Natal

Natal Trip Report (#12341)

  • Signed By: Stefan Feller of Auburn, WA, USA
  • Date submitted: October 22, 1999
  • Date(s) climbed: 9/11/99

We parked at Rainey Pass and took the Lake Ann trail to Maple Pass. From the pass we contoured below Corteo to Last Chance Pass where we left our packs while we went up Benzarino. We were back at this pass about 4pm. descended to Grizzly Cr via Woody Cr by a short swing around a basin. This went okay until we reached a burn that was jackstrawed with downed trees hidden in fireweed. After a brief bash, we swung around the toe of a ridge at 5200' and dropped to Woody Cr about where it enters Grizzly Cr. In the morning we headed up Grizzly Cr. At this point, we had joined Beckey's Douglas Glacier: Mt Logan Cross Country Route, but this route is used so seldomly that there is no trace of human tarvel After about 1/2 mile we came to a huge alder jungle. Rather than force it we chose to follow a weakness that led several hundred feet up the W shoulder, where we traversed below steepening cliffs to rejoin Grizzly Cr above the alder mess. So far we had spent 3 hrs to travel 1 1/4 miles. From the meadowy basin at 4800' we went up to the 6960' col between Indecision and Natal, where we left our packs for the straightforward climb of Indecision. In fact, this is one of the rare peaks which I've found to be easier than as described in the guidebook; the class 4 section was so trivial it doesn't deserve mention. Twin summit Muelfire faced us across a wicked gap, and the class 4 climbing to it looked so formidable that I didn't want to do it even with a top rope. Mike was feeling his oats and disdained my offer of a belay and instead chose to scramble to it. Next came the descent to our packs, then a 500' drop down and across the pocket glaciers below the N face of Natal, and a short ascent to the 6880' col on the NW shoulder of Natal. Here we made a wonderful camp and even had an hour or two to enjoy it before dark. In the morning we headed up Natal. This proved to be a very enjoyable climb. It is mostly 900' of scrambling, but there are 4 distinct steps that require roped climbing. Each is about 70', the first 2 being 4th class, the next 2 moderate 5th. Our roundtrip on this one was about 5 hrs. After packing up, our next move was to follow Spectacular Ridge. This feature is well named, given its dramatic views of the full immensity of the Douglas Glacier face of Logan. We rambled along, enjoying the vistas. I waited atop 6945 while Mike ranliterally) off to a nice looking bump. Then our route dropped 1400' to Fisher Pass. This pass has the topographic oddity of its two drainages going off in opposite directions both being called Fisher Cr. The descent to it had been hot and somewhat brushy, but the ascent out of it was pleasantly shaded, well watered, and traversed some beautiful alp slopes and lovely creamy-white gneiss slabs. We reached 7910' "Outpost" just minutes before sunset, which was too bad because this fantastic vantage point deserved many hours for reverie and peak gazing. It has a nice ridge that paralells the N Fk of Bridge Cr, and we dropped down this to 7000' to an unbeatable campsite: flat, short grass, in a copse of larch trees which framed the complete north face of Goode. We were up early in the morning for the drop down ridge to the intersection of Grizzly Cr and N Fk Bridge and the welcome sight of the trail.

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