Description and directionsKyes Peak, at 7285 feet, is the tallest of the Monte Cristo peaks. It sits alongside the Columbia glacier and just east of Columbia peak.
To reach the trailhead, drive just past Skykomish to FR 65 (Beckler River rd). Turn left and travel about 14 miles to the junction with FR 63 and turn right. After about 2 miles turn left on the Blanca Lake spur road with parking at the end.
The route and climbThe Blanca Lake trailhead starts at about 1800 feet and climbs about 2600 feet in 3 miles to Virgin Lake. At this point you are about half way in terms of distance and elevation gain, but the real work now begins. From Virgin Lake the well worn trail now turns into a boot path over some interesting terrain that starts at the north side of Virgin Lake and climbs a forested slope to begin a long ridge run. For the next 2 miles the trail, for the most part, follows the ridge top toward Kyes. There are a couple of rocky highpoints along the ridge, however, that do have to be traversed around before regaining the ridgetop. Eventually the ridge gives way to snow and boulder fields that lead to the south arm of Kyes. A loose rock and scree gully is climbed now to get up onto the arm leading to the summit block. The summit block itself is a couple hundred feet of gullies and ledges with just enough loose rock and kitty litter to make it interesting, especially going down.
This climb is about 12 miles round trip but feels like more. Plan for a full day of fun with plenty of photo ops and sore muscles.