Today was the coldest day in Washington since March. But is was a clear cold day; the perfect opportunity to head out to Mt Pilchuck. The previous three times I’d climbed this peak the summit was socked in with heavy mist and only offered patchy views at best. As Doug and I pulled into the parking lot at 3,000 feet the blue skies seemed to indicate that today I might finally see something other than clouds from the summit.

After starting out on the trail and then turning back once to make sure our lights were off Doug and I climbed at a steady pace to the talus. Here the trail resembled low angle waterfall ice. Heavy rain that had fallen over the weekend was frozen in thick slippery rivers over the trail. The going was tedious, but not impossible. I did not put on my microspikes and opted instead to tip toe from dry rock to dry rock poking out of the ice. Sometimes we detoured off the trail and walked around it. I would not consider this dangerous of folks are cautious and tread carefully. It was indeed cold, but the heavy winds that we were promised never transpired.

The views opened up revealing the Mountain Loop Highway Peaks and far off volcanoes. The window shutters on the fire tower were closed and a heavy board blocked the entrance. It was easy to lift it and get inside the little shelter for some lunch and conversation with some folks from the Marysville-Pilchuck High School. They had come to retrieve i flag they’d hung outside the shelter in honor of the recent school shooting.

Before descending I lets the winds carry Eric’s ashes away from the summit. Now he can enjoy the view too. We headed down the mountain running into many folks on the way up. It was veterans day and it seemed everyone was eager to take advantage of the good weather on their day off!

2300 ft elevation gain

5.4 miles




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