20210809_150454 Observation Rock group summit photo 800x600.jpg

Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble - Echo Rock & Observation Rock

Great day trip with beautiful hiking and easy scrambling.

  • Road rough but passable
  • Mowich Lake Road is in better condition than the last time I was here a year ago, however, it is still rough and very long. There were many places along the route to filter drinking water. The mosquitos were surprisingly completely absent until the return through Spray Park.

We left Spray Park Trailhead at 8am and headed for Knapsack Pass via Knapsack Pass Trail. The trail was occasionally muddy but otherwise in decent shape. Once at the saddle you get your first view of Echo & Observation as well as Rainier.

View from Knapsack Pass

Past the pass we crossed some small snow fields to get to the junction with Spray Park Trail.

Spray Park Trail

We were on Spray Park Trail for less than a mile before bearing right at the junction to head towards Echo & Observation.

Because we brought them, we put on our crampons to ascend the Flett Glacier which made the ascent easier, however, they are not necessary if you are comfortable on steep snow. The glacier is just a benign snow field at this point in the season.

From the bottom, Echo Rock doesn't appear to be scramble-able, however, following the obvious booth path led to a surprisingly easy scramble to the summit.

Base of Echo Rock

The biggest danger on Echo is rockfall kicked loose from others. The only real exposure is the final few feet of the summit.  Group summit photo, the actual true summit being the pointy bit behind us.

Echo Rock group summit photo

We descended Echo Rock and headed over to Observation Rock. Again, an obvious boot path on the east side of the faces makes finding the route to the summit via the back side easy.

Observation Rock on the approach

The actual scramble of Observation Rock is simple and has no exposure. Our group summit photo with Rainier behind us. The summit of Observation gives great views of Liberty Ridge, the Willis Wall, and Liberty Cap.

Observation Rock group summit photo

We returned to the trailhead through Spray Park and its many wildflowers.

Spray Park wildflowers

We arrived back to the trailhead just before 7pm. It was a long day! Averaging our various devices we logged 13 miles and 4,500 ft of ascent.

This is an excellent trip that I recommend highly.