Gabriel Peak + Elija Ridge by Ragged Ridge via Cabinet Creek / 加布里埃爾峯

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Gabriel Peak and Elija Ridge by Ragged Ridge are two distinct massifs near North Cascades Highway–Highway 20. Each spans over four miles long, trending east to west. Though less known, these high prominence peaks above Cabinet Creek and Panther Creek attract many mountain enthusiasts.

The full view of Gabriel Peak
The full view of Gabriel Peak

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Gabriel Peak and Elija Ridge at a Glance

Environs = Ezekiel + Beebe Mountain
週圍地區=以西結峯+比比山

Access: Highway 20 @ Cabinet Creek
Round Trip: 23.3 miles
Elevation Range: 3170′-7920′
Gear: helmet
Route Info: Paul M
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: no pets

September 3-5, 2021

Day 1 – Friday, September 3
5700′ pass + Gabriel Peak
Night 1 – 5700′ pass camp

Day 2 – Saturday, September 4
Elija Ridge + Ezekiel + Beebe Mountain
Night 2 – 5700′ pass camp

Day 3 – Sunday, September 5
Exit


Day 1

5700′ Pass + Gabriel Peak

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3

The Preface

After a lengthier trip last week, the pups deserved a leisurely outing. So we spent three days visiting Gabriel Peak and Elija Ridge between Cabinet Creek and Panther Creek. From Colonial Peak, I first took actual notice of these high points.

Like Picket Range, Gabriel Peak and Elija Ridge aren’t visible from North Cascades Highway. I remember taking my first photo of them from Gardner Mountain a decade ago. But they had sneaked onto my list this year.

North Cascades Highway view
North Cascades Highway view

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Cabinet Creek by North Cascades Highway (Highway 20)

I had initially planned the approach via Panther Creek Trail. But most reports pointed to the preferred way through Cabinet Creek. At least we finally checked out the creek after driving past it hundreds of times.

Looking at the descriptions, most parties had made their trips in June. They likely wanted to use the snow lower down to avoid the brush. But, I, on the other hand, was ok not to deal with any snow at all.

This way to Gabriel Peak
This way to Gabriel Peak

See more trip photos here.

En Route to 5700′ Pass by Gabriel Peak

Once in the woods, the pups and I went up on the adjacent ridge south of the creek. En route, we moved through many down trees strewing the open terrain. Then at 3800′, we surprisingly stumbled on a trail with flagging.

Our first goal was to reach the pass that divided Cabinet Creek and Gabriel Creek. Gabriel Peak and Elija Ridge’s shared saddle marked the midway point between the two peaks. So it made for an ideal place to set up camp.

Crossing Cabinet Creek
Crossing Cabinet Creek

See more trip photos here.

Crossing Cabinet Creek

The decent trail ended abruptly after a brief descent to Cabinet Creek at 4100’. It’s the last place I saw any more flagging as well. Later we crossed the shallow water on rocks after pacing along the shore.

We moved southwest by the water as more down trees were higher up on the slope. Even so, we still needed to deal with quite a few logs en route. Cabinet Creek, now to the south, was always within earshot.

Not the top of Gabriel Peak
Not the top of Gabriel Peak

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Camping by 5700’ Pass

At 4600′, we veered northwest while staying alongside Cabinet Creek’s main branch. Views in the forest were minimal until terrain slowly flattened at 5200′. There I got a glimpse of Cabinet Peak behind us.

Later we set up camp in the meadow shy of the pass. But in hindsight, we could’ve gone up to the more open saddle. A nearby stream provided water for the next two days. Then I realized I didn’t bring a lighter for the stove. Grr.

Home for the next two nights
Home for the next two nights

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Gabriel Peak Climb

After a break by the tent, we started making our way up Gabriel Peak’s broad north basin. Going south briefly through the forest got us back out to the open. Then at 6300′, we veered southeast up the scree to the 6900′ notch.

Soon, the sight of the Ragged Ridge appeared from behind the gap. I had waited for this the moment we left the car, and it was well worth the sweat. It’s also the closest I’ve seen the north side of the famous rugged ridgeline.

Looking back at the pass
Looking back at the pass

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Final Stretch on Gabriel Peak

We followed the rocky crest up to the higher notch at 7100′. There I got a clear view of Gabriel Peak and the rest of the route. Later I helped the pups up a big rock step, the only crux on this climb, and continued.

At 7200′, we made a rising traverse and cut across the south side of Point 7722. Then we reached Gabriel Peak’s east saddle after some careful scrambling. Later we went up a series of ledges and loose rocks to arrive at the roomy summit.

The final stretch on Gabriel Peak
The final stretch on Gabriel Peak

See more trip photos here.

Gabriel Peak Summit Views

Apart from the impressive view of Ragged Ridge, many of the notable peaks were nearby. To the north was the stunning sight of Jack Mountain and Crater Mountain. Ruby Mountain sat northwest; I had wanted to see it also.

The hazy sky was likely the result of the late summer’s wildfires. But all the places I had waited to see were all in plain view. The vibrant evening colors had even lit up the Inspiration Traverse group.

Southern panoramic view on Gabriel Peak
Southern panoramic view on Gabriel Peak

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Back to 5700′ Camp by Gabriel Peak

Views were too good to leave behind. But the party had to end, and I wanted to go back to camp before dark. The sandy ledges were more of a concern when going in reverse. So It took some time to reach the saddle.

Back at the big rock step, the yellow pup hopped right off. But the black dog required some guidance to take the plunge. Later we slid our way down the scree and reached camp at dusk.

Gabriel Peak's dreams
Gabriel Peak’s dreams

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Day 2

Elija Ridge + Ezekiel + Beebe Mountain

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3

En Route to Elija Ridge

The following day, we started moving after sunrise. Our first task was to go up to the 6350′ pass east of Elija Ridge. Then we’d work our way up the long ridgeline and hope to reach the top at a decent hour.

In the open forest were small streams that provided water until about 6000′. Then it’d be bone dry without a single trickle until we came off the ridge at day’s end. Before long, we were on the pass with Gabriel Peak behind us.

Elija Ridge above Stillwell Creek Basin
Elija Ridge above Stillwell Creek Basin

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Traversing the Long Ridgeline

We traversed the crest up to the rock field in the 6800′ meadow. Then as we went around the bottom of the talus, the marmot screeching started. Soon we went through some scree and made a rising traverse up to 7200′.

Keeping the same altitude, we later crossed three broad gullies below Ezekiel. The slopes were primarily rocks but with some heather dispersing throughout. Later we rounded the ridge and stopped above the 7100′ notch.

Dropping into the hidden notch
Dropping into the hidden notch

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The Final Stretch on Elija Ridge

We first bypassed the bouldered ridgeline by dropping 100′ on scree. Then we went up to the Elija Ridge’s southeast saddle and took a break to savor the views. The actual summit still wasn’t visible from there.

From 7400′ onward, we traversed south of the rocky crest. Then as we neared the top, the terrain steepened considerably. The final bit involved going up a steep gully through a series of slabs and sandy ledges.

The final stretch on Elija Ridge
The final stretch on Elija Ridge

See more trip photos here.

Elija Ridge Summit Views

Elija Ridge sported a broader but rocky summit, with remnants of a glacier on the backside. It even had two USGS markers by the granite platform. Something told me that a structure of some sort once occupied the top.

From here, I saw more of Ross Lake, plus a clearer sight of Jack Mountain and Crater Mountain. Views were similar to those on Gabriel Peak, now a little under two miles to the southeast. To the west, the horizon stayed hazy like yesterday.

Northern panoramic view on Elija Ridge
Northern panoramic view on Elija Ridge

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Next Stop, Ezekiel

Back at the 7100′ saddle, we rounded the ridge and made a rising traverse to just east of Ezekiel. Then we traverse a short way west to reach this minor bump on the ridgeline. But its sheer north side looked quite impressive from Elija Ridge.

I looked at the high point several hundred feet east, and it seemed taller, of course. But whatever, We only stayed a few minutes on top because we still had one more place to visit. So onward to Beebe Mountain, today’s final goal!

Elija Ridge from Ezekiel
Elija Ridge from Ezekiel

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En Route to Beebe Mountain

Going to Beebe Mountain, we first went back to the 6350′ saddle above Stillwell Creek. Then we proceeded to climb up to Point 7026 via its southwest ridge. We encountered krummholz lower on the crest.

From the bouldered Point 7026, I saw that we couldn’t go down the short drop-off on the north. So we poked around the west side and found a narrow ramp to bypass the cliffs. Then it was a long but smooth ridge walk.

The long ridge walk
This way to Beebe Mountain

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Beebe Mountain Summit Views

At 7200′, we beelined from the west and reached the windy summit before sunset. It was our northernmost peak, and so it felt the most remote. At the same time, we were much closer to Jack Mountain and Crater Mountain above Highway 20.

Gabriel Peak and Elija Ridge were both massive. But Elija Ridge’s undulating ridgelines on the north side made it look even broader. At the day’s end, the evening colors had brought the place back to life. But the sunset came way too soon.

South-to-east panoramic view on Beebe Mountain
South-to-east panoramic view on Beebe Mountain

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Back to 5700′ Camp by Gabriel Peak

A mile and a half later, we were down by Point 7026. Glad that it was still light out, so we wouldn’t have to go around the cliffs in the dark. Later from the top of the high point, we went directly south toward the campsite.

Back in the forest, we went down through a small water gully to avoid the brush. Then we hopped through several down trees down by the wetland before reaching camp. But tonight, I skipped a hot dinner without a lighter to light the stove. Grr.

Going back to camp
Going back to camp

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Day 3

Exit

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3

Leaving Gabriel Peak and Elija Ridge

As usual, the dogs were up early, so they couldn’t wait to go outside the tent. It must’ve not been an exhausting enough trip for them to sleep through breakfast this time. But I was glad that they both enjoyed a low-key outing.

I waited for things to dry off a bit before we started moving in the late morning. Soon, the spotty views in the open forest faded as we neared the creek bend down by Meebe Benchmark. Then we rested by a small stream for a while.

The sounds of nature
The sounds of nature

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Back to North Cascades Highway (Highway 20)

Although we were faster going downhill, it felt brushier than day one. Before crossing Cabinet Creek back to the south side was the worst of the debris. But I didn’t remember seeing most of it on the way in, so odd!

Back at 3800′, we continued down the trail to see where it’d lead us. Soon, we came out of the hidden entrance onto North Cascades Highway. It’s only about a hundred yards south of where we started.

Finding our way home
Finding my way home

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Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3

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