PCT Snoqualmie Pass Trailhead to Kendall Peak SummitJoel and I headed up the hardly "Abandoned" Commonwealth Basin trail jiust after 9. The PCT juction is about 2 miles north of the Trailhead, sending you back south for a for a 3 mile u-turn back north towards Kendall Peak. Along the West face of Kendall, just after a single pair of switchbacks, we spotted a clear bootpath, straight up the contours. The scramble from the trail to the peak is solid, but very steep. Much quicker on the way up than down. The skies were beautiful, yet rather hazy in the distance, only the top third of Rainier was visible. We ate lunch in the warm sunshine and enjoyed the numerous peaks surrounding us, then began to seriously consider my suggested off-trail route to Red Mountain, along it's eastern ridge from the catwalk. After a few pictures we worked our way down and north on the PCT to scout the proposed plan more thoroughly.
Red Mountain SummitFrom Kendall Peak, after scouting a possible traversing route from the catwalk across the south face of Red, we decided to accept the long way on heading back down the PCT to Commonwealth Basin and up towards Red Pass to stay under canopy and on familiar trails. A good choice on a sunny, 85 degree day as the exposed scramble to Red Mountain summit was almost too much to handle. WARNING - The scramble to summit is a very steep Class 3, and there are extremely loose rocks on every possible route. The bootpath is the safest way, but is easy to loose. I strongly recommend leaving dogs behind for this one.
After a brief snack and some pictures, we hauled ass back down the Commonwealth Basin Trail and returned to the car by 6.
R/T: 16 miles/~4900'/9 hrs