North Craggy Peak via No Dice Lake / 經徒勞湖上北崎嶇峯

 North Craggy Peak from Eightmile Pass
North Craggy Peak from Eightmile Pass

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The Lowdown on North Craggy Peak

Access: Billy Goat Trailhead (#477)
Round Trip: 17.5 miles
Elevation Range: 3840′-8205′
Gear: helmet
GPS Track: available

The Preface

The pups and I climbed The Craggies seven years ago. At that time, I wondered if (or why) anyone would want to climb the lesser-known North Craggy Peak. But just like Genius, my effort to include the peak in two other trips was also to no avail. Zero precipitation this past week gave us the chance to visit Pasayten Wilderness one last time this season.

Over a phone call, the Methow Valley Ranger Station staff misinformed me of the current road conditions. Their website also had outdated information. As a result, the pup and I once again walked the four extra miles from to the hiker’s trailhead. Just like we did on our trip back in July.

West view from Eightmile Pass
West view from Eightmile Pass

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No Dice Lake via Eightmile Pass

To make up for the unanticipated lost time, we started hiking hours before sunrise. Then we walked the Hidden Lakes Trail (#477) to Eightmile Pass. Unfortunately, the 2017 Diamond Creek Fire had also devastated this area. From the pass, we began to head south toward No Dice Lake Basin. Along the way, we bypassed a deep ravine from the west of a few knobs.

Due to recent snowfall and massive down trees, we got into the lake basin at a slower pace. Fortunately, the burned zone ended just below the lake’s outlet. Before long, the serene lake basin adorned with many larches soon greeted us. All the while, The Craggies were looking down at us from both sides of the gap.

No Dice Lake Basin
No Dice Lake Basin

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Climbing North Craggy Peak via West Slopes

From the east lakeshore, we headed up the broad west gully on talus and scree with loose rocks. But with the help of good holds, ledges, and ramps, we bypassed cliff bands and outcrops. The steepest section went from 7600′ to 8000′. Then I saw the big rock face with yellow markings at the top of the gully. So we veered left and made it onto the south ridge at 8100′.

Then a quick class 2 walk-up on the ridge put us on the broad, snow-covered summit. Right off the bat, view of Big Craggy Peak’s impressive north face dominated the southern skyline. The area west of here had received lots of snow after our recent visit west of the Lost River.

Peaks forming
View on North Craggy Peak west slopes

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North Craggy Peak Summit

Above the connecting ridge of The Craggies, I saw McLeod Mountain, our Memorial Day weekend trip. Sherman Peak was another climb on a hot day back in July. Coincidentally, in mid-August McLeod Mountain became the center of another major wildfire. The forest service had just barely contained the fire in the first week of October.

Other notable high points west of here included Robinson Mountain, Ptarmigan PeakThree Pinnacles, Lost Peak, and Many Trails Peak. To the north, I saw the group of high points we visited over Fourth of July weekend. Sheep Mountain up by the Canadian border was also part of that group. The imposing Remmel Mountain didn’t look to have much snow.

McLeod Mountain and Sunrise Peak
McLeod Mountain and Sunrise Peak

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Outro

Due to the constant west wind, we spent most of our one-hour stay on the east slopes. On the way down, we took time getting through the steepest section with a dusting of snow over gravel. We took a short break in the lake basin and savored the last views before heading out.

We bypassed Eightmile Pass by cutting east through the ravine to get back on the Hidden Lakes Trail. Two miles of hiking and we were back at the Billy Goat Trailhead. Then it was another four miles of road walk to get back to the car. Several other vehicles parked by the gate upon our return at the end of our trip.

Long way out
Long way out

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