Special thanks to Megellan who gave me great info and maps about this peak. He suggested this peak and even suggeated a great route. Without the suggestion I might have not made to North Cascades National Park on my trip. I greatly appreciated his help with this peak.
Another special thanks Gary who was from New Jersey who helped me on the final scramble and the trip down the mountain. He was a great route finder down the mountain and helped me tremendously head down the scramble.
This was a great start coming from New Hampshire to start off Washington. Yes I did West Tiger in Issaquah, but this mountain was clearly my first real mountain experience. I must say I have never seen such raw and unspoiled beauty in my life and my senses are still on overload from the amazing raw beauty of this area. I will never forget Hidden Lake Peak and sometime in the distant future may do this one again if I feel I have successful completely other Washington State peaks.
The Trail up to the Gap
The trail up was one of the best laid out trails I have ever seen. I love how this trail had great switchbacks with no exposure. Get up and down to the gap was a breeze and the views once in the open area are simply AMAZING!! And they got better and better the higher I went up. This trail took every little effort compared to the views coming from it. Considering that I was on this trail probably 80% of the took time to the summit, I probably only spend 20% of the total effort on this trip. When I made to the Gap I decided to pass on the lookout and head to the summit.
The Summit Scramble: Welcome to Washington State
This setion is where the real scrambling begun. Coming from New Hampshire and hiking in Arizona I can clearly say that I have never faced this type of boulder scramble in my life. As for the scramble it was nothing more that a Class 2-3 (I put that in because if you either don't have smart route skills or want more of a thrill then you can make it a Class 3). Add to this thrill was that there were no cairns on this route. This scramble started not too bad but once up the false summit the scrambling became much more intense. Between the false summit and the main summit was a small knife edge style traverse (Wish I did Kathadin so I could compare it) with immediate dropoffs of maybe 70 to 200 on each side (the north side still having snow on the bottom of the small dropoff). This is clearly the toughest part of the scramble especially if you take a poor route as I did. At one point I had to make a tough scramble on the edge of the climb instead of on top of the climb and had to look down a nice dropoff. The final boulder scramble was not exposed (Class 2) but took a large amount of manovers and took a lot up upper and lower body strength. Towards the top not only were my legs cramping up but my stomach was too (I drank quiet a lot of liquid before this scramble including Gatorade and water but apparently not enough)
Oh my God!! What an amazing summit. I have never seen so many beautiful glaciers in my life!! As stood on the summit rocks I stood there just to so in the view and to relax from the intense boulder scramble. I will have to admit, that at this point I was very weak so I wasn't able to soak in the views as much as I wanted.
The trip back
The trip back was most interesting. My cramps were really getting bad which is not much fun when you are in a scramble. At this point much of the cramps were in the calves and the stomach. The cramps forced me to really slow down. But this time a did better route and my scramble wasn't as hair raising as on the way up. I took my time to look at Hidden Lake below and kept an eye on the Lookout Tower to guide my progress. only the pain from my cramps prevented me from feeling like I was in heaven. After I was finally off the scramble I sat and stretched my legs, drank more water and ate a little food (not very hungry) and sleeped for ten minutes to let my body rest. After my body rested I headed down the same easy trail that left from the col. I skipped the lookout tower because I very weak and the fact that I was happy with doing the main summit. Oh well it just has to get hit at another time. After all if I die I'll feel much more satisfied saying that "I conquered the main summit" rather than I conquered "the Lookout Tower below the main summit.
Maybe it was me going on sensory overload and still coming off my wonderful experience, but when I die I clearly will know what heaven looks like. Not even the bad cramps or a bad sunburn could ever put a damper on such a special trip.