Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Devil's Dome Loop

Jen, Bruce and myself ready to start the run.
Last weekend I went with Jen and Bruce to run the Devil's Dome Loop in the Northern Cascades. This is the second time that I had run the loop and it was fun to return to such a beautiful area on a day with different weather, at a different time of year, etc. You can read Scotty's blog post on our previous trip here. I'm not going to write a narrative of our day in this blog post, but I did want to share some logistical data, particularly information on places where water was available. The guide book I have with a writeup of the route cautions that water can be scarce. The previous time I ran the loop we ran it in early August and water and snow were plentiful. Considering that it was a month later that we were running the loop this year I was concerned that many of the water sources we used the previous trip might be dried up. We all ended up carrying big loads of water that it turns out we didn't need. We started at the East Bank trailhead on Highway 20 and did the loop counterclockwise which as you can see in the elevation profile below puts most of the climbing at the beginning of the day. Next time I will have to run the loop clockwise and see how much harder it is with the climbing at the end of the day.

Route map starting at the East Bank Trailhead and running counter clockwise

Elevation profile
The following list shows the approximate mileage based on my GPS watch recording to water sources all of which seemed fairly reliable although clearly if you go late enough in the year some of these could be dried up. I am confident that the loop can be done with a couple of bottles instead of a hydration pack, but if you do want to take a hydration pack, wait until mile 6 or 7.8 and then fill it up once you have done a lot of the initial climbing.

Distance Name Note
4.5 miles Unknown stream About 3000 feet elevation
6 miles Unknown stream ~5,000 feet near top of initial climb
7.8 miles Nickol Creek McMillan Park
14.6 miles Middle Fork Devil's Creek
15.1 miles North Fork Devil's Creek
17.5 miles Spring near Devil's Pass We didn't use this since it requires a slight detour off the route onto trail 752 (turn right instead of left at the pass)
22 miles Snowmelt just past Devil's Dome on the way down Presumably dries up late in the season but good amount of water now with snow still on the ridge above
25 miles Unknown stream
25.5 miles Unknown stream
32.6 miles May Creek First place to get water after dropping down to the lake (5 miles after turning onto East Bank trail)
37 miles Unknown stream Several stream crossings in the last few miles

A few pictures from the run:

McMillan Park meadow

Lots of beautiful ridge running
Bruce and Jen descending the scree field

More ridge running

Looking at Devil's Dome (highest peak) and north from the saddle below

The route circumnavigates Jack Mt. This is the view from Devil's Dome.

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