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Trip Report    

Day Hike - Mount Pilchuck

Warning! Pilchuck is currently a Class 1 snow and rock scramble until the snow melts out.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Snow starts about 4100' and by 4200' covers the trail. The rock benches on the north side that the trail traverses are completely covered in snow. Where the trail crosses over the ridge line from the north to the southwest side is snow-free but between there and the lookout the trail is again covered in snow. Watch out for cavities under the snow! There is also some water running on the trail between about 4100' and 4200'.

Gorgeous sunset but we turned back just shy of the look out after losing track of the trail in the last .25 mile. I thought the snow would be melted out on the south/southwest sides but was mistaken. Still lots of snow obscuring the route. Most of the tennis-shoe and no-water people were scrambling straight up the west ridge to reach the look out. We were planning on hiking down in the dark so turned around early out of concern over precarious footing in the snow. The bugs made it easier to turn back as well, each of us had our own electron cloud of mosquitoes.

On the way down we did stop several times to enjoy the evening light and sunset on Three Fingers, Baker, Shuksan, the Olympics and San Juans and the light on the granite rocks of Pilchuck's north slope, which are currently sporting several waterfalls.

Making it all the way to the lookout is currently a rock and snow scramble. We had microspikes, poles and ice axes, all of which are necessary to do the trail safely. My mountaineering boots came in handy kicking steps in the snow and keeping my footing in general. I did break through a couple of snow bridges but was not injured.