2015 in review

Northern Pickets from Luna

Northern Pickets from Luna

This was half a good season and half a bad one, so I suppose that makes it mediocre overall. I managed to do most of the speed outings I wanted, but failed to do any “real mountaineering.” I also managed to sideline myself for over a month with an ankle injury, a frustrating experience I hope not to repeat. Anyways, here are the highlights.

Type II fun

  • Olympus: I had been meaning to do Olympus for awhile, as it is both an ultra-prominence peak and one of the longer day hikes in the lower 48. Things finally came together this year, and I managed what I think is a decent time. The Blue Glacier is spectacular, and not particularly difficult or dangerous in a low-snow year, but the long trail approach makes this a fairly brutal day.
  • Luna: Located in the central Pickets, Luna is one of the hardest-to-reach peaks in the lower 48. Central Picket approaches are far rougher than those to the northern and southern ends of the range. Unlike other Picket peaks, climbing Luna requires no glacier travel and only a bit of third class, so hopefully some runner will improve on my time next year.
  • Dome: The wash-out of the Suiattle River Road made Dome almost impossible as a dayhike. With its repair last fall, the peak once again became reasonably accessible, though the standard route is quite brushy. I was glad to tick it off, but there are better summits for the effort required.
  • Logan: Logan was my last Cascades 9000er, and one of the harder ones to dayhike. The standard route requires a truly grim amount of wooded trail time along Thunder Creek and a bit of easy glacier travel. I chose instead to use the Banded Glacier route, which involves more elevation gain and some bush-whacking, but is substantially shorter and more scenic. I recommend this route for dayhikers.
  • Mox Peaks: “Hard Mox” is one of the toughest of Washington’s highest 100 peaks. I had visited the scenic Chilliwack area last year, but had only tagged Mount Spickard, the easiest peak in the area. This year I returned for the remaining peaks, including both Moxes and Redoubt. While Hard Mox was tricky, the most treacherous part was getting down Easy Mox to the saddle between the two peaks. A traverse from Spickard to Redoubt via the Moxes would be a fun and challenging day.

Type I fun

I don’t normally include any of these in my annual review, but since the Cascades so often require suffering, I have included some genuinely fun outings for those new to the range.

  • Crater: Once home to a ridiculously high fire lookout, Crater is by far the highest trail-accessible peak in its area, with spectacular views of its more remote neighbors. It would make either a good dayhike or a worthy and accessible FKT.
  • Eldorado: Though I had already climbed it in 2013, I was reminded this year how climbing Eldorado is an amazingly painless way to get the full Cascades experience, from rain forest, to tundra, to snow and glaciers. The standard route does not involve significant crevasse hazard, and can be done as a long day or a leisurely overnight.

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