Peak(s):  "Sundog" - 13,432 feet
Date Posted:  05/30/2022
Date Climbed:   05/28/2022
Author:  WildWanderer
 From Cooper Creek   

Sundog – 13,432


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RT Length: 8.1 miles

Elevation Gain: 3219’


Normally you’d start this hike from the Silver Creek/Grizzly Gulch trailhead, the same one as used for Redcloud and Sunshine Peaks, but it’s Memorial Day weekend, and I knew that trailhead would be crowded. Also, I’ve had porcupines visit me there in the middle of the night, interested in the wires underneath my truck. Instead, I parked a little over half a mile further up the road, near Cooper Creek. Not only did I have the site to myself, but I got to hear the creek rushing by as I slept.


After an early night, I was still hesitant to get out of bed at 4:15am. It took willpower, but I was on the trail by 4:30am. As I passed the Silver Creek trailhead there were dozens of headlamps indicating busy activity. I cruised by, and started up the trail.


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At the top of the hill was a trail register I need of repair: The top isn’t fastened to the base. As per usual, I didn’t see the register on the way in, as it was off to the side and didn’t have anything reflective indicating it was there.


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So, I didn’t sign the register, and instead followed the trail as it paralleled Silver Creek. The trail was very well maintained, with just a few downed trees here and there.


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At around 11300’ of elevation, I left the trail to head down towards the creek. I left the trail where an obvious, and massive, avalanche had occurred a few years earlier. There was a faint trail closer to the creek.


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My goal was to cross the creek and head up Sundog’s north ridge. I crossed the creek near some willows, on a few logs that seemed to have been placed for just that purpose. On my way in, and on my way out, these logs were coated in ice, which made the crossing interesting.


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Safely across the creek, it was time to follow the ridge by heading south. The ridge was easy to follow, but there was some initial avalanche debris to navigate.


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I noticed all the trees seemed to be leaning up, not down, which I thought was odd, until I looked behind me. It was obvious a large avalanche had occurred on the opposite mountain, which crossed the creek, and knocked over trees several hundred feet up the ridge I was now on.


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I continued following the ridge to treeline.


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Just before treeline I came to an outcropping, which I maneuvered by going to the right, staying at its base.


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Now at treeline, I continued to follow the ridge


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As soon as the talus and scree started, it didn’t quit. There were a lot of game trails all the way to the summit, none of which were consistent.


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Now is a good time to note the false summit


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I followed the ridge to the summit. The ridge was straightforward, the only surprise coming at the end.


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Just before the summit, I climbed up a class 2+ gully. The rocks were loose, and microspikes helped. I left behind my trekking pole and started climbing up.


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At the top of the gully was more ridge (this is a false summit)


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That led to the real summit


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I summited Sundog at 7:15am

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Sundog:

And now to head back. It was a nice day, but windy, so I didn’t stay too long on the summit. I turned and headed back the way I’d came:


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It was a long ridge!


The scree filled gu

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lly was easier to navigate on the way down


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Then I followed the ridge to treeline


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Once at treeline, I continued to follow the ridge, aiming for the avalanche runout, and Silver Creek below


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I went left this time around the rock formation


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And navigated the avalanche debris to the creek


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I crossed the creek on the same logs, interested to find they were still covered in a layer of ice.


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I easily picked up the trail on the other side, and followed it back to the trailhead.


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I then walked up the road to my truck, parked about half a mile away. I made it back to my truck at 9:30am, making this a 8.1 mile hike with 3219’ of elevation gain in 5 hours.


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Oh, and if you're missing some 8 track tapes, I found them near an old, abandoned mine...


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On to the next trailhead!




Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
d_baker
User
interesting title
05/30/2022 19:08
When I saw "from Cooper Creek", I thought, well this will be something different. But the title is deceiving since you only camped at Cooper Creek and went up Silver. No matter, good info. I imagine I'll get around to hiking Sundog someday, probably from Silver Creek.


jrbren_vt
User
Excellent report as usual !
06/03/2022 10:23
When you were up there, did you form an opinion as to whether this would make a good approach route to Sunshine, as an alternative to the Northwest face route listed on this website ? I am planning on trying Redcloud & Sunshine this weekend. I haven't decided how yet. My leading option would be to climb Sunshine via Redcloud and the backtrack over Redcloud a second time (primary route listed on this site). The loop hike which would include the Northwest face route from this site looks more interesting, but there is a steep section that faces north so I would expect it to still be covered with beaucoup ice & snow, and satellite imagery (https://apps.sentinel-hub.com/sentinel-playground/?source=S2&lat=37.9301003438307&lng=-107.42727756500244&zoom=15&preset=1-NATURAL-COLOR&layers=B01,B02,B03&maxcc=20&gain=1.0&gamma=1.0&time=2021-12-01%7C2022-06-03&atmFilter=&showDates=false) and your photos seem to confirm this. Climbing over Sundog appears to be a good alternative to the Northwest face route from photos and topo maps. This loop appears comparable to climbing Redcloud twice WRT total elevation gain. Thanks again for the trip report ! OK, Edited to add I just found a handful of trip reports for Sundog that include Sunshine. Might be worth a shot for me, it will be a game time decision. Thanks for bringing this to my attention !



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