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Trappers Peak 5966ft

Newhalem, WA

June 24, 2012


Pictures courtesy the Monika Sovine Collection and the Thom Schroeder Collection

Today I had the privilege of scrambling up Trappers Peak with a group of fellow REI employees taking part in the Anderson Award week. Recipients of the award came from all over the country to participate in the weeklong event. Wednesday we were free to choose from a long list of outdoor activities like "Mountain biking Capitol forest", "Sailing with our CEO, Sally Jewell", "Snowshoeing at Mt Rainier", "Rock climbing at Exit 38", "Washington Wine Tours", "Seattle Walking Tour", just to name a few!

We all chose "Summiting Trappers Peak". We left the Seattle Marriott a little after 7am where we were met by our guides, Thom and Dan who work at Headquarters. I was looking forward to getting familiar with this area since I usually turn off earlier on the Cascade River Road or continue up to Washington Pass. The North Cascades definitely deserve a lot more attention from me.

I guess I drank too much liquids that morning because I had to request an emergency stop just outside of Darrington to water a tree! Thanks, everyone. In Darrington we picked up some munchies as well as some gatorade for the hike.

We enjoyed visitng during the long van ride up through Darrington and on to Marblemount. Not suprisingly our group hailed from Utah, Montana, Colorado, and Washington. We turned off highway 20 just outside of Newhalem and made our way up a long logging road with many switchbacks. I joked that we were going to be able to drive to the top since the road climbed up for so long. Eventually we arrived at the TH and had it all to ourselves. It was nice to be out of the car and to stretch our legs.

It was a beautiful morning with just a few low clouds hanging around the higher peaks. We were all really looking forward to this scramble. I had looked up the description in the red Beckey Bible, and I believe Trappers Peak may have the shortest description of any peak listed in all his books! At least this worthy peak made the cut and was included!

We hiked up an old, overgrown logging road and made two exciting log crossings before entering mature forest. We encountered a lot of snow and made our way up through the forest. I was glad Thom has scouted it out a few weeks before with his son, because there was no sign of any trail. I had fun talking with Becky from the Bozeman, MT store, Monika from the Olympia, WA store, Daniel from the Englewood, CO store and Billy from the Alderwood, WA store.

We climbed up through the trees and made a few crossings of snowbridges over rushing water beneath us. After an hour or so, we reached a headwall and traversed up and across the steep snow slope below it. Thom and Dan had cruised across and as I followed them I looked down and thought that this was pretty steep and a fall would result in a long slide into big trees, so I turned around and headed back to the others so see if Monika, who only had one trekking pole wanted another for stability. I told her that I was probably going to pull out my ice axe because of the exposure and that she was welcome to use one of my poles. She had no sooner said, "Sure" when 15 feet away from me she slipped and started sliding, gaining speed towards the trees!

Fortunately she ended up in a tree well, a little scrapped up but otherwise uninjured. We were all glad she was ok and helped her get back up the slope. With our ice axes all out, we made it safely across the slope and to easier terrain.

From here we made it up to the ridge overlooking Trappers Lake and had a great view of Mt Triumph! We took a break and ate some food and drank some water then continued up the ridge to the summit. The views kept getting better the higher we climbed. At the top we were rewarded with spectacular views of the southern Picket range. It was a perfect temperature so we spent about an hour just exploring the ridge, talking, and soaking up the incredible scenery.

We made good time plunge stepping down the slopes back to the trail and across the creeks to our waiting van. We drove into Mt Vernon where we had a great meal at the Skagit Valley Brewpub. Thanks Thom and Dan for leading a great trip, and thanks Becky, Daniel, Monika and Billy for a great day in the mountains. And a big thank you to REI for making this day possible!