The route is brushed out very well in the beginning this year and is also flagged, which helped get to the old roadbed easier. Snow levels are way higher this year. Last year I attempted this climb in the third week of June and the upper basin was completely snowed over with about 3-4 feet. This year there wasn`t a stitch of snow until dropping into the basin on the North side of the ridge. Let me tell you the brush is very unpleasant. I suggest staying on the shoulder to the west of the upper basin, there are some cliff bands to negotiate but several picturesque waterfalls are passed. Snow conditions were great and large patches of bare ground were starting to appear in the basin above Gunn lake, which was just starting to thaw out. The terrain wasn`t too terribly bad until the last 300 ft. The entire summit rock was snowfree except the route to the summit, which was a knife edge of snow perched ominously above shear vertical drop-offs. I first scrambled up the smaller east peak to gain a better look at the treachery ahead. After mulling it over for 10-15 min I made my way up. The route was very nerve wracking going up and was 10 times worse coming down. Even though summer brings lots of brush in the upper basin, the last 300 ft would be much more ejoyable without snow.
Its all about LEVELS this time of year, right Tom ! Speaking of snow , from the summit I saw a broad snowy peak across the skykomish valley due south that I percieved to be Big Snow Mt. You said you did that peak, how did you approach it ?
Hey Brad, drive like you are going to barclay Lake. About 1/4- 1/2 mile before the TH hit a spur road on the left that is narrow and overgrown and heads slightly downhill. The spur ends shortly and park there, only room for 1-2 cars. The route takes off east through the trees and is flagged. After a few hundred feet it crosses barclay creek on a log jam and picks up the flagged and brushed-out route on the opposite side. Follow this for approx 5 min until reaching the old roadbed and go left, several hundred feet up look for and obscure path going north. From here the route is pretty straight forward and well worn in. The directions in the Beckey book seemed a little outdated. For a more accurate route go to www.summitpost.com and find Gunn Pk under mountain ranges of Washington.
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