Route DescriptionFrom Mt. Townsend trail No. 839, follow path through coniferous forest. After 2.25 miles, the trail (in late season with no snow) will split in two in a high alpine basin.
Take the right fork or bear right in the snow up a series of steep snowfields, divided by bands of trees.
At the top of the slope (3.25 miles, 6,000 ft.), bear right (North) on the ridge to the South Summit of Mt. Townsend. The North Summit is slightly lower and just beyond the South Summit.
In Mid-May, the summit ridge had melted nearly bare of snow. We encountered the most severe snow on the steep slope below the summit ridge. The key is to remember to bear right in the upper basin / white ampitheatre if snow covers the trail.
The prominent peak to the left (South) is Welch Peaks.
The Silver Creek drainage and Hawk Peak is beyond (West) of Townsend's summit ridge.
Essential GearIn the snow, I'd recommend mountaineering boots, gaitors, an ice axe, altimeter, compass, map, poles, and appropriate clothing.
In the dry season (July-September), I'd anticipate normal hiking-in-the-wilderness conditions.