Hozomeen Mountain 8066 by Canada via Skyline II Trail / 霍佐民山

  • Reading time:18 mins read

Hozomeen Mountain is the fourth tallest peak in South Hozameen Range after Crater Mountain. Meanwhile, it ranks #166 on Washington State’s Top 200 Peaks list. The most direct way by car to climb the mountain is coming from the north.

Hozomeen Mountain with morning inversion
Hozomeen Mountain with morning inversion

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Hozomeen Mountain at a Glance

Access: Skyline II Trailhead
Round Trip: 24.7 miles
Elevation Range: 1800′-8066′
Gear: helmet, crampons, ice ax, ice tool
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: on the trail

Hozomeen Mountain

I first saw Hozomeen Mountain from the top of Ruby Mountain with a zoom lens. Back then, the double-summited, awe-inspiring structure atop Ross Lake looked out of reach. So it stayed on the back burners all these years.

The pup and I visited the impressive mountain up by the Canadian border with a few reports in hand. The trip ended up being a nice change of scenery from last week. It’s also since become one of my favorite outings.

Skyline II Trailhead
Skyline II Trailhead

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Skyline II Trailhead

Friday evening traffic added an extra hour to the long drive time. Like many service roads, the 34-mile stretch on Silver Skagit Road was less than eventful. Though, the roadway was in decent shape with minimal potholes.

I had expected more traffic as we drove toward Ross Lake but only saw two cars on the way down. Most pullouts were small, and not all had assigned parking. One thing that stood out while driving was the vague recreation signs.

A long way to go
A long way to go

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Skyline II Trail to Hozameen Ridge

The following day, we left the mosquito-infested trailhead under an overcast sky. The trail was overall decent but brushy in several places. Then by the time the late morning came, it was a sunny sky.

The many large down trees on the lower trail we needed to bypass made the hike feel longer. Then at mile 2.2, we entered Manning Provincial Park. We’d spend the rest of our time in the park until our exit the next day.

Entering Manning Provincial Park
Entering Manning Provincial Park

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Hozameen Ridge to Hozomeen Mountain

Soon after we entered the park, I caught a glimpse of Hozomeen Mountain. Then the terrain expanded once we went above 3500′. Three streams in the forest provided water en route, enough to hold us over until camp.

The trail rose 4000′ in eight miles and then took us to Hozameen Ridge (Canadian spelling). Other than a few snow patches, the ridge was bone dry. We wouldn’t see any running water until the next day.

Hozomeen Mountain beyond the ridge
Hozomeen Mountain beyond the ridge

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Monument 74 Peak Camp at 6345′

We went south from the fork over the rolling terrain. Then we reached Monument 74 Peak at mile 10.5, with the US border .1 mile to the south. But dang, Hozomeen Mountain’s north looked daunting and vertical from here.

I thought about climbing today but decided to rest after the long way to camp. Besides, the snow would’ve been slush by now. We had excellent views of Chilliwack peaks and the Picket Range. The notable feature to the east was the mighty Castle Peak.

Hozomeen Mountain's main summit
Hozomeen Mountain’s main summit

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The Evening Flow

The forecast had called for light wind through the night. So I set up camp by the big snow patch for the views and access to snow water for cooking. I wish I had brought something to read to pass the time.

Increasing clouds had obscured the evening colors. I couldn’t fall asleep since it was still light outside. For whatever reason, the pup was on edge all night and kept wanting to go outside the tent. Eek!

Skagit River Valley in the evening

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Hozomeen Mountain Climb

We woke up before dawn after a moonlit night and started walking by 6 AM. The cloud inversion had begun to form before sunrise and stayed low. Since we needed to drop to the 5800′ saddle, we were in the mists for a while.

The sight of the obelisk (Monument 74) fascindated me every time. Still, I wondered about the amount of labor put into creating the international crop line. Soon, we followed cairns into the forest on a faint path from the saddle.

Hozomeen Mountain in the mist
Hozomeen Mountain in the mist

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North Basin to Middle Snowfield

Before long, we were out into the broad and hazy north basin. But of course, a climb this time of the year would not be complete without the echoing of screaming marmots! Sorry for invading your space, folks.

Soon, we emerged from the clouds after going up a few hundred feet. Then I put on crampons at the flat area before the lower snowfield. The middle snowfield to the start of the rock climb looked incredibly steep from here.

Lower snowfield below the north face
Lower snowfield below the north face

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Onward to the Middle Snowfield

Shortly, I noticed days-old boot tracks and followed them until they dwindled halfway up the snow. We stopped on a dirt ramp above the snowfield to check out the terrain. I needed to find a way feasible for both of us.

Then I remembered the photo I took from the camp, showing a broken snow ramp connecting the two fields. So I scrambled on rocks to the bottom of the steeper middle snowfield. But not before I asked the pup to stay put.

Top of the lower snowfield
Top of the lower snowfield

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The Crux on Hozomeen Mountain

Of course, the “stay” command didn’t last long. I guess the pup wasn’t happy about waiting around and came up minutes later. “Alright, you’ll stay up by the rocks before things got spicy!”. Then I moved up used the ice tool with the ice ax.

I stashed my gear above the middle snowfield. But while I gazed at the inversion over the valley floor, the pup decided to continue. “Um, excuse me, mister?” I looked on in disbelief. I guess the guy had done one scramble too many. Then we played leapfrog on loose rocks for the next 100′.

The ridge route
The ridge route

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Hozomeen Mountain Summit Views

Beyond the crux was class 3 terrain as exposure persisted. Then we stayed on the crest and bypassed the upper snowfield from the west. When I stepped onto the broad summit, I directed my attention to the south peak.

Yep, the south peak looked gnarly from here, though impressive, as it looked from camp! Views were fantastic from this vantage point. It’s not every day that I see the North Cascades from the north by the border.

Southern panoramic view
Southern panoramic view

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Savoring the Views

Nohokomeen Glacier was quite stunning. But too bad, I only got a glimpse of it in a whiteout on Jack Mountain. Picket Range and the Chilliwack peaks dominated the western skyline as Castle Peak remained the main feature to the east.

We also had views of the Snowfield group, Inspiration Traverse group, and many other high points. The most remarkable thing was to see Ruby Mountain from the other end of the lake! Man, I could stay up here all day.

Southwestern panoramic view
Southwestern panoramic view

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Back to Monument 74 Peak Camp

The pup didn’t need my guidance as he retraced his steps; I let him do his thing. On the other hand, I tested every rock through the steep part as the dog watched intensely below. I later faced in with the ice tool until I could start plunge-stepping.

We rested by the border and then napped at camp as the warm weather brought out the army of mosquitos. I occasionally glanced over at Hozomeen Mountain as I later packed our things. “Great teamwork, pup!”

International crop line
International crop line

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Hiking Back to Skyline II Trailhead

It grew even warmer by the time we started moving. So the 2.5-mile slow walk to Skyline II Trail felt like forever. Though, most mosquitoes had vanished by the time we reached the fork. But they’d show up again down in the forest.

So after the brief pause, we continued without making more stops to donate more blood. After fighting more mosquitoes back at the car, we spent the next 4.5 hours driving home.

Thanks for letting us have a good day
Thanks for letting us have a good day

See more trip photos here.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Jefferson Morriss

    Wow! That looks amazing. I’ve enjoyed following your hikes and using them as a guide for planning my own. Keep up the great work and inspiration!

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