Spire Point by Dome Peak / 靠巨蛋峯的尖塔點

  • Reading time:9 mins read

Spire Point stands right off the famous Ptarmigan Traverse. It also ranks #112 on the Washington State Top 200 Peaks list. But most people would overlook the peak because of the more significant Dome Peak next door.

The magnificent Spire Point
The magnificent Spire Point

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Spire Point at a Glance

Access: Downey Creek Trailhead
Round Trip: 28 miles
Elevation Range: 1440′-8264′
Gear: helmet, crampons, rope
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: no

Happy Seattle Pride!

It’s been five years since our trip to the Chickamin Slam. Back then, we biked eight miles to the trailhead only months before Suiattle River Road reopened. So we never got to enjoy the new roadway.

Too bad we didn’t have any view last weekend on our logistically involved trip. But I knew we would have plenty to enjoy on Spire Point.

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Downey Creek Trail to Sixmile Camp

The pup and I slept in the car to start walking at seven the next morning. There was one other car at the trailhead. The few big logs over the trail made the hike a tad more interesting.

The old-growth forest always had that distinct, refreshing smell this time of the year. Then at 6.5 miles in, we took a break at the Sixmile Camp.

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Bachelor Creek Trail

The area was now more easily accessible. So the Bachelor Creek Trail also looked more defined. Other than down trees and dense brush, the path was easy to follow.

But soon, we were soaking wet from the vegetation covered in the recent rain. I had missed the turnoff to the log crossing. So instead, we went uphill at the junction.

The first clearing
The first clearing

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Bachelor Creek Meadows to Cub Lake

The upper trail took us through dense alder. The path was easy to follow until it came to an abrupt end before the forest. After circling for a few minutes, I decided to scramble in the open forest.

Later we went back out in the clearing above 4400′. Then we crossed Bachelor Creek to the south side on big logs. Soon, we reconnected with the main trail before the meadows.

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Cub Lake

Immediately past the muddy meadows was the avalanche debris. So we followed the sometimes faint path up to the 5400′ bench. The trail became more defined past this point.

We continued to move toward the top of Bachelor Creek. Before long, we were up at the 5900′ pass overlooking Cub Lake. Then we zigzagged our way down the talus slope to the eastern end of the water.

Light at the end of the debris
Light at the end of the debris

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Cub Lake Basin

To my surprise, Cub Lake was free of snow this time. The Itswoot Lake Basin had much less snow compared with five years ago. Then I got my first look at Spire Point here.

As we began to move through the basin, four skiers showed up quietly. They were nearing the end of the Ptarmigan Traverse. We were the first person and dog they saw since leaving Cascade Pass four days earlier.

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En route to Spire Col

Later we bid farewell to the crew. Then we moved up to Itswoot Ridge. I wanted to shorten tomorrow’s trip by sleeping on Spire Col. That way, we would also be closer to Spire Point.

The snow-free terrain lasted until 6800′. Then I saw the bear tracks the skiers had mentioned earlier. I put on crampons and followed the ski trail. We had very little energy left. So it felt like forever to reach the saddle.

Spire Point above Itswoot Ridge
Spire Point above Itswoot Ridge

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Spire Col Camp

O. M. G.!!! The scenery north of the saddle was gorgeous. Our Dome Peak and Sinister Peak trip was mostly cloudy. So I never saw much of the other side. So witnessing the rest of the Ptarmigan Traverse was beyond words.

But without going up on the ridgeline, I only saw the tip of Spire Point. I wish I had more energy to enjoy the sunset before bed. The bear tracks crossed here and went down the snow.

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A Night on Spire Col

It grew windier as the night progressed. Though, we were able to keep out of most of the gust and stayed warm. I’ve been putting off buying a 4-season tent. But having one on this trip would’ve been useful.

It was a beautiful starry night for photography. Unfortunately, the wind chills kept me inside the tent the entire time. But I couldn’t help but wonder if that bear would return later.

North view from Spire Col
North view from Spire Col

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En Route to Spire Point

We stayed in bed until after sunrise. I also wanted things to dry out a bit and for the wind to die down. So glad we made the push to Spire Col yesterday. This morning I was happy only to walk .25 mile to the starting point.

From the reports I’ve read, the climb on Spire Point consisted of class 4 to 5. So that meant the pup would need to wait until I came back. He knew not to follow me after seeing the exposed terrain up ahead.

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Spire Point Climb

I used Matt Lemke’s excellent write-up on SummitPost for the climb. So I’ve learned that the top had enough seating for only one person. It sounded like a tiny summit! But I couldn’t wait to see what the top had in store.

Things moved smoothly from the scree up through the class 4 chimney. Soon, I walked past the lower rappel station on the southeast ridge. Then I went onto a ledge on the east face. The real climb began here in the final 50′.

Pointy
Pointy

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Route Finding on Spire Point

The route descriptions pointed out the friction climb on a slab as an option to reach the upper ledge. But I think the last time I friction climbed anything was on the summit of Big Snagtooth.

So, in other words, I probably shouldn’t perform the technique here on the more exposed terrain. But instead, I went to the left of the slab and used decent folds and a small crack to go up.

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The Final Stretch

With the summit now 15′ above me, I had two route options. I could either try going up the overhang (gulp!). Or I could traverse the narrow ledge back to the southeast ridge. “May I please buy the second option?”.

But the battle was far from over. I wondered which side of the arête was the better option as I straddled the summit ridge. Well, neither! So I slowly inched forward to reach the narrow top.

On southeast ridge
On southeast ridge

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Spire Point Summit Plus Views

Pure adrenaline rush! Upon reaching the top, I anchored myself into the summit rock adorned with webbing. Oh, wow! What I had missed out on views last weekend, I gained them all back with this climb.

So I took a moment to orient myself before savoring the views. Dome Peak was even more gorgeous than I remembered. I couldn’t even see the top the last time I was here. But what a stunning looking peak!

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Deep Thoughts on Spire Point

Now it all made sense why people would come out here and do the Ptarmigan Traverse. Words couldn’t describe the incredible emotions as I looked north. I had planned to climb this peak as part of the traverse.

But I had also wanted to climb two other peaks along the way. Sadly, most of my trips this season are two-day outings because of work. Ugh, work, what is that???

North-to-west panoramic view
North-to-west panoramic view

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Leaving Spire Point

I stayed on top for over an hour. But it was too gorgeous to leave this place. The best part was seeing the cascading peaks along the Ptarmigan Traverse, including Sentinel Peak and Old Guard Peak.

Other notable peaks along the route were Mount Formidable, Spider Mountain, and Johannesburg Mountain. Oh my! The pup was probably napping or playing in the snow by now. Alas, it was time to go down.

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Back to Spire Col

Two 60-meter rappels later, Mr. Cody and I reunited down by the scree. I hope that he got to enjoy the view of Dome Peak while I was away. The sun blasted down as we hurried back to camp.

What a vantage point! I kept turning around to look at Spire Point’s profile. Hard to fathom I was on top of something that gnarly looking and pointy only minutes ago.

Getting down
Getting down

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Back to Bachelor Creek Meadows

We spent an hour at camp before moving out. It would be a long way back to the car, 14 miles, to be exact. It felt great to be back on the trail below the snow line on Itswoot Ridge.

Later we enjoyed a short lunch break at Cub Lake. Them we climbed 500′ back up to the 5900′ pass. Since we lost parts of the upper trail yesterday, I opted to go back through the log crossing.

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The Storm’s A-Coming

Right before the trail made its way into the slide alder, the rain came unexpectedly. And soon, it turned into a thundering rainstorm. So we hunkered down in the trees and waited awhile.

The thunder eventually stopped, but the downpour persisted. So after putting rain covers on everything, we braved the weather. Then we continued down the basin.

Storm's a-coming
Storm’s a-coming

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Back to Sixmile Camp and Out

Shortly after we arrived at Sixmile Camp, the rain stopped. But even with rain covers, everything still came out damp. So we took a water-wringing break. Then we hiked the rest 6.5 miles out to the car.

What a memorable trip it was with the pup. Sure was one for the books! Some guy left a note on my windshield asking about a missing GPS device. But too bad, I didn’t find it.

See more trip photos here.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Jefferson

    Another good one! Thanks for the great trip report and photos.

  2. Blosite

    Amazing. Magnificent landscape. I feel like being there!

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