Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble - Banshee Peak

Perfect autumn weather and great conditions for this gorgeous trek!

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • The Summerland trail is in excellent condition. Vegetation is pretty dry but still a few wildflowers here and there, especially Pearly Everlasting. The Frying Pan Creek log crossing was solid with a handrail. The log at the meltwater/ponds area below Panhandle is displaced and tilted, so not a good idea to use it. It was pretty low flow, so pick your poison.


We started out at 7:00 under a blue sky from the Summerland trailhead. The parking area was about half full and temps felt like high forties which was perfect. We saw hardly anyone else before Summerland. More hikers began to appear at the pond area where we took a nice leisurely break to enjoy our surroundings.


At Panhandle Gap:


From the Gap we traveled cross country close to the ridge line and were continuously treated with incredible fabulous views of endless peaks! Clouds were moving in, but they were high and not threatening. Muted sunlight actually added drama to the scenes.



A view of the Cowlitz Chimneys from Banshee summit:


Three Happy Scramblers:


Time to head home:


Our entire Banshee adventure was itself a highlight, and leaving was hard. But we had an unexpected delightful guest along the trail for a short time:


Yep, Wandering Bear enjoyed the trail for a while, then headed back into the trees and allowed us to pass. An awesome experience! We kept our distance and made sure he or she knew we were there. We were glad the green growth was more attractive than us! I was able to take this screen shot from the video taken by Kristen (thank you Kristen!)

In a nutshell, this was a great day out with wonderful companions! Round trip mileage was 14.5 and 3,800' gain over 10 hours, including leisurely breaks and a friendly visit with Wandering Bear.