The Brothers South Couloir via Lena Lake by Webb Mountain / 兄弟峯

  • Reading time:10 mins read

The Brothers by Webb Mountain rises near Lena Lake in the Olympic Mountains. Mount Constance is near the north above the Dosewallips River. Meanwhile, this double-peaked, unique feature is visible across Puget Sound.

The Brothers summit above the rocky south couloir
The Brothers summit above the rocky south couloir

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The Brothers at a Glance

Access: Lena Lake Trailhead
Round Trip: 16.7 miles
Elevation Range: 660′-6842′
Gear: helmet
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: with guidance

An Early Start on Lena Lake Trail

With a long day ahead, Cody and I started walking at quarter to 5 in freezing weather. The wind chill at the switchbacks added discomfort before reaching Lena Lake. Soon, we passed the giant, fallen Douglas fir, which the trail crew had broken down. Then, we crossed the inlet in two more forks but couldn’t see the lake.

A report noted that the crux was crossing the outlet, which went smoothly for us. However, we went farther up through the log jam but couldn’t see well across the water. So we turned around and saw the shallow water by the fading trail. Though hidden, the path soon reappeared on the other side.

Entering The Brothers Wilderness in the dark
Entering The Brothers Wilderness in the dark

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Valley of the Silent Men to the Campsite

We later entered the wilderness at 2200′ before crossing East Fork Lena Creek’s dry bed. We crossed the creek twice through “Valley of the Silent Men” before the water went underground near the moss terrain. The flagging guided us through the sometimes hard-to-follow trail in the narrow gorge.

After gaining another 800′, we reached the climbers’ camp with a faint path behind the firepit. However, we weren’t halfway through the overall altitude. In other words, we still had 4000′ more over two-plus miles. So we took the trail before it faded under the windfalls but soon appeared past the debris.

Route-finding through the old burn
Route-finding through the old burn

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Through the Old Burn Amid Windfalls

Cairns emerged at the first clearing, where I glimpsed the summit ridge. Once we passed the tall shrubs, it was time to contend with more windfalls. According to SummitPost, the area had endured two wildfires in 1999 and 2003. But I couldn’t find related information anywhere online.

Fortunately, cairns guided us in the general direction. The faint path under the massive down trees was visible and somewhat intact. But rather than wasting time route-finding, it was more efficient to walk on the trees. Views behind us slowly appeared as we rose through this section.

The top of Mount Washington and Mount Pershing
The top of Mount Washington and Mount Pershing

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The Brothers Rocky Terrain to South Ridge

Past the windfalls were the continuous scree and rocky terrain. I’d expected to see leftover snow from September, but there was none. Despite having a path, keeping my balance over the rolling rocks was sometimes challenging. Meanwhile, sub-freezing temps had turned small waterfalls into icicle drapes.

At 4400′, we veered north before moving through the south ridge at 5200′. The route turned west at 5600′, which allowed us to avoid the cliffs overhead before moving into the main gully. Then, we began the most tedious part: going straight up. Where was the snow when we needed it?

South gully via the route of the least resistance
South gully via the route of the least resistance

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Entering the Final Stretch via South Gully

After stepping inside the gully, we lost the cairns as the couloir continued to steepen. Then, at 6000′, we bypassed the giant rock steps from the west onto the scree below the southwest ridge. But the route ended up being much friendlier for the pup as we neared the dusting of powder.

I saw where we’d missed the cairns and knew our return route. Hooray! In turn, our route had entirely avoided the gully. Soon, we turned slightly right at 6650′ into a narrow, icy passage. Above it was a short gully, which I could kick steps in the soft snow without crampons.

Four volcanoes panorama from The Brothers
Four volcanoes panorama from The Brothers

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Viewing The Brothers Wilderness on Top

Cody and I have only visited a few places in the East Olympic Mountains. I knew Mount Constance was north of here, but I couldn’t name the rest. A thin haze loomed over the horizon as we enjoyed open views to the east. Mount Baker, Glacier Peak, Mount Rainier, and Mount Adams were all visible.

Burr. Even the blazing sun couldn’t get the temps above freezing point. Having snow in the gully would’ve let us plunge-step down. After going through the old burn, we returned to the shade. Soon, we were down at the campsite and began the uneventful six-mile hike out to the car.

Leaving the Olympic Mountains via the wilderness
Leaving the Olympic Mountains via the wilderness

See more trip photos here.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Rob Albright

    Enjoyed all your trips in the Pasayten. We have packed in lots of times but not much fun since the fires. Our favorite spot is on Timberwolf Creek past McCall Gulch.

    1. onehikeaweek

      Hi Rob! Thanks for the feedback. I, too, enjoy the Pasayten Wilderness. McCall Gulch also was one of my favorite places to camp.

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