Battle Mountain + Snowshoe Ridge in Lake Chelan-Sawtooth / 戰役山

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Battle Mountain and Snowshoe Ridge in Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness overlook Eagle Creek Basin. Both are also steps away from many of Washington State’s tallest peaks. Moreover, the nearby basins offer spectacular larch views in the fall.

Battle Mountain from Snowshoe Ridge
Battle Mountain from Snowshoe Ridge

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Battle Mountain and Snowshoe Ridge at a Glance

Access: Eagle Creek Trailhead
Round Trip: 16.7 miles
Elevation Range: 3160′-7816′
Gear: helmet, snowshoes
Route Info: Matt Burton
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: with guidance

Battle Mountain and Snowshoe Ridge

It’s the long weekend. While we were still in the area, I wanted to check out other places to make the long drive worthwhile. So then I settled on Battle Mountain and Snowshoe Ridge above Eagle Creek Basin.

Crescent Mountain Fire had also swept through this area in 2018. But the crew has since done work to remove most trees from the lower trail. So it was way less physically draining than the day before.

This way to Battle Mountain
This way to Battle Mountain

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Eagle Creek Trail

We encountered the first mosquitoes of the season. But glad I had brought the head net I used on a climb two years back. It worked out incredibly well on the lower trail.

The 1.5 miles to Eagle Creek went by quickly. Somehow I thought that the Oval Creek junction came before the creek. So we walked back and forth, looking for the fork. Then I realized we needed to cross the water first.

Crossing Eagle Creek
Crossing Eagle Creek

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Oval Creek Junction

I found a log jam 100′ downstream. So I used it to cross the raging water while the dogs waded. Later we went through several switchbacks and found the junction at 4200′. Then the trail took us to the west of Duckbill Mountain.

Many down trees showed up before the upper Eagle Creek. Then we crossed the water again using a nearby log. Soon, we found more fallen timbers on the other side. But they dwindled as we went higher.

Brace yourselves
Brace yourselves

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Through the Forest

Later I saw the top of Oval Peak by the first clearing. Then I put on snowshoes in continuous snow on the other side of the snowfield at 5600′. We were now directly west of Duckhead Mountain.

After the third opening, we were back in the open forest for a while. Other than the spotty views of Oval Peak, there wasn’t much to see in the trees. During that time, we walked past Silver Lake junction.

Duckhead Mountain
Duckhead Mountain

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Rounding Snowshoe Ridge

We’ve been able to stay on the summer route by looking at the dry spots and the cut trees. But later, we lost the trail to the snow at 6000′ as we rounded southeast of Snowshoe Ridge. Then we scrambled the rest of the way.

It was more distance over altitude gain. So it felt like forever to go through the forest. However, Eagle Creek was within earshot. So route-finding wasn’t an issue as we walked uphill beside the stream.

Snowshoe Ridge
Snowshoe Ridge

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Battle Mountain Climb

Later we broke out into the clearing at 6600′. Then we continued up the slope and found a dry spot at 6700′ to camp. Though, I’d have a restless night because of the uneven ground. But it was better than being on snow.

We were under three-quarters of a mile from Battle Mountain. And judging by the amount of daylight, we could climb both peaks today. Then that’d give us a relaxing exit the following morning.

Battle Mountain, battle far from over
Battle Mountain, battle far from over

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Battle Mountain Summit Views

From camp, we went up the moderate slope and reached the ridgeline at 7200′. Then another 500′ climb on the steep east ridge put us at the top of the broad summit. Views here were also incredible, just as I expected.

Oval Peak stole the show on this trip. But I could also see the tip of Star Peak and Raven Ridge to the south. Like yesterday’s outing, we enjoyed abounding views of Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness and Glacier Peak Wilderness.

Eastern panoramic view
Eastern panoramic view

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Next Stop, Snowshoe Ridge

We still had to make it over to Snowshoe Ridge at 1.25 miles away. I wasn’t if the southwest ridgeline would be conducive to traversing. But we stayed on the crest anyway to see where it would lead us.

The higher we went, the less snow on the crest. So by the time we reached 7200′, we were going in and out of giant boulders. The pups occasionally walked on the snow on the south side when hopping became tedious.

Snowshoe Ridge from Battle Mountain
Snowshoe Ridge from Battle Mountain

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The Final Stretch

In hindsight, we could’ve stayed on the south side and benefitted from the snow. But I had left the snowshoes down by the rocks. So instead, we went through a massive boulder field in the final 200′.

To the east of the summit was another high point. Though, it looked higher from this side. So we traversed a short way over to take a look. But from there, the actual summit looked taller too!

The final stretch
The final stretch

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Snowshoe Ridge Summit Views

Shortly, we made our way back to the west high point. Then we spent the rest of our visit there. The bouldered summit had one wobbly stone. So I signaled the dogs to lie down by the platform below.

The vibrant evening colors strewed the blue sky. But most high points to the north were now in the shade. The visit was short and sweet, and then we left 25 minutes before sundown.

southwestern panoramic view
southwestern panoramic view

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Back to Camp Battle

I didn’t want to go back through the tedious rock scramble. So we stayed in the snow until we reached the dry rocks. Then we beelined down the heather slopes to arrive at camp minutes later.

It was a restless night for the yellow dog also. There had to be some wild animal nearby for him to act weird. But the black pup slept soundly and snored like a pig through the night.

Nearing the end
Nearing the end

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Outro

The alarm sounded at 5 AM. But the dogs had been awake for some time and couldn’t wait to go outside the tent. But I, on the other hand, napped for another hour or so. Then I got up just as the sun beamed into the basin.

Back above the lower creek crossing, we met the only other person on this trip. Tom turned out to be part of the crew that had cleared the down trees on this trail in 2019. Thanks, everyone!

Finding our way home
Finding our way home

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