Lux Peak by Icicle Creek / 靠冰柱溪的勒克斯峯

Yesterday we went on a short and almost viewless trip. So I was hoping to see something on Lux Peak today. When the pup and I visited the neighboring Sopwith Camel Mountain last spring, we started walking from the highway. But this time, with the absence of snow, I was able to drive up to the trailhead. Lux means “light” in Latin. But I wasn’t so sure if we’d see much of it today.

Lux Peak beyond the clearing
Lux Peak beyond the clearing

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Lux Peak at a Glance

Access: Tunnel Creek Trailhead
Round Trip: 8 miles
Elevation Range: 3200′-5650′
Gear: microspikes, snowshoes
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: on the trail

Tunnel Creek Trail Approach

Tunnel Creek Trail is relatively short. It’s 1.3 miles to the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) junction, to be exact. Two hikers pulled into the parking area as we were leaving the trailhead. They were going up to Trapp Lake for the day. It sounded like a long day, especially with the snow conditions in higher elevations.

The hike up to the junction went by quickly. Judging from the sky coverage, I was beginning to doubt the partly cloudy forecast. More snow appeared at the first clearing as the trail made its way up across the opening. Then there was ice on parts of the pathway up to the lake basin.

The first clearing
The first clearing

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Through Hope Lake and Mig Lake

The trail was right next to the frozen Hope Lake. So we stopped briefly to savor the view. Then I noticed old boot tracks going south on the PCT. But the northbound section didn’t look like anyone has stepped on it since the latest snowfall. But it was still comfortable to continue in boots and microspikes.

I switched to snowshoes on the way to Mig Lake. The walking was becoming laborious. Then I changed out wet layers by the lake before continuing. We came upon an unnamed pond by the King/Chelan County line. Then the trail took us around the west ridge of Lux Peak into the head of the Tunnel Creek Basin.

Mig Lake
Mig Lake

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Getting up to the North Ridge

It started to flurry. And the path soon became steep. Then it made several short switchbacks to offset the elevation gain while bypassing the cliffs. Visibility was still weak when we arrived on the north saddle. So I glanced down the east and, of course, saw nothing. But on a clear day, we would be able to see into the valley.

The pass was woodsy. So it was hard to find a good entrance into the forest. The lower section of the north ridge was less defined. Even after we attained the crest, it was hard to make a smooth traverse because of the dense growth. When it was impossible to continue on the ridgeline, we dropped down onto the steep east slopes and sidestepped.

Lux Peak's woodsy north ridge
Lux Peak’s woodsy north ridge

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Lux Peak Summit Block

Eventually, we made it back up to the crest by way of a clearing. But then the sudden view of the outcrops in the mist stopped us at our tracks. The rocks didn’t appear to be dog-friendly. So I went around to the west face. But it looked nearly vertical. So nope! The east basin seemed doable. But I wasn’t sure if getting back on the ridge from there would be possible.

So we poked around the east. And voila! The pup spotted a snow ramp over the steep terrain. So we used it to bypass the boulders and got right back up on the ridge. It began to snow again. But the battle was far from over! Right under the top were more stacked boulders. Thankfully, I spotted a hidden ramp to the west. It was a tight squeeze through rocks and trees.

South view on Lux Peak
South view on Lux Peak

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Lux Peak Summit Plus Outro

On the other side of the ramp was a short, steep incline to the top. Other than branches, there wasn’t much vegetation to grasp. In other words, this wasn’t the place to lose our footing! Anyhow, after much route-finding effort, we finally reached the top. Yay! The forested summit sat directly above a cliff. I only remembered the steep drop-off because I saw it earlier from below.

There were no views today. Boo. Though, the landscape to the east would have been superb had the weather cooperated. We took a short photo break. Then we scrambled down the west face on the county line. Eventually, we came out onto the trail by the unnamed pond. Then we proceeded to hike three miles back to the car.

Back to Hope Lake
Back to Hope Lake

See more trip photos here.

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