I consider this one to be a jem of the North Cascades, this place is very accessible even in the heart of winter. While traveling on the high points of the ridge you are met with amazing 360 views of the Picket Range, Snowfield Peak, Diablo Lake, Jack Mountain and many more! The Summit is located inside the North Cascades National Park near the small city of Diablo. The way up to Stetattle Ridge is a lovely hike starting out in the woods but eventually getting up above giving one the feeling like they are in the middle of the North Cascades. There is a deal of elevation gain in going up Stetattle Ridge which offers a decent one day work out, or for the back packers a beautiful overnight trip. Even though there is a town near by, trust me your are still a ways from home.
Stetattle Ridge Panorama : Taken Feb 18, 2010
Crux during Summer
Stetattle in Winter
Excited to be Out
View from the Trailhead
Here is some easy directions from Google which all you have to do is place in your address.
Coming in from Seattle:
Drive North to Seattle until you get to Darrington which you get off at exit 208 to Arlington. Take a right onto highway 530 which goes into Arlington. From Arlington take a left briefly onto highway 9 which in a few seconds you'll then turn right back onto highway 530 (don't ask me why they have the road set up this way). Then continue heading East for 27 miles until you get to Darrington. In Darrington you'll see a shell gas station which you take a left (north) which continues highway 530 (to the right is the Mountain Loop Highway). Eventually you'll end up in Rockport which you should take a right onto highway 20. From here you'll pass through Marblemount, Newhalem, and then Diablo. Before crossing the bridge that goes over Gorge Lake you'll see a road called "Diablo Street" which you go down until you pass a little gate booth which you'll see a little area to park the car. There's a trail sign which the hike starts off going behind a house and then goes up.
So you start off on a decently paved trail (although can have a lot of fallen over trees in early season) which has a few switch backs, but mostly traverses the mountain. For a few thousand feet your in the woods, eventually you want to leave the trail and enter onto the ridge.
Mount Davis from the Trail
Looking Towards Diablo Lake
The Trail Starting Out
Plowing through Snow
In order to find the ridge in the first place you will notice that the trail stopped switch backing and will cross over onto the north Side of the mountain. Once your on the ridge keep following it which eventually it will go back down. Once you go back up in winter time this is considered to be the crux of the trip.
After the crux it's pretty basic to get to Stetattle ridge, you then follow along the ridge, you'll see a point where you can go two ways. On your right is the ridge that goes off to Sourdough Mountain, but go left if you want to go up Stetattle Ridge. The views as you go further in just get better and better, you keep hitting high points, it's point 6495 that is considered the true summit.
Wind Blown Slabs : Taken Feb 18, 2010
The View of Stetattle Ridge before the Crux
Here is a google maps view of the route which I drew up:
Lower Stetattle Ridge
Upper Stetattle Ridge
If you want the map all on one page here is a decent Topographic Map of the route.
When to Climb
The road is open all year round, and the ridge can be climbed most of the year. When avalanche danger gets very high it can be dangerous on the crux of the climb which I've set off snow slides and it might be a cornice depending when you go. In summer time it's a nice walk in the park.
Webcam View from the Visitor's Center, Newhalem,WA (yes it's constantly updated for the current conditions)
There are quite a few camping area's on the upper section of Stetattle Ridge. There are a few in the upper woods, and many spots along the ridge.
Camping on a flat part of the Ridge
Gear for the Hike
Using Trekking Polls
Melting Snow with the Stove
Snowshoeing though Snow
Mandatory Gear for the Climb:
2-3 Liters of Water Per Person
First Aid Kit
Map and Compass
Nylon Shell Pants
Plenty of Warm Clothes
Stove, Fuel, Pot, and utensils (for cooking)
A Northwest Forest Pass is needed at the trail head, and if your camping high up you should get a North Cascades Backpacking permit which is free. In later season there are many tarns up on Stetattle Ridge which is nice for filtering water.
Wildlife and Flora
Wild Red Plants
Ptarmigan in the Woods
Toad on the Ridge
White Flower with Snowfield Peak in the Background
"So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and diffrent sun."