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Glacier Peak Wilderness Backpack - August 2010
Trip Report

Glacier Peak Wilderness Backpack - August 2010

Glacier Peak Wilderness Backpack - August 2010

Page Type: Trip Report

Location: Washington, United States, North America

Object Title: Glacier Peak Wilderness Backpack - August 2010

Date Climbed/Hiked: Aug 10, 2010

Activities: Hiking

Season: Summer


Page By: Matt Lemke

Created/Edited: Jan 25, 2011 / Jan 25, 2011

Object ID: 694384

Hits: 7174 

Page Score: 81.84%  - 14 Votes 

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Starting out - Trinity Gate to Buck Creek Pass and Liberty Cap

For my weeklong backpack trip in August of this past summer I was going to do a 50 miler point-to-point backpack from Trinity to Holden Village and act as an adult leader for a local boy scout troop. We made our way in the van to trinity and started the trek. This was going to be a very relaxed trek for me since I was traveling with younder scouts and some of their parents but nenetheless it was going to be a beautiful area to explore.
We got a pretty late start the first day so the plan was to get 5 miles up on the Buck Creek Trail and camp at the large flat area just before the climb to Buck Creek Pass. Didn't really get any photos from the first day as we were in the trees most of the time. Met another nice group of three who were heading the opposite way we were about to finish their trek. The first day started under mostly cloudy skies as a small front was starting to come through.

When we awoke the next morning there was a few clouds hovering over Chiwawa Ridge above us to the west. Short sunbreaks allowed for very clear views of Chiwawa Ridge high above us.
Chiwawa Ridge
Chiwawa Ridge in the morning

We grouped up and started the climb to Buck Creek Pass. Due to our larger group this took awhile and we watched as more clouds started to roll in. We moved into the fog just as we got to the pass and shortly afterwards during our lunch break it started to drizzle. This wasn't fun because we were planning to climb Liberty Cap and Flower Dome that afternoon.
We hanged packs to try and keep them dry and started the day hike up Liberty Cap. A nice boot path led up to the crest of Chiwawa Ridge. After about an hour of walking in consistent rain through wet shrubs and muddy slopes we made the summit of Liberty Cap...completely soaked. I had to keep my SLR camera hidden under my clothes and rain jacket to keep it safe. We lucked out and noticed a clearing coming from the west and from the top of Liberty Cap we got a peak-a-boo view to the south.
Liberty Cap
View from Liberty Cap through the clouds

Buck Creek Pass to Middle Ridge

We started back down Chiwawa Ridge heading towards Buck Creek Pass and to our disdain the clouds switched directions on us and the rain that just passed us were coming right back towards us. Once we got back to the pass and collected our packs we got one more sunbreak before the rains started again.
Buck Creek Pass
View from Liberty Chiwawa Ridge from Buck Creek Pass

We continued down the trail past Buck Creek pass and towards the crossing of Small Creek. By now we were happy to see the sun for a little bit during the quick but slippery descent to the creek.
Upon reaching Small Creek we stopped to snack and fill water bottles. Just as all of us waded across (that was no fun!) since it was too wide to hop across, the rains started again and they were relentless all the way up to Middle Ridge. Since part of our group including myself was a ways ahead of the others we decided to try and wait it out in the trees. I also made the stupid mistake of forgetting to put my rain coat back on so I got pretty wet. To our surprise though the top of Middle Ridge came sooner than we thought and believe it or not the sun came back out right as we got to the top. By now though the sun had almost set so we made camp on the ridge and cooked a quick dinner before heading to bed.

Middle Ridge to Cloudy Pass

We woke up to sunny skies and cooler temperatures the next morning. I took a quick run up the ridge towards sheep herders camp to get a look at Glacier Peak early in the morning. Low fog blanketed the valleys well below us. An abundence of wildflowers, particulairly lupines were everywhere.
Middle Ridge
View from Liberty View from the Middle Ridge

Lupines on Middle Ridge
View from Middle Ridge with lupines

We continued down the trail and made the long descent to the bridge. Nothing special through this part of the trail...just forest walking however after we crossed the river and began climbing up the trail again we got our first views in awhile. After a long break at the trail Junction for Image Lake, we decided to head to Cloudy Pass to camp for the night and take the day hike to Image Lake the next day. The traverse over Suiattle Pass was very nice.
Suiattle Pass
View from Suiattle Pass

Once we got to Cloudy Pass we set up camp and relaxed the rest of the afternoon watching the clouds and enjoying one of the best views I've seen.
Dumbell Mountain
Cloudy Pass panorama

Image Lake to Lower Lyman Lake

After a long time to get packed we started the day hike to Image Lake. the view from Cloudy Pass was different as some low clouds were "flowing" over the mountains around us.
Cloudy Pass
Cloudy Pass flowing clouds

The Miners Ridge trail was very flat and went by quickly. Upon reaching Image lake around noon we explored around and had a nice lunch.
Image Lake
Image Lake Panorama

Glacier Peak and Image Lake
Glacier Peak and Image lake

Glacier Peak and Meadow
Glacier Peak from Miners Ridge

After returning to Cloudy Pass we packed up and ran down the trail to Lower Lyman Lake where we met up our re-supply group and started a nice camp fire to get rid of the cloud of bugs that were relentless.
Cloudy Peak
Cloudy Peak from Cloudy Pass

The Climax - Cloudy Peak and Spider Gap to Hart Lake

After a nice dinner we were fully energized to do a lot of climbing. We (on this side trip it was only me and one of the other adults) headed back to Cloudy Pass early and started up for Cloudy Peak. Generally this was a walk-up but the summit block posed some diffuculties.
Cloudy Peak Summit
Cloudy peak Summit block

The elevation of Cloudy peak is 7915 feet. Great views of Glacier Peak, the Lyman Lakes, Bonanza and many other peaks were seen from the summit.
Cloudy Peak Summit
Cloudy peak summit panorama

This is one of those peaks that anyone can do with the exception of the summit block. I managed to make it up with some class 4 moves but the exposure was pretty minimal which allowed me to make it.

We returned to Lower Lyman Lake and cought up with the rest of the group at Upper Lyman Lakes. Most of the scouts were simply enjoying the area and swimming in the frigid waters. The Lyman glacier is now reduced to a couple pieces of ice and will be gone very soon.
the two of us along with a few others who wanted to get to the gap quickly made it to the top of Spider Gap and were greeted with great views. Some lingering snow remained but didn't pose any problems.
Spider Gap
Lyman Lakes from Spider Gap

Lyman Lakes
Lyman Lakes from near Spider Gap

Since we needed to get to Hart Lake that afternoon we made our way back to our camp and packed up.
Cloudy and Bonanza
Cloudy and Bonanza Peaks

This was the last great view we had before dropping back into the trees.
The long descent to Hart Lake was quick and painless. hart Lake was actually very nice and a good evening reflection awaited us at dinner.
Hart Lake
Hart lake evening reflection

View near Hart Lake
Panoramic view from the valley

Set up camp at the campsite near the lake.

Finishing - Holden Village

We woke early and moved quickly on the last stretch of trail out to Holden Village. We wanted to catch the breakfast at the cafe in the village. Saw many people staying there in the cabins. We stood out as the only backpackers there at the time. We found ways to entertain ourselves though until the bus came to take us to Lucerne where we took the lady of the Lake ferry to Chelan.
From there we were picked up and on our way home.
Overall this was a spectacular trip through some gorgeous country. Even though it was pretty easy and solitude was fairly rare, I still had lots of fun and manages some great photos which is always one of my goals.


Glacier Peak and Image LakeDumbell MountainCloudy PassLyman LakesCloudy and BonanzaSuiattle PassGlacier Peak and Meadow
Cloudy Peak SummitSpider GapCloudy PeakCloudy Peak SummitMiddle RidgeHart Lake Chiwawa Ridge
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Voted 10/10

Looks awesome! I love that "cloudy pass" picture.
Posted Jan 25, 2011 10:31 pm

Sierra Ledge RatGreat photos

Sierra Ledge Rat

Voted 10/10

I did a 75 mile loop around Glacier Peak back in the 1970s. Your photos are spectacular, you did a great of capturing the beauty.
Posted Jan 26, 2011 1:17 am

Matt LemkeRe: Great photos

Matt Lemke

Hasn't voted

Thank you very much. 75 miles sounds awesome. We only did 48 :)
I am very happy with these photos and am glad to share them
Posted Jan 26, 2011 1:29 am

Josh LewisDang Matt!

Josh Lewis

Voted 10/10

Your starting to make me jealous ;-) Now I'm going to have to go here as well. Thanks for the nice report. Cheers Josh Lewis.
Posted Jan 27, 2011 3:31 pm

Matt LemkeRe: Dang Matt!

Matt Lemke

Hasn't voted

Sweet! you will love it there
Posted Jan 27, 2011 3:34 pm

NelsonThanks for the info


Voted 10/10

Considering a week long backpack trip in this area, so this is handy information. Great photos too. Thanks for posting.
Posted Jan 28, 2011 12:22 pm

Matt LemkeRe: Thanks for the info

Matt Lemke

Hasn't voted

You're welcome...hope you can get and there and have fun!
Posted Jan 28, 2011 8:41 pm

Mike LewisYou inspire me sir

Mike Lewis

Voted 10/10

A friend took me and Josh up to Spider Gap and now that I see what is beyond, I know I want more. Fantastic TR! Keep hiking and photographing this wonderful planet. Maybe I can roam with you one of these days.
Posted May 9, 2011 4:36 am

Matt LemkeRe: You inspire me sir

Matt Lemke

Hasn't voted

You already have...I was with you guys on Arrowhead back in December
Posted May 9, 2011 2:38 pm

Viewing: 1-9 of 9