McLeod Mountain + Environs / 麥克勞德山+周圍地區

McLeod Mountain looking stoic
McLeod Mountain looking stoic

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The Lowdown on McLeod Mountain

Environs = Midday Peak + Afternoon Mountain + Peachy Peak + Setting Sun Mountain
周圍地區=正午峯+午後山+錦繡峯+落日山

Access: NF-5200 > Long Creek Road (NF-500)
Round Trip: TBD
Elevation Range: 4900′-8099′
Gear: 
snowshoes
GPS Track: available

Rough Road Approach to the Starting Point

Kicking off my summer peak-bagging endeavors on this Memorial Day weekend. North Cascades Highway reopened two weekends ago, so I wanted to climb something up north. Since the forest service site didn’t have current info on road conditions, I decided to give the road a try.

Some big rocks along a few sections of Road 5200, but passable if passed with caution. And with significant road repairs done in recent years, I very carefully drove on the rough Long Creek Road (NF-500). I stopped right before the 4900′ road bend by the Long Creek washout. Pup and I crossed the creek on the road and scrambled up the northwest-trending ridge.

 Beautiful Pasayten morning
Beautiful Pasayten morning

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McLeod Mountain via Undulating Terrain

Snow appeared at 6400′ just as the ridge took a turn due north. There we had a beautiful view of Midday Peak (Peak 7670) on our left. At 7200′ I put on snowshoes and continued north until steep terrain flattened at 7800′. I left the snowshoes here since snow coverage was spotty along the ridge. The last 200′ of the scramble was easy over scree and the occasional snow patches.

What a gorgeous day to open the season with this mountain. To the north, views reached far beyond the border. Similarly, views to the west were just as beautiful: Robinson Mountain, Lago Slam, Monumental Slam, and Ptarmigan Peak. There were also views south to the Methow Valley as well as Craggy Slam peaks just north of here. Remaining snow in higher elevations copiously accentuated the undulating ridges all around us.

South-to-west panoramic view
South-to-west panoramic view

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Ridge Traverse to Other High Points

I still had lots of energy from the excellent weather and plentiful daylight. So I drew inspiration from several trip reports to run the ridge to Setting Sun Mountain. First, we reversed our route back down to the saddle with Midday Peak. Then I snowshoed up the northeast ridge to the summit. After a quick survey of nearby peaks, we continued to Afternoon Mountain via the west ridge.

This summit offered a slightly different perspective of the scenery as it’s right next door to Midday Peak. Setting Sun Mountain still looked pretty far away from here. Walking down on the southwest ridge, we went around the high point north of Peachy Peak to its south saddle. Then we followed the north ridge up to the summit. More snow coverage would’ve been nice to have.

Three more to go
Three more to go

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En Route to Setting Sun Mountain

Shortly, we set off for the final ridge traverse to Setting Sun Mountain. We moved west on the crest. Because snow looked skimpy for the rest of the traverse to Point 7125, I left my snowshoes by Point 6983. Forest Service had recently cleared down trees along this ridgeline. After bypassing Point 7125 from the north, the ridge then turned north-northwest. Most of the traverse was either on or west of the ridgeline.

From the south saddle, we slowly walked the last 400′ up to the top. We were both in need of a long break. Judging by the concrete foundation and the metal bars, perhaps a lookout site was on this summit at one point. Great views in the afternoon light, still couldn’t believe we had come from McLeod Mountain. We spent some time on this summit since it was our last; I got carried away with taking photos and didn’t get the nap I wanted.

Methow Valley panoramic view
Methow Valley panoramic view

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Outro

On the way down, we followed our route back to Peachy Peak. But then we bypassed the top by making a traverse at 7000′ to its south ridge. Forest Service put in even more work on this ridge to clear out the massive down trees. At 6400′, we cut the down tree-infested east slopes down to Road 560. The short stretch of the road was also part of the Long Creek Road. Many berms here to keep out motorized vehicles.

We arrived at the 5300′ junction in one mile. Then we stayed on Long Creek Road and hiked another two miles back to the car.

Hopping outro
Hopping outro

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