Forum Index > Trip Reports > Crystal Peak 07/11/2009
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tigermn
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tigermn
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PostSun Jul 12, 2009 1:31 pm 
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I see a couple of reports from Crystal's south neighbor Shriner, so here is Crystal. This trail starts right from the highway just before you hit the turnoff to drive up to Sunrise.
Crystal Peak trail.
Crystal Peak trail.

Why the portion of the trail up to Crystal Peak isn't on the trail maps is beyond me. It is at least in as nice as the Shriner Peak trail. There is no exposure/nothing scary about this hike all the way to the summit. The lower portion of this trail is wide and smooth. The upper part is narrower but not very rocky or anything.
This hike is on my top 10 list for the easy access/relatively easy hike/bang for the effort and the great views.
The advantage to this summit over Shriner is no lookout so you get the great 360 degree views without having to walk around the structure. Don't see much in the way of camping up there though unlike Shriner which has some campsites if you wanna camp.

I left early to beat the heat/crowds. I was on the trail by 07:07AM.
Another thing as it turned out about leaving early. You get to hike almost 100% in the shade as the sun hasn't risen over the mountain yet!

There were 4 other cars in the parking area. It would end up these were camping. I saw absolutely no one on my entire trip up (That would change dramatically on the way down).

Ok I'll just group flower pictures below. Lots blooming.
Beargrass on Crystal Peak trail.
Beargrass on Crystal Peak trail.
Crystal Peak upper trail with Beargrass etc.
Crystal Peak upper trail with Beargrass etc.
Flowers on Crystal Peak trail.
Flowers on Crystal Peak trail.
This hasn't bloomed yet.
This hasn't bloomed yet.
Flowers on Crystal Peak trail.
Flowers on Crystal Peak trail.
Flowers on Crystal Peak trail.
Flowers on Crystal Peak trail.
Flowers on Crystal Peak trail.
Flowers on Crystal Peak trail.
Flowers at Crystal Peak true summit.
Flowers at Crystal Peak true summit.
Flowers on way down Crystal Peak trail.
Flowers on way down Crystal Peak trail.
Flowers on way down Crystal Peak trail.
Flowers on way down Crystal Peak trail.
Flowers on way down Crystal Peak trail.
Flowers on way down Crystal Peak trail.
Views on way down Crystal Peak trail.
Views on way down Crystal Peak trail.
Beargrass on Crystal Peak trail.
Beargrass on Crystal Peak trail.
Beargrass on Crystal peak trail.
Beargrass on Crystal peak trail.

This is a just under 4 mile 3100'ish ascent. The first 1 1/4 miles is also shared with the route up to Crystal Lakes.

Lower Crystal Peak/lakes trail.
Lower Crystal Peak/lakes trail.

The trail starts off crossing a creek and stays in the woods all the way up to the junction.
Creek crossing just at start of Crystal Peak/Lakes trail.
Creek crossing just at start of Crystal Peak/Lakes trail.
FIrst peak a boo view from lower Crystal Peak/Lake trail.
FIrst peak a boo view from lower Crystal Peak/Lake trail.
Zoom at fIrst peak a boo view from lower Crystal Peak/Lake trail.
Zoom at fIrst peak a boo view from lower Crystal Peak/Lake trail.

After 1 1/4 miles and about 1000 feet or so of climbing the junction is reached.
Crystal Lake/Peak junction. Straight for lakes, right for peak.
Crystal Lake/Peak junction. Straight for lakes, right for peak.

To the right we go soon crossing a creek on a footlog.
Creek crossing not far past junction on Crystal Peaks trail.
Creek crossing not far past junction on Crystal Peaks trail.

The trail stays in the woods a bit longer crossing an avalanche looking area where views start.
Clearing/avalanche area not far past creek crossing on Crystal Peak trail.
Clearing/avalanche area not far past creek crossing on Crystal Peak trail.
Views from this avalanche area Crystal Peak trail.
Views from this avalanche area Crystal Peak trail.

Wandering on it continues to open up more and views are the order of the day.
Zoom Rainier as it start to open up more on Crystal Peak trail.
Zoom Rainier as it start to open up more on Crystal Peak trail.
Rainier from Crystal Peak trail.
Rainier from Crystal Peak trail.
Rainier from Crystal Peak trail.
Rainier from Crystal Peak trail.
Rainier from Crystal Peak trail.
Rainier from Crystal Peak trail.

I continued up stopping for waypoints and pictures. I finally realized I needed to keep moving or I might never get there and I would likely have all the views from the top anyway. I had a time constraint and wanted some summit time!

Still couldn't resist a few more pictures on the way up.
Rainier from Crystal Peak trail.
Rainier from Crystal Peak trail.
Rainier from Crystal Peak trail.
Rainier from Crystal Peak trail.
Snag heading back north on Crystal Peak trail.
Snag heading back north on Crystal Peak trail.

The trail actually heads south of the peak then swings back. You reach the site of the old lookout.
Old Lookout site Crystal Peak just below actual summit. Easy summit boot path goes right
Old Lookout site Crystal Peak just below actual summit. Easy summit boot path goes right

From here follow the obvious easy boot path up to the right to the summit. A little steeper in places maybe than the trail but no exposure or anything. A must do for the 360 degree views.
Easy boot path up final 80 vertical feet or so to summit.
Easy boot path up final 80 vertical feet or so to summit.

It is only a short distance to the summit. An hour and 58 minutes from the car I was on the summit.
Crystal Peak true summit. It was me myself and I.
Crystal Peak true summit. It was me myself and I.

What super views! Some bugs were out but not bothersome. A nice breeze helped.
Rainier from Crystal Peak true summit.
Rainier from Crystal Peak true summit.
Views from Crystal Peak true summit.
Views from Crystal Peak true summit.
Views from Crystal Peak true summit.
Views from Crystal Peak true summit.

A 5 volcano day.
Adams from Crystal peak.
Adams from Crystal peak.
Hood from Crystal Peak summit
Hood from Crystal Peak summit
Baker from Crystal Peak.
Baker from Crystal Peak.
Rainier from Crystal Peak.
Rainier from Crystal Peak.
St Helen's from Crystal Peak.
St Helen's from Crystal Peak.

360 degree summit video


More summit shots
Rainier zoom from Crystal Peak summit.
Rainier zoom from Crystal Peak summit.
Views from Crystal peak summit.
Views from Crystal peak summit.
Lower Crystal lake from Crystal peak summit.
Lower Crystal lake from Crystal peak summit.
Upper Crystal lake from Crystal peak summit.
Upper Crystal lake from Crystal peak summit.
Ridge with Slide mountain from Crystal peak summit.
Ridge with Slide mountain from Crystal peak summit.
Slide mountain (I think) from Crystal peak summit.
Slide mountain (I think) from Crystal peak summit.

Fremont Lookout:
Fremont Lookout zoom from Crystal peak summit.
Fremont Lookout zoom from Crystal peak summit.

Lance Armstrong on the Crystal Peak summit.
Pot shot attempt at self portrait (without a tripod) from summit of Crystal peak.
Pot shot attempt at self portrait (without a tripod) from summit of Crystal peak.

After just under an hour it was time to head down to be back for my nieces birthday party up in Shoreline later in the afternoon.

I had the summit to myself and still didn't see anyone until maybe 25 minutes down the trail.
Views on way down Crystal Peak trail.
Views on way down Crystal Peak trail.
Views on way down Crystal Peak trail.
Views on way down Crystal Peak trail.
Views on way down Crystal Peak trail.
Views on way down Crystal Peak trail.

Started seeing people and counted 11 ascending the Crystal Peak trail on my way down.
Back at the junction the crowds were out in force.
Cast of thousands at Crystal peak trail/lake junction. I would count 11 people ascending peak trail, and 50+ the lower trail.
Cast of thousands at Crystal peak trail/lake junction. I would count 11 people ascending peak trail, and 50+ the lower trail.

I would count 56 heading up this 1 1/4 mile section of trail on my way down.
Still a couple more pictures.
Final looks at Rainier from lower Crystal Lake/peak trail.
Final looks at Rainier from lower Crystal Lake/peak trail.
Final looks at Rainier from lower Crystal Lake/peak trail.
Final looks at Rainier from lower Crystal Lake/peak trail.

Back at the parking lot at about 11:30AM the 5 cars (including mine) would have multiplied into at least 50 cars.
Traffic was bad on the way home as well.
Still the case for going early lives on:

1) I had the trail and summit all to myself
2) The hike up was 99% in the shade and cool
3) You don't use up the whole day.

--------------
My flickr photo site.
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Magellan
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Joined: 26 Jul 2006
Posts: 13042 | TRs | Pics
Location: Inexorable descent
Magellan
Brutally Handsome
PostSun Jul 12, 2009 1:40 pm 
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Yeah it is in pretty good shape for an abandoned trail.  Best part is being in MRNP with no fee.
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Galadriel
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Joined: 17 Jun 2003
Posts: 224 | TRs | Pics
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Galadriel
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PostSun Jul 12, 2009 7:26 pm 
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Thanks for the map and trail info - I'll plan this as a fall hike.
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EastKing
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Joined: 28 Mar 2007
Posts: 2041 | TRs | Pics
Location: 40 hours week work; 40 hours summit
EastKing
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PostSun Jul 12, 2009 7:43 pm 
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Awesome TR and pics. Nice shot at next week's destination. up.gif

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I am addicted to summits! I can't eat, drink or breath without them. Life without mountains would really suck.

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tigermn
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Joined: 10 Jul 2007
Posts: 9224 | TRs | Pics
Location: There...
tigermn
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PostMon Jul 13, 2009 5:50 am 
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EastKing wrote:
Awesome TR and pics. Nice shot at next week's destination. up.gif

Yea, this trip is definitely on my return list probably in the fall. That is if I can quit finding new stuff to do  lol.gif

I'm on a pretty good roll this year finding new destinations every week (weekday/evening hikes excluded of course).

Here's to good weather for your Rainier climb as that is just about all that would keep you from that summit.

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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Crystal Peak 07/11/2009
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