A Cleveland Mountain Do-Over / 克里夫蘭山重新爬

Cleveland Mountain summit ahead
Cleveland Mountain summit ahead

See more trip photos here.

Second visit to this mountain after an unsuccessful attempt under much less optimal weather conditions. My partner and I made it to the upper basin below the summit. But then we had to turn around when the daylight was much shorter. Back then, we walked the service road nearly in its entirety. But this time, the pups and I avoided it altogether.

The Lowdown on Cleveland Mountain

Access: NF-6422
Round Trip: 8 miles
Elevation Range: 1100′-5280′
Gear: helmet, ice ax, snowshoes
GPS Track: available

National Forest Service Road 6422

The pups and I arrived at the NF6420 (Money Creek Road) and NF-6422 junction just before 9 AM. Then I parked the car on the left side before crossing the bridge. Previously, I had driven on NF-6422 nearly to the first switchback. But I remember the road was only decent for the first .1 mile. Then the roadway became rutted with some down trees that were hard to bypass. So this time, I figured I’d rather walk the one mile than getting ourselves in trouble.

We crossed a tiny stream at the first switchback on the road. Then we continued on an old logging path. Within the first hundred feet, we left the roadway and scrambled uphill west of the stream. It was straightforward, and just the typically brush with down trees. During this, we crossed NF-6422 a total of ten times. There was snow on the roadway, and it was slushy. So had we followed it, I would’ve had to put on snowshoes much sooner.

The road bend
The road bend

See more trip photos here.

En Route to the Upper Basin

The dense forest went from 1750′ to 2050′. Then terrain became steep from 2400′ up to 3500′. Patchy snow appeared at 2800′ with more snow soon after that. Firm snowpack in the shade, so I was able to wait to put on snowshoes at 3600′. One report suggested negotiating the cliff bands at 4400′ by sidestepping on the steep west slopes. But there was more snow coverage on the ridge than anticipated. So instead, we went over the top and then got into the basin on the south side. The frozen tarn we saw previously was now under much snow.

Under direct sunlight, snow in the meadow was beginning to soften. But it was still manageable without much postholing. The summit block was visible as we traveled southeast on gentle slopes. Then we went up to the northeast ridge at 4850′ after going through a couple of steep sections. The terrain looked steep from the flat area below the top. But luckily, we found a way to bypass the snow arete-covered outcrops from the east.

There she is
There she is

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Cleveland Mountain Summit Plus Outro

I carefully checked out the snow arete to make sure that there were no cornices. Above the dry rocks exposing from the snow, I dug out a flat area to avoid the breeze. Miraculous, shortly after we arrived on the summit, the wind had stopped. What a gorgeous day! Excellent views were pretty much the same as those from two weeks ago. But this time, there was more of Highway 2 with less of Lennox Mountain. South Fork Skykomish River quietly flowed through the town of Skykomish.

We followed our tracks on the way down. But when we reached the road at 1750′, I decided to stay on it instead. Then we proceeded to hike the last mile over two switchbacks to the bottom and out to the car.

Lennox Mountain
Lennox Mountain

See more trip photos here.

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