2016/2/23 – Howson Peak / 豪森峯

Summit dogs on Howson Peak
Summit dogs on Howson Peak

After waiting for weeks, we finally got a good weather window to get up this peak. Since the pups and I didn’t start until around noon, I scratched the idea of combing the peak with Sasse Peak. Lucky for us, a few parties had been here recently, so there wasn’t a whole lot of route finding to do. The snow was surprisingly firm even with the warmer weather and the afternoon heat, but I carried snowshoes just in case conditions changed.

Freshest snowshoe tracks we followed looked to be a few days old and headed directly up northwest ridge to Point 5159. This was a nice vantage point to view Cle Elum Lake and the river valley. Mount Rainier could also have been seen beyond the lake had it not been for the low clouds over Kachess Ridge. From here, we continued east to finish off the rest three quarters of a mile traverse on easy terrain to the summit. The snow was softer here but shallow enough to not have to put on snowshoes. Microspikes were used for traction for the entire trip.

By the time we got to the top, the clouds in this area had cleared up significantly but it was hella windy! To dodge the wind, we spent our time on the west slopes just below the summit. I waited for low clouds west of the lake to dissipate a bit to get photos of the big mountains in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. The views up and down the Cle Elum Lake Valley with the sunset light were pretty awesome.

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