Lundin Peak is another one of the many peaks near Snoqualmie Pass that can be climbed in a short day. It lies on the ridge halfway between higher Snoqualmie Mountain on the west and lower Red Mountain on the east. The peak is actually a series of high fin-like crags on the ridge. In ordinary terms or in out of the way places it might not even have acquired an official name. But since this is the Snoqualmie Pass area, more features have been named on the USGS map.
The mountain is a popular objective due to its short approaches. Even so, the easiest route is Class 4. There have been fatalities on the mountain and at least two memorial plaques attest to this. One of the fatalities was for a leader who fell while placing pro for students. Now I defer judgement on the legitimacy of bonding plaques to a mountain, but the oversized stainless steel memorial bolts affixed to the East Ridge are an eyesore.
The mountain was once called the "Little Sister" to Snoqualmie Mountain but its toponym now honors a forest ranger of yore. Rock is granodiorite of the Snoqualmie Batholith.
There are two "standard" approaches and one shortcut approach to the peak, all from the south side. The approach taken depends on the rock route chosen. Approaches from the north (from Middle Fork Snoqualmie River valley) will be omitted here as no one would come from that direction with the sole intent of climbing Lundin.
But first, it is necessary to drive to Snoqualmie Pass. The Pass is located on I-90. It is easy to get to from the east and the west. No need to elaborate. You want to get off at the West Summit. If coming from the west, this is the first exit (Exit 52). If coming from the east you need to get off at the East Summit (Exit 53) as you cannot get off going westbound at Exit 52. For Exit 53, it will be necessary to drive the road south of the freeway (past the ski areas) until you arrive at Exit 52.
Turn north under the Exit 52 overpass and proceed as if going toward Alpental Ski Area. If you wish to climb the East Ridge, turn right into the Pacfic Crest Trail trailhead parking area about four blocks north of the overpass. If you wish to climb the West Ridge, you can also start at the PCT parking area, but the shortest approach is via Cave Ridge. The trail to Cave Ridge is accessed from the lower Alpental parking lot 1.5 miles north up the road.
East Ridge Interminable Approach
This is the PCT-Red Mountain Trail approach. Trailhead elevation is 3,020 ft. The PCT meanders interminably for what seems like forever. In reality it is only about 2.2 miles to the Red Mountain Trail junction (3,800 ft). The Red Mountain Trail (RMT) goes downhill at first to reach another junction in about 100 yards. The trail coming in on the left is the "abandoned" Commonwealth Basin Trail. That was the trail you should have taken (see next approach). The RMT then crosses Commonwealth Creek and continues about 1.7 miles to Red Mountain Saddle (5,320+ ft), going past the bootpath up Red Mountain at 1.2 miles. The East Ridge Route begins at the saddle.
East Ridge Shortcut Approach
Instead of taking the PCT to the Red Mountain Trail, you can take the "abandoned" Commonwealth Creek Trail. I've been on this trail at least twice. It's not as abandoned as the sign would have you believe. Certainly if doing a traverse over Lundin from Cave Ridge you should take the abandoned trail back to the car.
Maybe 200 yards up the PCT from the parking lot (the southern lot; 3,020 ft) an overgrown logging road is crossed. A trail goes north up this logging road. Take it. In 1.5 miles the Red Mountain Trail is reached. The Red Mountain Trail (RMT) goes downhill at first to reach another junction in about 100 yards. The trail coming in on the left is the "abandoned" Commonwealth Basin Trail. That was the trail you should have taken (see next approach). The RMT then crosses Commonwealth Creek and continues about 1.7 miles to Red Mountain Saddle (5,320+ ft), going past the bootpath up Red Mountain at 1.2 miles. The East Ridge Route begins at the saddle.
West Ridge Approach
Locate the Cave Ridge trail north of the lower Alpental parking lot (3,120 ft). The trailhead is across the road about 30 yards east of the bathrooms. The trail winds its way up to Cave Ridge Saddle (4,600+ ft) in about 1.5 miles. The saddle is just north of Guye Peak. Turn left and hump the trail up and over Cave Ridge's southern extremity until. The trail continues to Snoqualmie Mountain but you don't want to climb that peak. Instead, when the trail descends to a ravine (4,760 ft), leave it and continue NE up the draw. The draw arcs around to the right (around Cave Ridge). A faint boot path may be recognizable in the draw (left of the stream). Water is available in the stream until mid-summer after which time it may be dry. In less than half-a-mile the south spur of Snoqualmie's East Snow Dome is reached. Continue up the spur nearly all the way to the Snow Dome (6,160+ ft), leaving it where feasible to contour northeast on or just below the Snoqualmie-Lundin Ridge. Descend slightly to where the West Ridge sharpens to a blocky crest. Continue along the crest (Class 3 with some exposure but not difficult) until it finally steepens.
It is possible to approach the West Ridge via Commonwealth Creek. This is an especially acceptable route when snow covers brush and talus. Continue up the Red Mountain Trail (see East Ridge Shortcut Approach above) for about half-a-mile to where the basin splits (c. 3,900 ft). Go up the left (west) fork of the creek. There are two rocky draws to climb through and some steep bits but otherwise the terrain is non-technical. One more mile to the ridge. The flat ridge spine can be mounted just about where it steepens or you can trend farther west to make it easier. In snowy conditions the flat spine is slightly more difficult to negotiate. A belay of some sort might be warranted.
The Commonwealth Creek drainage can also be used for the descent--especially when glissading is feasible.
The Trail Park Pass (Northwest Forest Pass) is required at Alpental parking lot and PCT parking lot. Also, in winter, the SnoPark Pass is required at the former (the PCT lot is not plowed until spring). In the case of the PCT lot not being available, you will have to park at the ski area south of the freeway and walk back under the overpass. There is no parking along Alpental Road in winter (snow banks and snowplows if you get my meaning).
When To Climb
You could climb the peak year-round but March through October is best. In spring the climbing may feature residual snow on rocky side slopes and faces. In fall fresh snows may create slippery conditions.
Lundin Peak can be climbed in a simple day so no need to camp. However, if you must, camp wherever you feel you must--preferably in a location not visible to a trail patron.
Snoqualmie Pass weather.
Snoqualmie Pass road conditions.
- USFS website
Snoqualmie National Forest. Misc. info including passes and permits.
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