North Face Terrace Mountain
Terrace Mountain is a remote peak due north of Mt. Daniel and Mt. Hinman in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness of Washington. Its name is derived from the terrace-like benches prominent on the south face of the mountain. It is these benches and the north ridge which make Terrace a practical scramble. All other faces would require technical-climbing skills. Terrace is not a particularly high mountain, but it is located in the heart of some of the most beautiful country in the lower 48. On the way to its summit, you will pass by two very prominent subalpine lakes, climb a divide overlooking Clarice and Marmot Lakes and the glaciated north face of Mt. Daniel, and be treated to great views. One caviat. This is a long, arduous scramble, involving lots of ups and downs, routefinding challenges, some brush-beating, and remote wilderness travel. You must be competent in navigation and orienteering. A strong party will require one long day (12 hours) to make the ascent. Your reward will be great views, and a seldom-visited summit.
Ridge Approach to Terrace
Drive US Highway 2 East from Monroe past the town of Skykomish. Take the Foss lakes cut-off, and turn left onto Forest Service Road 6830 to the Mt. Sawyer/Tonga Ridge Trail trailhead. From here, it is an easy 3 mile hike, when you will arrive at an unmarked trail junction in a flat open meadow. Go left, slightly descending the unmaintained trail at first, and then climbing over a divide and descending Fisher Lake in about 1.5 miles. Continue past Fisher Lake on the trail in a southeasterly direction, arriving at Ptarmigan Lakes in about 1/2 mile. From here, you can brush beat up the divide east of Ptarmigan Lakes to the north ridge of Terrace Mountain. The ridge becomes very narrow at one point and exposed, but this point must be passed to access the upper mountain. About 100 vertical feet below the summit (which can be seen), down climb a Class 3 chimney, cross talus slopes for about 100 feet, and traverse right around the summit block. Easy heather and grass slopes will take you to the summit.
Mount Daniel from Terrace Summit
Terrace from Ptarmigan Lake
There is very little red-tape involved in climbing Terrace Mountain. It is located in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. A self-issued permit can be found at the trailhead. Contact the Skykomish Ranger Station for more information at:
Skykomish Rnager Station
Skykomish, WA 98288
There are numerous campsites, as well as good fishing, along the trail circuiting Fisher Lake. There are NO campsites at Ptarmigan Lakes, as the terrain surrounding those lakes is very steep and heavily vegetated.
TOPO! Software Image
The closest year-round Forest Service ranger station is in Skykomish, about 16 miles from Stevens Pass. Contact information above.
Snow conditions are available from the the Stevens Pass Ski Area at the following website:
Conditions at Stevens Pass
Also, webcams are available from the Washington State Department of Transportation at:
Stevens Pass Web Cam