Buckskin Mountain in Entiat Meadows / 恩蒂亞特草原的柏克金山

I first saw Buckskin Mountain and the Entiat River Valley from the top of my first Bulger peak. So after spending a weekend out east, we came back to Glacier Peak Wilderness to climb the mountain.

Buckskin Mountain from the trail
Buckskin Mountain from the trail

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Buckskin Mountain at a Glance

Access: Entiat River Trailhead
Round Trip: TBD
Elevation Range: 3160′-8124′
Gear: helmet
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: on the trail

Entiat River Trail

Back then, I didn’t know that a trail ran through the Entiat Meadows. But the Wolverine Fire drastically devastated the area. In turn, it sent parts of the path under an enormous quantity of down trees.

The pup and I began hiking early Saturday morning. Even though the forecast wasn’t perfect, I was still excited to see the meadows. But I kept my fingers crossed for a better outlook.

Running around in circles over you
Running around in circles over you

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Hiking Through the Old Burn

A year-old report mentioned that the Entiat River Trail was clear of down trees up to Candy Creek. The decent but dusty path then took us past Anthem Creek Trail. We used it to climb the Choral Slam last year.

The trail between Snow Brushy Creek and Aurora Creek was very dry. It also had lots of chopstick-like burned trees. But we had excellent views of South Spectacle Butte, Mount Maude, Freezer, and Icebox through here.

Ice Creek Valley
Ice Creek Valley

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Going Through Down Trees

The cooler morning temperatures kept the mosquitoes at bay. Hiking then became arduous after Candy Creek. At first, we followed the animal tracks through down trees. But soon, we lost them by the first clearing. It turned out we were too far away from the river.

Later, we found the trail before the river bend. The path then made its way west. Here we went through the worst section of down trees. To top it off, swarms of mosquitoes decided to come out and feast finally.

The last bit of mess
The last bit of mess

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Entiat Meadows at Last

Eventually, we reached the second clearing at 5100′. So we were now below the south face of Buckskin Mountain. There we set up camp and rested for a while. Since it was still early, I thought we would give the summit a try.

I had thought about climbing the next day. But the bloodthirsty mosquitoes made me rethink my plan. My gut also told me we could make it back down before dark. But just as we set off to climb, I saw rain clouds to the west.

Entiat Meadows at last
Entiat Meadows at last

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Buckskin Mountain Climb

There were several route options on the south face. So I chose the one with the least amount of brush resistance. Then we went straight uphill. I read that there was an old trail here, and it went through to the east ridge. But I never found it.

The scramble went surprisingly smoothly. It ended up taking us less time to go above the timberline. At one point, it started to drizzle. So we sat under some big trees and waited out the rain. But it only lasted 10 minutes before we started moving again.

Buckskin Mountain south gully
Buckskin Mountain south gully

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South Gully Direct

I considered going up to the east ridge at 6600′ as another group did. But the traversing west through the jagged ridgeline looked arduous. So instead, we went up in the snow-free south gully for a direct approach.

But to avoid potential rockfalls on the steep terrain, we stayed to the right of the route. So we could also make use of the heather and scree slopes. At one point, we went too far right. Then cliffs abruptly stopped us at our tracks.

North view from Buckskin Mountain east ridge
North view from Buckskin Mountain east ridge

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Buckskin Mountain Summit

We continued in the main gully. Then we went up on the east ridge at 7900′. There we had our first look to the north. Another 200′ of steep climbing, we made it on top finally. But right away, the rain clouds I saw earlier to the west looked to have doubled in size. Soon, I felt a flash of lightning, then the rumbling began.

“Holy isht, we do not need to be electrocuted right now!” I thought. As the hair on my arms rose, I quickly gathered all of our metal objects, including the dog collar. Then I stashed them on the opposite end of the summit. We then crouched down under a boulder and waited.

Spectacle Buttes to Copper Peak panoramic view
Spectacle Buttes to Copper Peak panoramic view

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A Short Summit Stay

Lightning, together with the roar of thunder, continued for another 15 minutes. Afterward, the evening light seeped through the small opening in the sky. Then the weather miraculously went from stormy to partly sunny. But the 15-minute wait was unnerving. First time for everything!

Right now, we needed to leave the summit. So I gathered everything, and we made our way down. It didn’t look like the thunderstorm was coming back, though. But it was best to go now. Going down 3000′ of scree and slick heather didn’t go as quickly. But we both made it to the bottom safely. Woot!

North Star over Buckskin Mountain
North Star over Buckskin Mountain

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Outro

We had a restful night in the meadows. Then early next morning, we set off for the 14-mile trek. It was beginning to get warm. The path between Snow Brushy Creek and Aurora Creek became very hot. The poor pup carefully avoided the trail by going through scrubs.

Small pools of water in dying streams provided temporary relief as we slowly moved along. Afterward, we took a long lunch by Snow Brushy Creek. The pup then got a much-needed break from the heat. I watched him as he carefreely soaked in the water by the log jam.

One last soak
One last soak

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