Bullion Basin in Crystal Mountain Ski Resort by Norse Peak / 金塊盆地

  • Reading time:5 mins read

Bullion Basin nestles inside Crystal Mountain Ski Resort by Norse Peak. Just north of Pickhandle Basin, it’s one of several drainages by east of Silver Creek. A couple of trails make their way up the steep slopes to meet Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) on the ridge.

Bullion Basin with East Peak
Bullion Basin with East Peak

See more trip photos here.

Environs = Point 6760 + East Peak + Platinum Peak + Bullion Peak + Crown Point
周圍地區=6760高點+東峯+白金峯+金塊峯+皇冠高點

Bullion Basin at a Glance

Access: Bullion Basin Trailhead
Round Trip: 7 miles
Elevation Range: 4320′-6760′
Gear: snowshoes
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: yes

The Preface

Instead of going through photos from my old trips, I found myself packing for Bullion Basin this morning. I haven’t accessed many roads this month because of the snow. So it was exciting to find someplace new.

It was my second time at the resort. The first time was about a year ago to Crystal Mountain’s high point. It’s never smart to come to the ski area while still in session. But beggars couldn’t be choosers when I had limited options!

Bullion Basin Trailhead
Bullion Basin Trailhead

See more trip photos here.

Bullion Basin Trail

The last-minute decision ended up putting us in traffic and took longer to get to the resort. Then I parked in Lot C to be away from most other cars. That way, we would be closer to today’s first goal–East Peak.

I put snowshoes on the trailhead, and we followed old ski tracks into the trees. Glad we could make use of those trails to weave through the forest. Otherwise, snowshoeing through here wouldn’t have been as enjoyable.

Views from the getgo
Views from the getgo

See more trip photos here.

Through West Slopes

I love that skiers tend to make long switchbacks going uphill. Sometimes it makes sense for us to go straight up on the moderate terrain. But today, we were more than happy to use existing trails from anyone!

We were constantly at the mercy of the soft snow. For the most part, skiers had avoided avalanche terrain by weaving through the area. Soon, Mount Rainier came into view when we went above the trees.

The sun is shining
The sun is shining

See more trip photos here.

From Bullion Basin to the Ridgeline

The ski tracks started going farther from East Peak. But we kept following them anyway. We could use the exercise today. Once we went up to the ridge, we would be able to move much faster.

Soon, ski tracks took us north of an unnamed high point (6760) south of Scout Pass. I wondered why the peak didn’t have a name since it was 100′ higher than East Peak. Anyhow, we made it up here; hooray!

Lake Basin from the ridge
Lake Basin from the ridge

See more trip photos here.

Onward to East Peak

Somehow I thought we were on East Peak the entire time. I later checked the map and found that it wasn’t the case. We spent an hour soaking in the views and then we made our way south.

It turned out to be a leisurely traverse as we didn’t need to gain much altitude between high points. We didn’t need to lose much of it either. Before long, we stopped on the actual East Peak before moving again.

Next stop, East Peak and Platinum Peak
Next stop, East Peak and Platinum Peak

See more trip photos here.

Platinum Peak Summit

As I expected, many ski activities took place in the eastern basins. It was hypnotizing to see the various patterns of ski tracks strewing the slopes. Soon, we were on top of Platinum Peak.

I checked out the forested Bullion Basin to the west. Then the most unexpected find on this trip was the cross that marked this summit. But we didn’t stay long here before moving again for Bullion Peak.

Western panoramic view on Platinum Peak
Western panoramic view on Platinum Peak

See more trip photos here.

Onward to Bullion Peak

I had read about Bullion Basin in my snowshoe book years ago. But I haven’t done much research until this trip. For some reason, I thought this area was only open during the ski season, so I’ve avoided it.

The rolling ridge traverse continued to be pleasant, with immense views on both sides. Then we dropped onto the saddle between Platinum Peak and Bullion Peak. It felt steep through here.

Onward to Bullion Peak and Crown Point
Onward to Bullion Peak and Crown Point

See more trip photos here.

Bullion Peak Summit Above Bullion Basin

Oddly. With all the ski activities in the area, no one had touched the place between Platinum Peak and Bullion Peak. So from the saddle, we plowed through the final 300′ in soft snow.

It took us half-hour going from peak to peak on average. There were many ski and snowshoe tracks here than on any other peaks we’ve visited. Bullion Peak seemed like the place to be on this glorious day!

Leaving Bullion Peak
Leaving Bullion Peak

See more trip photos here.

Onward to Crown Point

Another short visit to this summit, and we were off to our fifth and final goal of the day–Crown Point. The ridge was under half a mile long, and it went by in the blink of an eye.

We ended up spending most of our time on this peak. Here we were a tad closer to Mount Adams and Goat Rocks Wilderness. Crystal Mountain and Mount Rainier both also looked much more intimate.

Western panoramic view on Crown Point
Western panoramic view on Crown Point

See more trip photos here.

Leaving Bullion Basin

On the way back, we went toward Bullion Peak and then bypassed it from the west on a trail. Then we dropped straight into Bullion Basin from the northwest ridge. It looked like most people came here today.

Soon, we followed a snowshoe path down to 5000′ and left the trail by the switchback. What a fantastic day! Before long, we found our tracks in the forest and meandered out the way we came.

Thanks for another fantastic day
Thanks for another fantastic day

See more trip photos here.

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