Dome Peak + Sinister Peak by Gunsight Peak via Dome Glacier / 巨蛋峯

  • Reading time:8 mins read

Dome Peak and Sinister Peak nestle deep in the Cascades. The former towers over Dome Glacier and the broad Chickamin Glacier by the famous Ptarmigan Traverse. Meanwhile, the latter is right next to Gunsight Peak that overlooks Blue Glacier.

Chickamin Peak and Sinister Peak via Dome Glacier
Chickamin Peak and Sinister Peak via Dome Glacier

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Dome Peak and Sinister Peak at a Glance

Chickamin Slam = Dome Peak + Sinister Peak
奇卡民滿貫=巨蛋峯+邪惡峯

Access: Suiattle River Road at mile 12.5
Round Trip: 50.5 miles
Elevation Range: 900′-8920′
Gear: rock, snow, overnight
GPS Track: available

Logistics Overview

July 4-6, 2014

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3

Day 1 – Friday, July 4
Bike approach to Downey Creek Trailhead
Downey Creek Trail to Cub Lake
Night 1 – Cub Lake

Day 2 – Saturday, July 5
Sinister Peak + Dome Peak
Night 2 – Cub Lake

Day 3 – Sunday, July 6
Exit


Day 1

Bike Approach to Downey Creek Trailhead

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3

The Preface on Dome Peak and Sinister Peak

Dome Peak and Sinister Peak was one of my most scenic trips this season. It’s also memorable because I met two new climbing partners through mutual friends. Logistics aside, everything else worked according to plan.

Though, my least favorite part of the trip was the eight-mile bike ride. So we ended up adding more mileage to the outing. Ironically, the decade-long road closure was to reopen in four months!

Eight miles of this
Eight miles to trailhead

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Biking to Downey Creek

Coincidentally, a few years back, I bought a bicycle to climb Green Mountain off Suiattle River Road. Since that trip never happened, the bike has been gathering dust in the garage. But with this outing, I was able to make my first ride to a trailhead.

As it turned out, the Downey Creek bridge was still under construction. So the only way to go over the unfinished structure was a shaky ladder. So one by one, we crossed the raging creek from the top. Though, it was exciting to see the finished product.

Unfinished Downey Creek Bridge
Unfinished Downey Creek Bridge

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Downey Creek to Bachelor Creek Basin

The hike to Six Mile Camp with spotty views in the forest was uneventful. Then It took some time to find the log over Bachelor Creek. But glad we could cross without needing to ford the raging water.

Soon, flagging on the other side of the creek took us through down trees, slide alder, and dense brush. So we were on track to reach the top of the basin. Later, views expanded in the upper drainage, where we saw snow at last.

This way to Dome Peak
This way to Dome Peak

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Climbing Dome Peak via Cub Lake

It was steep going down to Cub Lake from the pass on the north. Later we walked to the lake’s east end and set up our home for the next two nights. Then we crossed our fingers and hoped for a better forecast in the morning.

We made a quick birthday celebration right before bed. It was for our youngest Bulger finisher–Lindsey Warren. She even got a surprise homemade treat from Patrick.

Twenty miles from car
Twenty miles from car

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Day 2

Sinister Peak + Dome Peak

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3

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Itswoot Ridge to Dome Glacier

The following day, we woke up to a cloudy sky with dark clouds to the south. After breakfast, we climbed up the steep terrain to Itswoot Ridge. Then the sky cleared up to let in some sun.

Sunshine guided us through the steep parts of Dome Glacier before it flattened a bit. Then we climbed up and over the col to the east. So that put us at the top of Chickamin Glacier.

Rise and shine for Dome Peak
Rise and shine for Dome Peak

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En Route to Chickamin Glacier

Shortly, we set up to drop straight down over the bergschrund. The gap was more profound when Kenny and Patrick turned around here a year ago. But with an earlier trip this time, we avoided facing the same ordeal.

We rappeled and made steps at the same time. So we could use our tracks on the return. During this, I looked at both sides and knew it could very well have been a deal-breaker. All in all, it took just one 60m rope to reach the bottom.

En Route to Chickamin Glacier
En Route to Chickamin Glacier

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Traversing Chickamin Glacier

Dome Peak and Sinister Peak looked so close on maps. But they were much farther apart in person, especially with the turns we had to make to avoid crevasses. To climb Sinister Peak, we had to drop even lower on Chickamin Glacier.

Because of sickness, Mike stayed behind on the glacier where he could situate in a safe spot. But the rest of us continued, and we would come back to meet him afterward.

Rappelling into Chickamin Glacier
Rappelling into Chickamin Glacier

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Sinister Peak North Route

It took several careful reroutes to go through the steepest and most terrifying part. We went through a couple of places with crevasses overhead and underneath. Soon, we were below Sinister Peak’s stunning north side.

Lower down, Kenny and Patrick opted to go around the backside of the ridge. So they could climb through scree. But Linsey and I stayed and tackled the steep snow. It wasn’t as scary as it had looked to the guys.

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Sinister Peak Climb

Shortly, the four of us met up higher. Then we set up a hand line to go through places along the ridgeline with high exposure. Later we finished the climb on class 2 terrain up to the top.

I could still feel the effect of Tylenol PM from the night before. So even the easy walk-up felt brutal with a rope in my pack. Soon, it drizzled just as we went up to the top.

Sinister Peak north ridge
Sinister Peak north ridge

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Sinister Peak Summit Views

Views up here were scarce. But at one point, Dome Peak emerged from the clouds during our all-too-short visit. Then the lousy weather slowly crept in from the north just as we left the top.

Later we met up with Mike back on Chickamin Glacier. By then, more clouds had rolled in with deteriorated visibility. Soon, we climbed over the big gap in the mist.

Dome Peak from Sinister Peak
Dome Peak from Sinister Peak

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Dome Peak Climb

Kenny and Patrick had done Dome Peak the year before, so they went straight back to camp. But Mike, Linsey, and I stayed behind. And shortly, we moved up toward Dome Peak’s summit.

Because of the weak visibility, it wasn’t easy to pinpoint the summit, even with my GPS device in hand. But we soon spotted the spot with webbing used by other parties. Glad that we were still on track.

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The Final Stretch

The most exciting part about climbing Done Peak was perhaps the rock arête that led up to the top. So without hesitation, Linsey grabbed the rope and inched forward toward the summit. “You go, girl!” I shouted.

There was no way to protect the narrow ridge without any features. So Lindsey set up a hand line at the top as I scooched my way over. After some hesitating, Mike then came up using the hand line.

In a whiteout
n a whiteout

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Dome Peak Summit with Some Views

As luck would have it, clouds suddenly broke away the minute we went up on top. Then we had an excellent 15-minute window of blue sky and the sun above us. The temperature inversion even had formed right beneath our feet!

Clouds had shrouded nearby high points. So there wasn’t a whole lot to see. But the sun sure was pure bliss. Soon, we made our way down the peak before the mists returned.

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Back to Cub Lake

Visibility had improved a great deal by the time we returned to the col. Then the clouds lifted right as we strolled through Dome Glacier. Soon afterward, Glacier Peak reappeared.

The three of us made it back to Itswoot Ridge just after dark. But unfortunately, the snow had significantly softened by then. So we slowly postholed our way back to camp.

A quick view on Dome Peak
A quick view on Dome Peak

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Day 3

Exit

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3

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Leaving Dome Peak and Sinister Peak

On our final morning, we took time to pack up before leaving the basin. I couldn’t help but glance back at Itswoot Ridge continually. I still hadn’t processed all the climbing we crammed into one long day.

Going back to Bachelor Creek Basin was unexciting. Then it was a long way out to Suiattle River Road. So glad to have brought our bikes to ride downhill for the most part!

Downey Creek
Downey Creek

See more trip photos here.

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3

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