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Forum Index -> Trip Reports -> Commonwealth Basin - Red Mtn -- 8/8/08
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Sultan of Sweat



Joined: 08 May 2006
Posts: 2686 | TRs | Pics
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Post Sat Aug 09, 2008 11:24 pm    Commonwealth Basin - Red Mtn -- 8/8/08
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I arrived in Seattle late Thursday night, and I had to be at dinner with the family Friday evening, so I didn't have a ton of time.  So I hiked my favorite hour-from-Seattle hike on Friday on a warm and unusually humid day, Commonwealth Basin to Red Mountain.  Part of my attachment to this hike stems from a memorable, cathartic break from bar exam studying that involved a bird attack and my first encounter with TNAB.  No sign of the f***er bird this time.

(Seriously, the PCT "climbing" up from Snoqualmie Pass is so obnoxiously and wastefully gradual that you would have to be either on a horse or on crack to take it. Even if you're going on to the Kendall Katwalk or further you can get there more quickly by taking the old Cascade Crest trail until it meets up with the PCT.  And it's prettier, too.)

To take the old Commonwealth Basin trail, start out very briefly on the PCT from the parking lot and, right after a rather silly sign on the right that says "most difficult," find an overgrown old road turned trail on your left. Take it. It doesn't stay overgrown for long and soon it turns uphill an into Commonwealth Basin. You round a corner, it flattens out a bit, and suddenly you hear only the creek flowing and not the I-90 traffic. I love that moment.

The Basin actually still has a few snow patches, amazingly enough, but nothing major. If the trail seems to peter out and you're confused as to where to go, cross the creek. This might happen a few times, it crosses the creek a lot. That's part of its charm.

I hiked up the still-official section of the Commonwealth Basin trail until I got to the flat area before Red Pond, and hit the faint path towards the Red Mountain summit (once you climb up out of the Basin there are no more snow patches). It's tough to follow the path all the way going up. This was my 5th time tackling this mountain and I've never gone up the same way twice. I think this time the route I picked was actually the diciest of all. I heard voices down below me so I tried not to let loose too much rock (it's hard), but they must have been heading up to the Pass because I never saw them. Views at the top were very hazy but nice.  A few mosquitos were around but not enough to merit DEET application.

Only now, writing this, do I remember reading the TNAB report telling how they put a register up there.  I forgot to look for it.  Dammit, I don't get to sign summit registers too often.

Pics, including my very first "shoe shot" contribution:

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