Round Mountain by Mount Higgins / 靠希金斯山的圓山

  • Reading time:4 mins read

This Round Mountain is to the north of Mount Higgins near Darrington. It’s not tall by the Cascades standards. But the high prominence and summit views make the peak stand out from the rest.

The amazing Round Mountain
The amazing Round Mountain

See more trip photos here.

For Round Mountain on Nason Ridge, see this post.

Access: NF-1890, the end of the drivable road
Round Trip: 6 miles
Elevation Range: 1600′-5320′
Gear: microspikes
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: with guidance

The Preface

I had hoped to stay close to home today. So I looked to one of the lesser-visited places along Interstate 90. But the mostly sunny forecast there had worsened overnight.

Now the forecast close to home has turned cloudy with possible snow. So we resorted to the area farther north. I wanted to catch the mostly sunny weather there.

Blair Witch
Blair Witch

See more trip photos here.

Round Mountain

I looked through old December blog posts before the trip. Then I realized that we had also climbed the peak back to back with Dickerman Mountain seven years ago.

What a coincidence! We had gorgeous weather the first time we came up here. But both trips to Dickerman Mountain were cloudy. 

Snow line
Snow line

See more trip photos here.

The Lower Forest

Like the times before, the steep part of the climb started lower down. It was pretty much right after we left the old road bed. So we gained 2600′ over 1.6 miles. Or 1625′ over one mile.

Semi-open forest at 2700′ provided limited views. But there’s always the occasional sightings of fungus on trees. Microspikes would have given better traction on the slippery duff.

Where art thou Round Mountain
Where art thou Round Mountain

See more trip photos here.

Round Mountain South Ridge

Snowline started at 3600′. Then we had two to three inches of snow on average to the top of the southeast ridge at 4360′. After that, it was ankle-deep snow on the brushy connecting ridgeline.

Soon, we were at the bottom of the steepest part of the climb. Then it was 1000′ elevation over half a mile to reach the top. There were lots of dry rocks on the slopes. So snowshoes stayed on the pack.

We love boulders
We love boulders

See more trip photos here.

The Final Stretch

So far, clouds have shrouded the top of the mountain. So I had doubts about seeing anything at all. It felt like a repeat of Dickerman Mountain. But higher up, Mount Higgins slowly appeared behind us. 

Later we crossed the talus on the southeast side to bypass cliffs. Then we went through dense growth into a gully with running water. Soon, we went back onto the ridge at 5100′ and finished the last bit of climbing.

All clouds please rise
All clouds please rise

See more trip photos here.

Round Mountain Summit Plus Views

We stayed for 45 minutes on the windless summit. Then the clouds above us slowly move away to let in some light on Segelsen Ridge. Though, not the inversion I had hoped to see. But at least we were now able to see the valleys below.

The longer we stayed, the better the views. Whitehorse Mountain and Jumbo Mountain didn’t come out until later. Views of Sauk River Valley and Darrington were decent. But I could still see Mount Pugh and White Chuck Mountain through moving clouds.

Southern panoramic view
Southern panoramic view

See more trip photos here.

Outro

The stubborn clouds lifted at some point. Though, they never broke up entirely. But we stayed for an hour and a half in the hope of better views. Then we had to leave the sub-freezing temperatures behind us.

Later we went back into the forest. Then we followed our tracks and scrambled down to the road.

Thanks for a beautiful afternoon
Thanks for a beautiful afternoon

See more trip photos here.

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