Alphabetically speaking, first there's Abercrombie Mountain
on the Official Washington Peaks List
, then there's Abernathy Peak*. However, Abernathy is higher than Abercrombie in elevation. Abernathy also retains the distinction of being among the Washington (Bulger) Top 100
but only just barely (at 8,321 ft, it is ~98/100). The peak is the high point of Abernathy Ridge, the northwest-southeast trending divide between Twisp River on the south and Wolf Creek on the north. The peak is located at the northwest end of the divide more or less at the western head of Wolf Creek.
Abernathy Peak is much like a lot of the other summits in the region: alpine and eroded. There are precipices, but the overall tone of the mountain is much less intimidating than peaks in the Washington Pass area, which is less than seven miles away to the northwest. The peak is certainly no rock climbing destination. However, what it lacks in technical terrain, it makes up for in solitude, height, and views. In particular, the view south to Reynolds Peak
, the view NNW to Silver Star Mountain
, and the view NNE to the Gardner
Massif are worthy of note.
The peak was at least named by 1913. Its flanks saw much mining exploration in the early part of the 20th Century.
* There also appears to be an Abernathy Mountain
(2,600 ft) in SW Washington 15 miles NNW of Longview, but it's so small it's hard to count it here.
There are three certain ways to climb this peak:
Route 1 --
Scatter Creek Trail on the south
Route 2 --
North Creek on the west
Route 3 --
Wolf Creek on the east
Route 1 -- Scatter Creek Trail
This is the way I went and it was very simple and scenic. From the town of Twisp in the Methow Valley, drive the Twisp River Road west for 22 miles to the trailhead (c. 3,200 ft). Hike the good trail for 4.2 miles to Scatter Lake (7,047 ft). The trail first follows Scatter Creek before opening up in a lower basin (c. 6,300 ft) in 3.6 miles. From here the trail continues up to the upper basin cradling the lake. Abernathy's summit comes into view here. It is the peak at the head of the basin. The East Peak (8,160+ ft). Simply ascend either snow, scree, or talus to the summit. 3-4 hours; 5,100 ft of gain.
Route 2 -- North Creek Trail
This trailhead is located at 3,660 ft, 25 miles from Twisp on the Twisp River Road. Follow the trail northward for maybe about two miles to where an old mine trail junctions off, crosses the creek, and heads east up to the North Ridge of Abernathy. Depending on the steepness of this mine trail, expect another 1.5-2 miles to the 7,680+ ft saddle 0.6 miles north of the summit. Scramble south along the crest to the top. (A variation mentioned in Beckey's CAG is to leave North Creek Trail after about two miles and ascend a long gully directly to the summit.) Maybe 4 hours; 4,700 ft of gain.
Route 3 -- Wolf Creek Trail
This is an overnight route that would be good for combining an ascent of the Gardners with Abernathy (making a camp at Gardner Meadows). But first you'll want to locate the start of the Wolf Creek Trail. From the town of Winthrop in the Methow Valley, take the county road on the south side of the river for four miles and turn left on road number 351. Follow this road (keeping left at forks) to the trailhead at 2,400 ft. Hike the trail for 11 miles to Gardner Meadows (c. 5,700 ft), whereupon the maintained trail ends. There is a good camp here near a large stand of pines. An unmaintained trail continues west for maybe two miles to the 7,680+ ft saddle at the head of the valley. This saddle is 0.6 miles north of Abernathy's summit. There is an old mine in the small basin just before the saddle. From the saddle, follow the ridge south to the summit (class 3). Alternately, from Abernathy Lake (6,357 ft), one could certainly take a gully southwestward to the summit but this would surely be less scenic than the North Ridge completion. 4-5 hours from trailhead to Gardner Meadows then 2 hours to the top; 3,300 ft of gain from trailhead to meadows, then 2,700 ft more to the top.
Abernathy Peak lies within the Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness, so standard wilderness policy applies.
When To Climb
Possibly a good spring ski tour. Avalanche considerations must be made. Other than that, this is an all-year kind of climb as long as the Twisp River Road is open. If not, wait until summer.
There are several campgrounds along Twisp River Road. These are War Creek Campground (14.5 miles from Twisp), Mystery Campground (18.5 miles), Poplar Flat (20.5 miles), and Road's End (25.5 miles). The last of these ~0.7 miles past the North Creek Trail. For the Wolf Creek approach, camping at Gardner Meadows is a good choice. Another possible camp would be in the small basin on the east side of the 7,680+ ft saddle north of Abernathy. This would be an excellent choice if doing the climb as a carryover starting from North Creek and ending either via Scatter Creek or Wolf Creek.
Mountain ConditionsLocalized Forecast
Views from the Mountain, Part I
Views from the Mountain, Part II