The following is a trip report that my friend Bob put together after we took a climbing trip to the Elephants Perch in the summer of 2012:
I pulled into the lodge around 4:00 and found Wes waiting at the boat dock. I dumped off my pack, drove my car back down to the hiker's parking lot and hoofed it back to the dock as quickly as I could. I had a late start and I really wanted some evening light for photos. We were planning on staying for two nights and also wanted to get camp fixed up for our visit. Cory and Kevin were coming in on their own schedules and we hoped they'd both get there before the last shuttle ran at 7:00 PM. Kevin had never been up to the Perch before and for some reason I had forgotten about how stout the approach is with a loaded pack. The logs at the creek crossing must have been put in by some young slack-liners who like a soft rope. There are around 3 long, but small diameter lodgepoles over a 20' gap and a 4th that didn't seem to have any real purpose other than filler. I don't think this bouncing contraption of a bridge is going to survive next year's run-off for a minute. Back in the day, this crossing issue would have been solved quickly with a double-bladed ax and some stout rope. At any rate, we both managed to bounce our way across without mishap and up the hill we went.
We made it to the luxury climber's biv site just above the first lake around 7:00 and had plenty of time to get settled into our tent before dark. We quickly fired up the stove, had a good hot dinner and found that we could keep the temp around a comfy 70 degrees in the tent with the stove running on low. (Heck with the carbon footprint, it's freezing arse cold up here tonight in Stanley). We ate, turned on the digital tunes and stretched out in our double-down beds and told stories until around 9:30 PM when we heard two voices outside of the tent. Kevin and Cory managed to hook up at the lodge and were able to headlamp up together. Kevin had never done this approach before so we were relieved he didn't have to do it in the dark for the first time. Our new visitors first priority was was a hot meal and lots of liquids and no time was wasted in getting that taken care of. We kept the heat and music rolling along with a lot of stories that were all 100% true until around midnight we all finally bonked out. No one was planning on climbing until the sun got around to the west side so the morning was quite a casual affair.
Saturday morning started real cold but before long the day turned into a perfect Indian Summer afternoon and the action quickly warmed up as such.
Wes doing the bounce-step
Sunrise over the Perches
Wes deep in contemplation. (He seems to pose like this every time he's thinking about climbing something big.)
Wes, Kevin and Cory about to get serious. Kevin is not the tall one.
Getting even more serious. Wes leading P1 of the Mountaineers Route
Cory working it on P2
Let's back that lens out a bit
Okay, a little more
And a little more
Even higher up we have Kevin leading pitch 4.
Okay, all the way out
The looming west face from the other side of the creek. You can see the Becky Tree ledge way up there.
It'd be a great camping spot if it weren't so darn hard to get to.
Wonder why they called this place The Sawtooth?
The south face from camp. Anyone see the elephant head?
Cory looks like he's thinking "get that camera out of my face you slimy paparazzi"