Purple (point 6910) is a point along the painted traverse West of Portal Peak. While not particularly prominent (optimistically only about 390 feet) it certainly has the feel of a respectable mountain with sweeping slopes to the West and snowy precipices to the East. The views of Glacier Peak, Kololo, Sloan, White and Portal alone are certainly worth the visit and it will be a necessary summit to stay on route if completing the traverse to Painted.
Purple Peak at Sunset
From Darrington go south on the mountain loop highway about 17 miles turning left onto Sloan Creek Road and following it to its end at the North Fork Sauk trail head. From here there are two options depending on which route you want to take. Perhaps the easiest is to take the North Fork Sauk trail 8.5 miles to Red Pass junction, then continue to Red Pass, up Portal and over the west side of portal. Alternatively, if doing the Painted Traverse, follow the North Fork Sauk 1/3 mile until it's junction with Red (Painted) Mountain trail which takes you part way up Painted. Climb Painted then traverse East over many unfriendly class 3/4 scrambles interspersed with snowfields bumping over Magenta, Black then bearing south to Brown and Skullcap.
Glacier and Kololo from Portal-Purple Gap
From Red Pass, climb Portal Peak then bear West on easy heather slopes (or snow pending season). Follow the ridge to the top.
From the Painted Traverse follow the ridge East-South over Magenta, Black, Brown and Skullcap. The last bit up 6910 starts with an "easy class 3" according to Stefan Feller, but down-sloping mossy and airy. (I took a class 4 variation that was near vertical but more secure) Ending is easy walking.
Route south to Purple
A Northwest Forest Pass is required to park at the trailhead.
When to Climb
Potentially this peak can be climbed any time of year. If touring in snowy conditions, please check with NOAA, NWAC and have a locator beacon/spot and avy gear. The Sloan Creek Road (NF-49) may also be closed in winter.
Camp only in designated camping locations. Use established fire rings and put them out properly. Practice "leave no trace" as this is a wilderness area.
External LinksNOAA forecast
Office Hours and infromation for MBSNF
Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie road and trail conditions
NWHikers trip reports of the Painted Traverse in Dry and Snow conditions:
Painted Traverse report by Stefan
Painted Traverse report by Wolfie