Finding the Trail
Selected Climbs book says the climbers trail starts 4 miles east of Washington Pass. Park at the wide shoulder where a sign points to Silver Star Mountain. There is no sign now, but the rest is correct, just don't expect it to be obvious just driving by. If you get to Cutthroat Lake Trail Road you have gone too far. There is no guard rail where you park if that helps. The guard rail starts just past the climbers trail down to Early Winters Creek. Once you are out of the car and looking down, the climbers trail is clearly there. We could not see Burgundy or the Col, because it was in the clouds. If it's clear, that's another bearing for you. Park your car, find the climber's trail down and head for the Col. Find a way across Early Winter Creek, then stay north of Burgundy Creek, but close enough to hear it, because that's the way to find the climber's trail up to the the "bench" or basin at about 6400 feet. We did not find the climber's trail on the way up, but it is not real bushy once you leave the creek and begin your way up.
Views, weather, alpine vistas
The clouds were lifting, we were getting higher and the views improving quickly. We left the car at 6:00AM and made ok time for us. We are never the fastest, just steady. Once we could see the Burgundy Col, we had to traverse some to get into the steep gully which was hard snow. Hard enough I just put on my crampons. I left them on all the way to the summit, although snow conditions varied from hard to soft, off and on until we got to the summit portion. It seems there would be many scrambling routes up the last few hundred feet, but we chose to stay on hard snow up to the top.
Through the Burgundy Col, onto the summit
This was a great climb. Nothing technical, no rope or gear required, just crampons and ice axe. The views are typical of the North Cascades, just plain exceptional on a good day. There were only two other climbers on the route this day, no croud control needed. Its kind of special to be up high, watching cars and trucks go by, listening to the motorcycles gun it up the road to the pass. You wonder what they get out of the trip. Climbing is a different world. I enjoyed every minute of this trip with one of my favorite climbing partners, Nick. We'll do another as soon as we can and hope for good weather and a safe return, just like all of you. Now, go climb a mountain.
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