The slabby west face. (NW ridge is the left side).
Lewis Peak is located up the Stillaguamish River headwaters among Del Campo, Morning Star, Vesper and Sperry Peaks. It offers an excellent panoramic view of the surrounding peaks, especially of Del Campo and up the valley towards Monte Cristo. The enormous slab on Morning Star Peak is quite an impressive sight. The west face of Lewis Peak itself is a large slab and also quite impressive. The mountain is steep an all sides except for the long NW ridge which offers a decent route and makes it easily accessible from the Sunrise Mine road.
May 18, 2006: following two deaths on nearby Mt. Dickerman only a few months earlier, Larry Ingalls, an experienced climber was killed in a fall on the west side of Lewis Peak. There is a memorial plaque for him on the summit. A memorial website was also created for him at the following address: http://www.ourfriendlarry.net/
Morning Star, Vesper, Sperry, Big Four; the peaks west of Lewis.
Drive the Mountain Loop Highway east towards Barlow Pass from Granite Falls. Near Barlow Pass, the Mount Dickerman trailhead will be on your left. A short distance further on the highway, a small road will turn off to the right. This is the Sunrise Mine road and it leads 2 miles up to the Sunrise Mine/Headlee Pass trailhead where it ends. A NW Forest Pass is required to park at the trailhead.
Route Information - Northwest Ridge
The northwest ridge up Lewis Peak is a fairly straightforward route with a few routefinding issues, continuous brush (summer) and some moderate exposure. It takes about 2½ to 4 hours from the Sunrise Mine trailhead.
From the Sunrise Mine trailhead, head SE uphill. Once you have gained about 500' (about 2800'), start heading south toward the creek. You will most likely encounter some brush here in the summer (slide alder & devils club). You want to head straight for the NW ridge of Lewis Peak. This lower part of the ridge is wide and can be somewhat difficult to navigate because of cliff bands. The left side (east side) of the ridge down low is a cliff. This part is steep and brushy.
Once you get up to about 3600', the ridge becomes much more narrow and defined. It becomes easier to travel along the top of the ridge, although there are a few moments that require scrambling on rock. The whole way up the east side of the ridge is a sheer drop. You will want to be careful because there are a few places in trees where the edge of the cliff is hidden. The west side of the ridge is steep and vertical in a few places as well. Just keep working along the top of the ridge and traversing right when necessary to go around rock steps. There are a couple tricky moments, possibly class 3 where you will want to use caution.
Near the summit (4800-5000') if you stay near the ridge crest you can cross over to the east side (on top of the cliff) in a few spots where it is easier. You may want to cross back and forth across the ridge depending on what side is easier. The last few hundred feet to the top has a lot of loose rock so be careful, especially if you have multiple climbers.
Descent: Follow the same route down. Be careful when you get back down around 3600' where the ridge widens again, try to follow your same route up (if it worked). If you aren't paying attention it is really easy to head the wrong direction here and get cliffed out (spoken from personal experience). There is one area in particular where I was crashing through the head-high slide alder and I realized just in time that one or two more steps would have taken me over the 100' cliff to the rocks below.
The Beckey guide also mentions a route going up a gully on the west face from the Stillaguamish valley. I have seen this gully from Morning Star Peak and it looks pretty steep and like it has the potential to be a bowling alley from loose rocks. The NW ridge looks like the safest route, but I don't have any more information on the west face route.
Northwest Forest Pass required to park at Sunrise Mine/Headlee Pass trailhead.
Lewis Peak summit.
External LinksCheck current road conditions (Sunrise Mine trail)
Everett Herald: Lake Stevens man killed in fall was veteran hiker
Time to Climb
Summer may be the best time to climb although the brush is at its worst. Spring would give you the advantage of snow cover over the brush, although the narrow ridge may be difficult/dangerous in places because of cornices and exposure.
I brought my dog along on this trip, not really knowing what to expect (she is a good scrambler). I would not recommend bringing dogs. There are a few spots going up the ridge that are impossible for a dog to do without human assistance. High on the ridge, there is a 10' vertical step that requires scrambling and is NOT passable by dogs even with assistance.
She still had fun.