The baby brother of the Skykomish River Group (bigger siblings are Gunn Peak and Mount Baring), this one is often overlooked as it is a bit more difficult to obtain and there is no true nice path to the summit. Smoot calls this Class 3 and I guess it is true but there are some pretty exposed parts and very steep bushwhacking to do on this one. Routefinding and scrambling on this one can be tricky and make it a very worthy climb. Chances are you will have this one to yourself. Through half of 2005, there were only 4 other parties that had made the climb so it is definitely not a crowded climb.
The summit is incorrectly noted on maps (and on the Topozone Link on the left of this page as well for that matter) on the East Peak at 5831 feet. The true summit is about 300 feet higher to the northwest.
The peaks in this area are part of the proposed Wild Sky Wilderness. (click here for another link to that topic) The area is characterized by some amazing alpine flora and the upper reaches remain treeless in areas that are blasted by ice and snow and normally are under a long-enduring snowpack. This makes for a short growing season but the heather and wildflower displays are breathtaking. Both Beckey and Smoot talk about the snow in the gullies remaining late into the season (and Beckey mentions that most of the mountain can be glissaded into late Spring) but the climb was snowfree in July of 2005. Granted this was a low-snow year but don't count on snow being there.
The peaks in this area are an outcropping of the Index igneous, granitic batholith and this climb is characterized by lots of loose rock gullies with varying sizes of granite boulders until you get to the alpine region above about 4000 feet. This mountain is named after Andrew Merchant who made many claims in the area (per Beckey).
You'll get great views on clear days of many of the North Cascades. This climb is only 3 miles one way but you gain 3800 feet and that comes in mile 2 and 3 (the first mile is flat). Smoot claims this will take you 3-4 hours, Beckey says it's 6. It took me 5 and 1/2 but some time was wasted routefinding and downclimbing to safety. See the route page for details.