Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble - Pacific Point

We set out from the Carbon River Road trailhead at 7:30am, hoping to reach the North Peak of Old Desolate. However, we decided to turn around at Pacific Point, a scenic viewpoint with excellent views of Carbon Glacier, Vernal Park, Echo Rock, and Mount Rainier. We moved quickly, but the 22 miles and 4800 feet of gain still took us 11 hours.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Our route was snow-free.  Between Ipsut Creek camp and the Carbon river crossing there is a washed out section. On the way in we missed the intricate system of log bridges and did some brushy crawling that we were able to skip on the way back. We departed the Wonderland trail at the top of the switchbacks above Dick Creek camp, and the initial ascent to the ridgeline that connects to Pacific Point was steep, damp open forest.

We started our Carbon River road walk at 7:30 am and arrived at Ipsut creek camp at the end of the road at 9 am.  We then followed the trail up to the top of the switchbacks after Dick Creek Camp, with views of the Carbon Glacier terminus from the suspension bridge on the way.

We left the trail at 11:30 AM ascending the ridge up to Pacific Point. The part of this ascent nearest the trail ridge was steep, damp, open forest.  

Shortly after emerging from the forest we did an ascending traverse on the climbers right side of the ridge where the spectacular views of Mount Rainier, Echo Rock, and the Carbon Glacier began.

(photo by Jesse Bengtsson)

We arrived at Pacific Point at around 1:30 PM and had lunch, continuing to enjoy the views as we delighted in the clearer-than-expected weather.  Estimating a 10 pm return to the cars if we continued to North Old Desolate, and concerned about our talus descent forecasted afternoon rain, we opted to make Pacific Point our destination for the day.   We departed the summit at 2 pm.


We descended the talus slopes southwest of Pacific Point to clearings where we had seen some elk at lunch.  Jesse remembered these clearings being boggy when he was there in July, and while a bit muddy they weren't too bad this time of year.  Our descent to the Wonderland trail continued through more damp steep forest avoiding some slide alder patches.  We took the trail back the way we came, admiring some interesting mushrooms along the way, including this big one whose cap was fist-sized.


We arrived back to the cars at around 6:30 PM, feet tired after 22 miles of walking.  I'll plan a return trip one day, biking the road or doing a multi-day traverse with a car shuttle to make it up to Old Desolate.  Thanks to Dave Morgan for planning most of this, and we hope he feels better soon!