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Scatter Peaks

Scatter Peaks

Scatter Peaks

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Washington, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 47.50352°N / 121.00222°W

Object Title: Scatter Peaks

County: Kittitas

Activities: Scrambling

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall

Elevation: 7031 ft / 2143 m


Page By: Snidely Whiplash

Created/Edited: Mar 16, 2009 / Sep 8, 2015

Object ID: 498453

Hits: 4620 

Page Score: 78.27%  - 9 Votes 

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Ridge to Scatter Peaks
First False Summit
View to Scatter Peaks from Ridge
Scatter Peaks

Scatter Peaks is the name for the cluster of peaks on the ridge (highest point, Point 7031) just north of Van Epps Pass and south of Solomon Peak. Although easily overlooked, this peak requires a lot of good route-finding and is quite alpine in feel. In short, it is a lot of fun. One of the more interesting things about this scramble is that it is entirely off trail. There is absolutely no trail on this trip. You will drive on a logging road, find a ridge, and head up hill through forest to gain the ridge. From there, run out a beautiful ridge with views in all directions to a solid, Class 3 summit.

Note: Some consider Scatter Peaks to also be Van Epps Peak. There is some legitimate disagreement on this point, as others consider the high point south of Van Epps Pass to be Van Epps Peak. This is the inevitable confusion that occurs when peaks are named unofficially. Scatter Peaks does show up on the USGS map, and therefore is an official name. Van Epps Peak does not, however, and thus the confusion.

Getting There

False Summit
Atop First False Summit
The Cradle from Scatter Peaks Ridge
The Cradle
Skirting the Ridge
Skirting the Ridge
Drive I-90 East from Seattle to Exit 80. Exit here and drive through the towns of Roslyn and Ronald and past the Salmon La Sac Guard Station. Continue about 8.5 miles to an unmarked logging road just before Silver Creek. You know you have gone too far if you pass the Scatter Creek trailhead (about 1/2 mile past the logging road). You've definitely gone too far if you reach Scatter Creek.

Drive up the logging road just a short distance (a couple of hundred yards) and park (Elevation 3,200 feet). Find the beginnings of the forested ridge just to your east and begin climbing through forest. The forest is dark, but never too hard to negotiate. You will begin to break out into the open about 5,500 feet. Once on top of the ridge, continue along the ridge crest directly east, passing over two false summits. The true summit is the third summit, and features an impressive looking rock face from the west. The climbing route lies directly up this face via a series of cracks and ledges. It is solid rock, but a fall here can lead to serious injury. Some parties may feel more comfortable with a rope for a rappel from the summit. Round-trip distance: 8 miles, Elevation gain: 3,600 feet plus minor ups and downs.

Red Tape

The West Face of Scatter Peaks
True Summit from West
Climbing the West Face
Climbing the West Face
The entire route lies in unprotected area, and no permits are required. The area where you park your car is not an official trail head, either, so you will not require a NW Trailhead Pass. However, there are some overzealous Forest Service rangers lurking in the area. Their agenda is to revert this area to wilderness, so they will give you a hard time for unnecessary marking. I'm not joking. We ran into one just north of here on Solomon Peak.


This area is east of the Cascade Crest and is consequently very dry. After early July, there will be few snow banks, and there are no creeks on this trip at all. Camping is not really an option, unless you choose to climb this peak from the north (see Fish Eagle Peak) and camp at the headwaters of Scatter Creek. There are some very nice campsites there, and it is very scenic. Your climb will be more challenging from this direction, though.

Contact Information

For those who wish to contact the Forest Service, use the following contact information:

US Forest Service
Cle Elum Ranger District
West 2nd Street
Cle Elum, WA 98922
(509) 674-4411


Scatter Peaks (aka Van Epps Peak)Climbing the West FaceThe Cradle from Scatter Peaks RidgeThe West Face of Scatter PeaksRidge to Scatter PeaksView to Scatter Peaks from RidgeSkirting the Ridge
False SummitVan Epps Route