Pickhandle Point is yet another very special summit located in the Crystal Mountain Area. Being just southwest of Crown Point, Pickhandle Point has many of the same views that its nearby mountains have. But the view from Pickhandle is still very unique in tat it offers unique views of Crown Point, Bullion Peak and Platinum Peak to the north. Like the others peaks in the area Pickhandle Peak can be reached via the Crystal Mountain Ski Area.
The best way to reach the mountain is by Pickhandle Basin which lies in between Pickhandle Ridge and Crown Point. I personally tried the ridge in two feet of snow and did not make it. In winter you can either go up the ski lift when the ski resort is closed or by the side trails to the left of the ski area. Once at the top of the ski area you want to make a right and take the well groomed snowmobile into what looks a vacation home or rental area. You will go over is bridge. Watch for snowmobilers here.
Once in the area head right up the steeper slope. Once you reach the height of land on the first uphill slope slowly veer to the left and head over to Pickhandle Basin. Pickhandle Basin is the obvious open field which lies between Pickhandle Ridge and Crown Point. From there look for a stream area on your right that is head uphill in the south facing direction. Take that stream all the way up to the ridgeline. Once on the ridgeline head east along the ridgeline to the summit.
In summer Pickhandle Point is just a simple scramble off the Pacific Crest Trail and there are also a number of other trail which come close to the summit in which one can just simply just do a light scramble to the top.
Though Pickhandle Point is very close to a ski area it rarely see traffic even on busy winter weekend. It is recommended that you go up this peak more than three days after heavy snows and let the snow consolidate a little before climbing. It can be a difficult peak to summit when there new powder as many of the other peaks are in the region.
VIA THE CRYSTAL MOUNTAIN SKI AREA: From Enumclaw take 410 east for 33 miles until just before reaching the gate of Mt. Rainier National Park. In winter this road will be gated just passed the Crystal Mountain Road. Make a left on Crystal Mountain Blvd (7190) (paved) go roughly 6 miles to the main ski area.
Note: In summer you can take the F. S. R. road roughly 1.8 miles from the ski area and take it up to the Bullion Basin Trailhead at 4800 feet. The road is rocky and steep (4WD highly recommended) and a Northwest Forest Pass is required.
Red TapeWHEN GOING INTO THE BACKCOUNTRY YOU ARE REQUIRED TO CHECKIN WITH THE SKI PATROL AND SHOW YOUR INTENDED DESTINATION. IN ADDITION IF YOU PLAN ON STAYING OVERNIGHT YOU WILL HAVE TO PARK IN A DESIGNATED SPOT OVERNIGHT WITH YOUR INTENDED ROUTE LISTED ON THE VEHICLE.
No fees required at Crystal Mountain to park. However you must stay off the established ski trails at all times.
In summer if you take the F.S.R. 410 trailhead you will be required to have a Northwest Forest Pass.
CampingIt is required that if you plan on camping in the backcountry and park at the Crystal Mountain Ski Area that you check in at the Ski Patrol before planning any overnight trip and park only in the designated lots that they give you.
External Links The best page to find local weather and local conditions on Pickhandle Point and neighboring mountains in the region.
The best website for trip report on Pickhandle Point and other Cascade Mountains in the region.