After yesterday's cloudy hike up Pratt Mtn., I couldn't waste a good sunny forecast for saturday. So I headed up to the North Cascades to check out the Cascade river road. I had a few ideas but they depended on how far the road was plowed. I soon got my answer cause at about 7 miles, the plowing had stopped. I parked right before the Lookout Creek bridge and walked up about a quarter mile to the Lookout mountain trail head.
The hike started at 7 a.m. while it was still a little dark. The sun came up quickly and I was on my way up the many switchbacks. There wasn't that much snow on the trail, maybe a foot, and there were even areas without snow. At about 3500', I put my snow shoes on and made my way through a nice higher elevation old growth forest. There were big hemlocks and Alaskan cedars. The way I was going got pretty steep, my ice ax came in very handy. The higher I got, the more open the forest became and the sun was shining brightly. So I took a break to get my sunglasses out and dropped them down a steep slope. Oh well, I continued without them. I eventually reached a flatter area and walked a ridge toward Lookout. From here I could now see to the North with Baker to the Pickets in view.
After the ridge I had to drop back down a little and start traversing some extremely steep slopes. I would like to see how the trail looks in the summer cause today it was full of powdery deep snow. I would take 2 steps foward and slip 1 step backwards. It was tough but I headed straight up the hill. As I got closer, the pitch lessened a little and the lookout was in sight. The mountain has an elevation of 5719'. I got there at 11:30 and I could see 100's of peaks in all directions. I took about a half hour break before heading back down. It was a lot easier and I got back to my truck at 2:30. If the avy conditions were risky I wouldn't have tried this one.
Trip stats-9 miles, 5200 elevation gain in 7.5 hours.
Opus-The tower was locked but I could see inside and there were sleeping bags set up. Looks like it would be a fun place to stay the night.
EastKing-It was too steep in my opion to glissade without an area that leveled off at the bottom. Nothing to stop me except a few trees if I couldn't stop myself. I had to play it safe. On some similar slopes, I could tell that there were some small avalanches from a while back and I didn't want to set one off on my path.
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