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November 2020 Newsletter

“Winter is not a season, it’s a celebration.” – Anamika Mishra

NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: As I drove over Washington Pass through a snowstorm two weeks ago, I realized I didn’t make it climbing there once this year. Luckily, it will still be there when the spring comes. But first, it’s time for skiing and chili, warm fires and hot cider. Embrace it!


Sherman enjoying being passed the crux on the first pitch of a great Red Rocks route, Y2K. (5.10a, Grade II) (Photo: John Parks)

November Meeting:

Date/Time: Wednesday, November 4, 2020 at 7:00 p.m.

Where: It's virtual, to maintain community health and safety! You can join with any device by simply clicking the Zoom meeting here:

Program: It is the SAC Election! That's right. Elections aren't over until SAC has appointed its new officers for 2021. Please join us to see who they will be.

Skagit Alpine Club Meeting Notes: Oct 2020

Alex gave an update on the Park Butte Lookout. They fixed three windows and shutters, and Gary helped Alex with a lot of painting. By the time you read this, the lookout is probably secured for the winter. We also discussed the silent auction and BMC. See below for details on those.

Finally, we played some mountain trivia. Congrats to Emily and Wade who dominated wire to wire. Hopefully soon we’ll bask in their extensive mountain knowledge in person.

Juliet enjoying some late fall sun at the Hidden Lakes Lookout. (Photo Courtesy: Juliet Holzknecht)

New Business:

December silent auction

We are compiling a great list of items for the auction and are excited to see how it goes! If you are still interested in donating, please reach out to Juliet at by Nov 6th. The Auction dates are set for December 1-5th (starting Giving Tuesday) and we will be sending out a Facebook event and email about it in Mid-November. Please help us get the word out about this event! The more people connected to it, the more likely we will sell all of the items and make some money for the club! Auction Items already include: several great gear items, Kulshan gift cards, massages, a camper van adventure and a mountain wall quilt! Great gift items for friends, family, (yourself,) and mountain adventure buddies!

Mount Baker Film Fest

The Mount Baker Film Fest in virtual this year. It's on November 1 at 6 pm and it's free!

Gregory Discount Codes

While working on acquiring donations for our silent auction, Juliet was offered discount codes on Gregory Packs. She needs to give them a specific number, so if you’re interest, email her:

Leslie enjoying some great crack on pitch 5 of Myster Z (Grade II 5.7), which made a great approach to Requiem for a Tadpole (Grade II 5.9+ or 5.8). (Photo: John Parks

Old Business:

Basic Mountaineering Course 2021

After consideration about the current Safe Start plan and pandemic statistics in Whatcom and Skagit County, the steering group decided that it was best to pair down the course this year and provide shorter, "A La Carte" style instruction, mainly focused on basic rock climbing and basic snow travel (typically the first two weeks of the course), with one additional weekend to increase skills in both rock and snow travel. We are looking to offer 6-8 outings in total, with weekday classroom sessions and weekend day trips. All courses will have small enrollment numbers and strict safety measures to ensure the safety and health for all students and instructors alike. Juliet will reach out to those instructors that participated last year to schedule an initial virtual meeting and overview on Thursday, November 12th. If you were not part of last year's instructors, and would like to participate, please contact

Enjoying some fresh snow on Green Mountain. (Photo: Juliet Holzknecht)

SAC 60th Anniversary!

Help us celebrate 60 years of SAC by climbing mountains! The club is attempting to summit all the Skagit 60 peaks in 2020 to commemorate the 60th anniversary. The website used to track our progress is

We’ve ticked 41 peaks so far! Don’t forget to write up those Trip Reports!

Help the Mount Vernon Parks Foundation!

The Mount Vernon Parks Foundation needs your help – become a member, donate directly, or volunteer your time. This year, due to the Covid Virus, the MVPF was unable to do the annual “Trail-a-Thon” fund raiser. Also because of Covid, the City of Mount Vernon Parks budget also has been significantly cut. The Foundation wishes to continue supporting the Mount Vernon Parks which I know many of you are using, and perhaps more than ever this year! Check out their website to see everything they’re doing to support our parks.

Eli with Skookum in the background. (Photo: Dusty Caseria)


Climbing - Juliet Holzknecht

Program Jonathan Frostad

Newsletter – John Parks

Social - Karen Howard

Conservation - Miyabi Gladstein

Webmaster - Raymond DeVries

Eli on the Twin Sisters Glacier. (Photo: Dusty Caseria)

Trip Report:

Who: Dusty and Eli

Where: Twin Sisters Range

What: Jaw’s Tooth, Skookum, Block and Arrowtip Tower

Eli and I took advantage of one of the many nice weather windows we've had this past month to venture a little deeper into the Twin Sisters range than either of us had been before. We approached using bikes via the standard access road from the Middle Fork Nooksack, and set up camp in the large, west-facing basin between the North and South Twins. This is an amazing spot to camp if you're looking to spend a little more time in the area...highly recommended. After ditching overnight gear, we scrambled most of the way up the west ridge of the South Twin, before dropping several hundred feet down the south gulleys to reach the base of our objectives for the day... Jaw's Tooth and Skookum.

Dusty topping out with Mt Baker in the background. (Photo: Eli Gold)

We roped up, and simul-climbed up to the notch between our 2 objectives, then I led the short pitch up Jaw's Tooth, we rapped back down to the notch, and Eli led the first pitch up the north ridge of Skookum and we swapped up 3 pitches to the summit. If you've heard rumors of Skookum being an awesome climb on fantastic rock in a spectacular setting...the rumors are true! The view south from the top of Skookum made us realize just how much more there is to explore in this amazing range.

Darkness fell as we rapped off Skookum, and we climbed back up and over the west ridge of the South Twin in the moonlight. It was an incredible evening to be out, but we weren't back to camp until after we opted to sleep in a bit and adjust our plans for the next day.

After a lazy morning, we decided we still wanted to climb something before heading home, so we set off towards Block and Arrowtip Towers. As we got closer, a line up the west side of the ridge connecting the 2 towers grew more and more appealing. 2 pitches up a rightward slanting system of gulleys leading to a final pitch up a nice dihedral brought us to the crest of the ridge midway between the 2 towers. From there, a rap off the east side of the ridge got us down to the glacier, and we were able to scramble back to camp from there, pack up camp and head for home.

This area is such a gem, and we're so lucky to have it this close to home! I'm definitely looking forward to making many more trips into the range in the future. Also, despite seeing tons of cars parked at the Middle Fork bridge, and passing several groups on the way up the access road, we didn't see a soul the entire weekend once we passed the turnoff to the North Twin... another reason to venture a little deeper into the range!

The amazing view of the southern Twin Sisters from the summit of Skookum. (Photo: Dusty Caseria)

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