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[TR] Columbia Peak - West Ridge 09/02/2023


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Trip: Columbia Peak - West Ridge

Trip Date: 09/02/2023

Trip Report:


Every 20 years, the classics probably need to be repeated.  And, as I was reminded Saturday, the west ridge of Columbia is a classic Cascadian scramble.  It has many good ingredients: a bike portion to keep the masses away (~8 miles RT-bring full suspension for the cushy experience); decent trail to access the alpine without bush bashing (Poodle Dog pass/Twin Lakes trails); enough real scrambling to get your attention on the way up and down (short bit of 4th and a good amount of 3rd); and a commanding viewpoint of the central Cascades (pictures below).  A great day out, all in all!


A funny aside-  on the way up, quite high near the summit (not the two ladies in the comments below that I ran into in the morning),  I ran into a couple of young mountain runner dudes on their way down.  I was traveling in the opposite style- I had my typically bigger than I need pack, large camera, and yellow pad.  In short, a dead giveaway.  "Are you @JasonG?" :lmao:

A classic Cascadian trail scene:


Wilman's Spires and Peak.  Worth climbing all of them!


Twin Lakes, Spire Mountain and Gunn Peak:


South to Daniel and Hinman from the summit of Columbia:


The view SE:


NE to Dakobed, Monte Cristo, and Kyes Peaks:


Dakobed and Monte Cristo:


Columbia Peak.  West ridge is the prominent spur that descends down and left from the summit.  Easier than it looks!


Glacier Basin Peaks from the trail down from Poodle Dog Pass:


I was amazed that I had the only bike locked to the rack in Monte Cristo. Don't forget this key piece of gear!



Gear Notes:
bike, helmet

Approach Notes:
old road to monte cristo, trail to twin lakes, and then up!

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Hey!  If only I'd known.  V and I ran into you as we were on the way down. 

We debated biking but biking that road on a road bike (my only option) with an overnight pack sounded not that fun.

We did not summit as it turns out my summer of moving my mother into memory care and getting zero exercise and V's summer of mountain biking instead of hiking uphill with a pack resulted in us wisely choosing to forego the summit in favor of chilling out and reading while sitting on a rock, camping with a stellar view, picking a whole lot of huckleberries, and swimming in Silver Lake, topped off with delicious potato tacos in Lake Stevens.  I can't regret it.

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