Ives Peak + Old Snowy Mountain via Snowgrass Flat / 艾夫斯峯

  • Reading time:16 mins read

Ives Peak by Old Snowy Mountain ranks #4 in Goat Rocks Wilderness after Gilbert Peak and Big Horn. Below west of the ridgeline lies the vast Snowgrass Flat. Then, the east basin harbors McCall Glacier atop North Fork Tieton River.

Ives Peak from Old Snowy Mountain
Ives Peak from Old Snowy Mountain

See more trip photos here.

Ives Peak and Old Snowy Mountain at a Glance

Access: Snowgrass Flat Trailhead
Round Trip: 14.2 miles
Elevation Range: 4560′-7920′
Gear: helmet, microspikes
Route Info: SummitPost.org
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: with guidance

The Preface on Ives Peak

The yellow pup and I were in the area three years ago, visiting Gilbert Peak. It was a peaceful trip with lots of time to relax and dillydally. So I had hoped for the same by coming in before the high season.

NOTE: A reader has pointed out the no-drone policy, including wildernesses, in Washington State. That said, here are a few resources to ensure a safe and pleasant trip for all.
• Getting started on your new droneDrone Laws in Washington7 Tips for Taking Your Drone Hiking

It’s our third overnight outing this season and the most relaxing. We had to deal with rain and massive windfalls during the first two trips. It may be our last camping trip together this year, and I wanted the dogs to enjoy it.

Snowgrass Trailhead
Snowgrass Trailhead

See more trip photos here.

Snowgrass Trail

As I prepared by the trailhead, I thought about climbing Ives Peak and Old Snowy Mountain in a day. But as we started walking in the gorgeous sunshine, I decided to spend the night instead. So we returned to the car and repacked.

Soon, we hiked the decent trail down to Goat Creek bridge crossing in under two miles. It’s the lowest point of our trip after dropping a whopping 75 feet from the trailhead. I said hello to the party of four by the creek and continued.

This way to Ives Peak
This way to Ives Peak

See more trip photos here.

En Route to Snowgrass Flat

We soon found snow patches and mud along parts of the trail. Then the incline increased after the first switchback with a few down trees en route. More snow at 5300′ turned continuous as we missed the dry trail by the sharp turn.

Judging by the boot tracks in the snow, others had also missed the switchback. So we continued a bit before finding the sometimes snow-covered summer trail in the trees. Then it led us to the fork in the lower Snowgrass Flat.

Lower Snowgrass Flat
Lower Snowgrass Flat

See more trip photos here.

Camp 7200

Instead of following the boot path, we moved to the west of the minor ridge. Then we went up on the crest and soon merged with other tracks. We reached the upper Snowgrass Flat and saw a few tents by the trees at 6400′.

Despite the windy forecast, I wanted to stay higher for the views. So we walked toward Ives Peak and settled on the dry area below the west of Peak 7771. After dropping off some gear, we left camp with a summit pack.

A preview of Mount Rainier
A preview of Mount Rainier

See more trip photos here.

Ives Peak Climb

The slope was chossy, so we should’ve stayed on the snow first. But of course, I decided to go higher and wasted time traversing the scree. So we dropped back onto the snow and went up to the northwest saddle.

I scoped out McCall Glacier and ski tracks by the gap. Going up the faint path, we reached the south ridge by the rock features and saw the access ramp. But before going down the east, we came upon a snow slope.

Campers returning to the basin
Campers returning to the basin

See more trip photos here.

The Final Stretch on Ives Peak

I didn’t feel comfortable crossing the steep snow since I’d left my ice ax and crampons at camp. So I hugged the headwall and went down the narrow moat. The pups, of course, effortlessly walked over and met me by the rocks. Show off.

The rest of the climb was on gravel but mild terrain. As we rounded the ridge, I saw snow had ended at the basin below. So in hindsight, we could’ve bypassed via the buttress’ base and rejoined the route.

The final stretch on Ives Peak
The final stretch on Ives Peak

See more trip photos here.

Ives Peak Summit Views

Superb views from the top, and all things were visible. But we didn’t get the three-volcano vista like on Gilbert Peak because of the distant low clouds. I looked to the south and saw the gnarly-looking Big Horn.

From here, it looked like we could traverse the snow on the east to Old Snowy Mountain. But it was hard to tell how steep it’d be near the top. Ugh, I wish I had brought up my snow gear to avoid the scree.

Northern panoramic view from Ives Peak
Northern panoramic view from Ives Peak

See more trip photos here.

En Route to Old Snowy Mountain

Back on the saddle, we went over the rocky bump instead of bypassing it on snow. Then we stayed at 7600′ to midway between Ives Peak and Old Snowy Mountain. It was more manageable past that point while gaining some attitude.

Soon, we hugged the southeast ridge on a faint path and the occasional boot prints. Before long, the stone arch noted on SummitPost.org showed up overhead. The pups awaited by the structure, and we went to the east of the ridge.

Next stop, Old Snowy Mountain
Next stop, Old Snowy Mountain

See more trip photos here.

The Final Stretch on Old Snowy Mountain

I soon saw a boot path over the snow slope that looked mild for a direct ascent. Had it been steeper, we would’ve gone around the west instead. But dealing with more rocks would’ve taken more time.

We only had to go up two steep places before reaching the moat, which I didn’t expect to see. It was deep and wide in most areas except for one spot. But the pups needed a confidence boost to hop onto the rocks.

The final stretch
The final stretch

See more trip photos here.

Old Snowy Mountain Summit Views

I also didn’t expect to see bivvy spots right below the top! It would’ve been tempting to stay here had I known about them. We stood on the windy summit for a minute before retreating to the bivvy site with rock walls.

Ives Peak and Old Snowy Mountain were under a mile apart, so the views were similar. But now, there was the sight of the whole ridgeline from here through Tieton Peak. Mount Rainier remained in the clouds to the north.

Southeastern panoramic view
Southeastern panoramic view

See more trip photos here.

Back to Camp 7150

After soaking in the views, we exited via the northwest ridge. Soon, we reached the snowfield at the bottom and walked back to camp. En route, I noticed the tracks left by the two people we saw from Ives Peak earlier.

I looked at the time and knew we could still walk out and be back at the car before dark. But I promised to let the dogs enjoy the trip, so we stuck to the plan. Then I set up the tent before melting snow to make dinner.

Post-climb nap
Post-climb nap

See more trip photos here.

Morning of Day Two

We all had a restful night, and I missed the alarm to wake up before sunrise for pictures. The sun was shining when I poked my head outside the tent. But it would be another few hours before Snowgrass Flat was out of the shade.

I flew the drone to Goat Lake to capture some videos. It had been windy, and I got a strong wind warning to turn around. Soon, the battery died on the way back, so we went to look for the aircraft half a mile away.

Time to pack up
Time to pack up

See more trip photos here.

Outro

Before I lost the signal, I ensured the drone landed on the snow so I could see it. It was a miracle that I found it so soon as it lay still on the snowfield. Note to self, no flying in windy conditions or letting the aircraft go out of sight.

There was only one tent in Snowgrass Flat when we left. Then we retraced our steps through the forest and soon reached the trail. Two hikers came up as we took a water break by a stream above Goat Creek.

Finding our way home
Finding our way home

See more trip photos here.

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