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Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble - Beefhide Butte & Séance Peak

This was a nice trip to two summits that are among the 200 highest in Washington. There were good views of other nearby summits as well as some of the peaks across Lake Chelan, but clouds obscured the more distant views.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • We brought ice axes but never used them.  All the trails were in good shape.  There wasn't much loose rock.

The original plan was to do Star and Oval, but reports of 500+ trees down in the first 3 miles of the approach trail led me to change our destination.  We hiked to Boiling Lake on the first day, climbed the 2 peaks on the 2nd day, and hiked out on the 3rd day.  I had originally thought of doing a 4 day trip with Finney Peak added to the itinerary, but for a variety of reasons, it seemed reasonable to settle for the 2 excellent summits we climbed.

Day 2 began with a hike down to the Summit Trail, which we followed into the basin south of Beefhide Butte.  This area might have been a good place to camp; there are some established camp sites above the trail in this basin.  We hiked past Dry Lake to the SW ridge of Beefhide, which was easily followed to the top.

After taking in the views for a while, we descended the same ridge, and were eventually able to find a path leading down into the basin of Prince Creek.  We worked our way toward Seance Peak, expecting to head for one of the saddles NW or SE of the summit.  Instead, we just went right up the talus slope to the top.

Here is a view we had from Seance Peak; Star Peak is the main summit in the picture, with Bernice Lake below.


From the top of Seance, we could see a trail in the basin, and it seemed likely that we could follow it right down to the summit trail.  Unfortunately, it disappeared in the brush, and we had a fair amount of bushwhacking (> 300 vertical feet worth) to get to the trail.  There's a sketch map in Beckey that suggests we could have found a better route a little farther north, or we could have retraced our steps and climbed over the SW ridge of Beefhide.

Wildlife sightings included a bear that we encountered on the way back to camp, and a pesky deer at Boiling Lake that was very interested in anything of ours that was sweaty.  We couldn't leave things unattended because it wanted to get at pack straps, trekking pole handles, and it even tried to steal my helmet.

Overall, the weather was good, although it was somewhat frustrating that clouds obscured many of the peaks in the Cascades that would otherwise be visible, including Rainier, Glacier and Baker.