Ascent of Mount Pilchuck on 2013-01-22

Climber: James Barlow

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Pilchuck
    Elevation:5340 ft / 1627 m

Ascent Trip Report

Another great hike in my new home in the Cascades! The original plan was for Mt Pugh, but I was still a bit sore from Mt St Helens the other day so I settled for plan B, Mt Pilchuck. Pilchuck is only 4,000 ft of gain while Pugh would have been 6,000. A lot of people hike/ski/snowshoe up the road to the summer trailhead, so that is all packed down nicely. Also, the first half mile or so of the Pilchuck trail is nice. After that the tracks all scattered. I initially followed some, then found myself on some steep, crappy terrain. This is evident in my gps track as I backed off of it and headed west to the trail, which had no tracks on it, but was clearly the trail. When I found the trail, I put my snowshoes on, having hiked just in boots to this point. I managed to follow the trail until if joined back up with some of the tracks, which appeared to maybe be 2 previous round trip hikers. I ditched the snowshoes at the small knob at 4,600 ft and switched to crampons and ice axe for the imposing west face. As it turns out, the west face is all bark and no bite. It looks quite daunting from below, but when you get on it, it's quite easy. The ice axe was unnecessary, the ski poles I ditched with the snowshoes would have sufficed. The crampons were helpful as the steps from the previous hikers had frozen a bit. Once you diagonally traverse/ascend the west face, it is easy street to the lookout on top. The views were amazing, as to be expected. The Olympic peninsula, Glacier Pk, Mt Baker, Mt Rainier, and Vancouver Island were all visible. A little fog was settling over the Puget Sound, but the tops of the Seattle skyscrapers poked above it. I followed my route back down and then followed the trail a bit further down, losing it once again, but then just heading straight down the west side of the stream to the main logging road back to the car. The road portion of the hike totaled 11 miles (5.5 each way), out of the 15.4 I did for the whole hike, so a summer ascent would be significantly shorter. Additionally, there are signs warning of frequent property theft from the trailheads here. Maybe a hunter will get lucky and fix the car theft problem? I wouldn't object... Pics

15.4 miles round trip
2.4 mph moving avg
6h 19m moving time
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:4080 ft / 1243 m
    Total Elevation Loss:100 ft / 30 m
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Ski Poles, Snowshoes
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:4080 ft / 1243 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 3980 ft / 1213 m; Extra: 100 ft / 30m
    Loss on way in:100 ft / 30 m
    Route:Mt Pilchuck Trail
    Start Trailhead:1360 ft / 414 m
Descent Statistics
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by James Barlow
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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