What Sopwith Camel Mountain / 索普威思駱駝山是按怎

I had driven through the hairpin turn on Highway 2 many times. But I had never turned onto the road by Tunnel Creek. Through researching, I realized I needed to access the roadway to climb Sopwith Camel Mountain. So I parked just off the hairpin turn by the snow berms. It was nerve-racking to be in the less than two car width of space. Most of us swoosh through this sharp corner!

Leaving Sopwith Camel Mountain behind
Leaving Sopwith Camel Mountain behind

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Sopwith Camel Mountain at a Glance

Access: NF-6095 at Highway 2 hairpin turn
Round Trip: 7 miles
Elevation Range: 2640′-5040′
Gear: snowshoes
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: yes

Getting up to the Northwest Ridge

As soon as we got on top of the four-foot-tall snow berm, we began to posthole. We walked the service road for 100′. Then I realized there was no point in waiting to put on snowshoes. I had somehow expected to see ski trails. But even the most recent tracks looked days old.

We walked for another half a mile and then crossed the bridge over Tunnel Creek. Then we made a left at the first spur road with an open gate. The path didn’t show up on the map. But we followed it while we moved toward the ridge. Then we made two short switchbacks through the brush before scrambling up toward the ridgeline in soft snow.

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Climbing up to the Ridgetop

We stepped out onto a clearing below the crest with a giant transmission tower over our heads. We had views on both sides, including the impressive north face of K9. Then back in the forest, we began to move more efficiently. The snow was now firmer. There were lots of down trees throughout. But we bypassed them using decent snow coverage.

From the false summit at 5000′, we got glimpses of Cowboy Mountain and Lumiere Ridge to the north. Then we moved east on the ridge and arrived at the real summit within minutes. Several openings on the woodsy summit provided views to the top of the faraway peaks. I thought about going up to Lux Peak. But I felt sluggish after breaking trail to come up here. Warm temperatures on this gorgeous day!

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Sopwith Camel Mountain Summit Plus Two Lakes

With a modest elevation of just over 5000′, Sopwith Camel Mountain sat among the taller neighbors. Because of the forested summit, the views weren’t excellent. But they weren’t too shabby. I saw K9’s steep north face from the small clearing to the southwest. But the peak’s western side was just as impressive. We saw it on our trip two weekends ago. After a pleasant stay on top, we started to head down.

I wanted to take advantage of the gorgeous weather. So we paid a visit to the two lakes on the south side. Mig Lake and Hope Lake were right next to the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). Mig Lake sat 300′ higher, and both lakes were less than half a mile apart. Soon, we snowshoed past the frozen lakes. I bet this place gets busy when the hiking season is in full swing.

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We exited the basin via Hope Lake’s outlet by the Alpine Lakes Wilderness sign. Because of the snow, it was now at the ground level. I had thought about snowshoeing in the direction of Tunnel Creek Trail. But the steep sidestepping became arduous very quickly. Then I realized we couldn’t do that the entire way. So we dropped down to the snow-covered streambed and snowshoed.

For the most part, we were able to stay on top of the streambed. A couple of sections had steep drop-offs. So we bypassed them from either left or right. As the terrain began to flatten out, we then left the creek and scrambled back onto the road. Soon, we met our tracks by the open gate in half a mile. Then we continued to hike back out to the highway.

Outro through streambed
Outro through streambed

See more trip photos here.

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