Easy Ridge by Easy Peak in Picket Range via Hannegan Pass / 安逸脊

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Easy Ridge by Easy Peak was an exploratory trip in the Picket Range. I had planned on climbing Mount Challenger West Peak this weekend. But, at mile two, I realized I had forgotten an essential piece of gear–crampons. Bummer!

Easy Peak on Easy Ridge
Easy Peak on Easy Ridge

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Easy Ridge at a Glance

Access: Hannegan Pass Trailhead
Round Trip: 26 miles
Elevation Range: 2700′-6100′
Gear: helmet, microspikes, snowshoes, ice ax
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: no pets

Hannegan Pass Trail

I slept by the trailhead for an early start but didn’t leave until 10 AM! It was my first time on Hannegan Pass Trail, which some people also refer to as Pacific Northwest Trail. Just as I had pictured, it was a defined path.

The weather has been great so far, with a constant view of Ruth Mountain atop the valley. Along the way, small gullies still had snow on parts of the trail. So I carefully walked through those places not to step into any holes.

Hannegan Pass through Ruth Creek Valley
Hannegan Pass through Ruth Creek Valley

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Chilliwack River Trail

On the other side of the forested Hannegan Pass was the start of the Chilliwack River Trail. But the path soon faded into the snow. The trail would later show up again as I made my way down the switchbacks.

I soon crossed Hannegan Peak’s snowy east basin. Then I dropped more altitude after reentering the forest past the North Cascades National Park boundary. Then the snow faded by the first gully.

Looking east from Hannegan Pass
Looking east from Hannegan Pass

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Crossing the Chilliwack River

Views in the trees were spotty as I went around a few down-log piles. The sounds of several waterfalls en route helped to ease the boredom. Before long, I took a break by Copper Creek near the camp.

I later walked two miles to the hidden trail by a cairn and made my way to the shore. Then I carefully crossed Chilliwack River in thigh-high water. On the other side was another marker, which I followed into the trees.

Chilliwack River crossing
Chilliwack River crossing

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Easy Ridge Trail

I was able to follow the faint path in the dense forest at first. But I had somehow lost the trail after going through the opening covered in ferns. Feeling frustrated, I went straight up the steep hill over many logs.

As luck would have it, the trail later reappeared as I tried avoiding the outcrops! From there, I continued on the narrow path up to the 4800′ clearing. But soon, the snow took over the ground again.

The start of Easy Ridge Trail
The start of Easy Ridge Trail

See more trip photos here.

Easy Ridge

I made my way to the saddle and soon had the first view to the east with Ruth Mountain on the west. But I never saw Mount Shuksan because of the clouds. I went southbound on Easy Ridge and put on snowshoes shortly.

Not sure how Easy Ridge’s name came about, but it sure took a lot of sweat to come up here! I couldn’t yet see Easy Peak because of Point 5988. It took forever to go over the high point in halfway decent snow.

Seeing Whatcom Peak
Seeing Whatcom Peak

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Easy Peak North Ridge

I went over Point 5988 from the east to avoid the forested west slopes. It started to become cloudy earlier, but soon, more clouds had rolled into the area. Afterward, I reached Easy Peak’s north ridge at 6200′.

The peak looked quite steep from the north, at least at this angle. I also hesitated to go higher on the slope without the crampons. So I changed to microspikes, scoped out the terrain, and decided to stop here.

Seeing Mount Challenger from Easy Ridge
Seeing Mount Challenger from Easy Ridge

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Windy Night on Easy Ridge

The wind increased as more clouds rolled in before sunset. Then the mists soon devoured everything in sight and reduced visibility to zero. I later found a dry spot on the ridge and set up camp.

The east wind howled in the early evening and never stopped. Though, I had a restful night despite the constant blowing. It also helped when a few short shrubs shielded the tent from the gusts.

We're lost in a masquerade
We’re lost in a masquerade

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A Sunny Morning

I woke up early the following day. The wind had stopped before dawn to walk around the ridge while basking in the sun. But clouds later hovered the northern pickets, which I took as a sign to go home.

But I didn’t want to leave yet. It was tough to turn around after knowing how time-consuming it was to come up to Easy Ridge. But for now, I was about to lose the hard-earned altitude to return to the river.

Sunrise on Easy Ridge
Sunrise on Easy Ridge

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Back to Hannegan Pass and Out

Back on Easy Ridge Trail, I carefully followed the path in the forest. Then it took me down to where I had lost it the day before. From there, I was able to find my way out to the shore, where the water level had lowered.

I didn’t see anyone around until the other side of Hannegan Pass. Shortly, I met two hikers by the big snow gully before crossing. Then I cautioned them about the weakening snow bridge before continuing down the valley.

Finding my way home
Finding my way home

See more trip photos here.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Vivian Hauer

    This is another good translation to Chinese. Good Job!

  2. Alexei

    Thanks for this. I love abandoned trails. On my list for summer.

    1. onehikeaweek

      You’re welcome, and thanks for subscribing to my blog!

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