The StatsDirty Harry's Peak
Around 9 miles roundtrip (including road to the yellow gate)
Elevation: 4680 feet
Elevation Gain 3500 feet
YDS Class 1
Time on Ascent: 1 hour 50 minutes
Time on summit area: 30 minutes
Time on Descent: 1 hour 55 minutes
The Trip Report
Well it is November, the rainiest month in Seattle. And no surprise, it is cloudy and drizzly in the western Cascades. I tried to beg my friends in crossing the pass and doing something in the Teanaway but to no available. I thought about crossing the pass myself but it was 10:00 am when I was heading out so I knew that was not the answer.
Should I call it a wash and just head to local park. No way!! I was pumped and I wanted to keep my momentum going. I was determined not to do a repeat peak such as Bandera, Granite or Teneriffe. And I definitely was not in the mood for Tiger. So it was time to head to no other peak than Dirty Harry’s leaving the option open to maybe grab one or two others if the weather was right.
Dirty Harry’s is a lesser known of the I-90 corridor mountains in the region and it receives much less attention than that of Defiance, Bandera (the false summit at least), and Mailbox. As a peak though it is respectable hike at 8 miles roundtrip and about 3500 feet of elevation gain. Knowing it is November which could mean a number of different trail conditions I decided to purposely over pack. I brought an ice axe well as number of warmer clothes just in case it was icy. Besides I need to get in good condition for next year.
I decided to park just before the yellow gate. Chances are even though I arrived at 11:30 am and I would easily make it back by 4:00 pm I didn’t want to leave anything to chance. Hey if I can make this trip 10 miles it only adds to the bragging rights. The weather was it’s typical foggy and drizzly western Washington November day so I knew good views would not be the case on this trip. I went up the paved road roughly a mile and using Redwic’s great description of the trailhead it was very easy for me to find the trail and start heading up the mountain. The trail up was mostly a moderate to at times steeper ascent. Going up I was looking for Dirty Harry’s Balcony but I wasn’t paying close enough attention because I was going too fast. By the time I started to look for the spur trail I was already 1000 feet in elevation higher than the turnoff. Most of the trail/ dirt road was easy to follow albeit the gravel and small rocks did make the footing at times poor. This along with the heavier than normal pack did slow me up a bit as I was rising.
I did see the talus field in which some of the more aggressive hikers and scramblers go up however the trail to the left of the field looked like it was going to the same location so I continued on the trail. This trail was uneventful but fairly steep in places. Parts of the trails resembled more of a stream than a trail. This was due to the flooding rains the three days before. One thing that was absent was snow. You would think that on November 9th there would be at least a little snow, but the rains from the Pineapple Express must have washed it away. Hopefully we don’t have to deal with another Pineapple Express so we can start developing our snow pack.
I made the summit area in about 1 hour and 50 minutes (1:20 pm). I was slower here than that of Defiance largely due to the larger pack. The only thing that was confusing was where was the true summit of Dirty Harry’s. Though on a clear day there are good views to be seen away from the trees the summit was wooded so I decided to walk around the whole top to make sure I did not miss a spot in the trees. Upon stepping on every bump and bushwhacking past a scree field. I came across a spot which had a good view of Dirtybox and of North Bend. It was the only view I was going to see all day so I had to make the most of it.
Unfortunately the background noise was more violent than a Dirty Harry movie. Gun shots could be heard at almost a constant rain. It kind of worried me because they sounded close and the only bright color I had was my backpack cover. After spend about 30 minutes either looking at where the true summit is or enjoying what I knew was going to be my only view I decided to head down.
On the way down I made sure not to be too quiet. Often I would talk out loud just to let know possible hunters where I was located. On the way down the shots were still going off, and some were becoming louder. My suspicion was that maybe there was either a training seminar at the Fire Training area nearby or some sort of rifle range nearby. Still I left nothing to chance because I rather look like a crazy man than be a dead man. I did find the link trail to Dirty Harry’s Balcony but by this time it was raining and I just wanted to head home. Besides today all I wanted to do was summit a peak and put it on my tally and that is exactly what I did. I didn’t move the quickest but I made it back to the car by 3:45 pm. The rocks on the trail slowed me up a but and I was also moving cautiously due to the gunfire. It did end once I got past the spur trail to Dirty Harry’s Balcony. Once I made it back to the car, brushed off the water on my backpack cover and headed on back. Overall it was another productive day. There were shots fired and I shot down Dirty Harry’s Peak!!!