Backpack - PCT: Rainy Pass to Stevens Pass/Trail 2000

PCT: Rainy Pass to Stevens Pass/Trail 2000

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  • Sat, Aug 13, 2011 — Mon, Aug 22, 2011
  • Foothills Hiking Committee
  • Day Hiking, Backpacking
  • Adults
This trip is part of the PCT SERIES. Priority for registration goes to participants signed up for the PCT Series. If you are not part of the PCT SERIES, your participation in this event will be subject to leader discretion. Please thoroughly review the Trip Description to see the logistics involved with this trip to determine if this trip is appropriate for you. Note that while preference will be given to those who wish to join for the entire trip, consideration will be given to those who don't if it's arranged up front in advance prior to signing up for the trip and the logistics work out. Note that the trip is scheduled such that those of us who normally work Monday through Friday only need to take 6 working days off. Note that since the trip leader will be leading another trip August 6-10, if you need to contact the leader about this trip during that time, please send and email; thanks for your consideration in this matter.

Trip Strenuousness: Trip is appropriate for experienced, fit backpackers.

Direction: We will be going southbound on the PCT.
The Pacific Crest Trail through the Glacier Peak Wilderness is the signature trek for experiencing the crest of the Cascade Mountains with all its diversity. Arguably the most beautiful and one of the most challenging sections of the entire PCT, this trek will introduce you to the allure and demands experienced by true long-distance hikers.
Woodmansee, Mike, Trekking Washington
You will traverse along a very rugged section of the North Cascades. This hike ranks second only to Volume I's John Muir Trail section in difficulty. Traversing around Glacier Peak, the hiker brakes down to and then labors up from, a number of deep-floored canyons that radiate from that peak. Unfortunately, a nice, contouring trail, such as the one around Mt. Adams, is impossible to route around Glacier Peak proper, for such a trail would be too snowbound and too avalanche-prone. Not only does this section have rugged topography, but it sometimes has dangerous fords, cold, threatening weather, and persistent insects. Why then do thousands of backpackers flock to Glacier Peak Wilderness? Well, perhaps because it is a real wilderness and not, like so many others, a wilderness in name only. It provides a definite challenge to modern-day people, who are so protected from the elements. This area's intimidating, snowy terrain, which is contrasted with lovely, fragile wildflower gardens, will draw you back time and time again.
Schaffer, Jeffrey P., and Selters, Andy. Pacific Crest Trail: From the California Border to the Canadian Border OREGON & WASHINGTON


Qualified participants will have backpacked on at least a 5 day trip, be in great shape. Plan on discussing your experience, fitness, gear, goals, and concerns with the leader and/or other trip participants prior to the trip.

Itinerary (camp locations may change):

10 days, 9 nights
  • Day 1. Rainy Pass to High Bridge (pending permit), 14.5 miles
  • Day 2. South to Swamp Creek Camp, 13.4 miles
    See bibl 3, trip 99 for a description of this section, stating it's "a long, easy grade in lovely forest with notable groves of cedar. Glimpses ahead of Agnes Mountain and glaciers on Dome Peak; to the rear, McGregor Mountain... The valley forest is ever superb, featuring a fine stand of large hemlock and fir near Swamp Creek."
  • Day 3. South to Miner's Creek, 13.4 miles
    See bibl 3, trip 13, p. 49 for a more interesting description of Miner's creek camp, and it also mentions an alternate camp "a bit before" Suiattle pass [although that's not the plan].
  • Day 4. South to Dolly Vista, 16.4 miles
  • Day 5. South to Fire Creek, 11 miles
    See bibl 3 trip 11, which suggests some optional side trips on page 45 we can consider if we have a strong group so inclined... "Flower gardens spread in every direction and views are grand north to Miners Ridge, Plummer Mountain, Dome Peak, and beyond. ... Wander up the crest to a 7000-foot-knoll. Even better, hike north in meadows to 6500-foot Grassy Point, offering views up and down the green valley of the Suiattle River, but especially of the white-glaciered volcano."
  • Day 6. South to Baekos Creek, 10 miles
    See bibl 3 trip 18, which describes part of this section in reverse "The Crest Trail switchbacks through cliffs of red and gray andesite, then along heather parklands on a moraine crest, swinging left to reach the welcome splash (and campsite) of Glacier Creek at 5250 feet, 4 miles from the White Chuck River trail. ... It's a shame to turn back at the edge of so much good highland roaming. Just 1 mile from Glacier Creek, over Glacier Ridge, are the splendid meadows and camps of Pumice Creek..."
  • Day 7. South to Indian Pass (tentative), 10.3 miles
    See bibl 3, trip 20 p. 67 ... "Every direction calls. ... any itinerary of less than a week will leave the visitor frustrated, determined to return soon to finish the job at leisure."
  • Day 8. South to Pear Lake, 14.7 miles
    See bibl 3, trip 45 ... "Dishpan Gap rates four trips in this book. The flowers, views, and campsites are marvelous..." [hence we may want to consider camping at dishpan gap instead as the trip progresses].
    See bibl 3, trip 49, p. 126 for a description of the PCT near Pear Lake... "Savor flower and heather gardens ringing three alpine lakes and a spatter of ponds along the Pacific Crest Trail. And if you feel the call for whipped cream on top, get that at a third lake with a full horizon of valleys and mountains." p. 127 implies an optional possible side trip up Fortune mountain if we're inclined and research or scouting bears out it's not a technical summit.
  • Day 9. South to Lk Valhalla, 12.4 miles
    See bibl 3, trip 50, which comments about where the best camps are (you'll have to buy the book or come with to find out!).
    See bibl 3, trip 51, describes the southern portion of this section "A beautiful alpine lake and a long ridge trail, sometimes in Western Washington and sometimes in Eastern Washington and sometimes straddling the fence. An easy but spectacular stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail." ... "At about 5 1/4 miles from Lake Janus, the trail climbs within a few feet of the top of 5597-foot Grizzly Peak and more panoramas. The trail also goes close to the summit of a nameless peak with a view of Glacier Peak; succumbing to this temptation will lead to further temptations on and on along the Pacific Crest Trail." and says of Lake Janus "The trail goes through pleasant forest in the far-off sound of Rapid River and the lake is everything it should be--sparkling water surrounded by meadows and tall trees and topped by the bright green slopes of 6007-foot Jove Peak."
  • Day 10. South to Stevens Pass, 5.4 miles
    See also bibl 3, trip 50, which describes this section in reverse.


GT 176 Stevens Pass, 144 Benchmark Mtn, 112 Glacier Peak, 113 Holden, 81 McGregor Mtn, 82 Stehekin, 50 Washington Pass


  • [1] Schaffer, Jeffrey P., and Selters, Andy. Pacific Crest Trail: From the California Border to the Canadian Border OREGON & WASHINGTON, 7th ed. 2nd printing, Wilderness Press, Section K, pp. 284-313
  • [2] Woodmansee, Mike, Trekking Washington 1st ed. Trek 7 The Pacific Crest Trail: Rainy Pass to Stevens Pass pp. 100-115.
  • [3] Spring, Ira, and Manning, Harvey, Washinton's Glacier Peak Region, 4th ed., 2nd printing., Trips 11, 13, 14, 18, 20, 45, 49, 50, 51, 62, 66, 99, and 100.
Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials
Trip Reports