Mt Pilchuck Winter Route 6.3.10

Mt Pilchuck Winter Route 6.3.10

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Jun 3, 2010
Activities Activities: Hiking

Starting Out

Well, Well, Well… A little break in the Westside Weather!!! I was tortured at work all day Thursday with the beautiful partly sunny skies teasing me. When I grabbed a bite to eat at lunch, I looked up at the clear skies around Mt Pilchuck and I got a great idea. I’m gonna go up there after work. The only times that I’ve been up on Pilchuck; it’s been a great big fogged in show.

So I headed home after work, grabbed the gear I needed and raced to the trailhead. Apparently there is evening traffic in Granite Falls, so I tightly gripped the wheel and gritted my teeth. Made it through all that mess and was soon at the trailhead. There were two cars in the parking lot. I talked to one guy and he didn’t go up to the lookout. He said it was pretty slippery and he wasn’t planning on going all the way up. I smiled, got my gear on, swatted a million bugs and headed up. It was about 6:45pm when I left my truck.

I made good time through the timber and enjoyed some quick views through the trees.
Mt PilchuckView Of The Glowing Puget Sound

I ran into the second guy coming down. He said it was real slippery and he didn’t have crampons or anything so he didn’t make it to the lookout. I think maybe he thought I was a bit crazy leaving so late. However, I knew my turn back time and I was well prepared with the proper gear.

Hitting Snow/ Evening Views

I continued the ascent and hit snow at about 4,100’. I probably didn’t need to, but I put crampons on here just to be safe. The snow was consolidated, with about 2 inches of slush on top. Below the slush was a very solid and slippery base, which would slow down my time with just boots.

I continued to run up the hill. The views started to become amazing as the evening sun glowed upon the Puget Sound.

Mt Pilchuck The Puget Sound Turned To Gold

It felt so amazing to be up there in the evening. The weather was perfect and I had the whole mountain to myself. Once I got into the big snow bowl, I headed straight up the winter route. It was a fun way to go. Once I got to the ridge, there was about 40 feet of scrambling around trees and boulders on a steep incline. Some mountain hemlocks made great belays as usual. The snow is starting to melt and separate from the rocks, so be careful falling through. I was able to navigate around with no breakthroughs. That was nice.

Mt PilchuckWhale Fin Shaped Rock With Puget Sound Behind

Once I started up the ridge I skirted around some large boulders here and there. I came to the point were you could take a left out toward some cornices with a large cliff or take a right over some large boulders.

Mt PilchuckLarge Cornice On The North Face

I chose the boulders and it was a safe pain in the rear. I just wasn’t sure about the cornices. Hikers have been going that way, but I wasn’t going to take the chance. The boulders were fun, but lame on making good time.

The Lookout

I finally made it to the lookout at 8:30pm.

Mt PilchuckMe Cheesing It Up At The Lookout

Mt PilchuckViews From The Summit

Mt PilchuckPosing

The sun was starting to show off some breathtaking colors. Three Fingers, Baker and Glacier were looking sick as usual. Cloud cover was starting to come in from the southwest, but everywhere else was on fire with views. I hung out for awhile taking pictures, eating cashews and just soaking in the goodness.
Mt PilchuckWhitehorse And Three Finger Mountains
Mt PilchuckMt Baker
Mt PilchuckWhitehorse And Three Finger Mountains

When I was at the lookout, I scoped out the cornice on the north face. I could see a tight line hugged against the small trees and boulders that I could take down the ridge. It looked safe and would be quicker than the way I came up. I went for it and it was easy as pie.
Mt PilchuckLooking East Toward Glacier Peak

Last Bit Of Light

Mt PilchuckRed And Pinks

Then it was a descent from the ridge with a couple quick, rough glissades in the burning red sunset.
Mt PilchuckPurple And Pink

Ran the solid snow down into the timber and it was a headlamp show through the woods back to the truck. I took about an hour to get back to my rig from the lookout. Once back at my rig the bugs had fallen asleep and the rain started to come down.

What a great evening before a weekend full of busy trails!!!


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