Florence Peak + Sweet Peak via West Boundary Trail / 芙蘿倫絲峯

  • Reading time:8 mins read

Florence Peak and Sweet Peak by Burnt Mountain share a ridgeline above the Carbon River. En route, Alki Crest connects to Tolmie Peak, 1.5 miles away. Meanwhile, Mount Rainier rises to the southeast inside the national park.

Florence Peak's summit
Florence Peak’s summit

See more trip photos here.

Florence Peak and Sweet Peak at a Glance

Access: Carbon River Rainforest Trailhead
Round Trip: 8 miles
Elevation Range: 1760′-5508′
Gear: microspikes and snowshoes
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: with guidance

Carbon River Valley

I first saw the peaks when we visited Burnt Mountain in late spring. After researching, we waited until after the high season to climb them. Despite today’s worsened avalanche danger, we were on minimal open terrain.

Two cars were in the lot when we arrived at the trailhead. We soon started walking on the defined trail at a quarter to 9. Snow-free until we reached the West Boundary Trail Waterfall at 3000′.

This way to Florence Peak
This way to Florence Peak

See more trip photos here.

En Route to Florence Peak

Shortly, I put on microspikes by the 3200′ clearing. Since we were on the shady side, we missed the glorious morning sunshine. But the sun would later cave into the clouds as we neared the ridge.

The trail turned southwest at 3600′ after we went out of the trees through a talus field. There was significantly more snow but only for a short while. Then we were back in the forest on one to two inches of snow.

The first clearing
The first clearing

See more trip photos here.

The Final Stretch Through Alki Crest

We turned left onto a climber’s trail on the northwest ridge through Alki Crest. I finally put on snowshoes at 5100′ in calf-deep snow. Soon, we reached Florence Peak’s summit ridge at 5400′ with spotty views to the north en route.

Trudging up slick, knee-deep snow got us to the false peak, with the summit 100′ away. Then we walked the narrow, rocky ridge while staying on and east of the crest. The final involved going through rime ice boulders.

Seeing Florence Peak through the forest
Seeing Florence Peak through the forest

See more trip photos here.

Florence Peak Summit Views

Our trip to Crystal Peak had the view of Mount Rainier at every turn. But on this trip, we only had our first look at the lenticular cloud-covered volcano from the false summit. Alas, we made it in one piece!

Glad we arrived while clouds were still high to catch decent views in time. Despite the strong breeze, the trees on top kept out of the wind mostly. But since we still needed to go to Sweet Peak, we didn’t stay long.

Southeastern panoramic view
Southeastern panoramic view

See more trip photos here.

Sweet Peak via the North Ridge

Back on the false peak, we dropped to 5200′ before traversing the one-mile-long north ridge. I quickly snowshoed through the down trees with excellent snow. In turn, we avoided the dense brush before going over Point 5042. 

Soon, we found massive down trees strewing the south ridge. With less snow, we carefully stepped over one down log after another with snowshoes on. Then we reached the woodsy summit after a taxing traverse.

Sweet Peak at the end of the north ridge
Sweet Peak at the end of the north ridge

See more trip photos here.

Leaving Carbon River Valley

Despite the dense trees, I could still get some photos through the tiny openings. Without much to see, we soon left the top. But instead of going back through the down trees, we descended the west slopes.

Soon, we returned to the basin while crossing an unnamed creek en route. Then we joined the main trail back at 3800′ before walking out after sunset.

West Boundary Trail Waterfall in the PM
West Boundary Trail Waterfall in the PM

See more trip photos here.

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