OverviewThis is a winter route description for Green Mountain, WA, located in the Middle Fork Valley NE of the town of North Bend. It is the next named peak North of Mt. Teneriffe.
This climb, like most, makes you work for its reward. If it’s a nice day, you’ll be graced with beautiful expansive views of the Middle Fork Valley from an entirely different perspective than you’re accustomed to. I’m still kicking myself that I forgot to charge my camera battery beforehand! If you’d like a PDF of this route description please just let me know and I’ll send you one directly.
Getting ThereTake I90 East to Exit 34. From end of exit ramp make a left and driver 0.6 miles to the Middle Fork Road intersection. Make a right onto the Middle Fork Road and continue for approximately 5.1 miles where there is a bridge crossing over the river. To the right is a full on view of Russian Butte. From the bridge it’s another 2.0 miles to the logging road on the left where the route starts. This will be gated so you need to park where you can and hike in from here. Refer to the topo below in conjunction with the text.
Route DescriptionApproach Hike (~ 3 miles)
This section of the Middle Fork Valley is beautiful and rainforest like and a great hike in its own right just for the scenery, flora, and photo opportunities. All the spurs and 4WD tracks shown on the USGS maps are abandoned and overgrown. The main road is the only maintained access all the way until the Green Mountain turnoff. Just walk the logging road, passing (1 – Weigh Station on Right) until you reach (2 – Abandoned Spur Drops Left Before Switchback, elev. 2,162 ft) that drops down left below the roadbed before the switchback shown. I’d post a picture but my camera battery died a few hundred feet from my truck. This spur marks the beginning of the route to Green Mountain.
Green Mountain Hike/Climb (~ 3.6 miles)
Getting out of the brush and trees is quite a long and arduous endeavor and not recommended in summer. Truthfully, IMO, this route would be a pure masochistic pursuit in the summer, and not very aesthetic. The road bed beyond this point is overgrown, badly so, in several places. You’ll need to thrash through some slide alder and devil’s club in several places where drainages are passed along the way as well. All in all you have about 1.75 miles of overgrown roadbed to cover between (2) and (3 - Roadbed Completely Deteriorated Beyond This Point, elev. 2,986 ft) where the direct ascent begins.
At (3), ascend the forested slope directly up the fall line. In a couple hundred vertical feet you will reach small thinly forested flat area resembling a plateau with a minor view. Continue forward and left, re-entering the forest proper and continue ascending the ridge. Eventually you will reach a higher shoulder (4 – 4WD Shoulder, elev. 3,470 ft) which is actually a turn in an old 4WD spur. The spur bed to your right is clearly evident even in snow.
Cross the road and pile of boulders, regain the ridge, ascending the obvious unappealing but fairly thin section of slide alder and boulders. At about (elev. 3,767 ft) the ridge will flatten out and an abandoned road bed can be attained on the left. Take the roadbed, traversing along the left side of the ridge until it ascends slightly right into a sparsely treed meadow area, affording the first full view of the alpine ridge features ahead.
Take the necessary avalanche precautions and proceed accordingly from this point. I completed this route both solo and safely by sticking to forested sections left of the obvious steep snow slopes ahead. In general, you will see the next objective (5 - Bare Shoulder Above/Left Snow Slope, elev. 3,958 ft) about 100 feet up and left of the base of the primary snow slope. Get there safely.
Once on the shoulder, begin traversing the slope in a general SW direction underneath the prominent (6 - Point 4,735). There is a roadbed here so the slope is fairly benign provided that the snow isn’t too deep or unstable.
In about 0.4 miles the (7 - First Ridge Crest, elev. 4,328 ft) is attained. From here an old roadbed runs the ridge all the way to Green Mountain. It is severely deteriorated and more resembles a bare snow slope than a road bed but its path is fairly obvious nonetheless. The road bed alternates between the East and West sides of the slope. Avalanche risk was fairly minimal along the ridge until (8 – Avalanche Gully) below (9 – Point 4,662). Here I chose to go up and over Point 4,662 to eliminate the risk. On the way back I actually traversed the slope instead, having a better feeling for the snow depth and conditions.
Once the ridge crest is gained again it is not far from the summit. Continue along the sloping road bed NW of the final summit rise and ascend the sparsely forested slope in a SE direction to an obvious flat area just North of a final group of trees. Continue into the trees up steep snow until you crest out and it’s a short ridge walk to the highest point and the summit of Green Mountain.
Essential GearIce Axe required. Crampons recommended in cold conditions. In milder conditions, snowshoes would have been beneficial up high. Of course, there’s the weight convenience tradeoff considering the distance involved.
Route StatisticsCar to Summit ~ 6.6 miles, 3,803 ft
Round Trip ~ 13.2 miles, 10 hours
# Songs on iPod – 114
Summit Song – Tool’s “Hooker with a *****”