Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble - Guye Peak/North Route

Spectacular views all-around, perched on Guye Peak! Warm weather and ideal snow conditions contributed to an enjoyable mentored trip including students on their first snow scramble.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles

This was my first mentored trip to become a scramble leader. It's a peak I've not scrambled before, and was new to most of the participants. Fortunately, I had many Mountaineers trip reports and also communicated with other scramble leaders, so I had good beta. The biggest concern was the unusual record heat wave and how that would affect the snow. Seattle was forecast to be near 90°F. I chose to start early at 7:00 a.m. and this proved to be wise. By the time we finished early afternoon, the temperature was close to 80°F at Snoqualmie Pass.

We carried snowshoes and crampons/micro-spikes but never needed them. The snow was mostly firm with good traction. Only an occasional post-hole. It was a great opportunity to watch 2 scrambling students on their first snow scramble along a fairly challenging route.

We originally planned to park at the PCT North Snoqualmie parking lot. It's still deep with snow and the restroom is closed. Fortunately, we already had a backup plan to park at Snoqualmie Summit West with a short hike under the I-90 bridge to the trailhead.

I intentionally chose to scramble on the east side via Commonwealth Basin, versus the west side starting at Alpental due to steeper slope and concern for avalanche potential.

The hike along the old PCT in Commonwealth Basin had a decent boot track leading us to the first crossing over Commonwealth Creek. We came upon a double log with wire traction, but it would have been difficult to down climb, getting onto the logs, so I decided to scout further upstream. It looked like no one had attempted this previously. Not far, I found a really nice wide, solid snow bridge with obvious boot track which made it easy. There was a second creek crossing which was very manageable with a bit of scouting.

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The next segment involved a steep ascent up to the saddle between Guye Peak and Cave Ridge. The snow consolidation was firm enough for easy kick stepping, good traction and minimal brush bash. We had prior GPS tracks to assist us.

After reaching the saddle, we turned our attention to the north ridge. At 4,840' we encountered a large rock face. Initially we explored going right, but encountered a moat which made it very challenging, so we decided to go back down a bit, then explore to the left. We found a steep snow traverse, but this was much more preferable to the moat on the right. Since we had 2 students on their first snow scramble, we reviewed how to safely pass this crux using ice axe self belay. They handled it like a champ! After this crux, we continued toward the summit, eventually with a bit of rock scramble at the very top.

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Nearing the summit:


Birds-eye view perched on the summit:


Mount Rainier in the distance, and noticeable snow melt at Snoqualmie West:


The scramble was 5.8 mi with 2,171' ascent in just over 6 hours. Overall, a very enjoyable, successful scramble on Mother's Day with a great group of Mountaineers. I look forward to doing this peak again.