Snowking Mountain by Razorback Mountain via Cyclone Lake / 雪王山

  • Reading time:16 mins read

Snowking Mountain by Razorback Mountain perches above Cyclone Lake in Glacier Peak Wilderness. Its notable neighbors include Mount Chavel and Mount Tommy Thompson. Plus, most climbs start from the Cascade River via Found Peak and Kindy Ridge.

Last view of Snowking Mountain
Last view of Snowking Mountain

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Snowking Mountain at a Glance

Access: Road 1570 @ Vee Creek
Round Trip: 17.1 miles
Elevation Range: 1160′-7433′
Essential Gear: helmet
Route Info: Xiulan Hu
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: with guidance
Playlist: Hopeful

Final Climbing Trip in Glacier Peak Wilderness

I took my first photo of the mountain from Hidden Lake Lookout in 2010. But it stayed on the back burner for years due to other climbing goals. Since my big mountain season had ended, we visited the peak while the warm October weather persisted.

On the map, it looked like a long way to the base of the climb. Then, I discovered a trail going nearly to the top that was more manageable than I imagined. So that meant Connor could come, as most descriptions suggested an enjoyable class 2-3 climb.

End of the drivable road by Vee Creek
End of the drivable road by Vee Creek

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Instata: Views Below Snowking Mountain

Views from high camp below Snowking Mountain

Walking to Upper Trailhead from Vee Creek

We slept by Cascade River Road and drove down to the bridge the next day through minor dips. I parked before Vee Creek since the car wouldn’t make it over the hump. From the trailhead a quarter of a mile ahead, we walked the old road over several windfalls.

In another .5 mile by the washout, we mistakenly walked into upper Vee Creek, now a dry bed. I only realized it halfway up the gully, but we continued anyway. We followed the rocky path and contended with the dense brush just before reaching the upper trail.

Following the dry creek bed
Following the dry creek bed

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End-Of-The-Road Firepit to Snowking Mountain

I wasn’t sure if we had saved time by missing the trail, but it cut three-quarters of a mile. Because of the error, we missed the washed-out bridge, which explained why we never saw it. We walked another 1.25 miles to the firepit and fetched water by the creek past the trail entrance.

It was steep from the get-go as the trail with many exposed tree roots went up the old forest. The main route weaved through down trees while several spur tracks bypassed the new windfalls. The trail would fade into the debris in a few spots and quickly come out the other side.

A hidden trail behind the firepit
A hidden trail behind the firepit

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Steep Ascent to Found Peak Above Found Lake

As the incline reduced, mosquitoes appeared before we wandered through the wetland. There hasn’t been any water since we left the firepit, and the pools in the meadow were not potable. Soon, the trail dipped to the 4800′ saddle north of Found Peak, where we lost it.

Unable to locate the ridge trail, we scrambled south above a small ravine. It wasn’t until 400′ above the pass that we found the rutted path. It went up through grass and boulders before going over the flat top 600′ higher. We got the first sight of Snowking Mountain.

Stairway to Snowking Mountain
Stairway to Snowking Mountain

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Exploring the Ridge Route From Found Peak

During the short break, we walked across the top and saw the three lakes below the west. Then, the steep trail weaved through the cliffs down the south side. Soon afterward, we strolled through the meadow and saw Found Lake adorned with a tiny island.

The trail went over Point 5695 to the next saddle as we neared Snowking Mountain. Just in case, I shed the pack and went down to fetch water near the tarn above Cyclone Lake. We then continued west of Kindy Ridge before leaving the path for the broad summit.

Snowking Mountain perching above Cyclone Lake
Snowking Mountain perching above Cyclone Lake

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Traversing Granite Ridge to Snowking Mountain

Views of Snowking Mountain have been at every turn since Found Peak. It was even more enjoyable to have a beaten path to follow the whole time. After a quick viewing, we returned to the trail and dropped 200′ on the south. There was a small stream here!

Several visible paths and cairns directed us to the massive slabs on the crest. We weaved through the granite ridge by combining trails and sloping rocks. It was steep but pleasant, with constant views, including the lonely moraine lake below Mutchler Peak.

In search of our ridge camp
In search of our ridge camp

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High Camp Above Cyclone Lake

With sunset in under an hour and the number of mosquitoes dwindling, I started looking for a campsite. The decent spot behind the bushes at 6200′ came with lake views. Clouds had rolled into the area earlier, and it rained soon after I pitched the tent.

We awoke to a cloudy morning and couldn’t see the mountain. So we enjoyed the misty south view until after sunrise and started walking uphill at 8. After a 200′ gain, we walked past an area of small pools. Dang it, too bad we didn’t keep going to find this idyllic spot!

Cyclone Lake view from camp
Cyclone Lake view from camp

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Climbing Snowking Mountain via Northeast Ridge

Clouds soon began to shift, but the south stayed misty without signs of Mount Muchler. We continued until the grassy path gave way to boulders and slabs. Then, we were above the south notch after a long traverse through the rocky slope.

The short drop into the gap wasn’t smooth, but we made it work. I briefly paused to admire the crevassed glacier garnished with icy edges. We soon went through the final span on a faint scree trail. In turn, we avoided the large rocks onto the broad, rocky summit.

Snowking Mountain's summit in the mist
Snowking Mountain’s summit in the mist

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Viewing Glacier Peak Wilderness Through Clouds

We spent most of the 1.5 hours waiting out the clouds so I could get some decent shots. Otherwise, it was a long way and lots of sweat without seeing anything from the top! The misty sky sometimes cleared up as clouds moved around during our visit.

South skyline never cleared up entirely but offered views of the lower ridges. I caught glimpses of the middle peak and Neori and Skaro Lakes. The two beautiful moraine ponds atop Illabot Creek looked incredibly magical. But Cyclone Lake, on the other hand, was hit or miss.

West panorama of Middle Peak and the lower lakes
West panorama of Middle Peak and the lower lakes

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Leaving the Misty Snowking Mountain Summit

Mutchler Peak briefly showed itself as we made our way to camp. We soon reached the grassy path by the small pools before returning to the tent. It was a surprisingly warm afternoon as we packed, and mostly sunny when we left.

After many photo stops along the rolling terrain, we went through all the ridge bumps. I took a decent pano of Eldorado Peak to the Ptarmigan Traverse on the east. Running behind schedule, I texted my friend to keep Cody for another night.

Cyclone Lake panorama below Snowking Mountain
Cyclone Lake panorama below Snowking Mountain

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Retracing Steps to the Car by Vee Creek

Soon, we picked up the trail above the 4800′ saddle with the distant view of Picket Range ahead. Upon reaching the pass, I realized the dense bushes had kept the unmarked fork from view. It then took half the time down to the firepit at 10 minutes till sunset.

Rather than going back through the creek bed in the dark, we stayed on the road. Shortly past our detour exit, we stumbled on the washed-out bridge. Then, it was under two miles of road before reaching the car by Vee Creek.

The east panorama below Found Peak
The east panorama below Found Peak

See more trip photos here.

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