I was in northeastern Washington and north Idaho hiking County Highpoints and Prominence Peaks with SP’er Eric
and hiking friend Ken. This was a planned short weekend activity and after a few days ken had to go back to work. Eric stayed one more day and we set our sights on Scotchman Peak.
We had climbed Boundary County Highpoint with Ken and then Eric and I drove up Hoodoo Peak on our way to Scotchman Peak. We approached Scotchman Peak in the dark and somehow found the trailhead. We found a place to car camp and quickly hit the sack. We planned an early morning hike on Scotchman so that Eric could drive all the way home after the hike.
It rained off and on all night, but had stopped by the time it started getting light. Since we came all this way, we decided to give Scotchman a go even though there was still a low cloud cover. We crossed the creek at the trailhead and found the trail. The trail didn’t waste any time gaining elevation. Eric called it “efficient”. The trail averages 1,000 ft gain per mile all the way to the summit.
The higher we climbed the colder it got. Then it started raining on us. We put on our rain jackets and continued up. It wasn’t long before it was spitting a wet snow on us instead of rain. We were not deterred and continued upward. Near the summit the trail was blocked by snow fields and we had to guess where the trail would re-appear. We guessed pretty good and kept stumbling on the trail further up the mountain. We couldn’t see very far because we were encased in a cloud. We did wonder where summer was on this the first full day of summer.
When we got close to the summit, I got a glimpse of Dean’s goat on the summit rocks. We climbed up to the lookout summit and then managed an icy traverse to the actual summit that we could barely see through the cloudy mist. This icy traverse wasn’t fun at all, but we managed it without breaking anything. We were now freezing cold and wet. Since there were no views in any direction, we headed down as quickly as we could go. Down meant warmer air and we needed that luxury soon.
Eric set a good pace going down and my quads were burning. At least this warmed me up. We were back at the trailhead 5 hours after we started. Eric had plenty of time to drive home before going to work the next day. I headed west also and drove up Moses Mountain before heading south back to Oregon.
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