The Craggys' are two of big Bugler 100 in the Pasayten Wilderness, about 18 miles North of Winthrop, Washington.
While not challenging technically, and considered some of the easiest of the Bugler 100, they are never the less, big and committing. There is no Climber's Route, so route finding skills are necessary. On the ridge or summit, all the big mountains of the entire Pasayten unfolds as well as North Gardner, 8,956', Silver Star, 8,876', and everyone's nemesis, daunting Jack Mountain, 9,066'!
The Copper Glance Trailhead is 22 miles north of Winthrop. The first 2 miles are an old mining road to a mine, and then the trail begins. In the big green steep meadow begins the Southeast Ridge Route up Big Craggy. We were here once before, on June 12, but were thunder and lightening off the mountain. Usually, but not always the weather is better on the East side of the Cascade Crest.
Doerte, Tillman, and I continued along the trail through the big green meadow, over the creek, past the pond, and on to Copper Glance Lake at 6,100' to camp.
We were shocked to find no level camping sites at the lake. It was rocky and rough. Around the far side we found a somewhat level spot to pith our small tents. Using books, socks, etc, we smoothed out some of the rough spots. Tillman complained of blood rushing to his head since his feet were uphill. We relaxed for the rest of the afternoon watching the fish jump. Tillman even jumped in the cold lake.
At 6 am Sunday morning we left for the Southeast Ridge, hoping to gain some elevation before the heat set in. The South Ridge was steep but easy until 7,800. Here we were challenged by scree and talus so we moved over to the bigger, but equally loose rocks. After 300' of extremely loose class 3 the going eased to the Summit, 8,480'. The summit register was placed by Fay Pullen a month before. We have seen her name in every register on every mountain we have been on in the Pasayten. Although we have never met her, we have seen her fresh tracks in the snow. One of the Skoogs was up last November.
We followed the West Ridge down to the saddle at 7,600' between Big Craggy and West Craggy. At this point Doerte descended down the scree to an unnamed high lake while I continued on the ridge to West Craggy. In the Summit Register on West Craggy, 8,366', there were two old faded names from 2001. Josh Woods, and Jonathan Pryce. There were two Mountain Goats grazing on the summit plateau.
Hurrying back to the saddle, I joined Doerte at the little lake for a quick lunch before we began bushwacking back to the trail and then back to camp. Tillman informed us that he was able to locate a nice flat spot for the tents if we come back in the future. Raindrops were beginning to fall as the clouds rolled in. The entire Valley below was soon filled with clouds and rain.
The rain began in earnest as we finished breaking camp. It rained all the way out to the Trailhead, making for very pleasant hiking. We were soon happily soaked from the warm rain. Great wilderness in the Pasayten, we only saw one couple on our way out. Not bad for the entire weekend.
7 hours camp to camp. This can be done in a day from the Trailhead. The registers showed that only about 4-5 parties a year do the Craggys. We were only the second party of 2004.
2 days, 14 miles, 6,500' elevation gain.
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