Lemah Traverse

August 2-4, 2019


As I write this, I've been back 3 days, and am still short on energy after our our trip...

David Carrier and I decided to use our first weekend as a team together to explore the feasibility of a full traverse of all 5 Lemah Mt. summits - a big chunk of my long-dreamed 21 Peak Salute. Lemah is a 5-summited ridgeline, numbered 1-5 S-N, the main and highest peak being #3. I've done main before leading a Mazama trip, and David had explored the approach the weekend before, hitting one of the Brothers and Chickamin Peak to the S., so we thought we had more than enough knowledge to try this one.

Despite not always making the best route choices - especially on the approach to Chickamin Lake that turned out to be 15 miles, and the most exhausting approach I can recall (given selective memory!), we got 4 out of 5 summits. #4 looked doable, but we were out of time and energy after 3 summits on one day and #5 the next morning.

The trip involved almost as much scree and boulders as Constance the previous week - with MUCH more exposure! We're talking literally crawling up 30-degree heather ledges 3 feet wide (Lemah 5). But on all four peaks we found 4th class routes, except for a few short 5th moves on the summit block of #1 and maybe one 5th move on #2. #5 had a 15-foot summit block with a chimney, that we skipped because we had left the ropes down below, and anyway it only added 3 feet to the other horn. (My rule - if my head is above the summit, I'm on the summit!).

Definitely this would be a far more pleasant trip at the beginning of July, with snow on most of the scree. I conceived a Mazama trip that hits #1 and #3. Makes sense because the easiest approach to #3 would be up Mineral Creek, joining the approach we used via Pete Lake at Park Lakes, then dropping past Glacier Lake, up to Chickamin Lake and over the shoulder of #1, just 600 feet below it's summit. But first we would need a 1/2 day work party brushing out the underused and overgrown Mineral Creek trail! Despite this, I'm not interested in repeating our 15 mile approach! But it was really scenic...


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