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

  • Reading time:11 mins read

Mount Stickney by Wallace Lake sits inside the state park above Gold Bar, Washington. The vast Skykomish River Valley spans the south. Meanwhile, to the north lies Spada Lake, providing water for 75% of Snohomish County.

Exiting Mount Stickney
Exiting 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?

A wet start
A wet start

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Driving to Olney Creek Road

Increasing clouds with possible rain after 11 AM were 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

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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.

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

See more trip photos here.

En Route to One Acre Lake

We hiked another 1.5 miles from the road as valley views appeared behind us. Then we reached the 3600′ saddle with limited views to the east. Shortly, the road went downhill slightly.

At 300 yards, a faint trail on the right caught my eye. So we ditched the road and walked south on the path instead. Slowly, we made our way south through the light brush toward One Acre Lake.

A frozen puddle
A frozen puddle

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One Acre Lake

At 4080′, we followed some flagging and went to the beautiful alpine lake 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 and left the lake basin into a granite gully. Then to avoid slipping on wet vegetation, we walked in the stream bed instead. Before long, we reached 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.

We went southeast through the boulders to avoid the scree. Then we went up 100′ through a heather ramp to the north buttress. Soon, we reached the 80′ crux gully at 5080′ from atop the scree noted in all the reports.

Mount Stickney's north face
Mount Stickney’s north face

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Munt Stickney Summit Ridge Traverse

My main concern was the ice in the steep gully, but there was none! With solid grips, we propped ourselves up the 3-foot step. Above the ledges, we went through mud and dripping water while trying not to slip on the mossy rocks.

Soon, we saw the south to the vast Skykomish River Valley from the notch. To finish, we traversed the exposed ridgeline to 5240′ and soon crossed the narrow crest. More clouds had rolled in from the south as it grew windier.

Summit ridge traverse
Summit ridge traverse

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Mount Stickney Summit Views

After we settled in, I started identifying distant peaks since I didn’t know the ones nearby. I knew we were not far from Monte Cristo off Mountain Loop Highway. But it looked secluded without direct access by car.

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

East-to-southeast panorama
East-to-southeast panorama

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Outro

The overcast sky soon drizzled after we returned to Olney Creek Road. I was so glad it didn’t rain 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 to Lake Stickney. We soon parted ways after a brief chat.

One last look at Mount Stickney
One last look at Mount Stickney

See more trip photos here.

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