Snoqualmie Lundin Traverse

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Nov 15, 2008
Activities Activities: Mountaineering
Seasons Season: Fall

Weather looks good!

I had planned on doing something this weekend no matter what the weather report was saying. My friend chico and I were originally planning on climbing the Fisher Chimneys route on Shuksan until his truck broke down and I received a call from him saying he couldn't go. Now that I was going to be alone, I didn't want to climb something quite as big so I thought I would settle for a small peak close to home. Soon I was planning on the west ridge of Lundin Peak. Then my plans kept growing and finally I settled on climbing Snoqualmie Mountain first, then traversing over to Lundin Peak, climbing the west ridge and descending the east ridge. Altogether it would be a nice 9.5 miles (including the one mile walk between trailheads where I parked and exited the climb). The night before, I find out that both Ellen and Bob are wanting to join me! Two good friends, alpine rambling, decent weather forecast, what could be better?

An "early start"

bentley cookin up the smokiesmy roommate cooking breakfast

Bob hates getting up early so I settled on picking him up at 7:00 am at his apartment in Seattle. We arrived at the Alpental parking lot around 8:00 after a stop for breakfast and coffee and were hiking by 8:30. Both Bob and Ellen hadn't done anything physical for a while so we went slowly. Normally a slow pace makes me antsy, but today it was really relaxing as we headed up the steep climbers path to the SE ridge of Snoqualmie Mountain.
Hiking InHiking up the climbers path

Before we knew it we were high on the ridge and into the snow. Even though Bob and Ellen hadn't been hiking or climbing recently, they were both keeping a decent pace and not even sweating! Far below we watched the cars fly down I-90 ad the fog peel back towards the east.
High on Snoqualmiegetting higher
Within a few minutes, we were sitting at the top of Snoqualmie Mountain. We ran into a few people on the summit, ate a powerbar, filled half drunk water-bottles with snow and started the traverse.

The Traverse

Starting the traversestarting the traverse

The beginning of the traverse descends the north side of Snoqualmie behind the northern "fin" of the mountain. To do this it requires going around the east side of the fin and an exposed but easy ledge scramble. This went with no difficulties and we were soon on our way to the snow dome. I had expected the talus to be barely covered with snow but the snow was surprisingly deep and stable. Only every now and then we would break through where we thought it would be solid.
snow covered taluscrossing the ridge of talus

Before long we came to a steep section of the ridge. It required us to face into the slope and downclimb with the aid of trees. The runout here was terrible. It consisted of a steep iced up gully that pinched down to only a few feet wide. If one of us would have fallen we would have been destroyed by the squeeze in the gully then fall hundreds of feet off a cliff. Good thing no one fell.
steep snow downclimbingsteep downclimb

The bottom of this downclimb put us on the beginning of the west ridge of Lundin. A few hundred feet of scrambling brought us to a place where we roped up. Normally I don't carry a rope on this route, but due to the wet and slushy/icy conditions the rope was a good idea. We simulclimed up to the crux of the climb in one long pitch.
One the w ridgegetting ready to climb

After taking in Bob and Ellen I set out on the crux of the climb. The crux is an easy 4th class slabby section that is decently exposed but usually easy and fun. Since the slabs were all dripping with water and slush, the climbing was much more difficult than normal. Usual handhold were under snow and ice, good smearing turned into slippery lichen and dripping water had already frozen our hands. But a little spice added to an easy climb is always a fun surprise. The climbing was never really hard at all, just more precision was needed than in normal dry conditions.
the cruxclimbing slushy slabs

Bob cleaning the short pitchBob cleaning the pitch

From the top of the crux pitch we simulclimbed to the summit since it is mostly a flat bench from there. There was no real need for the rope but it would have taken longer to put it away than to just clim b to the summit.
from the summitBob and Ellen just below the summit

We all signed the summit register, named the peaks in the area, ate some food, drank some water then headed down. The down climb and rappel of the east ridge was very uneventful except for one slip that almost ended Bob but he's still around to tell about it. After descending the east ridge you have to go up and over two false summits to get back to a trail. This involves a few short scrambles and a traverse of a snow slope with big runout. Since there was a bit of snow but not too much, this made the snow slope fairly precarious. But we were careful and made it back to dry rock.
EllenEllen scrambling the first false summit. fairly exposed.

After both false summits were out of the way we just had trail trail and more trail.
the three of usus

The trail back

You would think that the adventure would end here. Well, it didn't. We had been taking out time so much throughout the day that the sun was close to going down. We all had headlamps but no one likes to hike out in the dark when it could be done in the light.

It became dark as soon as we hit the valley floor of commonwealth basin. Since we were climbing in the middle of a high pressure system that brought warm air into the mountains, the streams were all roaring high with meltwater. The whole basin was basically a big mudhole/stream. The normal commonwealth basin trail was literally a stream for most of the way. To make thinks more interesting, when we got to the first real stream crossing, all the boulders usually used to cross it were under water. It required a good jump from a slippery log to a smaller slippery log. Once on the other side, we realized the trail was well under another part of the stream. We spent a good time trying to find a way around the stream. Finally, we found a way out of the watery mess back to the semi-dry trail... only to come to the next stream crossing. This one is normally wide and shallow. Today it was wide and deep (and by deep I mean 1 foot). There was no way across it without getting wet. We looked at each other and said, "we're only a mile from the trailhead, who cares," and just walked through the water turning out boots into swimming pools. We sloshed out way out the trail and the mile of road between the PCT parking lot and Alpental.

Back at the car we changed into dry clothes and shoes and hurried off to Arby's for a traditional post climb meal of thinly sliced piles of roast beef.


Post a Comment
Viewing: 1-10 of 10

Deltaoperator17 - Nov 18, 2008 1:33 pm - Voted 10/10

Nice Report!

Very nice Report!


Tsuyoshi - Nov 23, 2008 5:18 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Nice Report!



yatsek - Nov 23, 2008 5:13 am - Voted 10/10


What could be better?


Tsuyoshi - Nov 23, 2008 5:17 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Right

I guess being with the same people on the west ridge of forbidden on a sunny day without anyone else in sight... but really, in the end, I don't think it matters.


yatsek - Nov 23, 2008 6:04 am - Voted 10/10

Re: Right

So I reckon it's not gonna be difficult for you to taste the little bit better bit on a day you feel like it, in that fabulous quarter of the world; it's a bit harder here, in the center of Europe.

jpfluvog - Nov 24, 2008 2:17 pm - Hasn't voted


Great photos -- sitting in class it's great to read about and view the adventures others are going on that I have to look forward to.

Cheers from Salem, Oregon!


Tsuyoshi - Nov 24, 2008 3:34 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Beautiful!

Thanks! I do the same while sitting in class here.


EastKing - Nov 27, 2008 10:40 pm - Voted 10/10

Great TR

Nice to see a local climb make the front page. Stellar pics. Good for you to make the most of the rare beautiful November day.


Tsuyoshi - Nov 27, 2008 11:53 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Great TR

sunny november days are definitely rare! Thanks for the comment!

Mark Straub

Mark Straub - Aug 27, 2009 12:35 am - Voted 10/10

Cool TR!

Just did this same thing myself today (minus everything hard), and saw your trip report here. Your pictures are nice!


Viewing: 1-10 of 10



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