Gilbert Peak WA, Warm Lake/Surprise Lake

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Gilbert Peak WA, Warm Lake/Surprise Lake

by tpendley4968 » Wed Jul 24, 2013 3:48 am

I am planning a hike and hopefully will summit Gilbert Peak WA. I have never been here before....anyone hike this one before. Questions are, any fishing at Warm or Surprise Lake?

And do I need crampons to reach the summit of Gilbert Peak? I will be hiking up there in Mid August!

Lastly, I picked Gilbert Peak for the views of Adams, Rainier and St. Helens...anyone got a better summit hike with a great view of theses three with potential for fishing as wll?

Thanks in advance!

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Re: Gilbert Peak WA, Warm Lake/Surprise Lake

by » Wed Jul 24, 2013 7:55 pm

I have climbed Curtis Gilbert several times from both the west and east approaches. The east approach via Conrad Meadows is by far the easiest, about 18 miles round trip with 4300 feet of elevation gain. Round trip time from car to summit and back to car is in the ten hour range, mostly on trail, with only two fifty foot sections of moderate scrambling. Best route description is at p. 214 of "75 Scrambles in Washington."

I am not a fisherman, but I believe that Surprise Lake has fish and Warm Lake does not. By mid August the route should be entirely free of snow, so an ice axe would not be needed. Only problem is that the trail to Surprise is popular with horses and has lots of dust if it hasn't rained in a while. It's tempting to wait for wetter weather in September, but in the Fall lots of hunters appear. Prime time is mid to late August after a rain. There are a lot of cattle (and an occasional bull) when you start out through the Meadows. Best not to hike this part in the dark or with a chase-happy dog.

Robert McIntosh, Olympia, WA

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Re: Gilbert Peak WA, Warm Lake/Surprise Lake

by Snidely Whiplash » Fri Jul 26, 2013 7:10 pm

Surprise Lake may have fishing, and I've seen it in the distance from Warm Lake, but it's in the woods and I've read in the 100 Hikes book that it's not very pleasant, having been ruined by a lot of horse traffic. Having seen where it is, I don't think it would have many good views. Warm Lake has great views (only of Curtis-Gilbert, but not of the other peaks you mention), but is really nothing more than a clear, shallow pond that is quite small. Definitely no fish, but very pleasant swimming.

Curtis-Gilbert is a fun, easy climb from Warm Lake. Crampons should not be necessary. I climbed it in August from Warm Lake, and all you need to do is reach the ridge from Warm Lake, which is very close, and walk that wide, easy highway-like ridge to a Class 3 summit scramble. No snow involved. Curtis-Gilbert does have a great central location for all of the peaks you mention. This I can say without doubt. If you want fishing, I think you can do better than the Goat Rocks; there aren't a lot of lakes there, and those that I am aware of (Warm Lake, Goat Lake, Sheep Lake) don't have any fishing. Try some destinations in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Better fishing there I would think. And many more lakes.

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