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Trip

Backpack - Buckskin Ridge/Middle Fork Pasayten River Loop

A taste of the Pasayten Wilderness--golden larches, fine lakes, ridge hiking and solitude. Challenges include: moderate river fords and off-trail exploring. This is a Phase 2 trip.

Info
COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. All participants and leaders must agree to the COVID-19 Code of Conduct before participating in this Mountaineers activity.
  • Moderate/Strenuous
  • Challenging
  • Mileage: 38.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 10,700 ft
  • High Point Elevation: 7,900 ft
  • Pace: 2.0-2.5 mph

10 A.M. at The Mazama Store in Mazama, WA 12.5 miles East of Washington Pass, just North of Hwy 20 on Lost River Road.  The meeting spot is about 3.5 hours drive from Downtown Seattle. The TH is 20 miles further up Lost River Road, about 45 minutes more. The road to Hart's pass appears passable to all cars from trip reports, however it is famous for a single track section with a cliff on one side. I've driven it several times.

This is a Phase 2 Trip we will follow the Mountaineers' Covid-19 Protocol.  All participants need to attest that they do not exhibit Covid-19 symptoms when registering and on the day of the trip.  All participants must bring a cloth facemask and wear such when within 6' of other participants or closely passing others on the trail  or camp. All must bring biodegradeable soap and/or hand sanitizer on the trip. Please read the Mountaineer's Covid-19 Policy.

Itinerary:

Day 1: Slate Pass TH to Ferguson Lake--7.5 miles, 2000' gain, 1801' loss; calf deep ford of the Middle Fork Pasayten River. Camp at the lake.

Day 2: Optional boot-path to off-trail climb up to Wildcat Mountain for amazing views, 2 miles RT, 1200' gain and loss. Then, Ferguson Lake to Doris Lake, via the MIddle Fork--8.3 miles, 2615 gain, 2339' loss.  Camp at the lake. Possible explore toward Mount Rolo.

Day 3: Doris Lake to Point Creek Basin (just South of Buckskin Lake, on the ridge)--10.6 miles, 2759' gain, 3184' loss.  May need to haul water from the lake.

Day 4:  Point Creek Basin to Slate Pass TH. Complete the loop--11 miles, 3,331 gain, 3067' loss. Drive 4+ hours home.

This is a Leader's Permission Only trip: Please attest that you have experience this season with multi-night trips with 2000'-3000' of gain each day--list the trips. Please explicitly state that you are comfortable and have experience with river fords and will do the two fords of the Middle Fork of likely calf depth and maybe knee depth. Please state you acknowledge this October trip will have approximately 12 hours of darkness and temperature below freezing at night and possible inclement weather and you are up for this challenge. This trip is weather and smoke dependent.  It could be shortened, changed in location or cancelled. 

Route/Place

Buckskin Ridge/Middle Fork Pasayten River Loop



  • Green Trails Methow Valley No. 51SX

    Green Trails Pasayten Peak No. 18

    Green Trails Washington Pass No. 50
  • See full route/place details.
Roster
Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials plus overnight gear which may include:

  • Tent with footprint/ground tarp
  • Stove and fuel
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Water filter
  • Bear canister or extra stuff sack and cord designated for hanging food
  • Cooking pot/pan with plate and utensils
  • Toilet paper and shovel or blue bag to deal with waste
  • Two trekking poles are required
  • Full rain gear and pack cover
  • Bright outer clothing or pack cover--Orange, Red, Pink--it is deer hunting season
  • 3 liters of water capacity, bladder, bottles, etc for possible dry camp
  • Extra warms clothes in several layers
  • Warm hat and gloves (two sets incase first gets wet)
  • Hand warmers
  • Extra fuel beyond just what you need for cooking
  • Complete second set of clothes, incase you get wet.
  • Optional--shoes for fords.
Trip Reports