here Trail Blazer Vignettes: Blum Lakes

Washington Trail Blazers

Upper Blum Stock Trip

Cliff Lawson

September 17, 1960

[Milt Tanggard, Mike Swayne, Clayton Kilbourn, and Cliff Lawson, sponsor, left Seattle at 11 p.m., ate breakfast in Sedro Wooley, and arrived at Baker Lake at 3:30 a.m. ]

Sacktime was all too short as we were up at 6:30 and on our way shortly later. Meanwhile the fry were transferred to a new fiberglass half-can with a three-gallon capacity mounted on an aluminum frame along with an insulated vinyl bag for carrying ice. Another new innovation, an oxygen tablet used to aerate the can, was tried and proved feasible. This combination was used for backpacking the fish to the lake.

Before long we reached the long, steep, twisting ridge, which was the chosen route as in two previous trips. The ascent begins at 700 feet and ends at Upper Blum, elevation 5,000 feet, a continuous grind all the way. The pitch is 40°-45° most of the distance and the route scattered with cliffs and deceptive terrain.

As this is a dry mountain, ice was packed to keep can temp down and replenish the water supply. It also seems worth mentioning the performance of the previously described oxygen tablet. This worked very well, keeping the water from going stale throughout the trip. There were no adverse effects experienced from usage of this tablet; in fact, the fry seemed quite attracted to it.

After the long, hard pull, we eventually reached the lower Brookie-infested lake. Here we stopped to take a few pictures, all the while cussing and swearing at whoever was responsible for ruining this beautiful lake. We then proceeded to the upper lake where we had lunch and tempered the can. The Goldens were then released with a total loss of six fry.

With the business at hand finished, we scrambled up a scree slope heading for a 6400 foot pass, climbing up and around a two-acre glacian tarn enroute. Upon arrival at the pass we commanded an excellent vantage point, and with cameras clicking furiously, we ran here and there taking pictures of every crag in sight.

Mike and I climbed higher to a 6700 foot knob, where an unexcelled panorama was had. The many peaks of Hagan to the west, Bacon Peak and Bacon Creek Peaks to the south, Baker, Shuksan, Blum to the north and the Southern Pickets to the east, with Challenger, Despair, and Triumph most prominent.

Finally, with our film expended and daylight waning, we descended to the lakes and started the long trek out. Once again at the jeep we talked about our day in the mountains, all agreed that the 6,000 foot climb and descent constituted a pretty good “One Dayer.”