Anyone who has ever seen the movie the "Sounds of Music" will always remember the final scene where the family climbs over the Alps to escape and head on over to Switzerland. People tend to forget it was to escape from Germany and remember it more for the stunning scenery that they saw in the movie. The stunning waterfalls and the breathtaking mountains lways put us at awe.
Well the North Cascades have many areas that are like that movie. One place that is especially beautiful is around Mount Baker and Mount Shuksan. Back in 2014 when I climbed Ruth Mountain I was especially with the area of Hannegan Pass. The original trip was to knock off both Ruth and Hannegan but I was way too blasted to do both and it was an extremely hot day that time. Learning from that experience I decided to hike up Hannegan Peak on a little cooler day. The peak itself has been on my list for a very long time. I originally setup the trip on my hiking group but I had no takers so I decided to do it myself and solo. This is a peak I have been trying to do for a very long time and wanted to get this peak before the weather turns again.
The last leg to Hannegan Peak
I could not sleep the night before in anticipation for this trip. So as soon as I recognized that I could not get anymore sleep I got in the car and started my long 3.5 hour drive. I got to trailhead early and then got myself ready. The stunning morning light was very encouraging to see. I left the trailhead and because of the cool air I made a very good pace up to the pass. I passed by a number of dried waterfalls and could see stunning waterfall from nearby Mount Seifert. In about 2 hours I was up at Hannegan Pass where I ran into two very awesome people. Both were on a backpacking trip and both had undertaken a lot of obstacles but have made it through and now are living out there passion. It is always good to meet people like them. It motivates me to keep on enjoying the mountains when I can.
I continue up to Hannegan Peak. The trail itself is steeper up to the summit but it is downright stunning from the bottom of the mountain to the top. Soon alpine flowers layered the trail and seen of mountains and flowers were all around us. What really stuck out was the stunning views of Ruth Mountain from Hannegan Peak. Though I took the final leg slower I still seems to summit the peak (minus the break) in a little over three hours. Not bad for a now 290 lb. hiker that is currently at war with severe hypothyroidism.
The summit of Hannegan
The Breathtaking Summit
Ruth and other mountains Granite Mountain and company
On my last trip report I said that Green Mountain was the prettiest mountain that I have done in years. Now I can say the same for Hannegan Peak. This peak has stunning views of Shuksan, Baker, Ruth and many, many others. It was hard for me to leave this summit. I at first thought of continuing to Granite like I probably would have back in 2009 but I was solo and I was not in the same shape that I was in 2009. I decided to stay put and enjoy the summit views for two hours. Yes they were that special and it was great to see the occasional cloud come in to offer a different set of views each time. It was special to be on the mountain on this day.
Looking north Baker
Shuksan EastKing on Hannegan
Heading down was interesting. I saw one couple who decided to turn around 100 feet below the summit! I can't imagine being that close knowing it is just a quick walk to get to the summit and turning around. Then I saw ran into another group that I ran into on Green Mountain. It was good to see them as well. They were somewhat shocked to see me on two consecutive mountains. The Hannegan Peak trail was not too bad going now. Now the Hannegan Pass trail back to the car felt a whole lot longer going down than up. Going up I was able to block out the distance and just concentrate heading up the mountain. On the way down though I could feel every rock impact me. It honestly took me just as long heading down as it did heading up. The bugs which were none existent in the morning were becoming a serious factor in the afternoon as well. By the time I got off the mountain I was very tired and I was reminded that my body hasn't done many of these ten miles hikes in a long time.
Waterfall on Seifert
Through the struggle though I was able to see some serious beauty today. It was good to be back in the stunning and special North Cascades. I hope to be back there again in the near future. Hopefully next time it will be more than myself on the next trip up here.