Dome Peak from White Rock Lakes
Photo by mbollino
"Dome is a massive Gothic structure, chiseled from a granitic intrusion...The magnitude of glacier action of the ages is evident, and even a short distance beyond the margin of the Chickamin Glacier are fresh, bouldery unstable moraines indicative of greater ice volume in the recent past. This magnificent fortress of glaciers and monolithic rock forms the centerpiece of the Cascade crest region N of Glacier Peak. Dome has two main summits separated by a narrow crest with Dome Glacier on the NW and a long rock face on the SE. These two summits, the higher Northeast Peak and the slightly lower Southwest Peak, divide the Chickamin from the Dome Glacier, while a series of jagged crags extend 1.1 mi. NW (dividing the Dana and Chickamin Glaciers) to Elephant Head, the prominent ice-sculptured basion which has great cliffs plunging into the cirque of Agnes Creek's W fork." Excerpted from "Cascade Alpine Guide - Climbing and High Routes - Stevens Pass to Rainy Pass" by Fred Beckey.
Dome Peak is my favorite mountain of those I have summitted. Possibly this is true because of its remoteness. It requires at least portions of three days to reach its summit by the closest route, and even this route is formidable due to the jungle-like conditions of the Bachelor Creek drainage and to the fact that the trail has not been maintained since at least 1975, leaving many fallen giants blocking the way, and a massive tangle of slide alder and vine maple to navigate. This is not a pleasant experience, but all is soon forgotten when the high country is finally achieved. A spectacular and extremely satisfying reward awaits the truly determined climber who conquers the challenges of the Downey Creek/Bachelor Creek approach.
Two other feasible approaches to Dome Peak are even longer. One is from the Ptarmigan Traverse. The peak could be climbed from a campsite at White Rock Lakes, which is the normal camp for the third night of the Traverse when travelling north to south. The route from White Rock Lakes follows the Ptarmigan Traverse route to the Dana Glacier. The Dana is then traversed to the Dome Peak/One-eyed Bull col. Cross to the south of the col and climb the upper portions of the Dome Glacier to a high col NW of the summit. Then climb towards the summit on a snowy slope. The other approach is from Image Lake, then Canyon Lake, then cross-country over Totem Pass to Ross Pass. From Ross Pass continue along the ridge through Garden Pass, then up the ridge NNE toward the eastern end of the Chickamin Glacier on the Spruce-Chickamin ridge. The summit area is reached via the Chickamin Glacier.
More Dome Peak ImagesClick on these thumbnails to view winter aerial photos of Dome Peak taken by John Scurlock.
Getting ThereTo get closest to Dome Peak, use the Downey Creek/Bachelor Creek approach. Drive State Route 530 north from Darrington or south from Rockport and turn east on the Suiattle River road No. 26. Drive this road 19.5 miles to Downey Creek Campground and the trailhead, elevation 1,450 ft. (442 m). There are three feasible routes to the Canyon Lake/Ross Pass approach. You can start at the Suiattle River Trailhead at the end of the Suiattle River road and hike to Image Lake and beyond. You can start at the end of the Chiwawa River road at Trinity and hike over Buck Creek Pass and Middle Ridge to gain access to Miners Ridge and Image Lake. Or you could start at Holden Village near Lake Chelan and hike up Railroad Creek to Lyman Lake, over Cloudy Pass and Suiattle Pass, then to Miners Ridge and Image Lake. Please consult the appropriate National Forest maps and hiking guides for more detailed instructions. There are a number of variations for each of these approaches. But none of them is a leisurely weekend jaunt, I assure you!
Red TapeAll trails and some picnic areas and campsites on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and the Wenatchee National Forest (depending on the approach chosen) require a regional pass costing $5/day or $30/year. Golden Age and Golden Access Passport holders may purchase the above pass at a 50% discount. The Golden Eagle Passport will not apply to the Regional Northwest Forest Pass.
You can get them at these stores, at these ranger stations in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie NF, or at these ranger stations in the Wenatchee NF. The pass can also be purchased online from the Washington Trails Association. A free wilderness permit is available at all trailheads. Party size is limited to 12 within Glacier Peak Wilderness.
When To ClimbJuly through September would be the best months to climb Dome Peak, with August probably being optimal.
CampingCamping is permitted inside Glacier Peak Wilderness if you are carrying the mandatory Wilderness Permit.
Mountain ConditionsClick here for trail conditions in the Darrington Ranger District of Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National forest. Click here for road and trail information for the Lake Wenatchee Ranger District if approaching from the Chiwawa River, or the Chelan Ranger District if approaching from Holden.
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