Pyramid Peak (9/13/13)
Pyramid Peak not to be confused with Pyramid Peak right off of the Pacific Crest Trail is known for formally holding a Washington State Fire Lookout. On the summit you can still see some of the debris from when the lookout tower was there. The lookout tower is long gone but the views from the lookout tower are still there. Though the views to the north are now blocked by trees with exception to one or two peak-a-boo views, the views toward Mount Rainier and west through the valley are excellent. You can also see many other summits in the south including the Crystal Mountain region.
Pyramid Peak (9/13/13)
The effort to get to this Pyramid Peak is also much different from heading to the Pyramid Peak in Mount Rainier National Park. At a little over 2 miles round trip and 900 feet of elevation gain one can finish this peak with a lot of the day left for other summits or other activities. If one was wise they would save this summit for a clear evening when they can hike up to the top and be able to enjoy the views of Mount Rainier along with the beautiful sunset. After they see the sun set they should be able to get off the mountain before full darkness occurs. Pyramid Peak is also recommend for newer hikers and children. The trail up to Pyramid Peak is steep and footing with the sandy trail is a little iffy but the trip is short and the rewards on the top are very worthwhile. Trekking poles are useful here on this trail. This hike might inspire future mountaineers by its excellent view of Mount Rainier.
Pyramid Peak from Windy Pass
Remenants of the former lookout.
During the winter Pyramid Peak is still very doable provided you use the Pyramid Creek Sno-Park. Unless you are using a snowmobile though this mountain will take all day (15 + miles) and most of the day will require a slog on snowshoes. It will also require your car to have a Sno-Park pass which is $21 for the day and $42 for the year. Watch out for the potential of cornices that might form on the summit in winter and with any mountain in the region in winter, please keep an eye on the avalanche conditions and the weather.
Getting ThereFROM PYRAMID PASS:
Take 410 to roughly two miles south of Greenwater. Make a left onto FR 70 and take it about 15 miles. Make a left onto FR 7080 and take it all the way to Pyramid Pass (note much of this will be closed in winter)
FROM WINDY PASS:
Take 410 to roughly two miles south of Greenwater. Make a left onto FR 70 and take it about 7 miles. Make a left on FS 7030 and take it roughly 5 miles as it up to an intersection. On that intersection make a right onto Route 7036 and take it roughly 4 miles as it maneuvers around other rock and ridges. If you have a high clearance vehicle then using the map take a right onto the that go directly to Windy Pass. Park at the pullout there.
Pyramid Peak Route Map. Notice both from the north and the south route has been noted on the map.
The route to the summit starts off from the Pacific Crest Trail which is very user friend and easy to head up. You will see an unmarked but well traveled trail that merge of to the north. If you are coming from the south this will be on the right hand side. From there take the steeper trail as it switchback up to the summit of Pyramid Peak. Trekking Poles are not required however I found them useful on this trail. You will know that you are getting close to the summit when excellent views of Mount Rainier start coming out on your left.
Spur Trail Sign
BearQueen on the move!
There are other ways to go up. From Windy Pass you can either pick up the Pacific Crest which will go a mile and a half south and pick up the Pyramid Peak trail or you can attempt to bushwhack up some very steep terrain with a lot of debris on the ground. Taking the trail was a little annoying because you lose 200 feet of elevation before you then have to then re-climb the other 700 feet to the summit. On the other hand the short direct bushwhack scramble was a choir in that the terrain was steep and the maneuvering through the vegetation was very rough. I personally would recommend the long way myself.
BearQueen resting on the summit.
I wonder if that tree has fallen yet.
There was no red tape signs located here in summer. However if you go in winter you will be using the Pyramid Creek Sno-Park pass (only sold at REI, and at ranger stations). That will run you $21 for the day or $43 for the year.
When to Climb
Typical summer views from Pyramid Peak
This peak can be climbed at anytime. However take into account that the roads leading up to Pyramid Peak will be closed in winter making this a much longer and much tougher hike in the winter. Winter conditions make require some or all of the following: ice axe, snowshoes, microspikes, trekking poles, cold weather gear and if the road is closed for long distances a tent. For those wanting to do this peak in winter you will have to park at the Pyramid Creek Sno-Park and get a permit. If you have a snowmobile this will shorten the hiking time dramatically.
There may also be snow on this mountain as late as early July so please check road and trail conditions before you go on this hike.
Camping here does not require a permit. You can camp anywhere however there were no camping areas that I saw on the way to this summit. Even the summit area had no real good areas to camp though you could setup a simple bivy there.
External LinksGreat Page by SP member Eric Willhite on Pyramid Peak
Pyramid Peak Peakbagger Page
Pyramid Creek Sno-Park Website