Crown Point, located in the general area of the Crystal Mountain Ski Resort is yet another beautiful mountain to head to during winter. Crown Point make a great back-country destination because it is on a road that is usually always in good standing due to being close to a ski area. The peak also does get cell phone reception (especially Verizon) and with a high starting point Crown Point is relatively easy to get to compared to other mountains in the Cascades. Winter peak bagging here is ideal here and Crown Point is yet another beautiful nearly 6500 foot summit in the same area as Platinum Peak and Bullion Peak. Like Bullion Peak and Platinum Peak. Crown Point is home stellar views of Mount Saint Helens, Mount Adams and the nearby giant Mount Rainier. The views to the north are somewhat blocked by Bullion Peak but there are still good views of Bullion Peak.
The route taken to Crown Point that was taken was to go up the Bullion Basin trail to Bullion Basin. From there we headed to the ridge just to the left of the 400 foot north facing avalanche chute. From there take the ridge all the way to the true summit where you will nearby Crown Point in the distance. From there drop into Blue Bell Pass before rising back up to a moderate grade to Crown Point. In winter be cautious of cornice that will develop on the side of the peak. You can make this a look by going down Crown Point to Pickhandle Gap. To me this was the most interesting and scenic parts of the trip because the slope was open and views going down are very nice. From Pickhandle Gap head down carefully to Pickhandle Basin, which either could be a nice glissade if the avalanche danger is decent or a steep treed decent if there is an fear of avalanches. From there bushwhack down to the ski area lift. Be sure not to hit the ski run during the hours of operation which is 9-4. There is though a side road though that will take you all the way back to the road that lead you to the parking area if you hit the road before 4 pm.
In summer Crown Point can be easily reached from just a light scramble from the Pacific Crest Trail. The trail is usually snow-free by early to mid July and walking and parking in the ski area is permitted. In winter it is also permitted to hike but just not the ski trail. Just check in with the ski patrol and sign some paperwork before you head on out for the climb.
VIA THE CRYSTAL MOUNTAIN SKI AREA: From Enumclaw take 410 east for 33 miles until just before reaching the gate of Mt. Rainier National Park. In winter this road will be gated just passed the Crystal Mountain Road. Make a left on Crystal Mountain Blvd (7190) (paved) go roughly 6 miles to the main ski area.
Note: In summer you can take the F. S. R. road roughly 1.8 miles from the ski area and take it up to the Bullion Basin Trailhead at 4800 feet. The road is rocky and steep (4WD highly recommended) and a Northwest Forest Pass is required.
Red TapeWHEN GOING INTO THE BACKCOUNTRY YOU ARE REQUIRED TO CHECKIN WITH THE SKI PATROL AND SHOW YOUR INTENDED DESTINATION. IN ADDITION IF YOU PLAN ON STAYING OVERNIGHT YOU WILL HAVE TO PARK IN A DESIGNATED SPOT OVERNIGHT WITH YOUR INTENDED ROUTE LISTED ON THE VEHICLE.
No fees required at Crystal Mountain to park. However you must stay off the established ski trails at all times.
In summer if you take the F.S.R. 410 trailhead you will be required to have a Northwest Forest Pass.
CampingIt is required that if you plan on camping in the backcountry and park at the Crystal Mountain Ski Area that you check in at the Ski Patrol before planning any overnight trip and park only in the designated lots that they give you.
External Links The best page to find local weather and local conditions on Crown Point and neighboring mountains in the region.
The best website for trip report on Crown Point and other Cascade Mountains in the region.