Photos from this trip can be found here.
One thing that kept me from getting to the mountain all these years was the lacking in summit views. Today’s forecast was partly sunny, so I figured it was a good day to visit the mountain since there wouldn’t be much to see at the top.
Quite a few vehicles in the Lake Serene parking lot for a Thursday but at least it wasn’t packed. Partly sunny weather forecast turned for the better after arriving at the trailhead well past noon. Initially took the wrong turn at the 1.75-mile junction and ended up at the falls. After a brief conversation with three guys by by the falls, I went back down to the junction and got on the lake trail. Then I hiked two miles to the toilet sign right before the lake and made a left into the brush to start the scramble portion of the trip.
Lots of down trees in lower elevation and it made attaining the west ridge that much more interesting. Once I was on the ridge the route then became pretty straightforward, also noticed a faint climbers trail weaving in and out of snow patches. Put on snowshoes at 3400’ for a faster ascent on softer snow. Trees remained dense throughout while Mount Index became less and less visible higher up on the ridge. The occasional clearings on the north side provided views into the vast Skykomish River Valley, as well as upper portions of Mount Index.
Summit was flat and woodsy as expected. After taking a break I started roaming around east slopes where trees were more spaced apart and peeked through trees in hope for mountain photo opps. Luckily I got a glimpse of mountains like Palmer, Crosby, and Red to the south. Views to the northeast, however, was virtually nonexistent. It’s unfortunate because this summit would have been a prime location for some spectacular 360-degree views.
After an hour or so of scouting out views I started heading down to the lake for some photos. There was a girl and her dog on the boulder lookout at end of the trail. I caught up with them as they were heading out, and we ended up hiking back down to the trailhead together.