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

I kicked off my summer climbing efforts on this Memorial Day weekend. The North Cascades Highway reopened two weeks ago. So I wanted to go up north. The forest service site hasn’t updated road conditions around Mazama. But I decided to check out McLeod Mountain anyway.

McLeod Mountain looking stoic
McLeod Mountain looking stoic

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McLeod Mountain at a Glance

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: 14 miles
Elevation Range: 4900′-8099′
Gear: snowshoes
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: yes

Rough Drive to the Starting Point

There were big rocks along Road 5200. Twice I got out to remove some in the middle of the pathway. But it was still passable with extra caution. There had been significant road repairs on the rough Long Creek Road (NF-500) in recent years. So I drove very carefully.

Eventually, the washout by the Long Creek kept me from going farther. But that was close enough to start our trip. So I parked right before the road bend at 4900′. Later, we spent the night in the car. Then the next morning, the pup and I crossed the creek. And we went up the northwest-trending ridge.

End of the drivable road
End of the drivable road

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Undulating Terrain

Just as the ridge took a turn to go north at 6400′, the snow appeared. Then we had the beautiful sight of Midday Peak (Peak 7670) to our left. Later, I put on snowshoes 7200′. Then we continued up north. From here, I could see the rest of our route clear to the top.

Eventually, the steep terrain flattened at 7800′. From there, snow along the ridgeline looked spotty. So I left the snowshoes behind. We crossed over scree and snow patches in the last 200′ up to the top. But it was manageable.

 Beautiful Pasayten morning
Beautiful Pasayten morning

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McLeod Mountain Summit Plus Views

What a gorgeous day to open the summer season with this mountain. To the north, views reached far past the border. Likewise, views to the west were just as immense. The familiar peaks included Robinson Mountain, Lago Slam, and Ptarmigan Peak.

We also had views to the south in Ithe Methow Valley Plus, Craggy Slam peaks directly north of here. Snow remained in higher elevations on taller mountains. The whiteness overflowingly emphasized the hilly ridges all around us.

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

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Leaving McLeod Mountain

The excellent weather and more extended daylight had me pumped. So I drew inspiration from other trip reports to traverse the ridge to Setting Sun Mountain. But first, we went back down to the saddle with Midday Peak.

From there, we then snowshoed up the northeast ridge of Midday Peak. We didn’t spend much time on the summit. So after a glance at the nearby peaks, we continued on the ridgeline. Our next stop was Afternoon Mountain.

Next stop, Midday Peak
Next stop, Midday Peak

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Afternoon Mountain and Onward

The summit of Afternoon Mountain offered a slightly different angle of the scenery. It’s right next door to Midday Peak. Setting Sun Mountain still looked pretty far away from here.

After a few minutes, we walked down the southwest ridge. Then we bypassed the high point north of Peachy Peak by going to its south saddle. From there, we took the north ridge up to the summit. More snow through here would have been excellent.

Three more to go
Three more to go

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Moving on to Setting Sun Mountain

Shortly, we set off for the final ridge traverse to Setting Sun Mountain. We first moved west on the crest. Snow now looked skimpy for the rest of the way to Point 7125. So I decided to leave my snowshoes by Point 6983. 

Forest Service had recently cleared down trees along this ridgeline. Right after bypassing Point 7125 from the north, the ridge then moved north-northwest. Most of our travel was either on or west of the crest.

Final stop, Setting Sun Mountain
Final stop, Setting Sun Mountain

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Setting Sun Mountain Summit

From the south saddle, we walked the last 400′ up to the top very slowly. We both needed an overdue break. Judging by the concrete foundation and the metal bars, a lookout site was on this summit at one point.

Views were excellent, especially in the afternoon light. I still couldn’t believe we had come from McLeod Mountain. We spent more time here since it was our last goal. I got carried away with photography, so I 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 tracks back to Peachy Peak. But then we bypassed the top at 7000′ by cutting to its south ridgeline. Forest Service had put in even more work on this ridge. It has cleared out the massive down trees.

At 6400′, we went down the tree-infested east slopes to Road 560. The short section of the road was also part of the Long Creek Road. There were many berms throughout the roadway to keep out motorized vehicles.

Hopping outro
Hopping outro

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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.

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