With a 5 month old at home, I’m not swimming in free time however the little guy does make me think twice about spending $ on gear. I have to really ask myself, is it a ‘need’ or a ‘want’ and let’s be honest, Fly Fishing gear is a want. So after ordering up a bunch of flies on closeout from Hill’s Discount Flies (150+) I decided it was time to put some serious thought into my fly storage / box plan. Having the drift boat has changed some things around as well – I have less of a need to always concern myself with keeping my boxes compact for easy carry in my pack. I have long loved the Cliff’s Bugger Beast (and Jr.) as well as the Bugger Barn but just couldn’t justify spending the money on them. One I never had that many flies to concern myself with needing such large boxes, two I hadn’t jumped into steelhead/salmon fishing or too much streamer stuff to need big space (size 22 WD-40s take up no room!), and finally – never had that many flies. Well, that’s changing so it’s time to reassess my strategy.
I have watched over the last few years how several other brands have boxes very similar to the Cliff’s Bugger Beasts and wondered – they have to be all getting the case at the same place… just where? Well some research one evening and I uncovered that they are in fact a standard case (“carrying case”) made by Flambeau Cases. The website was a little confusing and I wondered if I could in fact order just one case or if I needed to order the ‘minimum 14’ that some pages said. Even then I had to laugh. I could buy 14 for less than one Cliff’s box. Well, more digging also uncovered the cases that Cliff’s uses for the Bugger Barn streamer boxes. So I ordered several of a few different cases to make my own. A trip to Michael’s or JoAnn’s should land me 5mm or thicker craft foam that I can cut to the appropriate shapes and then add slots for fly storage. Some 3M spray adhesive (that I had used on Owen’s wall decal in his nursery) and I should be set! For the price of one Bugger Beast I was able to get 3 of the cases to make Bugger Barns, 4 cases the size of the Bugger Beast Jr., 2 the size of the Bugger Beast and then a small case to use for hook/bead storage with my fly tying gear. That’s 10 cases for the price of one. Obviously I don’t have the foam yet but with some coupons that’s not going to set me back much at all.
Here’s what I ordered from Flambeau:
|3||4040-2 One-Compartment Box Bugger Barn||$3.70||$11.10|
|4||6775TXR Tradesman 10 1/2 Green Bugger Beast Jr. (Limited Time Sale)||$1.84||$7.36|
|2||6780TC Tradesman 14″ (35.56 cm) Bugger Beast||$5.42||$10.84|
|1||DB618 18-Compartment Box Hook/Bead Storage||$4.99||$4.99|
Now, I have to admit – I don’t have any expectations that these are going to turn out as nice as the Cliff’s boxes which are die cut and well put together. I also always like to spend my money at local fly shops whenever possible to support their businesses. I know this project isn’t for everyone (time and effort is worth something too!) but when you’ve just shelled out a decent amount of $ on a drift boat and are planning to buy a new 8wt rod/reel/line setup, a few bucks savings is well worth it to me!
In the end, I will end up with 3 Bugger Barn Clones, 4 Bugger Beast Jr Clones and 2 Bugger Beast Clones – that would have been about $325 in fly boxes. I estimate in the end I’ll come out at under $100. And no, not all the boxes are for me! I am making several for my dad.
More details and photos to come.
For the first time since 2003, the trailhead to my 5th and final Washington Volcano is open. This is great news – my hope is that the road repairs hold out until next summer and the approach is reduced dramatically!
I spent a half hour double checking I had all the gear / food I needed for the weekend (which I later found out would not be the case). Andrew showed up at my place just about 1:30 in the afternoon on Friday and we said goodbye to Dakota, my 3 year old yellow lab. Laura had left earlier in the morning and wished me luck before she left. We were on the road just before 2 and had to swing into Costco in Issaquah to fill up the tank. Rather then deal with the fun of I-5 on a summer Friday afternoon we opted to take I-90 to Yakima and then 97 down to the Dalles. So glad we took this route – with the exception of getting stuck behind a few trucks we had no traffic and cruised to Hood River. Before stopping off at Andrew’s grandparent’s place to crash for the night we stopped by Double Mountain Brewing Co. for a beer around 6:15 and then over to Full Sail for another and some dinner. We chatted about our plan for the next day and relaxed. Both enjoying the slow, non-rushed pace to the weekend ahead. After dinner we headed up to Andrew’s grandparent’s place to crash for the night. Both of us tired and excited for the weekend we crashed pretty quickly.
Saturday morning we were up and on the road to the Ranger Station in Trout Lake fairly early. By the time we rolled up to the Ranger Station there were already about 5 cars and people/dogs roaming around waiting for the Ranger to open up shop for the day. After bullshitting a bit Andrew and I realized we didn’t each have $15 cash for our permits so we jumped in the car and swung down a few blocks to the gas station, grabbed some Gatorade’s and got cash back. We were back before the Ranger had opened up and started filling out our check-in paperwork. By just about 8:00 we had our permits taken care of and were on our way up the road to Cold Springs campground (our trailhead). The road was snow free which was great news. We had planned to climb a few weeks earlier but at that point the road was blocked with snow about 3 or so miles from the trailhead. The road is pretty straight forward, we saw a few smaller cars but we were glad we drove the Escape due to potholes and gravel/dirt roads most of the way.
We made it to Cold Springs, geared up and headed out around 9:00. I brought along the older GPS unit my dad had growing up (Garmin eTrex Legend) in hopes of mapping the route but the unit struggled to gain a satelite signal for a few miles up the trail so we weren’t able to map the whole thing.
The trail was snow free up until about 6,000′ or so and then was pretty solid from then on out. We enjoyed the views of Mount Hood in the distance and for the most part enjoyed the trail to ourselves for most of the morning. A few folks coming back down from ski trips and short hikes to Lunch Counter but all in all an ejoyable approach. Just below the Crescent Glacier we ran into a climber on his way back down who shared some insight into campsites at Lunch Counter – suggesting we go further up into the area where there are better views. Appreciated the advice – great guy. By the time we reached the Crescent Glacier we had run into several groups ahead of us. One of which was a Boy Scout troop. Unfortunately they were quite large and a little on the slow side. We weaved through some of the rock areas before crossing over and heading up the ridge but were unable to pass the group. On the ridge approach we were stuck behind the group for quite a while. A little frustrating but in the end we didn’t really mind – we were in no hurry and the views were spectacular. Glad to see scouts out enjoying the mountain as well.
After the ridge we cruised for quite a bit, up the snow, checking out the glissade tracks as we go to prepare for coming back down on Sunday. We arrived at Lunch Counter around 1:45 and spent some time wandering around checking out empty campsites for the best option. We ended up scoring what we thought was an awesome site. A well established rock wall protected us from the wind that was just beginning to pick up, an awesome view of Piker’s Peak (you can’t see the summit from here) and a nice sandy flat space for the tent. In short time we had the tent up and stove out ready to melt snow to fill our empty water bottles. We spent the afternoon relaxing, bullshitting and even got in a nap.
Andrew and I had met at REI in Redmond after work the Wednesday prior to sort out any last minute food or gear items. We discussed what each of us was planning to bring for food. By now, I’ve tried several different freeze dried dinners and in many cases realized that the best bet for me was to go with the standby of Beef Stroganoff – it’s pretty basic, nothing to get the stomach doing sumersaults and actually not too bad overall for freeze dried food. But this time I opted to grab Chicken Teriyaki with Rice and bring along some individual packets of sweet and sour sauce and soy sauce for added flavor to the typically bland meals. I thought this would be a great plan and change things up.
Well, Saturday night I realized my plan was terrible. Tried the Chicken Teriyaki plain without adding anything and … not my favorite. No problem, just throw in some sauce. Because I only brought along two soy sauce packets and had already given Andrew one for his meal I decided I should try Sweet and Sour. Ok, one packet, a little better but still not great. Ate that a bit and ate as much as I could muster before deciding to add the second packet. That got me a few more bites but by then my stomach was already starting to feel a bit off. I tried to shovel a few more spoonfulls down and finally had to just call it quits. I remember thinking to myself, “you moron, you should have just gone with the good old standby.” Good thing I brought plenty of munchies and snack food so I filled up on BBQ flavored Gold Fish crackers, Baybel cheese and trailmix.
We cleaned up, relaxed more and spent the evening snapping photos of the views and sunset with Hood and St. Helens in the distance. We were in bed before 10 and out pretty quickly.
Just before 3 AM I woke up and realized my alarm would go off in a few minutes. Rather than waking our neighbors up I turned it off and began getting dressed. Andrew slept through most of it before I finally nugged him and told him it’s time to get up. We tried to take a few illuminated tent photos and sky shots (the stars were incredible, one of the best nights I’d seen in Washington) but my point and shoot just didn’t cut it. We bagged that, got the packs squared away and were ready to boil some water for a warm drink. Crap, neither of us brought Cocoa or Cider. Guess we’re going with warm Nuun hydration tablets… not too shabby, not spectacular but it worked. Unfortunately we hadn’t thought about the fact that over night the snow patch we were using for snow to melt for water would freeze up and without a shovel there was limited ways to get more snow to melt so we rationed the water we had melted Saturday and bagged the idea of topping the bottles off.
Just before 4 we started our walk through the rocks in Lunch Counter under the light of our headlamps – trying not to disturb everyone still sleeping in camp. We could see one set of headlamps on the climb up to Piker’s Peak but other than that we appeared to be the only other people up and moving. When we reached the edge of the final rock field we put on the crampons and got ready to start climbing. We made decent time, Andrew a little slower but again, we were in no hurry and still had no one else behind us.
We cruised up, stopping a few times to grab water and snacks, snap a few photos and discuss which route we wanted to take. There were plenty of foot tracks the whole way up, many of which were pretty well worn in. At this point the wind was really starting to pick up. It had been blowing all night and morning but now we were exposed on the face approaching Piker’s Peak and it was getting relentless. We eventually made the top of Piker’s Peak and sought out the only shelter we could find from the wind behind some large rocks. By now my thin liner gloves weren’t cutting it with the wind and my hands were quite cold. I warmed them up as best I could and thankfully the sun was coming over the ridge and would warm me up as well. We took a decent break here, drank more water, grabbed a snack and rested. At this point you can see the traverse and slight downhill towards the actual base of the actual summit. We were able to see the two climbers who had left earlier than us and decided we didn’t particularly like the route they took so on our way up we looked for a better route. Andrew took off ahead of me while I fiddled with my gloves, trying to put both pairs on which worked out much better. Shortly after I caught up to Andrew and passed him in search for a better route then the climbers ahead of us took. Soon I spotted a ski track that gave a nice angle of approach and I worked my way to that. The wind at this point was pretty brutal and I was glad to be nearing the summit. Before I knew it the route began to flatten out and I could see over the crest. I was on the summit! I turned around and could see Andrew a ways behind me so I wandered around a little bit, tried to stand on the actual summit but the wind knocked me off my feet so I opted to drop the pack, hit the custom notice button on my Spot Messenger to let the wife and family know we’d made it. By this time (around 8:00) Andrew had made it up there, we high fived and took in the view. We were the second pair of climbers on the summit Sunday morning and had about 5-10 minutes of peace to ourselves (the other pair had already started their descent) before the crowds began to flood in. We grabbed the 12th man flag, our Rainier beer and the cameras and took our summit photos before hunkering down out of the wind as best we could to drink some water, snack and put on our hardshells. A slice of hawaiian Papa Murphy’s cold pizza made for a tasty breakfast! We spent almost an hour on the summit before finally getting so sick of the wind we opted to head down.
Our descent was fun and a great break for our legs. We passed on the first glissade chute as it was still icy and a bit steep for our liking (Andrew had never glissaded before). After down climbing the first pitch we were ready to start glissading. The chutes were awesome. You were able to run them out for quite a while due to the constant use. Having glissaded several times before I was right in the grove but Andrew took a few to get the swing of things. He was smiling and enjoying the whole experience. It’s a heck of a way to get off the mountain. In no time at all we had made it back to the rocks leading to our campsite at Lunch Counter. When we made it back to camp, we dumped the packs and started to square stuff away. We discussed taking a nap before heading out but agreed we’d just rather head down now and grab a beer. First we got the Jetboil going one last time to melt snow to fill up one of Andrew’s bottles and then packed up and took off for the trailhead.
On our way down from Lunch counter there were several other glissade chutes we took advantage of and made good time. After the final major snow field we started hitting the dirt trail and snow patches, we followed the foot prints and eventually realized we had somewhere along the line gone a little off route. I pulled out the GPS (which I had loaded the coordinates of the route into before I left home) and realized we were barely off course, one tree line over from where we had been on our way up but right on track with the route that I had programmed in. Well, that’s good news. I knew the route we were on would take us to the trailhead so we decided to stay on it. Eventually we ran into a sign marking the trail #183 and an arrow pointing in our direction of travel back to Cold Springs CG (Camp Ground). So we knew we were on track. Still didn’t look familiar to us so we aren’t sure where we went off route but we knew we were fine and prepared. Not too much further down the trail we ran into another couple asking which direction to go and I assured them I had the GPS coordinates and they could head in the direction we were going. We continued on and began to recognize the trail we were on (yet still don’t know where our old route merged into this one as we never saw a trail meet up with where we were). A few switchbacks later, a little before 2:00, we spotted the cars and were back at the trailhead.
Excited to have reached the summit of Mount Adams, 12,281′, my 4th Washington volcano and stoked for Andrew to bag his second I was feeling great. Although I had hardly trained this summer after realizing Rainier wouldn’t be a possibility, I felt fairly good about my accomplishment. Not minutes after taking my pack off I was already wondering about my 5th and final Washington volcano, Glacier Peak. Will I reach it’s summit next summer? Will the road to the trailhead remain open so it’s a more managable climb or will it be a 4-5 day climb with a killer approach? No need to stress over that right now, we’d just summited Mount Adams and were on our way to have a few beers to celebrate!
On our way back to Andrew’s grandparents we stopped at Everybody’s Brewing Co. in White Salmon for a few beers and killer sweet potato fries. We went back and showered then went out for pizza and beers at Double Mountain in Hood river. By 6 we were both dead tired and headed home, called our significant others and crashed.
Glad Andrew could join me – it was a great time!
I’ve been anxiously watching the weather reports all week, hoping to see improvement but mother nature doesn’t want to cooperate. The forecast has worsened a few times now and for some time has stayed with cooler temperatures, rain & snow, as well as thunderstorms. Given those conditions Andrew and I have made the decision to postpone our attempt on the Mount Adams – pushing it out until later in July. Hopefully by then Summer will finally arrive and grant us great weather to enjoy the mountain. Now the question – do I spend the weekend brewing or trying to find a place for a soggy hike (maybe both?).
Watching the weather closely and keeping tabs on any report we can find. Andrew and I are hoping things pan out and we end up with good conditions. Right now, looks like we could be in for a bit of everything weather wise.
Saturday: A chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 44.
Saturday Night: A chance of rain and snow showers. Snow level 9900 feet. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 33.
Sunday: A chance of rain and snow showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 42.
Sunday Night: A slight chance of rain and snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 34.
Monday: A slight chance of rain and snow showers. Snow level 9900 feet. Partly sunny, with a high near 42.
Reading the latest climbing / road report from the Ranger station – Forest Service road 8040 is blocked 3.25 miles from the trailhead, adding that mileage to our trip (increasing the round trip to approximately 18 total).
Our plan will be to head down to Hood River to stay with Andrew’s grandparents Friday after work. We’ll get up and swing by the Trout Lake Ranger station when they open around 8AM on Saturday and head up 8040 as high as we can. Our goal will be to reach Lunch Counter and setup camp in early afternoon. We’ll relax, grab dinner and head to bed. Sunday we’ll plan to be up probably around 3AM for an alpine start (checking the weather) which would put us on the summit around 8 or 9AM. If the weather cooperates we might plan to stay Saturday evening and head out Monday morning for the car but if the weather stinks we’ll bag it and head out Sunday after our summit (and probably crash in Hood River that night).
Wednesday I’ll plan to call the Ranger station to get a more current condition update and see what that holds.