To be honest in writing this I seriously considered not writing up Point 5261. It technically does not have 400 feet of prominence and does not have a name. The Point also does not get mentioned in a lot of text as a desired high point or a viewing point. Some would also just consider another bump on the ridge. With it not being on any desired list or destinations why would anyone bother to write on such a Point?
Because this peak contains a 360 panorama on the summit, is a tough Class 2/3 scramble traverse from it's nearest neighbor Spinnaker Peak and is a tough wooded bushwhack from the Pacific Crest Trail. On my first visit to Point 5261, I felt quiet satisfied being on top of this peak. After all three volcano views as well as stellar shots of Rock Mountain and Mount Howard was enough to brighten me up. The views are actually quiet stellar and a great destination if that was desired. The fact that the traverse from Point 5261 over to Spinnaker involved going down a very narrow and exposed ridge gave the highpoint its own character. The rest of the ridge to Spinnaker is actually nothing more is an off-trail snowshoe to that summit.
Most of all the view from Point 5261 is very different from that of neighboring Spinnaker Peak. To be honest missing out on Point 5261 would be disappointing when I went on this ridge. It truly was a great stopping destination on the first visit and added great adventure on my second trip to this region. When you compare this peak to the likes of Little Haystack in New Hampshire, or Mailbox Peak in Washington you can see why this Point deserves it's special place.
Point 5261 can be reached in both winter and summer. However the more desired and scenic time is winter when the vegetation is totally covered snow. The snow also will make the traverse from Spinnaker Peak more easily accessible. In summer this peak is a thick steep bushwhack off of the PCT where in winter this point is winter off trail snowshoe from the Yodellin parking area just east of Stevens Pass. Given what I have seen in this region in summer and winter I would highly recommend winter as the time to visit Point 5261. If you do go on a traverse of both Martin and Spinnaker Peaks with good conditions and you want to add a little adventure and more amazing views, add Point 5261 to your list.
Getting ThereVIA STEVENS PASS: Take Route 2 to two miles east Stevens Pass. Stevens Pass is located 20 miles east of Skyomish and 30 miles west of Leavenworth. You want to park in Stevens Pass Ski Area overflow lot on your south side 2 miles east of the main ski area. There will be a building that is marked no tresspassing and no parking to the right of the building. That is residence for the workers of the ski area. The large parking to the left is the overflow and is legal to park there. From there just go accross that street and go down the street for the winter route.
Red TapeProvided you park in the ski resort overflow lot on the south side of US 2, there will be no fee.
CampingCamping is prohibited on the road leading that leads down the Nason Creek Valley. These are private residences. One through the residential community though backcountry camping is allowed provided. A highly recommended winter camping area is the basin between Spinnaker Peak and Tye Peak.
External LinksFor the best weather and snow conditions in the immediate surrounding reach go www.stevenspass.com or click here
Weather ConditionsHere is a link to shots of live shots of Stevens Pass.
Here is the NOAA forecast for the western Cascades