Sourdough Mountain by Davis Peak / 靠戴維斯峯的拓荒者山

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I read an old report on Sourdough Mountain. But the summit looked challenging, especially in the snow. So I thought we would check out the lookout if we could make it up there.

One step closer to Sourdough Mountain
One step closer to Sourdough Mountain

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Sourdough Mountain at a Glance

Access: Sourdough Mountain Trailhead
Round Trip: 10.4 miles
Elevation Range: 900′-6120′
Gear: snowshoes
GPS Track: not available
Dog-Friendly: with guidance

Sourdough Mountain Trail

It was a great outing in gorgeous weather, but a poor choice of boots. We have since sharpened our acrobatic skills by going through endless down trees only in the first mile.

The trail looked like it hasn’t had any traffic in a while. Later the smooth snow at 2700′ confirmed my suspicion. But I held off and put on snowshoes at 3200′. So glad I brought them.

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Wrong Choice of Boots

I wore my mountaineering boots for this trip. But in hindsight, the regular hiking boots would have worked out fine. It was my first time on Highway 20 during winter. So I wanted to prepare the worst.

With the road closure, the mental image I had of North Cascades was all snow and ice. So the boots felt stiff in the forest where it’s dry. Soon, blisters started to form. But it was a relief the minute we went onto the snow.

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En Route to Sourdough Mountain

I began to posthole almost immediately. But the packed snow kept us from sliding around too much. Soon, the path vanished into the snow. Then it was all GPS work past that point.

I had initially planned to go up to the lookout tower. So naturally, we started from the summer trail. But it didn’t seem like a good idea after I scoped out the terrain.

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Change in Plans

The summer trail sat below the ridge. It looked steep on the topo map. But it felt even steeper in person. Though, after an hour of breaking trail in slush, we didn’t go very far.

Then I thought we would go up to the actual summit instead. So we began moving toward the ridge east of Sourdough Creek. Once we went up to the col, we would turn right toward the summit.

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Ridge Bound

But the plan didn’t feel as straightforward as I had hoped. Not only we continued to carve out a path in the powder. But it was also thigh-burning going over a couple of small hills. Ugh.

By now, the pups knew to stay behind in deep snow. Or if they couldn’t continue to make their own trails. But why make your own when you use someone else’s? Smart dogs!

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The Final Stretch

We stayed close to the trees whenever possible. The cornices hanging over the edges of the steep hills looked deadly. But I felt safe knowing that we had solid ground underneath the forest.

Occasionally, we would marvel at the peaks and the lakes down below. Before long, we were near the col with the landscape slowly take shape around us. But the top of the mountain was now blocking the view to the east. Though, not for long.

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Sourdough Mountain Summit

We saw nothing but pure white—also, a clear blue sky and calmness all around us. Once on the col, we continued east toward the last bump on the ridge. Then we finished the final few hundred feet of the climb to reach the summit.

I couldn’t believe some of the sceneries I saw. I couldn’t have been any better than this! Hard to believe that we made it up here on this gorgeous day. We had no company, except the majestic peaks around us.

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We spent an hour at the top eating, playing, photographing, what have you. There was so much to take in that my eyes didn’t know where to begin. But Ruby Mountain across the water caught my eye the most. So tempting!

Later we bid our farewell to the North Cascade mountains and went back down. But I had somehow forgotten about the blistering pain in my feet. At least not until we were back at the car. Ouch.

See more trip photos here.

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