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Independence Peak
Mountain/Rock

Independence Peak

 
Independence Peak

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Washington, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 48.12859°N / 121.52297°W

Object Title: Independence Peak

County: Snohomish

Elevation: 5445 ft / 1660 m

 

Page By: kevinsa

Created/Edited: Jul 20, 2012 / Jan 30, 2014

Object ID: 801306

Hits: 1188 

Page Score: 76.76%  - 8 Votes 

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Overview

Independence Peak from Bluegrass Butte
Independence Peak from Bluegrass Butte


Independence Peak is the unofficial name given to a 5445' peak 21 miles E/NE of Granite Falls, WA. Why this peak was never named on USGS maps is uncertain - it stands taller and more prominent than most of its neighbors. As a climb, Independence Peak deserves more attention. The base of the peak is easily approached via a well maintained trail, and the views on top are equal to those of nearby Devils Peak and Helena Peak. The Cascade Alpine Guide describes a couple of different approaches to the peak that sound unnecessarily brushy and difficult. The approach from the Independence Lake/North Lake trails is the route described here.

Drive the Mountain Loop Highway east from Granite Falls for 26 miles to the Coal Lake Road (FR4060). Turn left onto this road, follow it 4.8 miles to the end, and park at the trailhead for Independence Lake (elev 3580'). Hike FS trail #712 0.8 miles to Independence Lake (elev 3720'). From here, take FS trail #712.1 towards North Lake. Hike for 1.5 miles to the ridge crest south of point 5072' - don't be fooled by the minor ridge crest 0.3 miles before this point on the west side of Point 5072'. Now, turn right off the trail, and find the climber's path leading south towards Independence Peak. Your view of the peak should look something like the picture below.

North face of Independence Peak
Independence Peak North Face  


Follow the climber's path 0.2 miles to the west side of Independence Peak's summit block. You should now be at the left edge of the summit block in the photograph below.

Independence Peak south face from Coal Lake Road
Independence Peak South Face from Coal Lake Road 


From this point, it is possible to climb directly up the west ridge, and the summit register indicated that several parties had done so. To me, it appears to be at least a class 4 climb. Being by myself, and not having a rope, I decided to find an easier way. Begin a traverse counterclockwise around the summit block on the south side. A number of variations are possible, just use caution for steep, loose scree slopes in a few places. Descending down from the ridge at the beginning of the traverse (as opposed to staying just below the cliffs) might make the traverse easier, but this is not an option I explored. Upon reaching the east end of the south face (right side of the summit block in the photo above), you will notice a slope that leads right, then left, up to the summit. The climbing here is class 3, with plenty of vegetation for "bush belays" and "schrub rappels".

Independence Peak from Beaver Peak
Independence Peak from Beaver Peak. The scramble route starts on the left side of the photo, and traverses around the cliffs to finish on the right (east) side of the summit block.


Independence Peak provides great views of the surrounding peaks, as well as views down to North Lake and Coal Lake.

Note: If you have the time and energy, consider a quick scramble over to Bluegrass Butte (NE side of North Lake) for a easy "2fer".

Independence Peak panorama
Independence Peak pano 

Independence Peak pano looking east
Independence Peak east pano 

Independence Peak pano looking west
 Independence Peak west pano

North Lake from Independence Peak
 Bluegrass Butte and North Lake from Independence Peak

Coal Lake and Coal Lake Road from Independence Peak
Coal lake from Independence Peak 

Getting There

From Granite Falls, drive the Mountain Loop Highway east 26 miles (15 miles from Verlot RS) to Coal Lake Road (FR 4060). Follow Coal Lake Road 4.8 miles to its end at the Independence Lake trailhead (don't get confused by the Coal Lake "trailhead" at 4.6 miles). 
 
Independence Peak/Bluegrass Butte route map
Independence Peak/Bluegrass Butte route map
  

Red Tape

A Northwest Forest Pass is required to park at the Independence Lake trailhead.

Camping

Independence Lake would be a good option for camping, or one could continue on to North Lake. Camping at North Lake would add an additional 800' of elevation gain to your trip.

Images