Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble - Monument Peak & Lake Mountain

A tough scramble in a remote part of the Pasayten to climb one of Washington's top 100 peaks

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • A challenging ford of Eureka creek right off the bat!  Then a tough, dry climb up the un-maintained ridge trail to Pistol Peaks.  We did have a couple small streams just before Pistol Pass, and relatively cool conditions, but take lots of water!

Do not believe the rumors of a new bridge across Eureka creek without first confirming with the Twisp RS that it’s actually a thing!  We found fast, cold, thigh deep water and were lucky to find a passage across near the confluence with the Lost river.  Beyond that ford the trail deteriorates, and vanishes altogether in places on the ridge under downed burned logs and vegetation grown over the 25 years since trail maintenance has taken place.  Having managed to take enough water to make the 4500’ climb up the ridge to Pistol Pass, you’ll find the Lake of the Woods nestled under Lake Mtn.  We were greeted by bugs, which thankfully retreated at nightfall.

If you plan to do Lake and Monument the same day, a very early departure would be in order (0400 or earlier), together with a tolerance for feeling wiped out.  The route description in Summit Routes is accurate for the basics; we had an intimidating sounding stream to cross after the 1200’ descent to the Monument Peak south east ridge – later in the season this will probably drop to a trickle, and will most likely be your last water for the ascent.  Otherwise the climb on the ridge is straightforward except for a half pitch of 3rd class scrambling where the ridge merges with the south-east slopes.

The spirit did not move us to get out of bed early and climb Lake Mtn on this trip; going to save that for a visit when/if the bridge/trail is worked on.  But, rather than the Summit Routes description over the 7400' notch again, we would have gone up the straightforward (but more technical  scrambling) east ridge from the lake.  Of course, this would mean returning to the lake from Monument.  For extra-credit, we saw some parties in the register had climbed the east ridge of Monument peak directly traversing from Lake Mtn; much more sporting!

Met no one beyond the Eureka creek.  Plenty of ptarmigans though.

Stats: 11000' gain, 31m round trip. Looks like 6-10 parties a year climb this peak. 

Times: TH to camp 9h with many breaks.  Camp to summit and back 11h also many breaks.  Summit to TH, around 7h.  Nothing fast about this trip!