Crescent Mountain

Trip

Alpine Scramble - Crescent Mountain

A moderate scramble with a fairly long trail hike approach, high lonely ridges, big meadows, and great views of Mount Rainier. And for a bonus: a fun bike ride. And if the weather is really nice, we might summit Tyee as well

Info
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  • Strenuous 4, Technical 3
  • Challenging
  • Mileage: 14.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 4,400 ft

Meet at the South Renton Park and Ride at 5:30 AM. Meet at the south end of the lot right across Grady Way from the Mac Donald’s.

Crescent is located along the Northern Loop Trail in Mount Rainier National Park.  It stands above a big above-timberline meadow area that is similar to Spray Park or Paradise, except that few people go there.  The reasons for that the scrambling starts after a 6 mile bike ride and a long hike.  But it will be worth it.  See some nice late summer pictures at http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/trip-reports/trip_report.2010-05-20.7847801279 If you have not been up the Carbon River Road, you are missing out on a great section of the park.  A portion of it washed out 10 years ago and the park service decided to keep the whole thing closed to cars, (although they still drive trucks up there sometimes).  95% of it is an easy gravel road well suited to hybrid or comfort bikes.  Mountain bikes are great, but are not essential.  Skinny tire road bikes can get up there, but you will have a harder time and won't be too comfortable with a backpack.  I have several extra bikes, so if you would like to go on this trip, but don't have access to a suitable bike, I can lend you one. (As of 6/28:  I have loaned out my smaller bike and have just a bike for somebody at least 5' 8" tall)

The road is a gentle uphill.  You won’t notice it too much going in, but on the way out, you will be able to coast much of the way. After about a 1 hour bike ride, we will lock up the bikes at the old Ipsut Creek Campground.  From there we commence on a 5 mile each way 3400' gain “hike” to Windy Gap.  The first hour is along the Carbon River.  We then cross it, (on a series of small bridges) and ascend the well maintained Northern Loop Trail about 3 thousand feet up to Windy Gap (open meadow area). From there we turn south and “scramble” open terrain to Crescent.  The scramble section will have snow and is north facing, so it might be quite firm, but the final ridge will likely be bare. Other trip reports indicate the walking distance is about 13 miles, (10 on trail, 3 off trail).

Car to car time will be about 10-12 hours. We will filter water several times coming and going, so you don’t have to carry very much in your pack.

Note: In the event of dense clouds with no views above 5000 feet, the bike ride and hike sections of this trip will still be lots of fun.  But without views, the summit portion won’t be as exciting.  In that case, we might decide to save Crescent for another day and change the summit to Tyee Peak, which is just to the north of Windy Gap. It is a bit easier, has less talus and with a south facing aspect will likely have less snow. On the other hand, if the weather is really nice, we might summit both Crescent and Tyee.

In the event of Rain, the trip will be shortened even more to one of the peaks near the Carbon River trailhead that don’t require biking.

If you want to borrow a bike, let me know before you sign-up.

Route/Place

Crescent Mountain



  • USGS Golden Lakes

    Green Trails Mt Rainier West No. 269

    Green Trails Mount Rainier Wonderland No. 269SX

    USGS Mowich Lake

    USGS Sunrise
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