Keeping my promise to update this blog as time allows. This was a while back so I apologize for lack of detail. I just don’t recall everything. Two weeks after the accident on Sept. 20 I joined Charyl and Phillip on a scramble up Mt Pugh. It is class 2 and very easy. We saw lots of dayhikers on the trail and we were probably overdoing safety with helmets, but after Eric’s death we felt better with them on.

We began walking through the forest at about 8:30am after being escorted through Oso by truck. The trail begins in the forest and is quit gradual in elevation gain. At 1.5 miles we reached Lake Medan where we stopped for a quick snack on a flat rock. The trail splits her. Left leads to camps and right leads up Stujack Pass. The trail up the pass is rock in places that cross talus and scree and a bit steeper. We made good time to the pass. From it becomes class 2. The route follows a knife edge that is often described as being difficult and scary. However, the path does not follow the top of the edge, but travels just below it so there is a wall on one side. The air on the other side is not that bad… For a climber this is hardly difficult, but a hiker might find it more intimidating.

We arrived at steeper trail after the knife edge and scrambled over a few easy rock section and up grassy slopes. Many folks were on the trail that day enjoying the blue sky and warm weather. The views all the way up to the summit were perfect. Glacier Peak, Rainier, Baker, Sloan, Shucksen… everything was visible from the large, flat summit. Evidence remains of the fire tower that once stood there and there are UGS marks. I stood on the summit and released some of my husband’s ashes into the wind letting the gray particles flutter into the sky. His first summit since his death.

The way down was, in a word, painful. The switchbacks were endless as our toes banged hard against our mountaineering boots. The trial seemed to never end! But we finally made it back to the car 8 hours after we left for the summit! An awesome day in the mountains. Pugh is not challenging, but the views are gorgeous on a clear day. Just make sure you leave plenty of time for the 5300 ft gain and 11 mile trail.


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