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Friday, November 14, 2014

Mount Lago - South Face/South Ridge, August 2014

Eli and I gambled on a marginal Labor Day weekend weather forecast and headed deep into the Pasayten Wildnerness in search of the elusive Mount Lago. Guarded by a long 16-mile approach starting from Slate Pass, down the Middle Fork Pasayten River then up to Freds Pass and across upper Eureka Creek, Lago is by all accounts a remote peak. While it is the highest peak in the Pasayten Wilderness outside of Jack Mountain, Lago is flanked on all sides by other Cascades big boys such as Osceola Peak and Mount Carru, itself only 0.8 miles to the west. Other noteworthy peaks in the immediate area include Ptarmigan Peak to the north, Lost Peak, Lake Mountain, Monument Peak and Blackcap Mountain to the south. All of these, including the nearby Mount Robinson are of interest to those pursuing the Washington Top 100 list.

For Eli and me, the point was simply to visit a corner of The Cascades we hadnít yet been to and bag what may be considered the most significant peak in the area. We also had a secondary objective of making the traverse out to Ptarmigan Peak up and over Dot Peak via the connecting ridge to Lago, but iffy weather and being short on time convinced us otherwise. Having climbed Lago via an interminable talus slope on its South Face, we instead returned via the South Ridge to Shellrock Pass, making for an aesthetic loop we jokingly dubbed Tour de Lago.

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