Lux Peak by Lumiere Ridge and Nasikelt Peak + Tunnel Creek / 勒克斯峯

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Lux Peak by Lumiere Ridge and Nasikelt Peak overlooks Tunnel Creek and Icicle Creek. It’s only one saddle away from the well-known Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). When snow is present, Highway 2 hairpin turn before Stevens Pass is the quickest way to this elusive high point.

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

The Preface

The pup and I visited the neighboring Sopwith Camel Mountain last spring. Back then, we started from the highway because of snow. But this time, the clear road allowed me to drive to the trailhead.

Lux means “light” in Latin. Coincidentally, the neighboring Lumiere Peak means “light” in French. I had hoped to see something after yesterday’s trip. But I wasn’t so sure if we’d see the light at the end of the tunnel.

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Tunnel Creek Trail

Tunnel Creek Trail is relatively short, 1.3 miles to Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), to be exact. Two hikers pulled into the parking area as we started walking. Their day trip to Trapp Lake sounded long, especially with the amount of snow.

The walk to the fork went by quickly. Judging from the dense clouds, I began to doubt the partly cloudy forecast. More snow at the first clearing in the forest. Then ice showed up right before the lake basin.

The first clearing
The first clearing

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Hope Lake and Mig Lake

Shortly, we checked out the frozen Hope Lake and saw old boot tracks going south on the PCT. But the northbound trail didn’t look like anyone had touched it since the snowfall. It was still comfortable to walk in boots and microspikes.

I changed to snowshoes en route to Mig Lake as walking had slowly become laborious. Then I changed out wet layers before seeing the unnamed pond by the King/Chelan County line. The trail later went around Lux Peak’s west ridge to the top of Tunnel Creek.

Mig Lake
Mig Lake

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North Ridge Traverse

It soon flurried as the path steepened. Then the several short switchbacks offset the altitude gain below the cliffs. Visibility was still weak when we reached the north saddle. I glanced down the east and saw nothing. But we could see down to the valley on a clear day.

The woodsy pass had made it hard to find a decent entry point into the trees. The less defined lower ridge made it hard to travel smoothly because of the dense vegetation. When it was no longer feasible to walk on the crest, we traversed through the steep east slopes.

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

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Lux Peak Summit Block

We later returned to the crest through a clearing. Then the sudden view of outcrops in the mists stopped us at our tracks. The rocks didn’t look dog-friendly, so I poked around the west side, and it looked nearly vertical. So nope! The east basin looked doable, but I wasn’t sure if we could return to the ridge from there.

We poked around the east, and voila, the pup spotted a steep snow ramp. So we bypassed the boulders and went right back on the ridge as it began to snow again. But the battle was far from over as right under the top were more stacked boulders. Then I found a hidden ramp to the west to squeeze through rocks and krummholz.

South view on Lux Peak
South view on Lux Peak

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Lux Peak Summit Plus Exit

Next to the ramp was a short, steep incline with only thin branches to grasp. So it wasn’t the place to lose our footing! Anyhow, we reached the top after much route-finding. Yay! The treed summit perched above a cliff, as I remembered seeing it from below earlier.

No views today, boo. But the eastern landscape would’ve been superb in decent weather. We took a short photo break and then scrambled down the west along the county line. Soon, we came out onto the trail by the unnamed pond and walked three miles back to the car.

Back to Hope Lake
Back to Hope Lake

See more trip photos here.

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