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Lennox Mountain

 
Lennox Mountain

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Washington, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 47.66790°N / 121.4726°W

Object Title: Lennox Mountain

Elevation: 5894 ft / 1796 m

 

Page By: Klenke

Created/Edited: Nov 8, 2004 / Nov 8, 2009

Object ID: 153312

Hits: 11835 

Page Score: 84.82%  - 19 Votes 

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Overview

This is the place where washing machines go to die. It's the washing machine burial ground.

Lennox Mountain isn't really named after the appliance maker. I don't actually know who it's named after. Lennox is the highest summit in the region of front range peaks directly east of Seattle. The mountain can be seen from Seattle but it sits back a bit and is "obscured" (eyes drawn away) by the more interesting looking Mt. Phelps to the left (north). The mountain has over 2,000 ft of prominence and is a good viewpoint for the area. The Puget Sound lowlands feature prominently to the west and if you're lucky (as in the weather is nice and the atmosphere is reasonably clear) you can see the skyrises of Seattle, Bellevue, and Everett. With exceptional weather you can even see little sailboats plying the Sound.

Lennox Mountain resides in the west end of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. It is located nine miles SSE of higher Mt. Index and 16 miles north of Snoqualmie Pass.

The nice thing about Lennox is that it is an easy climb, if a tad long. There aren't really any cliffs to worry about on standard routes. But don't let the lack of technicalities keep you away. The mountain is actually quite pretty. Basins on the north, south, and west are all visually appealing. Lazing lakes include Lake Kanim (3,941 ft) on the SE at the head of the North Fork Snoqualmie River and Coney Lake (5,161 ft)--a high lake for the area--on the east. First Ascent was in 1915.

Getting There

There are at three ways to hike up this mountain: from the east, from the west, and from the north. I've successfully summited from the east as a snowshoe. Prior to that I failed from the east via a slightly different route and from the west via the Bare Mountain Trail. Probably the easiest route is from the east. The hike is the shortest in terms of time. However, the vehicular approach is shorter from Seattle for the west route.

Route from the East

This is a good spring snowshoe route. There is some overgrown road walking to a basin then steep, forested terrain to the upper slopes and final ridge to the summit.

Car approach
You need to take Miller River Road to the start point. Miller River Road junctions off of Stevens Pass Highway (US-2) between the towns of Baring and Skykomish--about 4.8 miles east of the former and 2.8 miles west of the latter. Look for the sign to Money Creek Campground, which is just across the river from the highway. The junction is just west of a highway tunnel. Alternately, if coming from the east, a 1-mile shortcut can be taken by crossing the river at Skykomish then proceeding along the road on the southside of the river.

Proceed past Money Creek Campground for about 0.9 miles to a junction on the right. In about 400 feet there is another fork. To the right is Money Creek Road (FR-6420). To the left is Miller River Road proper (FR-6410). Go left (straight). Pass Miller River Campground (1,020 ft) in 3.2 miles from the highway. In 4.5 miles (1,280 ft) an old road goes off on the right (goes up the West Fork Miller River valley). Park here as you cannot drive the road.

The hike
Hike the West Fork road SW for 2.6 miles to the Coney Creek crossing (2,040 ft). An old mine road (can be hard to find but is shown on maps) continues up the north side of Coney Creek for about half-a-mile. The old road makes two switchbacks in that half-mile. The road more or less becomes a trail, which itself ends in a basin c. 2,700 ft about 3.7 miles from the car. The idea is to then climb north up the forested slope just east of Coney Creek, which plunges down from Coney Lake. Trend left as you climb to eventually meet the 5,200-ft knoll SE of the lake. Cross the outlet of the lake to gain the final SE Ridge and take it to the summit (5.5 miles and 4,600 ft of gain).

Total distance from the car = 5.5 miles. Gain = 4,600 ft. Time = 4-6 hours.

Route from the West

This climb is slightly shorter than that of the eastern one in terms of distance but feels longer due to the complexity of the route. It is still doable in a day if you leave early. It is also a shorter approach from Seattle than for the east route (by about 45 minutes). Moreover, it starts about 800 feet higher than the east route.

Car approach
The beginning of this approach is at North Bend or Snoqualmie (a shortcut from the west you can look into if you have a map; I won't elaborate here). The approach from there can be tricky. You will be traveling through some private timber lands. There are some gates but these are generally open. A logging permit shack passed en route does not apply to those going up that way to climb.

For the North Bend start point, take Exit 31 off of I-90 and proceed to the traffic light on the main street (Twede's Cafe on the right). Go straight (north) through the intersection 3 blocks to the major corner where Hwy 202 goes left to Snoqualmie. Go right at this corner and continue 2 blocks to a T-junction. Go left. In 0.4 miles the road bends right. In 1.0 mile the road goes back left. The road continues north past the western base of Mt. Si and crosses the Middle and North forks of the Snoqualmie River. In 2.4 miles (from where you left Hwy 202) the road goes past a junction on the left. Stay straight. The road bends to the right and goes to Ernies Grove (4 miles) where there is a fork. Go left. Wind your way up the hill beyond Ernies Grove then eventually go north for a ways. This is FR-57. In ~8 miles reach a major 4-way junction. Fuller Mountain (1,880 ft) will be off to the NNW. The logging permit shack is at this junction I believe. This is mentioned as Spur-10 Gate in Beckey's Cascade Alpine Guide.
Now you used to be able to take two continuances from here but I think the right one (right at the 4-way) is now gated. Instead, you have to go straight.

In 6.5 miles from the 4-way junction (~14.5 miles from North Bend) the road crosses over the North Fork Snoqualmie at Wagner Bridge. From Wagner Bridge continue up-valley for 5.5 miles to where the road turns left (1,585 ft) and crosses Lennox Creek. On the other (north) side of the creek a road almost immediately junctions off on the right. This is Lennox Creek Road. Take it. Drive 3.2 miles more (~23 miles from North Bend) to the Bare Mountain Trailhead (2,120 ft).

The hike
Note: The trail crosses Bear Creek in about 0.5 miles. This crossing, which is right below a picturesque slabby watercourse, can be difficult--especially for dogs or those who can't jump large distances. There is no footbridge or there did not use to be. I will check on this. If there still isn't a bridge, there is a way to circumvent the problem: Instead of starting at the trailhead, you can continue (drive) down the road to its end at the damaged/closed bridge across Bear Creek. You can still cross the bridge on foot. Once on the other side, simply hike northeastward up through forest for 400 vertical feet until you arrive at the trail. Stay as close to the creek as possible.

The trail crosses into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness shortly after the creek. In about 2 miles from the car a trail junction is reached (c. 3,480 ft). The trail going back left up the hill is for Bare Mountain. The trail going straight (east) continues to mines at approximately 4,000 ft south of Bear Lakes. Take the trail to the east. It will end eventually (at the adits?) at which point simply hike upward through mostly alpine terrain, passing Bear Lakes (4,660 ft) on the west. Scramble up to the minor saddle north of the larger lake. This is the saddle between Pt. 5449 on the west and Pk 5706 ("Canoe Peak") on the east.

Cross to the north of the minor saddle and arc around on open slopes (talus or snow) all the way to the summit of Lennox. This arc around is about 1.8 miles long and will take 1-2 hours depending on conditions. You will be arcing around Lake Kanim but not visiting it.

Total distance from the car = 5 miles. Gain = 3,800 ft. Time = 4-6 hours.

Route from the North

I have not done this route (up Goat Creek) but I have seen it from across the way to the north (Money Creek valley). It may be brushier, but talus can be expected too. If the going is easy, however, it is almost half the distance of the previous two routes.

Car Approach
You need to take Miller River Road to the start point. Miller River Road junctions off of Stevens Pass Highway (US-2) between the towns of Baring and Skykomish--about 4.8 miles east of the former and 2.8 miles west of the latter. Look for the sign to Money Creek Campground, which is just across the river from the highway. The junction is just west of a highway tunnel. Alternately, if coming from the east, a 1-mile shortcut can be taken by crossing the river at Skykomish then proceeding along the road on the southside of the river.

Proceed past Money Creek Campground for about 0.9 miles to a junction on the right. In about 400 feet there is another fork. To the right is Money Creek Road (FR-6420). To the left is Miller River Road proper (FR-6410). Go right onto Money Creek Road. In 4.2 miles (c. 1,920 ft) Goat Creek will be seen coming down across the valley to the south.

The hike
The idea is to park on the road here and cross Money Creek, aiming to avoid brush as best as possible. If you continue straight up the creek you will surely encounter more brush than if you take to the sides of the valley. At the head of the creek is Goat Basin and Crystal Lake (3,462 ft) 1.3 miles from the road. Go due west at the lake to avoid cliffs around the basin and gain the upper north slopes of Lennox. Turn left (south) and continue up open slopes to the summit, finishing either via the NW Ridge or the East Ridge. The former is probably shorter.

To avoid brush leading to Goat Basin it may be possible to bear rightward on the ascent, leaving Goat Creek at around 2,200 ft. The terrain melds with the upper north slopes of Lennox.

Total distance from the car =2.5 miles. Gain = 4,000 ft. Time = 4-6 hours.

Red Tape

Lennox Mountain resides in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. As such, standard wilderness policy applies (leave no trace, no motorized devices, no bolting routes, etc.). The east and northern approaches do not require a Trail Park Pass. I'm not sure on the west approach via the Bare Mountain Trail. Most likely, even if the last of these does, no ranger will be up that way to give tickets. They generally like to stay close to home or go to high-use trailheads to do that.

When To Climb

It would be possible to backcountry ski or snowshoe Lennox Mountain in winter. Access is the major issue. The start points (trailheads) are all under 2,200 ft. So if it's a dry winter these roads may be drivable. Also, avalanche considerations need to be made. The east route is probably safest as it stays in forest for the major ascending push then keeps to the final SE Ridge to the summit (probably cornice issues). However, the approach road (West Fork Miller River Road) crosses several potential avalanche chutes.

If skiing or snowshoeing is not your bag then the best time to climb would be June through the first autumn snows. Snow tends to linger until late June but in June this snow may be a benefit where it covers brush. May may be even better--especially for the route from the north.

Camping

You should be able to climb Lennox in a day. If you would like to camp, though, Coney Lake would be an enjoyable spot. Lake Kanim might also work but it won't be as picturesque and it is kind of out of the way. Bear Lakes aren't very big or appealing.

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