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Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble - Irving Peak

Although the original plan was to climb Longfellow Mountain, the weather seemed to be getting worse, so we turned around at Poe Mountain. However, back at Irving Pass, we decided to give Irving Peak a try, and that worked out well.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • The trail to Irving Pass is in very good shape.  The trail to Poe Mountain from there has a few logs to climb over and is eroded in a few place; it also has one short bit of rock to scramble.  The route from Irving Pass to Irving Peak is pretty much as described in the route description.

First of all, the road to the Irving Pass trail head is currently in very good shape; any car can get there with a bit of care to get around a few potholes.   If you are going to Poe Mountain or any of the peaks beyond it, going via Irving Pass saves  a lot of elevation gain, and the trail along the ridge is quite scenic.

Our plan was to do Longfellow Mountain, and we went as far as Poe Mountain where we had pretty good views under high clouds of Glacier Peak.  After a short break, however, the weather seemed to be changing, so we decided to go back.  When we got back to the pass, though, the rain had stopped, so we decided to do Irving Peak.  Although it is only about a mile with 1000' of gain from the pass to the summit, it took us almost 2 hours each way; this was partly due to the need to be very careful traversing exposed wet terrain.  The route is mostly either on top of the ridge or to its south, with useful game trails to follow.  Most of the exposed sections had plenty of branches to hold onto.  On the descent, we stayed on top of the ridge too long, and needed to backtrack to find a place to drop down to the south; the gully we used had some loose rock but was easy enough to descend safely one at a time.  That was the only significant loose rock that we encountered.  Although clouds limited our views from Irving, it was still an interesting perspective on the other peaks of Poet Ridge.

I should note that we did this trip on 9/14, a day before the high buck season began.  We encountered a number of hunters who were planning to camp along the ridge to be ready to start hunting up there the next morning.  So, just for future reference, this is not a good area to be hiking or scrambling on any September 15, and possibly not until after September 25.