Last year when heading down Eldorado Peak I saw Spire Point's North Face blazing with sunset colors. It looked impossibly difficult, but perhaps that's what caught my attention about this mountain. I studied maps and looked at photographs which all made it seem like a far off fantasy. Interest for this peak arised when Matt Lemke and I wanted to do the Ptarmigan Traverse during the month of August. Matt talked with Gerry Roach about potential routes and did all the research for this peak. Just before heading out to do the Torment Forbidden Traverse, I received a last second invite from Gimpilator to climb Dome Peak. After a few conversations our trip was reworked and set for a 4 day trip.
Video by Gimpilator
Spire Point itself proved to be an exciting fun climb with low 5th class. This peak is in one of the most remote places in Washington giving the sensation of being a long ways from home. Along the way I saw many amazing things and had a great overall experience. This was perhaps the most experienced team I've ever climbed with which included Jacob Smith and Ryan Hoover. By the end of the trip I was certainly inspired.
Day 1: Biking the ValleyWe met up at the Suiattle River Road trailhead. From here we pulled out our bikes and made some last second gear arrangements. Before long we hopped on our bikes and started the 10 mile bike ride up to Downey Creek.
Near Downey creek we stopped to rest for the night. Jacob and I built a camp fire which we all had some fun conversations and joked a bit. But after a while we had to get rest for the big day ahead.
Day 2: Approach DayWe woke up, made some breakfast, and were pretty soon on the move up the Downey creek trail. The path was mostly flat and was in great condition with a few minor creek crossings. After 6 miles of hiking we took a rest and filled up water near the bottom of Bachelor creek. The trail did not have as much brush as it's reputation made it out to be, I suppose it's gotten better in recent times. On our way up the valley there were tasty blue berry bushes as well as a few salmon berries. Almost all of us were going to town on them until most of them were gone.
We took a short cut variation that cut left instead of right which by passed the slide alder section. This variation followed the edge of the woods until we arrived at the avalanche debris section. The route got a little steep here, but was still hikeable. Before long we arrived at the saddle above Cub Lake which was a great picnic spot.
As we hiked down toward Cub Lake we could very clearly see Glacier Peak to the South. Around the corner we could see the saddle that we later would camp at. Unfortunately my feet got soaking wet due to the mud sections. I guess that's what happens when you wear approach shoes with huge holes on both of them. Everyone who see's them tells me I ought to throw them out. But they work well most of the time. After a little while longer we arrive at the saddle where we placed our camp.
This was certainly one of the better camping places I've been to. The sunset was a great treat.
Day 3: Summit Bid on Dome PeakWhen we woke up we were welcomed with a beautiful sunrise. The following pictures portray many of the fun moments during our "short" climb up Dome Peak.
After a successful day climbing Dome Peak we took it easy for the rest of the day and once again enjoyed a nice sunset.
Day 4: Spire Point and OutWe agreed at this point to split up, Matt and I were going to climb Spire Point and head out in the same day. We left camp around 8:00 a.m. and made great time most of the way up Spire Point's south side. Near the top we traversed the edge of the glacier and onto the bottom of the climb. Heading to the right it started out as class 2 but as we went right we got to a class 4 chimney which was fun. I wanted to take some pictures of this part but my camera had ran out of power. Matt fortunately backed me up.
I was on the sharp end exploring around the corner which did not look friendly. Sure it looked possible, but without rock climbing shoes, without a belay, and with a pack on I did not feel comfortable with the idea. If I couldn't see what was beyond it and I knew that I could not safely down climb this spot. Looking around I found a rock that would work for belaying. Matt brought two nut cams and decided he would lead this section. Both Matt and I agree that it was low 5th class. Matt safely made it up top and belayed me up very close to the summit. The last section was kinda slab like. I belayed Matt on a horn, only one of us could summit at a time. I lowered him down which it was my turn. The summit ending was very exposed but was exciting and safe enough roped. There was a nice anchor on the summit to get down on. Using the horn we belayed on we used it for the rappel.
The rest of the way down had a little scrambling but was mostly a walk down. Back at camp I saw Gimpilator enjoying the scenery which normally he would rather climb peaks. But I don't blame him one bit. Matt and I packed up our gear and had to make good time to get down all the way to car before dark. We managed to find a trail on the way down though the avalanche debris but it had a lot of fallen trees in it. Once at Downey creek the trail kept going on and on which every corner I thought for sure it would be close to the road. It was almost dark by the time we arrived at the bikes. We biked fast to escape the night. We almost made it, but was forced to put head lamps on. At about 8:55 p.m. we arrive at the car which I was very pleased. We had finished two amazing peaks and enjoyed 4 great days in the mountains.