Mount Stickney by Wallace Falls State Park via Gold Bar / 斯蒂克尼山

  • Reading time:5 mins read

Mount Stickney by Wallace Falls State Park is a prominent peak near Gold Bar, Washington. To its west sits the well-known Wallace Lake nested inside the park. Then to the north lies the vast Spada Lake, a reservoir that provides water for 75% of Snohomish County.

Leaving Mount Stickney
Leaving Mount Stickney

See more trip photos here.

Mount Stickney at a Glance

Access: Olney Creek Road
Round Trip: 13.5 miles
Elevation Range: 1680′-5280′
Gear: helmet
GPS Track: available

Dog-Friendly: on the road

The Preface

The closest I had been to Mount Stickney was on the long-forgotten outing to Wallace Lake. And I hadn’t explored the area since then. But after last week’s trip, I thought we’d check out more places around Highway 2.

The peak has been on the back burners because of the long and uneventful road walk. But we’ve been on many long roads this summer. So what’s one more to a new place with possibly rewarding views?

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Driving to Olney Creek Road

Increasing clouds with possible rain after 11 AM was in the forecast. It has drastically changed from yesterday’s sunny outlook. But I went with the plan and kept my fingers crossed.

A smooth drive through Sultan Basin Road took us to the pavement’s end by the gated Olney Creek Road. Not seeing private property signs, I parked at a small pullout west of the entrance. Then we started walking 30 minutes before sunrise.

Brushy lower road
Brushy lower road

See more trip photos here.

The Road Walk

The first 1.5 miles to the fork went quickly with minimal elevation gain. But several places en route had standing water to bypass. We had somehow missed the turnoff and continued east for another mile.

By the time I knew we were off route, we had gone through the dense and wet brush. So instead of backtracking from the road’s end, we went 650′ uphill in the semi-open forest. Soon, we reached the upper roadway.

See more trip photos here.

En Route to One Acre Lake

From the road, we hiked another 1.5 miles with valley views behind us. Then we reached the 3600′ saddle with minimal views to the east. Shortly, the road went downhill slightly.

In 300 yards, a faint trail on the right caught my eye. So we left the road and walked southbound on the path. Slowly, we made our way south in light brush up toward One Acre Lake.

Some views along the upper road
Some views along the upper road

See more trip photos here.

One Acre Lake

Later at 4080′, we followed flagging and went out to the beautiful alpine lake nestled in a meadow. The lake drained into Sultan River and then Spada Lake. The glaring sun over the ridge had kept us from seeing Mount Stickney from the lake.

We walked along the west shore to the southeast. Then we left the lake basin into a granite gully. To avoid slipping on wet vegetation, we went up in the stream bed instead. Before long, we had reached the 4120 adorned with several serene tarns.

Mount Stickney from the upper bench
Mount Stickney from the upper bench

See more trip photos here.

Seeing Mount Stickney

I saw the peak there, plus the noticeable route. One report had advised not to go straight up from the pools. So we moved southwest onto the ridge on the right. Then we went south into the granite basin at 4850′ below the north face. The clouds had moved into the area.

To bypass the scree in the basin, we went southeast through the boulders. Then we moved through a heather ramp and climbed 100′ to the north buttress. There we moved across the top of the scree to the bottom of the 80′ crux gully at 5080′. All reports I read had noted this spot.

Mount Stickney north face
Mount Stickney north face

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Munt Stickney Summit Ridge

Until now, my main concern was dealing with ice in the steep gully. But there was none! With solid grips, we propped ourselves up the 3′ step. Above the ledges, we slowly went through mud and dripping water. It’s easy to slip down the moss-covered rocks here.

The notch at the top gave our first sighting to the south with the vast Skykomish River Valley. To finish off, we traversed the exposed ridgeline to 5240′ and soon crossed the narrow crest up to the top. More clouds had rolled in from the south as it became windier.

Summit ridge traverse
Summit ridge traverse

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Mount Stickney Summit Plus Views

After we settled in, I started to identify some of the distant peaks since I didn’t know the ones nearby. We were not very far from the Monte Cristo area by Mountain Loop Highway. But it sure looked remote without direct access by car.

The weather god was on our side, and everything from Mount Rainier to Mount Baker was visible. Bald Mountain, Vesper Peak, Morning Star Peak, Del Campo Peak, Baring Mountain were some notable places.

East to southeast panoramic view
East to southeast panoramic view

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Outro

Soon, it was an overcast sky. Then it began to rain after we went back to Olney Creek Road. I was glad that didn’t happen while we came down in the gully! That would’ve been the worst place to downclimb.

I chatted with two backpackers on their way to camping at One Acre Lake. Then we met three hikers who turned around after trying to scramble down to Lake Stickney.

Thanks for another safe outing
Thanks for another safe outing

See more trip photos here.

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