Main (East) Summit

Page Type
Washington, United States, North America
Route Type:
Technical Scramble
Time Required:
Most of a day
Class 4-5

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Main (East) Summit
Created On: Jun 23, 2004
Last Edited On: Jun 25, 2004


This summit requires a different "trailhead" than for the West Summit. For this peak, you want Swede Heaven Road.
Five miles west of Darrington on 530 is Swede Heaven Road. From the west, drive SR-530 25 miles east from Arlington to Swede Heaven Road on the left. Turn there.

From the Swede Heaven Road turn off at SR-530, go north across the river to a T-junction. Turn left and go 1.3 miles to 371st Street on the right (elevation 400 ft). 371st is Forest Road 1890. Drive FR-1890 north up the mountain for 2.9 miles to a junction (1,560 ft). Stay left and continue on 1 mile to where the road reaches a high point (1,920 ft) and begins going downhill slightly. Park at the high point. This is your start point. There is no trail.

Route Description

Leave the road and climb directly up the steep forested but open hillside due north or slightly west of north. You will eventually come to a ridge trending NW. Follow this ridge. It flattens out at about 4,000 ft. The ridge culminates at a rock outcrop amongst trees at 4,360+ ft (1.1 miles from the car; 2,440 ft of gain). To your left (west) you will see the Main Summit of Mt. Higgins. To your right (north) will be Round Mountain.

Continue west from Pt. 4360+ and follow the ridge over several annoying ridge knobs until you arrive at the base of the steepening upper East Ridge. The first barrier is comprised of a rock wall on the left and a cliffy timbered slope on the right. In the middle is a shorter rock promontory with a clump of evergreens left of center. Go to the left of these evergreens to find a Class 3 ramp that leads back right (north) above the evergreens and promontory. At the promontory turn left around the corner through some tight timber to the base of a brushy/treed/mossy cliff. Climb up the cliff for 80 vertical feet (Class 4/low 5th but with good green belays and girth-hitch protection) to a rappel station (if you can find it). From the rappel station, continue up the spine of the ridge. One or two more short Class 4 sections with ample green belays get you to easier ground then the rocky summit.

On the return, downclimb the upper Class 4 sections but rappel the 80-ft Class 4 part from the rap station (the rap station is on the north side of the spine in case you don't see it on the way up). Others have been known to freeclimb down this 80-ft section, but it is pretty exposed. A 50m rope is the perfect length to get you down to easier duff slopes.

Time = 4 hours up; 3,200 ft of gain; 4 miles roundtrip.

Essential Gear

Ice axe if early season (there is steep forest to contend with).
Crampons might be useful in icy conditions or to where in the steep duff forest if wet.
50m rope. A 50m rope is the perfect length for the one rappel.
Runners to sling trees for protection. A small rack is not really necessary.
Appropriate clothing for the weather conditions.

Miscellaneous Info

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