Church Mountain

 

Saturday, October 12, 2002:

Buddy, Harley, and I left home early (10:30 AM) and headed to Church mountain.  Dan and I had already climbed Church in early June 2001.  On the earlier trip, the view of Baker had been obscured by clouds.  I decided to climb the Church a second time to get another look.  I was not dissapointed.  The Church mountain trail is about 9 miles round trip with a 3800 foot elevation gain and loss.

 

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PICT0001: 1PM: At the Church mountain trailhead.  2300 FASL (feet above sea level).  The trail switchbacks through old growth forest passing many impressive cedar trees.

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PICT0002: 1.5 hours later and 2500 vertical feet higher, we came out of the trees and got our first view.

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PICT0003: Church mountain is that peak up there on the left.

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PICT0005: When Dan and I climbed this in June 2001, this was all covered in 3-4 feet of snow.  Dan and I stupidly decided to leave the "trail" (denoted by footsteps) and head straight up this slope.  It was a bad move.  The hill was *very* steep (55+ degrees), and there were some exposed / rocky patches that were almost unclimbable.  After climbing this slope for a half hour, I think it took us 3 times as long to find a way down.

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PICT0006: Another shot of idiots' hill.

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PICT0007: And another.

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PICT0008: 1000 vertical feet below the summit, there's a relatively flat meadow the trail wanders through.  This is where Dan and I lost the trail on the earlier trip.  Following the trail was much easier.  The fall colors in this picture are nice.  I love hiking in October.

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PICT0009: Another look back at idiots' hill.

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PICT0011: Snow!  Harley was so happy.  He hadn't had a chance to play in snow for 3.5 months!

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PICT0012: Mt. Larrabee; idiots' hill

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PICT0027: On top of the Church!  6100 FASL.  Looking East.  Mount Larrabee

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PICT0028: Bearpaw Mountain.  American Border Peak.

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PICT0030: Bearpaw Mountain.  Canada in background.

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PICT0031: Looking North into the great Canadian unknown (I have no topo maps for Canada and can not guess at the names of these mountains).

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PICT0032: More canadian mountains.

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PICT0033: Church Mountain.

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PICT0037: Looking SouthWest from Church.  Lincoln Peak; Twin sisters.

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PICT0049: Baker.

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PICT0050: Baker, Colfax Peak; Lincoln Peak.

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PICT0051: Baker, Grant Peak, Colfax Peak.

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PICT0052: Mount Shuksan; Nooksack Tower; Summit Pyramid; The Hourglass

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PICT0053: Shuksan again.

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PICT0054: Mt. Larrabee; American Border Peak again.

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PICT0055: Closeup of Bearpaw mountain.

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PICT0056: Closeup of some canadian mountains.

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PICT0057: More canadian mountains.

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PICT0058: Looking south into the Cascades (Shuksan to Left, Baker to Right).

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PICT0059: Group photo.

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PICT0060: Harley; Buddy; Church..

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PICT0061: Harley found a doghouse on top of the mountain!

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PICT0062: Half moon and Baker.

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PICT0067: Buddy and Baker.

This was a great hike.  One of my all time favorites.

I made a personal speed record on this hike.  We hiked up the first 2000 vertical feet in just 61 minutes.  We slowed down a little bit when the trail was covered with snow, but we still made the 3800 elevation gain in 2 hours 10 minutes.  That's an average of 29 feet / minute.  Not bad.