2017/10/14 – Bing Peak / 賓峯

Today's destination
Today’s destination

Photos from this trip can be found here.

With recent fresh powder in the mountains, climbing Crosby Mountain would have been an overly ambitious day-long endeavor. For now, the mountain is put back on the to-do list while I directed my focus over to Bing Peak. Beforehand, pup and I did some exploring on the ridge via Bing Peak’s 4,150′ west saddle.

Two miles in from the Money Creek Road turnoff (3.5 miles from Highway 2), I parked at the first road junction and started hiking on the deserted road bed. At the second switchback, we left the road and began scrambling uphill in the old growth forest. Down trees and brush to 2,200′, followed by semi open terrain with snow level at 3,000′.

Guardians of the forest
Guardians of the forest

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Following the occasional game trails, we stayed right of the stream on south slopes to 3,200′, and then traversed westward into a wide gully. Decorated with fall foliage, the talus-filled gully had good views of Lennox Mountain to the south, and the daunting spires of Bing Peak looming overhead.

For the next one thousand feet, we climbed the steep, north-northwest trending rib to the saddle where I finally put on snowshoes. We followed ridge line through fresh powder to Point 4494 due south of the quarry before turning around. On the way back to the saddle, we discovered a frozen pond in the meadow and got a glimpse of Bing Peak from the west.

Tiny pond
Tiny pond

Photos from this trip can be found here.

The craggy west face was not conducive to scrambling, which meant we needed to get back down to the gully crossing and seek out a better option from the south side. Without available beta, we needed to route find by trial and error. Rise in the afternoon temperatures created incessant snow bombs in the forest.

Back on east side of the gully, I put on microspikes and ascended south slopes on steeper terrain. Some outcrops to negotiate along the way, but smooth sailing until we unexpectedly came upon a headwall. Left of the headwall lead to nowhere, while on the right a steep notch looked to be our only option. After getting up to the notch, we nearly turned around when I saw yet another headwall and the seemingly broken ridge line above us.

Hidden gully

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Upon closer examination, the notch actually lead into a steep, hidden gully. Traversing left of the gully, we moved through more rocks and cliffs and came to yet another headwall, which we easily negotiated on the right. Another notch on the back side at 4,350′ allowed us to finally gain the east ridge crest.

Unsure whether we’d get cliffed out again, the last 100′ ascent we cautiously moved up the ridge crest through thick growth on top of snow-covered boulders. And what appeared to be the summit turned out to be a knob on the ridge, summit was not yet visible but not too far behind.

Crosby Mountain
Crosby Mountain

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Another woodsy summit, with good views to the south including Cleveland Mountain, an opening on the north with Wild Sky mountains like Baring Mountain and Gunn Peak. South Fork Skykomish River Valley to the east was better viewed from ridge line below the summit. North side was completely blocked by trees, too bad since I had been looking forward to seeing Palmer Mountain from this side.

We retraced our steps on the decent through afternoon slush and slippery slopes, and got back to the car 3,000′ below in two hours.

Access: Money Creek Road (NF-6420)
Gear: snowshoes, microspikes

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