2018/10/12 – North Craggy Peak / 北崎嶇峯

Thanks for another beautiful day
Thanks for another beautiful day

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Access: Billy Goat Trailhead (#477)
Round Trip: 17.5 miles
Elevation Range: 3,840′-8,205′
Gear: helmet

Seven years ago when pups and I climbed The Craggies, I wondered if (or why) anyone would ever want to climb this lesser known high point. 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.

Due to miscommunication on the part of the Methow Valley Ranger Station staff and inaccurate information on the web site, pup and I once again walked the four extra miles from Eightmile Road closure to the hikers trailhead like we did back in july. Several other vehicles were seen parked by the gate upon our return at the end of our trip.

Eightmile Pass west view
Eightmile Pass west view

Photos from this trip can be found here.

To make up for the unanticipated lost time, we started hiking hours before sunrise to Eightmile Pass, another area affected by the 2017 Diamond Creek Fire, via Hidden Lakes Trail (#477). Heading south from the pass toward No Dice Lake Basin, we first needed to bypass a deep ravine at the head of Eightmile Creek from the west of a few knobs.

Inches of snow from recent snowfall with countless down trees made getting into the lake basin slower than usual. Fortunately the burned area ended just below No Dice Lake’s outlet. We soon were greeted by the serene lake basin decorated with many larches and The Craggies towering overhead on both sides of the gap.

No Dice Lake at last
No Dice Lake at last

Photos from this trip can be found here.

By the east lake shore, we headed uphill on talus and scree in the broad west gully with lots of loose rocks. With the help of good holds, ledges, and ramps, we got around cliff bands, outcrops, and steepest section from 7,600′ to 8,000′. Top of the gully below a big rock face with yellow markings, we turned left toward the south ridge and attained the ridge at 8,100′.

A quick final walk-up on the ridge put us on the broad, snow-covered summit. Right off the bat, view of Big Craggy Peak’s formidable north face dominated the southern skyline. The area west of here had noticeably received a good amount of snow since our recent visit to the long running ridge west of Lost River.

Peaks forming
Peaks forming

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Through the connecting ridge of The Craggies, I saw McLeod Mountain, our Memorial Day weekend climb, and Sherman Peak, a climb on a hot summer day back in July. McLeod Mountain coincidentally became the center of a major wildfire in mid August that had just been nearly contained as of 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 was the group of high points we visited over Fourth of July weekend, including Sheep Mountain up by the Canadian border. The imposing Remmel Mountain didn’t look to have received much snow.

McLeod Mountain and Sunrise Peak
McLeod Mountain and Sunrise Peak

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Most of our one-hour stay was spent on the east slopes to be out of the west wind. On the way down, we took time getting through the steepest and trickiest section in inches of snow over gravel and rocks. A short break in the lake basin to savor last views of the surrounding peaks before moving out.

We bypassed Eightmile Pass by cutting east through the shallowest section of the ravine to get back onto Hidden Lakes Trail. Two miles of trail hiking got us back to Billy Goat Trailhead, followed by the four-mile road walk back to the car.

Long way out
Long way out

Photos from this trip can be found here.

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