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Mt. Pugh
Trip Report

Mt. Pugh


Page Type: Trip Report

Location: Washington, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 48.14298°N / 121.37422°W

Object Title: Mt. Pugh

Date Climbed/Hiked: Jul 28, 2013

Activities: Mountaineering

Season: Summer


Page By: JoshSchoneman

Created/Edited: Dec 2, 2013 / Dec 2, 2013

Object ID: 878147

Hits: 573 

Page Score: 0%  - 0 Votes 

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Mt. Pugh

I set out on this sunny summer Sunday morning for a solo ascent of Mt. Pugh not knowing that this day would prove to be the most memorable climb of my life to date. I summited Mt. Pugh once before back in the late 90's with a few friends and decided it was worth doing again. As I started up the trail at about 8am I quickly remembered how steep this trail is, and realized how out of shape I was.  As I reached Lake Metan I caught a glimpse of the summit towering above, I took a short break here and visited with a couple of gentlemen who were also headed to the summit. I continued to push on, not letting the pain of being out of shape slow me down. Upon reaching the tree line at the base of Stujack Pass I took another break and thought hard about turning back...but something told me I had to continue on, so I did just that. Stujack Pass was all I remember it being, never ending switch backs!  Feeling that I was "almost" there at this point I had a renewed drive to make the summit.  Within about 15 minutes of starting up the ridgeline, I had just passed the old telegraph line tripod when I came across an older gentlemen on the trail, he appeared to be climbing alone at first. Bill and I quickly struck up a conversation, and I decided to just stick with him as we traversed the ridgeline. I learned that Bill had some young first timers with him and that they were ahead of us. As we climbed, Bill told me many stories of his childhood growing up at the base of Mt. Pugh at Bedal.  Being that I grew up in Darrington, I knew most of the people and places he spoke of.  Then Bill told me he was 70 now, and that Mt. Pugh was the only peak in the area that he hadn't climbed when he was younger, and it was on his bucket list to finally bag this one.  I was so very honored to be there that day with him as he finally made it!  Our time at the summit was rather short lived as the winds had kicked up and the clouds were moving in.  As we worked our way down from the summit, getting closer to the top of Stujack Pass I could see Bill was in a fair amount of pain, each step harder for his knees to handle. Being the polite man he is, Bill repeatedly told me just head on down the Mt., that he would be fine and his partners would be waiting at the bottom for him. I refused and stayed there sharing stories until we reached the tree line at the base of the pass. At this point Bill was having a really hard time walking, so I gave him what water I had left and agreed to go ahead of him and let his partners know he was making a slow trip down. I knew that I needed to hurry down and get Search and Rescue on the way to help him, at times I broke into a slow jog down the trail trying to get off that mountain!  Finally upon reaching the trailhead I asked the one guy in his group that I could tell had the energy in him still to go back up the trail to go meet Bill and stay with him until SAR got there. My call to 911 was quick as there was cell service at the trailhead, and to my surprise the first SAR unit was on scene in less than 45 minutes as they were already in the area.  It didn't take long for them to head up the trail and find Bill, but...not to my surprise, Bill didn't want their help, he wanted to make it off the mountain under his own power!  I can tell you that the hours I sat at the trailhead waiting for them to make it out, all that went through my head was how mad he was going to be at me for calling SAR!!  To my surprise when he arrived at the trailhead he gave me a hug and thanked me for watching out for an "old man"! 

I made a true dear friend that day, and was inspired to never give up!  I want to thank Bill for teaching me this, and I am going to dedicate my future summits to our newfound friendship.

Summit Mt. Pugh
Bill and I with Glacier Peak in the background


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