Treen Peak by Garfield Mountain in Alpine Lakes Wilderness / 特林峯

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Treen Peak by Garfield Mountain in Alpine Lakes Wilderness doesn’t see many guests. The distinct peak stands at a modest 5763 feet. But it ranks #10 in the North-Middle Forks Snoqualmie area.

Treen Peak in full display
Treen Peak in full display

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Treen Peak at a Glance

Access: NF-5620 @ mile 4.3
Round Trip: 7.6 miles
Elevation Range: 1320′-5763′
Gear: snowshoes, microspikes
Route Info: Schmidt Altitude
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: with guidance

Treen Peak

I first noticed Treen Peak from Snoqualmie Mountain. Then I would see the distinct summit from other places through the years. The peak looks remote on the map but accessible from the south, depending on the road conditions.

Though, for us, the crux wasn’t the climbing. But the way we took to get to the starting point. So I’ve since added the climb to roads unsuitable for non-SUVs. The worst part was the two dips past the washed-out area.

A misty morning
A misty morning

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South Route via Green Ridge Trail

We used the same trail to go up Galleon Mountain last November. Like before, the moderate incline only lasted a couple of hundred feet. Then the path rose steeply up the ridge to 4800′. We averaged 1700 ft/mi in the initial two miles.

Microspikes worked well in inches of continuous snow at 3000′. But we later lost the trail to deeper snow, and I put on snowshoes higher at 3600′. A blue sky was high above the mists despite the partly sunny outlook.

A tad messy
A tad messy

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Terrible Snow Quality

Snow conditions were terrible from the get-go, and it might even be the worst we’ve seen. The rising morning temperature had fast softened the snow with only about 10% decent snow. But glad not to have to break out crampons or ice ax.

I’ve used the MSR Lightning Ascent snowshoes for years, but the hooks around the frame had recently come off. The MSR Evo Ascent rental worked poorly without the heel lifts with subpar traction. So my calves and thighs were in overdrive for the whole trip.

Treen Peak crew
Treen Peak crew

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Green Ridge Traverse

It continued to snow bomb in the trees. We traversed the crest as views formed on both sides. Preacher Mountain and Garfield Mountain were the first to show, then Floating Rock and Big Snow Mountain followed.

I wanted to bypass the bump above Lake 4662 by going around it. But it was much easier to go over the west end to avoid traversing sideways on steep terrain. From the top, we had our first sighting of Treen Peak. Woot!

Ridgeview
Ridgeview

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Upper Garfield Mountain Lake Basin

Soon, we were down by the snowy Lake 4662, with massive Treen Peak front and center. We went down the steep gully west of the water. Then reached the big, beautiful upper lake at the top of the basin shortly.

The impressive Garfield Mountain stood above the serene lake, but only the east peak was visible. It was still other than the occasional releases on the mountain’s north side. The only sound I heard was my heavy breathing.

Garfield Mountain and Upper Garfield Mountain Lake
Garfield Mountain and Upper Garfield Mountain Lake

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Charlie Brown Lake

Shortly, we reached Upper Garfield Mountain Lake’s north shore. Then we went up in the steep forest to Charlie Brown Lake. In hindsight, we could’ve gone up through the lake’s outlet to be on milder terrain.

From the lake’s west shore, it was only 1300′ to the top of Treen Peak. But the annoying snow conditions had us move at turtle speed. Though, glad it wasn’t the wet stuff that would’ve heightened the avalanche danger.

Charlie Brown Lake in the snow
Charlie Brown Lake in the snow

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Treen Peak South Route

We went straight up the south from the lake while hugging the trees. I wanted to avoid the open terrain whenever possible. Slowly, we moved to the 5500′ notch by the protruding rock on the south ridge.

The incline lessened in the final 200′ as we continued to sink with every step. Perhaps it felt exhausting since we haven’t done a snow climb before the snowstorms. But at least the summit was now within our grasp.

Treen Peak's south face
Treen Peak’s south face

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Treen Peak Summit Plus Views

From Charlie Brown Lake, we gained 1300′ in half a mile. But we made it! The elongated top had cornices on the north side. I vividly remembered seeing them from Morpheus. So we steered clear from the edges. We’re all ready for a big lunch after the intense workout!

Clouds started forming in the skyline earlier, most lifted when we reached the top. So the nearby peaks like Cascade Mountain and Rooster Mountain were all visible. But the eastern sky was too hazy to see anything.

Southwestern panoramic view from Treen Peak summit
Southwestern panoramic view from Treen Peak summit

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Outro

Other than the snow, the only thing I dreaded was returning to Lake 4662. So we had to regain the 800′ lost going down to Upper Garfield Mountain Lake. It’s a first-world problem, after all.

This place was so pretty that I didn’t want to leave. Had I known how beautiful the lake basins were, I would’ve considered hauling up the overnight gear. But we’d also need to head out before Sunday’s downpour.

Finding our way home
Finding our way home

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First Cougar Sighting

The sky darkened when we were back on the lower Green Ridge Trail. Soon, out of the corner of my eye, I saw two eyes glistening at 50 feet away. So I thought of a deer until the long, thick tail suggested otherwise.

The cougar had crouched on a down log while scoping out the yellow lab below me. My mind was surprisingly lucid, and I did not want to repeat history. So I quickly banged my poles while chanting loudly.

Treen Peak's farewell
Treen Peak’s farewell

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Leaving the Scene

The animal quickly turned around and fast disappeared into the dark. What shocked me was that the dogs were completely unaware of the creature’s presence. But I continued to make noises before we started walking.

At last, after 12 years of hiking, I came face to face with a live cougar. I was on high alert for the rest of the hike out. But banging poles, chanting, and blowing the whistle with two confused dogs strapped to my sides–priceless.

Mount Rainier's send-off
Mount Rainier’s send-off

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Peggy Shih

    Thanks for the beautiful, scenic photos. You and your dogs sure got work out on this one. Woo, I am glad that cougar retreated and you and dogs are okay.

    1. onehikeaweek

      You’re welcome, and thanks! First time for everything.

  2. Carla Schauble

    Nice! Matt and I did a spring overnight trip to Treen either last year of the year before. I really enjoyed the solitude! I would have been a little freaked out seeing a cougar that close!

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