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Best Scrambles in WA

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Best Scrambles in WA

Postby LuminousAphid » Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:24 am

Greetings!

I've been around here for a while, but I think this is my first topic. I have been doing some research on where I should eventually go as I'm trying to get in shape for the upcoming hiking season, and I have found lots of great hikes, and also lots of great climbs, but what I'm really looking for are the things that sort of fall in-between those two extremes.

What are some of the best scramble routes you have done around WA? What I consider best might not be the same as you, but some of the things I like are a short-ish approach if possible, shorter drive from Puget Sound area, good alpine/backcountry feel, straightforward elevation gain (switchbacks anger me sometimes), and preferably a summit, but not exclusively. Mainly I'm interested in stuff from the Mountain Loop area to the Snoqualmie area, but throw them all in here. To give you a few ideas, some of my favorites so far: Ingalls South Peak, Volcanic Neck (http://www.summitpost.org/volcanic-neck/460381), Bean Peak (I like the Teannaway but its a long drive), Mount Daniel, HiBox, Red Mountain (Snoq.) off-route was pretty sketchy but fun. I have done more but I would like to know what you all think are some of the "best" scramble-type routes around the North-Central Cascades

I would like to eventually get into more serious stuff like glacier travel, etc. Unfortunately I usually don't have a partner and don't know a whole lot of people to go with who are competent, so this season i think I will concentrate on scrambles to get back in shape for the mountains. On a side note though, if anyone in the area would like to join me on some of these ventures (soon I will be commencing conditioning hikes as well), I would love company. I don't go alone by choice, mainly I just don't know anyone who likes punishing themselves hiking uphill in the wilderness like I usually end up doing.
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Re: Best Scrambles in WA

Postby Snidely Whiplash » Mon Mar 05, 2012 1:50 pm

Great scrambles in the Snoqualmie area would be Kaleetan Peak, Snoqualmie Mountain, Silver Peak, Tinkham, and Abiel Peaks. A bit farther east you've already found Hibox, but Alta right next to it is fun. More challenging but also more alpine would be Chikamin Peak. I know you said that the Teanaway is a bit far for you, but Hawkins Mountain is accessible from Salmon La Sac as well as the Teanaway.

Some of the best scrambles in the Mountain Loop area are Del Campo, Gothic, Cadet, Sperry, and Vesper. Areas south of the Mountain Loop area but north of Snoqualmie are hard to access (bad roads). Near Stevens Pass you've got Persis, Lichtenburg, Labyrinth, and even Index (more challenging). A lot of nice scrambles in other areas, such as near Mount Rainier, but again, the drive might be too long for what you want.
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Re: Best Scrambles in WA

Postby mountainsandsound » Mon Mar 05, 2012 2:12 pm

Do you have avalanche assessment skills? A lot of the more simple scrambles or summit hikes are more challenging (i.e. more fun) but still not quite technical during winter conditions. So you could get started right now with some of those if you know how to travel safely during winter.

My hands down favorite scramble is Tomyhoi peak on the Mt. Baker highway. Further away from you, but check it out this summer if you have time. I have friends in Bham who climb it every season. Easy enough for confident scramblers and enough fun, 3rd class climbing and exposure to please rock climbers.
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Re: Best Scrambles in WA

Postby cdog » Mon Mar 05, 2012 3:11 pm

the west ridge of the North Twin (near Mt Baker) usually gets touted as one of WA's best scrambles, and I really enjoyed my solo experience on the route:
http://www.summitpost.org/west-ridge/157348
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Re: Best Scrambles in WA

Postby LuminousAphid » Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:14 pm

Great, thanks for the quick and helpful replies! I have been wanting to do Index for a couple years but I think I should have at least a partner for it; I've heard there is quite a bit of steep terrain and exposure, which is fine, but I'd rather have someone along who can call for help and vice-versa. This would probably be a good strategy in general... so one of my other goals is to find people to go with. I'm not too confident about any sort of early-season snow, and I have been especially wary since the 4 people died in avalanches a few weeks back. Once the snow consolidates though, I am all for it; Pilchuck in the snow was one of my favorite hikes last year, and I intend to do Baring if i can get there at the right time this year.

Some of the ones mentioned I have also done, and indeed were awesome: Vesper was also one of my favorites but I was doubting the "scramble" title since it can be mostly a walk-up, but there is tons of terrain up there that is great for scrambling. I think I ended up on the upper ridge connecting to Sperry, and it was very fun making it to the top. Snoqualmie, Silver, Tinkham, Alta and Persis I have also done and this is exactly the type of stuff I am looking for! I guess I explained myself pretty well :) My ultimate goal later in the summer is to make it up Stuart via one of the S side routes, once I am in much better shape hopefully.

Both of the ones mentioned near the Baker Highway would be awesome, and sometime I'm sure I will try them; this year perhaps if carpooling is possible, but right now my job doesn't provide a whole lot of extra income for long trips in my gas-guzzling car. Is the North Twin you mentioned in that range with the super-grippy red rock West of Baker? Or something else? I have heard that is a great place to scramble and one of the unique areas on the Cascades

Edit: To make this even more long-winded, I meant to mention I plan on doing a first-of-the-season hike tomorrow somewhere like Lord Hill in Monroe or similar, so if anyone wants to join me send me a PM before tomorrow (Tuesday) morning!
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Re: Best Scrambles in WA

Postby mountainsandsound » Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:37 pm

LuminousAphid wrote:Is the North Twin you mentioned in that range with the super-grippy red rock West of Baker? Or something else? I have heard that is a great place to scramble and one of the unique areas on the Cascades


cdog was talking about the one and only North Twin (Sister). The rock is nice and grippy, and pretty damn solid with good blocky holds everywhere. It is an extremely fun scramble. It has been known to intimidate folks (myself included) with its class 4 (or 5 if off route) exposure. Although I have friends who have done it multiple times and swear it doesn't feel like it goes over class 3 (I've never really been able to figure out the difference between class 3 and 4 anyway). Overall a very fun scramble well worth the drive from Pugetropolis, but with some serious (fatal) consequences if you fell on certain spots. Which would be very hard to do if you are confident/competent/on route. There are some TRs here I think and also on cascadeclimbers.com.
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Re: Best Scrambles in WA

Postby ExcitableBoy » Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:12 pm

I have added the notations; W - for very good winter access via car and RW - for reasonable winter access, requiring a long hike in winter.
No notation should be regarded as having an unreasonably long approach for the scrample route (more than a long weekend to approach, climb and descend, or requring a snow machine, helicopter, or other approach non-sense). Also, many of these peaks should only be attempted during stable avalanche conditions during the winter.

Another wote for: W WR North Twin Sister also on the Mt Baker HWY:

-Hannegan Peak

and when you are comfortable on mellow glaciers:
-Ruth Peak and Ruth Icy Traverse

-Silver Star Peak: A great sramble in a land dominated by spires mostly accessible only via 5th class climbing.

-Three Fingers: Craziest scramble to an almost impossibly situated fire lookout

W -White Horse Peak

-Monte Cristo Peak

-Cadet Peak

W Mt Si - Had to be here. It is close to Seattle and gets you up above the tree line quick. Don't fear the switchbacks.

W- Silver Peak off of I-90

W-Mt Snouqmie -Just a hike really

W-Granite Peak off of I-90 - Just a hike, but one up to a great fire lookout

-Mt Stuart - Just a scramble via the Cascadian Couloir

RW-Colchuck Peak via Coluck Glacier - No crevasses but an axe and crampons should be considered neccesary

W-Pinnacle Peak in the Tattossh

-Old Snowy in the Goat Rocks

I realize that some of the peaks lay outside your boundries, but offer great effort to reward ratio, great summits, and great views,
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Re: Best Scrambles in WA

Postby BigMitch » Tue Mar 06, 2012 12:38 am

There is a book on this subject:

http://www.amazon.com/75-Scrambles-Wash ... 0898867614

Any of the peaks on the eastern side of the Tatoosh Range Traverse in Mt. Rainier NP are great fun.
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Re: Best Scrambles in WA

Postby LuminousAphid » Tue Mar 06, 2012 3:09 pm

ExcitableBoy wrote:I realize that some of the peaks lay outside your boundries, but offer great effort to reward ratio, great summits, and great views,


No you are right on the money with a lot of those; I am willing to deal with a long drive if it's worth it. And I appreciate you noting the approach factors. I'm going to try and be in better shape this year, and not worry about longer hikes which I always hated, but I guess I'd rather take a short approach than a long one if the two experiences are similar.

I never expected this much response and so fast, so thanks to everyone for your ideas. Once the snow stops piling up I intend to start trying some of these out. Today, might not be my first conditioning hike after all... it's still snowing even at my house.
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Re: Best Scrambles in WA

Postby ExcitableBoy » Tue Mar 06, 2012 5:11 pm

While many of my suggestions require a longer drive than what you specified, none of these approaches are long by Cascades standards and most fit parties are able to accomplish these as reasonable day trips.
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Re: Best Scrambles in WA

Postby LuminousAphid » Sat Mar 10, 2012 11:15 pm

The drive time is one of the lesser factors in considering trips this year, especially if the reward/effort ratio is high like you mentioned earlier. Stuart is the one I want to do for a later season trip, for all the effort of actually getting in shape this year. I've been walking 2.5 miles almost every day, with quite a decent elevation gain on the return, so I'm losing a lot of weight and gaining endurance... hopefully this means that a long approach will also be a lesser factor, and probably will allow much nicer trips to more isolated areas like Buck Creek/Fortress Mountain area, the upper Entiat, etc.

edit: It's amazing the difference about 4 years makes... back then I just was in shape, and now I have to work my ass off :o
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Re: Best Scrambles in WA

Postby ExcitableBoy » Sat Mar 10, 2012 11:42 pm

LuminousAphid wrote:
edit: It's amazing the difference about 4 years makes... back then I just was in shape, and now I have to work my ass off :o

Dude, I was fitter at forty than at 21. Too much school, too much beer.
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Re: Best Scrambles in WA

Postby mvs » Sun Mar 11, 2012 6:13 pm

The East Ridge of Mount Thompson is a beautiful scramble. Long trip for a day through beautiful scenery of the Kendall Katwalk near Snoqualmie Pass. You climb over Bumblebee Pass into a cute little basin, then go up (roughly) the right skyline of the peak in front of you. I did this solo, and there was one place where a fixed sling was handy, but there is big exposure and route finding too.

I've also climbed the more technical West Ridge (5.6), but it wasn't worth it. Much better to make that hike without a rope and gear, do the more "delightful" scramble instead. I've actually got an old TR I dug up here.

In addition to approaching via the PCT, you can approach by the Gold Creek valley, making for a nice loop possibility.
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Re: Best Scrambles in WA

Postby ExcitableBoy » Sun Mar 11, 2012 6:44 pm

I thought the West Ridge Thompson was like a dirtier version of the Tooth's South face, but with an unreasonably long approach. Pretty area though.
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Re: Best Scrambles in WA

Postby mvs » Sun Mar 11, 2012 6:49 pm

ExcitableBoy wrote:I thought the West Ridge Thompson was like a dirtier version of the Tooth's South face, but with an unreasonably long approach. Pretty area though.


Exactly, I totally agree! But the East Ridge is just the right mix. It makes the long hike worth it because all you need to bring is a dance belt and a tube of chap-stick. :D
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