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Middle Fork Snoqualmie River cross-country route
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Middle Fork Snoqualmie River cross-country route

 
Middle Fork Snoqualmie River cross-country route

Page Type: Route

Location: Washington, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 32.84000°N / 113.91°W

Object Title: Middle Fork Snoqualmie River cross-country route

Route Type: Scrambling

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall

Time Required: A long day

Rock Difficulty: Class 4

Route Quality: 
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Page By: Z-Man

Created/Edited: Jan 12, 2007 / Oct 1, 2007

Object ID: 259580

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Overview

This is a scramble involving snow, ice, bushwhacking, river crossings, trail hiking, and some exposed, loose class 4 and/or low fifth class rock. There is some 4500 feet of elevation gain and is ~14 miles each way, with about 8 round trip miles of off-trail travel. A Cascades adventure with every kind of terrain the range has to offer available.

Getting There

Follow the directions on the main page to the Dutch Miller Gap trailhead. Hike the trail for some 5 miles, past the confluence of Crawford Creek, where the trail moves away from the river as it travels upstream.

Route Description

From somewhere along the trail pick out a desired line of ascent across the river and through the talus slopes, slide alder, cliff bands, and trees and head uphill. On our line of ascent we had an easy river crossing, but met with fierce resistance heading up talus slopes and alder a 1/4 mile west of the largest boulder field which is opposite where the trail is at roughly 3600 feet in elevation. On our descent we found a much more desirable path through very steep timber cut by cliff bands directly above the western edge of the same large boulder field, but had to wade the river.

This timbered rib will eventually give way to open talus slopes that one can follow to the Southeast past large headwalls on the north side of the mountain. These talus slopes lead up to heather and a long slope covered in high-quality rolling granite. The high-sierra-like granite slope will take you to the edge of the glacier at ~6500 feet. From here several options exist to gain the summit. Beckey describes four variations to the summit all at fourth class, but the two most prudent in my opinion are these:

1) The very prominent 40-degree ice ramp on the Northeast face of the summit block offers straightforward access if there is either snow in the chute allowing step-kicking, or hard ice and you have the equipment neccessary to get up and down.

2) Circle around the summit block on the glacier to the east and gain the south side from at or near the Chimney Rock / Overcoat col. Scramble the arete on the south side of the peak for less than a hundred vertical feet then begin to traverse due North towards a loose-looking gully. Head up the gully and make a short step on exposed 4th class terrain to reach the summit. You may desire a rope to reverse the short step.

Essential Gear

Ice axe. Crampons after July. A rope and ice screws with ability to make v-threads for descending the Northeast ice ramp if you choose to do so after July. Glacier likely harbors hidden crevasses July and earlier so roping up would be advisable then.

Images

Upper Overcoat GlacierSummit blockOvercoat GlacierView SouthOvercoat Peak and GlacierScramblingMiddle Fork Snoqualmie River crossing
BushwhackingBushwhackedBoulder fieldRolling graniteHigher on the Overcoat Glacier