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Trip Report    

Echo Rock & Observation Rock

7-3-14 (Extreme low-snow year). What a difference a year makes. Observation Rock + Echo Rock successful trip on a bluebird day in the high 70s. But snow was not encountered until the Flett Glacier at 6,900'. We started at 8:45am, and took the Wonderland Trail both ways. Very strong group, returned to cars at 7:30pm. Spray Park was sadly dry and scorched, streams were just a trickle, and wildflowers were already well-past peak. We departed the Wonderland Trail at 6,100' - a bit too early, as on the descent we realized that there is a well-worn footpath that departs the trail at about 6,300', marked by a large rockpile cairn. We brought crampons - did not need them, but would have if it had been a few degrees cooler, very glad we brought them. We had perfect snow conditions all the way to the Echo/Observation saddle. We summited Observation first, traveling clockwise from the saddle to the snow slope above to the pumice shoulder on the S side of Observation. From there it was a walk-up on pumice to Observation summit; helmets not needed. The summit of Observation provides an excellent "observation" spot to scout the route up Echo - binoculars were very handy here. Had a nice glissade back to the saddle. Then went up the pumice ridge on the S side of Echo. Donned helmets and picked our way up the talus field, aiming towards the L side. From there, we followed a barely-discernable climbers path in the pumice, following a clockwise route to the summit, which is only large enough for one person to tag at a time. The rock was loose, requiring careful travel, but was very do-able, much better than many summits such as Merchant & Cashmere. Leather gloves were very useful on the sharp lava. Super enjoyable double snow + rock experience. Our GPS recorded the trip as 13 mi / 4,500' gain. There were no summit registers at either summit.