Goblin Mountain by Kyes Peak via Storm Ridge + Quartz Creek / 鬼怪山

  • Reading time:9 mins read

Goblin Mountain of Storm Ridge overlooks Quartz Creek by Kyes Peak. Excelsior Mountain sits directly south across the North Fork Skykomish River. Despite having a trail below the east, this peak seldom sees visitors.

Goblin Mountain up ahead
Goblin Mountain up ahead

See more trip photos here.

Goblin Mountain at a Glance

Access: Quartz Creek Trailhead
Round Trip: 7.5 miles
Elevation Range: 2460′-5606′
Gear: helmet
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: no

The Preface

We took a relaxing trip out east near Wenatchee yesterday. While researching the area last night, I learned that Road 63 to Blanca Lake Trailhead had reopened. The perfect timing let us explore Goblin Mountain east of Kyes Peak.

Friends and I have talked about climbing the mountain over Halloween, as the name was fitting. But either snow or road closures have kept us away from the peak. The added 8.5-mile roundtrip was tough to swallow.

Goblin Mountain up ahead
Goblin Mountain up ahead

See more trip photos here.

Quartz Creek Trail

I wasn’t sure about the road conditions past Blanca Lake Trailhead due to the constant closures. But we kept our fingers (and paws) crossed not to find down trees or deep ruts en route. As it turned out, the drive was smooth sailing with only small potholes.

The Forest Service had warned about Quartz Creek Trail conditions on their website. So I imagined we’d need to hop over massive down trees due to low maintenance. But to my surprise, it was in excellent shape, with only one big tree over the trail.

Heading for the unknown
Heading for the unknown

See more trip photos here.

Storm Ridge East Spur Ridge

At mile 1.5, we left the trail and crossed Quartz Creek on a big log. Soon, we fought the dense brush through the old growth. But it was the massive Devil’s Club lower down where we spent much time route finding.

Things looked promising above 4000′ once we were above the trees. Shortly afterward, the east views expanded below Storm Ridge. Soon, snow appeared over the steep section at 4400′ where I left the snowshoes on the ridgetop.

Kyes Peak versus Goblin Mountain
Kyes Peak versus Goblin Mountain

See more trip photos here.

Goblin Mountain via Storm Ridge

A short traverse west soon put us on the ridge as we veered north. The east had massive sloping slabs and scree, which we avoided by hugging the crest. But we’d sometimes drop onto the steep, timbered west because of the rocky ridgeline.

At 5200′, we slowly moved to the steep east to bypass cliffs and outcrops. We then worked our way up through several narrow gullies. There wasn’t much snow here to reach the saddle without the constant postholing.

Ridge walk
Ridge walk

See more trip photos here.

Goblin Mountain Summit Views

Clouds had hovered the west since we were down on the spur ridge. So views of Kyes Peak, as well as other places, were spotty. Sloan Peak to the farther north was visible, but the misty Quartz Creek remained the same the entire time.

I uncoiled the rope for the summit boulders before seeing the register beside a shrub. So I signed it, and we hung out by the sandy platform. By now, I could see Glacier Peak, plus remote places in the Henry M. Jackson Wilderness.

East-to-north panorama
East-to-north panorama

See more trip photos here.

Outro

I hoped to see Kyes Peak, so we waited for the clouds to shift. But that didn’t happen until later. After an hour of chewing the fat, we slowly descended the mountain. Meanwhile, I couldn’t shake the thought of returning through the annoying brush.

As we slowly dropped altitude, I wondered how helpful microspikes would’ve been on the slick slope. We returned to the trees at dusk as Mr. Cody led us back to Quartz Creek with his sniffing power. Before long, we were at the car after moonrise.

Back to the ridge traverse
Back to the ridge traverse

See more trip photos here.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Susan

    I like your comment about Mr Cody using his sniffing power. What a great mountain dog, Mr Cody is!

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