Trip Report
In Darkest Nooksack - An Solo Ascent of Lincoln Peak
Tuesday February 18, 2014 5:53pm
Trip: In Darkest Nooksack: An Ascent of Lincoln Peak - Lincoln Peak

Date: 6/15/2013

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Lincoln, from Colfax

There is a valley between Mt. Baker and the Twin Sisters Range, where We The People, an indigenous tribe that kills cars for coupe seeks to establish a 5th growth jungle caliphate.

Road 38, now anonymous because We The People attack any signage that might compete with their own pronouncements of the Christian God and His Pioneer Spirit, remains as a decaying testament to the valleyís former government of occupation. When it begins switchbacking up it becomes The Worst Road in the World. This gauntlet of slide alder and oil pan punching creek crossings literally punched my carís lights out. Well, a fog light, anyway.

This road is ceding to the jungle, and with it, easy access to the regionís darkest and most foreboding monument: Lincoln Peak. Perhaps this will spur a gold rush of sorts, and the summit will see more than a party every few years - until a wash out adds 3 miles of hard labor to the ticket price for this terrible prize. Perhaps thereís money to be made in the goals and accomplishments trade.

Road 38ís deterioration is gradual and total. A large stone firepit graces the center of one switchback. After several more switchbacks only an alder choked Habitrail remains. I lost the dynafight and opted to hand carry my skis and occasionally use them as a machete.

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The Worst Road in the World

After trailís end, I harscheisened upward for several hundred yards before gaining a pretty little tarn tattooed with red algae.

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Tarn at 5,000'

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The pigment in red algae (Chlamydomona nivalis) protects the otherwise green cell from intense UV and aids in melting to expand the organismís ideal environment. In early season individual cells swim to the surface by the billions per square meter using flagella that are later discarded.

I skinned the gentle slopes to the pass, rounded the corner, and suddenly there it was.

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YOUR FA HERE: 2,600' of untouched bacon and chocolate chip layer cake

Lincoln Peak is not a sub-summit of Mt. Baker, itís an ancestor. It thrusts out of the otherwise gentle, rolling terrain like the fluted horn of some dark colossus too tall for its netherchambers. Itís fluted walls and towers rise over 2,600 feet. They give the appearance of a cake made of bacon and chocolate chips that weep white salty tears, frosted in streaks of snow. Someone left this cake out in the rain.

Lincolnís new snow now spread at its feet like the veils of fallen brides. Bucket kicking conditions were good - the occasion half blow out of a foothold, a firm layer underneath. No real sloughing to speak of. Most of the cornices were gone. Nothing but small ice and snow pebbles were coming down. I only saw one rock as large as a baseball whirl by. Lincolnís rock is more solid than I expected. It looks like basalt chips baked in tuff.

From the basin below, Lincoln looks smaller than it really is. At an average of about 50 degrees slope, 5,200í round trip (ski valkyries excepted) is a lot of front pointing. Lincolnís only route traverses northward up its snow runneled face. The climb is punctuated by two steep gullies. The lower gully is split by a 30í constriction midway Ė currently parallel runnels of snice and snow, both melting fast. The upper gully goes straight to the summit.

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You're hernia free! Lower gully.

Oh, and a third gully; the one I took to the summit, even with the worldís most painstakingly explicit beta right in my pants pocket. I overshot the summit gully. That's how I got to do the Cookie Pitch.

I reached the summit ridge, looked left, where I expected the summit tower to be, and there was a tower, alright; one guarded by a huge, curling cornice hanging over the 1,500 East Face. I looked right and to my relief and disappointment, the summit loomed directly above me, and all I had to do was mix climb some cookie to get to it.

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A possible shortcut to the summit

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Looking down the Cookie Crack.

Except for the mid-step across thigh cramp, the cookie pitch went well. It just didnít go to the summit Ė a higher tower rose beyond, and I was kind of hoping what lay in between them was on the more relaxed side.

It was and it wasnít. Swimming up the near vertical, chest deep snow gain the summit snow patch proved to have the climbís greatest sketch appeal.

I peed on the summit snowpatch. I know, I know, but I was tired and didnít want to be found in a schrund with my dick hanging out, so I played it safe.

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Colfax, Baker, and Sherman from Lincoln's summit

I descended the proper summit gulley, occasionally looking up to give the mountain an opportunity to smash my face in. The second gully had waterfalls running into by afternoon, but not much came down them. The comforting monotony of downclimbing set in.

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FA Op: Tower and the Twin Sisters.

I regained my skis at the base of the avalanche fans. I had the elevation to glide to the base of the pass, where a short skin would put me on the downhill course for home. North side slopes, not yet fully consolidated, slid as I sliced.

I was tired, so I beat the living sh#t out of my car to get back down that road. When parts began breaking I backed off. The good People of the Nooksack Market Center microwaved a Don Miguel beef and bean burrito for me as a parting gesture.

Although I'd dreaded a climb of Lincoln beforehand, I found it to be a rare architectural wonder in an otherwise scenic setting Ė the Twin Sisters, Mt. Baker, the Sound, redact the approach. It's not a bad climb if a steep snowy gullies through bizarre rock resonate wichall.

Lincoln took a fair bit out of me but it gave me something in return - 2nd degree blisters on the front of each ankle, a Nagasaki suntan where I'd unzipped the Ibex, and the sweet realization that I'd never have to come back.

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Waterfall at 6,000'

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Lincoln Route Map

Gear Notes:
Harscheisen, aluminum crampons, AT skis, two tools, thick gloves

Approach Notes:
Someone else's car
top left corner top right corner
Biggus Diccus, Lincoln Peak
Biggus Diccus, Lincoln Peak
Credit: Tvash
bottom left corner bottom right corner

  Trip Report Views: 2,830
About the Author
Tvash is a climber from Seattle.


Boulder climber
Andy Cairns
  Feb 18, 2014 - 06:16pm PT
I know your kind, Tvash.

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Feb 18, 2014 - 06:22pm PT
TOTALLY the best TR on supertopo ever! OK, until the next one!

  Feb 19, 2014 - 01:09am PT
What a chosspile.

I love climbing that sh#t.

More stories from the Mt. Baker area to think about when traveling the backroads:

Start listening at 13:00

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
  Feb 19, 2014 - 02:33am PT
I thought that name rang a bell! Another junkie for Chossaholics Anonymous.:-)

FA of N Face of Colfax...

Social climber
  Feb 19, 2014 - 04:23am PT
hey there say, Tvash... this is wonderful, as i read... sorry i can't comment on the photos, (dial up) but--really enjoyed reading it...

say, i DID just see reilly photo, though...

thanks for sharing... :)

wow, the pics are loading here, too...
this is a good night, :)

Trad climber
  Feb 19, 2014 - 06:04am PT
I haven't had time to read all the new stuff yet, but I can already tell I like Tvash.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Feb 19, 2014 - 07:04pm PT
Good stuff.
Is there a migration from to here, or did you post this on both?

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Feb 19, 2014 - 07:52pm PT
Tvash abides.

Killer write up brah. May your beatnickin' continue and your tales find a wanting ear here on Supertopo. Bravo. Your stoke oozes from these trip reports.

Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Feb 19, 2014 - 07:54pm PT
Way to Shred the GNAR!!!,
Nice writing dude!!!!

Author's Reply  Feb 22, 2014 - 06:26pm PT
Thanks for all the kind words - the Big Lebowski substitution was a particular honor, however questionable my worthiness of same.

For those of you offering up your own local chosstacularities, I appreciate the spirit of invitation, but my doctor advises against increasing my chosslesterol levels - proscribing instead RDAs of grain fed granite and gluten free sandstone for this season.

Lincoln is a reasonable jaunt during a narrow window of conditions - in-between avis and melt out. I don't think it runs much of a risk of becoming a destination objective any time soon, however.


Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
  Feb 22, 2014 - 11:22pm PT
Thank you for posting, and I feel lucky that you chose to post this fine story on ST.

I can only echo CC's question?

Good stuff.
Is there a migration from to here, or did you post this on both?