Lost Peak is a name that certainly fits this unremarkable moutain in the Pasayten Wilderness. If it weren't for the mountain's Big Boy status (Big Boy = Washington Top 100 peak), it would probably be climbed even less than it is already. I certainly would not have made a summitpost page for it. But since I'm trying to create a page for all the Big Boys near Mt. Lago
, I have decided to include it. The peak is roughly 63rd highest in the state. What it lacks in climbing and aesthetics, it makes up for in views--especially in the span of Top 100 peaks from 8,371-ft Lake Mountain to the SW to 8,614-ft Ptarmigan Peak
to the NW. However, it does have a steep north side.
Lost Peak is located between Monument Creek to the west and Lost River to the east. The Lost River Gorge a few miles south of the peak is one of the more inaccessible valleys in the Cascades. No trail runs through this gorge and it is seldom seen from within.
The shortest proven approach from a road would have to be via the Lost River-Monument Creek-Ptarmigan Creek Trail No. 484 (starts on Harts Pass Road at the Lost River/Methow River confluence). This trail begins by paralleling the Lost River northeastward until it turns left after crossing Eureka Creek. This point marks the start of the Lost River Gorge. The trail then ascends toward Pistol Peaks and finally arrives at 7,100-ft Pistol Pass in 11 miles. The trail then drops down to Monument Creek. In approximately 15 miles the trail crosses Monument Creek. This crossing is at the southern foot of Lost Peak. Alternately, one can get to the peak by starting at Slate Pass and taking the trail up the Middle Fork Pasayten River to Berk Creek then up to Freds Pass and across the head of Eureka Creek to Shellrock Pass for a good camp for doing Lost the next day. Either way, a climb of Lost Peak would take a minimum of two days. An unverified approach to Lost Peak would be via Eightmile Pass-Hidden Lake Trail No. 477, leaving the trail at somewhere in the vicinity of Lucky Pass and then traveling cross-country westward down into Lost River and back up again to the eastern slopes of Lost Peak. Heavy brush should be expected in the Lost River valley bottom. Cliff bands may be present above the valley bottom.
A climb of Lost Peak can be made by its dry southwest slopes, but this will entail approximately 3,400 ft of disagreeable scree and talus. You know: the type of scree and talus that makes for a quick, easy descent but is two steps forward and one step back on the ascent. A better way to climb the mountain would be from a start at 7,800-ft Butte Pass, which is about 1 mile WNW of the summit. This route climbs through some sparse sub-alpine tree-cover to the T-junction ridge crest between Pk. 8211 and Pk. 8140 (Pass Butte) then follows the barren crest eastward over Pass Butte (yes, Butte Pass & Pass Butte are the official names!). Climbing Lost Peak from Butte Pass avoids all the scree and talus on the south and southwest slopes of the mountain.
Permits are not required as far as I know, though signing a trailhead register might be requested. When I was out there for a week in August, I saw less than five people once I got back to the Shellrock Pass vicinity.
When To Climb
The peak could probably be climbed in every season except winter. Access depends on conditions for getting to the trailhead. The peak will probably require three days to get to, climb, and get back from, so plan accordingly. Technical equipment would ordinarily not be necessary--although an ice-axe might be worthwhile in early season.
Campsites are plentiful in the Pasayten Wilderness though the Forest Service does request that you use designated sites--especially for those traveling on horseback. The terrain around the 5,000-ft level of Monument Creek is fairly open forest, allowing a camp to be made almost anywhere, but again sites probably do exist. Once you get up to near Shellrock Pass, the terrain gets a little more rocky. Good camping could be found on the ridge extending east from the low-point at Butte Pass, but water may be scarce here in late-season.
When I was in there in August 2001, I was snowed on lightly for one night at my 7,500-ft camp. Knowing this, plan your clothing appropriately. It can be hot or cold or in between in the Pasayten. Ordinarily, you won't get much rainfall as the wilderness is far east of the Cascade Crest. However, when I was there, it rained for 36 hours straight. I stayed in my tent nearly the whole time.