Easy Ridge in the Picket Range / 尖樁山脈裏的安逸脊

Easy Ridge ended up being an exploratory trip. I had planned on climbing Mount Challenger West Peak this weekend. But then, at mile two, I realized I had forgotten my important 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 my early departure turned out to be 10 AM! It was my first time on the Hannegan Pass Trail. Some people also refer to it as the Pacific Northwest Trail. Just as I had pictured, it was a defined path.

So far, the weather was great. Plus, there was a constant view of Ruth Mountain at the head of the valley. Along the way, parts of the trail in the small gullies still had snow on them. So I walked through them carefully, trying not to step into 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 forested Hannegan Pass was the start of the Chilliwack River Trail. But the path soon disappeared into the snow. Parts of the trail would reappear as I made my way down the switchbacks.

Later I crossed the snow-covered east basin of Hannegan Peak. Then I dropped more attitude once I re-entered the forest past the national park boundary. Soon, the snow vanished by the first small 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. I also had to go around a couple of piles of down logs. The sounds of the few waterfalls along the way helped to ease the boredom. Before long, I took a break by Copper Creek near the camp.

Later I hiked two more miles to the inconspicuous spur trail. Then I made my way down to the shore by a cairn. I slowly crossed the Chilliwack River in thigh-high water. Then I followed another marker on the other side into the trees.

Chilliwack River crossing
Chilliwack River crossing

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Easy Ridge Trail

At first, I was able to follow the faint path through the dense growth. But as I went through the open forest in ferns, I somehow lost the trail. Feeling frustrated, I went straight up the steep hills over many down trees.

As luck would have it. As I tried avoiding a group of outcrops, the trail reappeared! From there, I was able to continue on the path up to the clearing at 4800′. Then the snow took over once again.

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

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Easy Ridge

I proceeded to make my way up to the saddle. There I got my first look to the east. To the west was Ruth Mountain. But I never saw Mount Shuksan because of the clouds. Later I went southbound on Easy Ridge for a bit and then put on snowshoes.

Not sure how Easy Ridge got its name. But it sure took a lot of effort and sweat to come up here! There were still no signs of Easy Peak because of Point 5988. The halfway decent snow conditions made it feel like forever to go over the high point.

Seeing Whatcom Peak
Seeing Whatcom Peak

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Easy Peak North Ridge

I went over Point 5988 from the east. So I could avoid the forested western slopes. Then before long, more clouds had rolled into the area. Later I reached the north ridge of Easy Peak at 6200′.

The north side of the peak was steeper than I thought. But without my crampons, I hesitated to attempt to go up to the peak. So I put on microspikes and scoped out the slopes. Then I knew it would be my stopping point.

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

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Windy Night on Easy Ridge

More clouds had rolled in before sunset. Then they quickly devoured everything in sight and reduced my visibility to zero. Later I found a dry spot on the ridge and camped.

The east wind howled nonstop through the night. Though, I was able to get a decent sleep despite the constant blowing. It also helped when a few short shrubs shielded me from the gusts.

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

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Sunny Morning

I woke up early this morning. But the wind had stopped at some point before dawn. So I could walk around the ridge and enjoy the morning sun. The clouds later hovered the northern pickets. Perhaps it was a sign that I wasn’t able to continue.

Though, I wouldn’t say I liked having to leave after one night. It was time-consuming to come up to Easy Ridge. But now, I was about to lose all that hard-earned elevation to go back down 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 down through the forest. Then it took me down to the place I had lost it the day before. From there, I was able to get myself out onto the shore. The water level felt lower today.

It was surprising not to see anyone on the trail. But it wasn’t until I went down the other side that I saw a few folks. Later I met a couple by the big snow gully. I warned them about the thin snow bridge there. Then I continued to make my way down the valley.

Finding my way home
Finding my way home

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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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