Finally we were able to tag a peak somewhere in the Cascades with the decent weather over the past weekend. Three weekends in a row hiking in Eastern Washington was beginning to take its toll.
My second time up this peak and first time for the pups. The first time NF-9703 was gated at Standup Creek, so I brought my hike to ride to the trailhead. Back then the weather was less than ideal and with a whiteout view on the summit.
Being that this is a fairly popular place to lots of hikers and scramblers, I was surprised not to see any vehicles at the trailhead when we arrived just before 10 AM. First mile of the hike was relatively flat, gaining about 450 feet or so, with a few crossings over Miller Creek. I lost count of the number of down trees in the basin, but they were all easy to get around.
The trail then began to steepen upon reaching head of the basin and making its way up the southwest ridge. We were able to follow the trail to about .2 mile beyond the pass, then snow showed up at 5,400 feet and covered up the trail. That’s when we hopped on the ridge and followed the ridge all the way to the summit.
The summit was windy, but not terribly uncomfortable. Occasionally we sat on the east side of the summit rocks to avoid the west wind. Clouds were slowly rolling in and out of Mount Stuart and Ingalls Peaks weren’t always visible. But when the clouds dissipated every so often for a few minutes, the sun would shine directly on those peaks to create a spectacular view. Other than Stuart, Sherpa, and Argonaut, most of the rest of the Stuart Range was obstructed by the mighty Three Brothers.
It didn’t look like anyone else was going to come up to join us today. We spent well over an hour at the top until then pups got bored and impatient before heading back down.