Photos from this trip can be found here.
We almost made another trip out to Eastern WA due to high precipitation forecast in the Cascades, and thought to give it another week or so and go on a nice day without the snowfall.
First time we went up the mountain was on April 2013, beginning of spring when there was a lot more snow.
Lucky for us it never rained or snowed on this entire trip. The two-mile road walk getting to the basin had always been tedious as there’s not much happening but to trek the road that has long been neglected and deteriorated. Even if the roadblock were to be removed, the road simply wouldn’t be drivable beyond the first road bend past the first road junction.
A couple of nice things with more snow coverage. First, it would take less time getting to the basin as the snow smooths out many rough spots on the road. Second, traverse from end of the road to head of the lower basin would be a lot faster without the annoying alder slowing you down. Once getting past the lower basin the goal is to get to the upper basin from the right side of the creek. I opted to stay in trees to the right of the talus as the rocks on the field were still wet and unstable. Once getting out of the trees a little talus work was required to get to the saddle and head toward the summit. When snow overage on the steep southeast face is sufficient, it would be much easier to head directly to the summit block and scramble up that way.
Visibility to the north side of I-90 was poor, as clouds capped virtually every single mountain in the area. The valley floor cleared up a few times to snap some photos. Even on a clear day, views on this summit would still be obstructed by taller trees o the north and the west. It would also require some work (without falling off the precipitous north face) through trees to view McClellan Butte to the north.
Since we got a pretty late start not sure where we would end up going, we didn’t have much daylight left on the way down. It got dark just as we got down to head of the basin, and thus made going back through the alder and talus a bit more painful. But I guess that’s what headlamps are for.
Access: NF-9020 end of drivable road