2018/9/15 – Duchess of Kent / 肯特公爵夫人

Objective in plain sight
Objective in plain sight

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Alas, fall may just have bestowed upon us earlier than expected. Last September we had a good run up to the very last weekend before weather conditions worsened. This weekend’s precipitation meant our first Friday night in three months to not leave home and car camp for an outing. 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 to pay a visit to the second and the last loyalty of the dukedom in the Alice Creek Basin. Although our usual early departure was still considered late by the Cascades standard. I parked at 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 ridge line
Broken ridge line

Photos from this trip can be found here.

The rocky and brushy old road bed would be highly benefitted from snow coverage. Perhaps it’s due to the lack of visitors, but conditions of the road turned trail seemed to have worsened since our previous visit. We both got pretty wet not from the rain, but from the wet vegetation we needed to get through before getting out onto the open area at 3,080′.

Just before the road disappeared into a large alder swatch at the base of the northwest ridge, we bypassed most brush and attained the ridge by staying on the west end of the talus field below Duchess’s northwest face. Ascending steep and somewhat broken ridge line, we periodically bypassed large rocks from the south and eventually got onto west slopes at 4,200′.

Bandera and Granite Mountains
Bandera and Granite Mountains

Photos from this trip can be found here.

At 4,400′ we were met by cliffs coming off of Duchess’s west face, which forced us to traverse southward along the base toward the main northwest-trending gully. A report I referenced indicated the party traversed into a steep and challenging gully to reach the col between the two summits of Duchess.

We must have traversed passed the said gully, since ultimately we reached the south summit first from its south ridge, and then traversed over to the north summit. We attained the south ridge before reaching the main col at 4,520′, which separated the two summits of Duchess to the north and pinnacles to the south.

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

Photos from this trip can be found here.

North summit had unobstructed views of the Snoqualmie River Valley compared to the south summit and Duke of Kent, which sat nearly 150′ higher to the southwest along the same ridge. 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.

Pup and I enjoyed a leisurely and rain-free summit stay before heading back down. Luckily the 11 AM rain in the forecast didn’t show up for a few more hours.

Access: NF-9020 end of drivable road
Gear: helmet

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