Duchess of Kent by Mount Kent / 靠肯特山的肯特公爵夫人

Duchess of Kent in plain sight
Duchess of Kent in plain sight

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The Lowdown on Duchess of Kent

Access: NF-9020 end of drivable road
Round Trip: TBD

Elevation Range: 2200′-4703′
Gear: helmet
GPS Track: available

Approach to Duchess of Kent

Alas! Fall may just have bestowed upon us earlier than expected. Last September we had a good run until the very last weekend before weather conditions worsened. This weekend’s forecast meant it was our first Friday night in three months not to car camp. While still going through late summer trip photos, I played catch-up by writing up the latest trip.

Banking on the arrival of late morning rain, pup and I set off early this morning. We wanted to pay a visit to the second and last loyalty of the dukedom in the Alice Creek Basin. But our early departure was still late by the Cascades standard. I parked at the end of the drivable road, and we started walking. About 500′ past the Alice Creek washout, we took the spur road and went uphill.

Broken ridgeline
Broken ridgeline

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From Roadbed to West Slopes

Snow coverage would’ve benefitted approach on the rocky and brushy old roadbed. Perhaps it’s because of the lack of visitors. But the road-turned-trail conditions seemed to have worsened since our previous visit. We both became pretty damp not from the rain, but the wet vegetation. Unfortunately, we had to get through all of it before finally getting out into the open at 3080′.

The road disappeared into a large alder swatch at the base of the northwest ridge. But we were able to bypass most brush by staying on the talus field below the northwest face. Eventually, we went up onto the crest. Ascending steep and somewhat broken ridgeline, we regularly bypassed large rocks from the south. Then we finally got onto the west slopes at 4200′.

Bandera Mountain and Granite Mountain
Bandera Mountain and Granite Mountain

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Final Scramble on Duchess of Kent

At 4400′, the cliffs coming off of Duchess’s west face stopped us at our tracks. They, in turn, forced us to traverse south along the wall toward the main northwest-trending gully. One report indicated that the party traversed into a steep and challenging gully. From there, the party then reached the notch between the two summits of Duchess.

We must have traveled past the said gully since we first reached the south summit. From there, we then traversed over to the north high point. We reached the south ridge before getting up to the main col at 4520′. The notch separated the Duchess of Kent to the north and the series pinnacles to the south.

Northern panoramic view over I-90
Northern panoramic view over I-90

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Summit Views Plus Outro

The north summit had unobstructed views of the Snoqualmie River Valley compared with the south summit. The scenery was also better than viewing from Duke of Kent sitting 150′ higher to the southwest. Other visible high points included McClellan Butte, Mount Defiance, Granite Mountain, Hibox Mountain, Kaleetan Peak, Mount Roosevelt, etc. Bandera Mountain and farther peaks remained in clouds.

The pup and I enjoyed an extended and rain-free stay before heading down. Luckily, the 11 AM rain in the forecast didn’t come for a few more hours.

Fall is here
Fall is here

See more trip photos here.

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