Trip Report    

Boulder Peak

Three day trip in the North west area of Olympic National Park. From the Sol Duc TH to attempt Boulder Peak, with base camp at Boulder Creek Camp Ground.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • 20 or so trees down across trail. Snow started around 4500'.  Voids under snow, especially on large rocky slopes, and small buried trees.  Something found this year due to low early season snow, followed by a large amount of snow with no real established base.

3 hours 40 min  Sol Duc TH to Appleton Pass 3250 ft gain

6 hours Appleton Pass to Boulder Creek camp ground 2900ft decent

11 hours 30 min Boulder Creek Camp Ground to Boulder attempt  4000' gain

The twins and I went in with snow shoes, crampons, ice ax, and helmets. Each of our pack weight around 35 lbs. We hit snow at 4500' headed up to Appleton pass 5100', no signs of other human activity. Nav skills and route finding skills needed. At the pass we got our first glimpse of what lay in front of us. Visibility good and improving after morning drizzle.

It became clear we did not have the conditions or energy to go a high route up to Appleton saddle. Bagging South Appleton, Appleton and Everett, on our way to Boulder peak, with a high camp at one of the Alpine Lakes.

So down we went to Boulder Creek Camp ground. A bit more route finding, finding a safe route down open slopes, and  boulder creek, in snow shoes to about 4000 ft. One member fell face first after catching a snow shoe in a void under the snow in a steep area around 4800'. She made it very clear her knee was in a lot of pain. Managed to get her leg un-buried with hands, took some shovel work to get the snow shoe freed up. Luckily no injury just a very uncomfortable leg angle for 5 minutes or so. Retreated back up hill to find a better route.

Wednesday we headed up to Boulder Lake. Got our first glimps of a massive  cornice triggered slab avalanche that had occured earlier on Bolder peak. North facing, wind loaded slope upper slope angle estimated at 48' plus. Height of crown guestimate over 6 ft. Debris field split around North ridge, running over 1000 ft. Large portion stuck in a bottle neck above lake, the rest running to just shy of the lake. Will be interesting to see how long that debris stuck in the bottle neck will last.  I estimate the size at R5, Destructive force at D4 




Morning spent in crampons, afternoon in snowshoes. Attempted north ridge, turning around at 5k ft when we realized the route led to the top of the avy where a small cornice has been reforming. Back to the lake to attempt the East ridge, turning around at 4700 when the route became unclear and our energy had expired. Clear blue skys, great views of three Horse Lakes to the South, Everett peak and Appleton Peak. And the surrounding Olympics. Down to the Olympic hot spings for a well deserved soak. 

Packed up left camp early Thur morning to take advantage of firm snow conditions hit Appleton Pass at 11 am. Mount Olympus graced us with her presence on our return out,  while we plotted our return to this area for future adventures.