Florence Peak + Sweet Peak / 芙蘿倫絲峯+甜美峯

True summit ahead
True summit ahead

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Access: Carbon River Rainforest Trailhead > West Boundary Trail
Round Trip: 8 miles
Elevation Range: 1760′-5508′
Gear: microspikes and snowshoes; ice axe packed but not used

I first took notice of the two peaks while en climbing Burnt Mountain across the Carbon River Valley in late spring of this year. After some research, I decided to save the peaks for later to avoid the high season crowd. We were able to avoid today’s heightened avalanche danger on minimal open terrain.

Nice and quiet
Nice and quiet

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Two cars in the lot when we pulled in, and we started hiking at a quarter to 9 on the nicely maintained trail. Snow free until we reached the West Boundary Trail Waterfall at 3,000′. I put on microspikes at 3,200′ by the first clearing at the mouth of the basin. Being on the shady side of the terrain meant we missed out on the glorious morning sunshine.

The first clearing
The first clearing

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At 3600′, the trail took a turn due southwest after briefly making its way out of the forest through a talus field. We postholed a short distance through this section, then got right back into the forest on one to two inches of snow. The sun had finally succumbed to the increasing morning clouds as we made our way toward the ridge.

Ridge at last
Ridge at last

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From the ridge at 4,520, we left the official trail and made a left onto a climbers trail traveling southeast on Alki Crest. At 5,100′, I put on snowshoes in calf-deep snow, and we continued to follow the ridgeline and reached the south face at 5,400′ soon after. I got glimpses of views to the north along the ridge.

Summit above
Summit above

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A short 100′ steep ascent on south slopes through slick and knee-deep snow and we finally made it to the false summit. The true summit was now 100′ away to the north of the narrow, rocky summit ridge. Staying on or east of the crest, we carefully scrambled our way across and reached the summit through rime ice-covered boulders.

Northwest panoramic view
Northwest panoramic view

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Unlike our trip to Crystal Peak with the view of Mount Rainier at every turn, here we only got our first look of the lenticular cloud-covered mountain from the false summit. But glad we arrived in time to catch good views while clouds were still high. Sufficient tree coverage on top to keep us out of the wind.

Southeast panoramic view
Southeast panoramic view

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After an enjoyable stay, we made our way back to the false summit and got down into the forest. At 5,200′, we began the one-mile, northbound traverse on the spur ridge toward Sweet Peak. With good snow coverage, we were able to snowshoe over down trees and negotiate heavy brush through the section before Point 5042. 

Sweet Peak, yer next
Sweet Peak, yer next

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Just past Point 5042, we encountered massive down tree from the saddle all the way through Sweet Peak’s south ridge. With the reduction in snow coverage and with snowshoes still on, we slowly stepped over one down tree after another until we eventually reached the woodsy summit.

Strewing
Strewing

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We left the summit shortly after I managed to get a few shots through tiny forest openings. Bypassing the south saddle, we descended west slopes into the head of the basin of an unnamed creek and picked up the official trail back at 3800′ to hike 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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