Mount Stickney by Gold Bar / 靠金條市的斯蒂克尼山

The closest I had been to Mount Stickney was on the long-forgotten trip to Wallace Lake. So I hadn’t explored the area much. But I thought I would check out more of the Highway 2 area after last week.

Leaving Mount Stickney
Leaving Mount Stickney

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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

Driving to Olney Creek Road

The mountain hadn’t been on the list mainly because of the long and probably uneventful road walk. But the pup and I had already hiked many long roads this summer to climbs. So I felt mentally prepared to think past the monotony for the result.

The weather outlook was increasing clouds with rain after 11 AM. It was drastically different from yesterday’s sunny prediction. The drive on Sultan Basin Road was smooth. Then the pavement ended at one mile before the gated Olney Creek Road. I parked at a small pullout west of the gate. Then the pup and I began hiking at half an hour before sunrise.

Brushy lower road
Brushy lower road

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The Road Walk

The first 1.5 miles to the road junction went by quickly. The elevation gain was minimal. Though, several places in the first half mile had standing water. We somehow missed the turnoff. So we continued to hike east for another mile. It involved going through the dense and super wet brush to the road’s end. I didn’t feel like backtracking and getting any wetter. So we scrambled 650′ upslope in the semi-open forest to reach the upper roadway.

Afterward, we hiked for another 1.5 miles through valley views. Then we arrived at the 3600′ saddle with minimal east views. The road gradually went downhill there. But just 300 yards in, I saw a faint trail on the right. So we followed the path while traveling southbound in light brush up toward One Acre Lake.

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

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One Acre Lake

At 4080′, I noticed flagging on tree branches. It then led us straight to the beautiful alpine lake nestled in a lush meadow. The lake drained into South Fork Sultan River. In turn, the water flowed into Spada Lake. We would have seen Mount Stickney by the lake. Except that the sun was glaring above the ridgeline up ahead.

We first walked along the west shore to the southeast end. Then we left the lake basin and went into the southeast granite gully. To avoid any more slippage on wet vegetation, we carefully climbed up in the stream bed. Then we arrived at the 4120 flat area adorned with several serene tarns.

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

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Mount Stickney Sighting

From here, I finally got my first look at the mountain. The rest of the route also became apparent. One report advised not to go straight up from the tarns. So the pup and I moved southwest on heather up to the ridge on climbers’ right. Then we went south into the granite basin at 4850′. It was directly below the north face. Soon, the clouds moved into the area.

To bypass the scree slopes in the basin, we moved southeast through the boulders. Then we came up to the base of a heather ramp at 4960′. Shortly, we climbed up 100′ to reach the base of the north buttress. From there, we were able to move across the top of the scree. Eventually, we arrived at the bottom of the 80′ crux gully at 5080′. All of the reports I read made a special note about this spot.

Mount Stickney north face
Mount Stickney north face

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Munt Stickney Summit Ridge

Until now, my main concern was having to deal with ice in the steep gully. But I was glad that there was none! We propped ourselves up the first 3-foot step using solid holds. Above the ledges, we then took the time to get through mud and dripping water. My worry was slipping on the moss-covered rocks.

The notch at the top gave the first look to the south—notably, the beautiful, expansive Skykomish River Valley. The rest of the climb was traversing the summit ridgeline to 5240′ with exposure. Then from there, we crossed the narrow ridge crest to the top. It started to get windy. Soon, more clouds rolled in from the south.

Summit ridge traverse
Summit ridge traverse

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Mount Stickney Summit Plus Views

Once I situated myself at the top, I started to identify some of the peaks in the distance. I couldn’t name a single one within the vicinity. Linearly, we were not very far from the Monte Cristo area up by Mountain Loop Highway. But it certainly looked remote without direct access by car.

The weather god was on our side for the better part of the day. Everything from Mount Rainier to Mount Baker was visible. Bald Mountain, Vesper Peak, Morning Star Peak, Del Campo Peak, Baring Mountain, Mount Index, Mount Persis, to name a few.

East to southeast panoramic view
East to southeast panoramic view

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Outro

The sky became increasingly overcast. Then after we got back down to Olney Creek Road, it started to rain. Glad that didn’t happen while we were coming down in the gully!

I chatted with two backpackers on their way up to camping at One Acre Lake. Then we met three more who turned around after attempting to get down to Lake Stickney.

Thanks for another safe outing
Thanks for another safe outing

See more trip photos here.

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