Pratt Mountain via Pratt Lake Trail in Alpine Lakes Wilderness / 普瑞特山

  • Reading time:4 mins read

Pratt Mountain in Alpine Lakes Wilderness sits near hot hiking places like Bandera Mountain and Mount Defiance. Its moderate ridgeline above Pratt Lake Trail also makes for a great winter scramble. At the same time, it offers spectacular views of Pratt Lake and Talapus Lake.

Pratt Mountain summit up ahead
Pratt Mountain summit up ahead

See more trip photos here.

Pratt Mountain at a Glance

Access: Granite Mountain Trailhead
Round Trip: 9 miles
Elevation Range: 3120′-5099′
Gear: microspikes, snowshoes
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: with guidance

New Year’s Day Woes

Snow showers and avalanche danger kept us from celebrating New Year’s Day on Granite Mountain. The weather outlook for today looked somewhat promising. But the snow was still unstable and with a considerable avalanche forecast.

Besides, most places near the Cascade crest had 30 mph+ wind gusts. The wind chill was also well below zero. So it’s best to leave Granite Mountain for now until after conditions improved.

Granite Mountain Trailhead
Granite Mountain Trailhead

See more trip photos here.

Granite Mountain Trail to Pratt Lake Trail

Snow on Granite Mountain Trail was firm because of the recent boot paths. So I just used microspikes for traction. But past the first fork, the snow soon softened.

It’s been a while since we were here. So I spaced out and continued on Pratt Lake Trail for another half mile. But I caught the mistake and turned around. Then I put on snowshoes on the way back to Olallie Lake’s outlet.

Pratt Lake Trail
Pratt Lake Trail

See more trip photos here.

Pratt Mountain Southeast Route

Later the pups and I went uphill at 3700′ before the lake. There was a ton of fresh powder en route. It reminded me of Avalanche Mountain‘s west slopes just two days earlier.

Before Pratt Mountain’s southeast ridge at 4200′, I noticed a set of days-old snowshoe tracks. They had come up out of the forest from the eastern slopes. So we used them for a while until they dwindled by the outcrops.

Below the outcrops on southeast ridge
Below the outcrops on southeast ridge

See more trip photos here.

Southeast Ridge Traverse

Our first time here was five years ago. Back then, the Cascades had also seen a huge amount of snow at the end of January. Like the last time, we bypassed the outcrops from the east. The west side had cliff bands plus lots of exposure.

The ridge crest had enough snow for us to traverse more quickly. We were also able to walk over the next set of outcrops. Despite the exposure to the south, it was an excellent spot to view Talapus Lake.

Outcrops with the view of Talapus Lake
Outcrops with the view of Talapus Lake

See more trip photos here.

The Final Stretch

We found more soft snow higher on the ridgeline and much deeper than lower down. So it made the going much slower. Northeast wind gusts haven’t stopped since we got up on the ridge.

Though, trees along the crest helped with blocking out most of it. Later at a couple of hundred feet below the top, we dropped onto a clearing on the west side.

The final stretch on Pratt Mountain
The final stretch on Pratt Mountain

See more trip photos here.

Pratt Mountain Summit Views

So glad for sunshine at last! Or else the day would’ve been much colder. Views were possible because of the high clouds. But it was hard to enjoy with the wind’s constant blasting. We spent most of our time on the west side behind trees to avoid the wind gusts.

The lakes nestled below Bandera Mountain and Mount Defiance’s north side were among backpackers’ favorites. Though, Pratt Lake to the northeast was only partly visible from here. Later the colorful lights seeped through clouds as sunset time neared.

Silver Peak, Abiel Peak, Humpback Mountain
Silver Peak, Abiel Peak, Humpback Mountain

See more trip photos here.

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