 6,137 feet.

The basin's snowfield is crossed, and I climb loose scree to the obvious saddle at (47.60622° N, 123.26709° W), elevation 6,386 feet, immediately southwest of Mount Stone's highest pinnacles.

Once there I am at first confused as to which pinnacle is highest. However a few minutes of research identifies the target - and it's the one directly in front of me. Leaving my pack behind with only a white chocolate granola bar in a pants pocket I climb to the pinnacles's base and then do an ascending right traverse, soon rounding a corner at a notch by turning 90° left and then finishing the effort. After only a minute I descend, most cautiously, reaching my pack soon enough. Reaching that corner-turn, at the notch, is in my view Class 3+ and not Class 4.

Lunch food is enjoyed back at the lake, filling water bottles for the descent. I camp at the trailhead, there being no need for driving progress since the next mountain is not for several days.

The net elevation gain is 6,612 - 1,565 = 5,047 feet. There is an estimated 110 feet of "ups and downs" along the trail below the old logging road. Hence the total elevation gain is some 5,267 vertical feet. The round-trip distance is 2 x 4.8 = 9.6 miles.

I no longer have to worry about weather on the wet Olympic Peninsula. Furthermore, I have climbed there during the summer Olympics 8-).