McCabe Peak


A group of hardcores invites me on the most hardcorest hike I've done in quite a while, climbing past Prince Lakes to summit McCabe Peak.

Note: click images to see a larger version in a new window

Art told me I was invited to attach myself to an invitation he had received. He added a short tale, "Whenever you tell someone you hiked with the Acker boys, they just go 'oooph!' in a sound of extreme fatigue".

So this story begins with me getting in the car at 3:30am to head to McCall for a hike with the Acker boys.

I wasn't sure where we were going, and was trying to figure out where the trail might be, so I didn't take a picture of the hillside we would be climbing. As it turns out, there isn't a trail. Nothing. Nevertheless, we headed down through the brush and soon were crossing a raging Lick Creek on a log.

Log crossing on Lick Creek

Once across the creek, it's about 2000' to the first Prince Lake, straight up.

Here Art is after crossing the first of several wet, slabby areas. It wasn't hard, but probably not for the faint of heart.

You can see the road on the opposite hillside.

Art after crossing some wet slabs, with the road behind hiim
After climbing straight up for perhaps 1700' (and I mean straight- those Acker boys don't believe in switchbacks), we finally found something approaching flat ground. Wow, did that feel good. Flat spot.

Just a little bit further, we came to this huge waterfall.

The waterfall

After a brief rest, we traversed past the base of the waterfall and scrambled up to the right on an exposed ledge to gain the top of the cliff.

Crossing the waterfall

From there, we went straight up hill some more (hiking with the Ackers) and were soon at the first Prince Lake.

First Prince Lake
On the far side of the lake, we took a real rest, our first of the day. This is the view looking back towards Lick Creek and the ridge separating it from Hum Lake. Lower Prince Lake

As we continued our climb, we passed the second Prince lake, sitting in a hole off to our left. Ahead, another waterfall appeared, as well as the summit of McCabe, just to the right of the waterfall.

Click on the picture too see a bigger version (and then you'll see the waterfall). Note that the water isn't really falling- it's just rushing down the hillside- and then it disappears under the rocks. We hiked pretty much straight up this. But hey- that's hiking with the Ackers.

Second waterfall, actually the route

There was a small pond above the waterfall, and we stopped to reload water- the last chance until we got to Lake Thirtythree. Then it was straight up the snowfield until it got too steep for running shoes, where we moved onto the adjoining ridge.

Snowfield and cornice

We went straight up the ridge and were soon on the summit of McCabe Peak, named for a good friend of Cody's who passed away a few years ago. This is looking back down our route, showing all the Prince Lakes.

Prince Lakes basin

At a little after noon, we had a leisurely lunch and took the required summit shot.

Then we saddled up and headed out- although this was our highpoint of the day, the map said we we were only 3.5 miles into a 15 mile hike.

The gang atop McCabe peak

From there, we had a really cool ridge walk, and a good drop. The arrow shows McCabe Peak from the flats right below Lake Thirtythree.

Looking ack at McCabe Peak
When we finally got to Lake Thirtythree, I was finally on ground I was familiar with (amongst the other times I had been here, I had been on a backpack trip here about the same time a year before) . We took another break, and talked with some folks who had been having some luck fishing. Lake Thirtythree

From Thirtythree, we contoured around the hill to this no-name lake, rumored to have fantastic fishing.

The problem with a hike like this is you see so much incredible terrain that this gem seemed, well, a little ho-hum.

Besides, ahead of us we had another ridge to climb straight up.

No-name lake

We followed the ridge over to North Fitsum summit. Art and I had been here together back in 2002.

Looking back at McCabe, you can see we had covered some ground. It was about 2:15, just a little under 7 hours from the car.

McCabe Peak from North fitsum summit.

Well, that had been fun. Now we had actual trail to walk, and it was only 9 miles to Lake Fork Crek [sic]. A trail? seems easy enough.

Dropping down into the East Fork, I got a surprise- a brown movement in the bushes moved into a clearing, revealing the first bear I've seen in a few years.

North Fitsum summit

We got down off the summit onto semi-flat terrain, and the Acker boys started jogging. Bye, boys!

Note the snow in the photo. Down in the valley bottom, there was still snow around at 6250'.


North Fitsum summit

Art and I walked at a good clip, but were still able to have our usual great conversation.

When we got to Lake Fork, we were pretty tired so we decided to just wade it with our boots on. 9 and 3/4 hours of hard walking.

East Fork of Lake Fork meadow

Mr. Natural Home | 2006 | Back to top of page | Questions :: e-mail to splattski