Merritt Lake Loop
Seattle Alpine Scrambling
Brickyard Park and Ride, Kirkland
Spark Plug Mountain is just to the west of Surprise Lake near Stevens Pass.
Note 1: If the weather is not at least “partly sunny” or the Avy conditions are “Considerable below 6000 on north-east aspect” THE DESTINATION WILL CHANGE to point 5928 on Nason Ridge east of Merrit Lake which is about 11 miles past Stevens Pass. My guess is that most likely we will not be going to Spark Plug. I will make the decision no later than Thursday evening.
Note 2: Both of these routes are quite long and are loops. There is nowhere to hang out and wait for us to come back. So to come along, you must be in good physical condition and feeling your best.
Meet at the Brickyard Park and Ride in Kirkland (I-405, Exit 22, west side of freeway) at 6:15 AM. Call me on my cell phone at 425-442-6411 if you are running late and want us to wait for you.
- Ice Axe is always required.
- Snowshoes with aggressive points on the bottom such as MSR.
- Crampons are required for this trip.
- Avalanche beacon, shovel, probe and the skills to use them are highly recommended but not required for participation.
- No parking pass is required
SPARK PLUG ROUTE:
We will start at the Surprise Lake trailhead and follow that trail staying on the west side of the creek past where the normal trail crosses it. At 3400’ feet we turn south west and head up the basin following the small creek up to Spark Plug Lake. We continue up to the east ridge of Spark Plug. If the weather is great, we stop for a break and keep right on going near and to the west of the ridge over toward Surprise Mountain where we drop down to Glacier Lake where we head back down the most direct way.
Here is a link to a map centered on Spark Plug:
MERRIT LAKE / NASON RIDGE ROUTE
We drive 11.4 miles past Stevens pass to the Merrit Lake Road. If it is clear we drive that road, otherwise there is a small pullout along the highway where we have parked in the past. We then hike the portion of the Merrit road that is not drivable and then follow the route of the summer trail up to 4600’ where we peel off to the north and head for Nason Ridge aiming for a point near the “E” in word “Ridge” on the map. From there we go east up to the peak.
If time permits on the way back we will traverse west along Nason ridge north of Merrit Lake up to the point just below the second “n” in the word “Nason” on the map. This is a popular snowshoe destination and is where you come off of the scramble to Mount Mastiff. From there we head south on the ridge to where we rejoin our tracks near 4400’. Here is link to a zoomable map centered on our destination peak. http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4.php?ll=47.81358,-120.889395&t=t4&z=15&hillshade=18&coord=latlng&directions=off&label=off&layers=off&streetview=on
I would encourage you to review and print this map. If you can't get the 'Mapping Support' print feature to work, Press Ctrl-PrntScr to copy the screen Image to the clipboard, paste it into the Microsoft Paint program, crop it to size, and print it out. Please don't show up without map compass and the skills to use them.