Mount Hardy by Golden Horn and Rainy Pass via Swamp Creek / 哈迪山

  • Reading time:7 mins read

Mount Hardy by Golden Horn perches above Swamp Creek by Rainy Pass. It also ranks #6 in North Washington Pass after The Needles, before Cutthroat Peak. The south route via North Cascades Highway leads straight to the top.

Mount Hardy underneath the stars
Mount Hardy underneath the stars

See more trip photos here.

Mount Hardy at a Glance

Access: Swamp Creek
Round Trip: TBD
Elevation Range: 3960′-8080′
Gear:
helmet, ice ax, microspikes, snowshoes
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: with guidance

The Preface

I recently came across a trip report on Mount Hardy and loved the photos. So I knew I wanted to see the stunning view of Tower Mountain and Golden Horn up and close. It’d also give us the excuse to revisit the area.

I didn’t feel like driving in the wee hours of the morning. So the yellow pup and I went up Friday night after dropping off the black dog. Then we car camped by the empty Swamp Creek pullout off Highway 20.

Four thousand feet above
Four thousand feet above

See more trip photos here.

Through the Forest

The sunny forecast turned out to be accurate. Views on top of the mountain were excellent. But not without the usual brush fight and route-finding in the lower elevation.

We walked to the north side of the highway and dove into the woods. SummitPost mentioned a faint trail to follow, but we never found it. I did see one piece of flagging at the beginning, then nothing after that.

Sniffing out today's route
Sniffing out today’s route

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Mount Hardy South Ridge

We were in the brush in the first 1000′ before seeing tall thickets mixed with down logs. The shrubs later dwindled past 5300′. Afterward, we bypassed windfalls on the south slopes as views slowly expanded.

Snow showed up at 6000′, then I put on snowshoes another 500′ higher when walking became arduous. Soon, the terrain steepened with ice. But we stayed on the crest 7000′ onward with my ice ax.

Porcupine Peak from the south slopes
Porcupine Peak from the south slopes

See more trip photos here.

The Final Stretch

The summit wasn’t visible until 7900′ when the terrain flattened. A cirque with cornices showed up before the cliffs, so we bypassed the sketchy part around the west. Meanwhile, we hugged the dry rocks neared the top.

Soon, we joined the east gully below the summit. But that part felt steeper with ice in several places. I brought crampons but only used microspikes to finish the last bit of climbing.

Mount Hardy summit above
Mount Hardy summit above

See more trip photos here.

Mount Hardy Summit Views

What a gorgeous day in the wilderness, but I didn’t expect to see this much snow en route. The first thing I looked for on top was Golden Horn and Tower Mountain, which we had climbed last fall.

The plethora of peaks included Black Peak, Silver Star Mountain, Mount Logan, and Eldorado Peak. I also saw Mount Ballard, Azurite Peak, Glacier Peak, and Jack Mountain. Simply breathtaking!

West Fork Methow River Valley
West Fork Methow River Valley

See more trip photos here.

Outro

The descent went much smoother since I plunge-stepped. I tried glissading, but there was too much slush. The only crux was going back through the cirque below the top.

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