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Trip Report    

Excelsior Peak

  • Mon, Sep 1, 2014
  • Excelsior Peak
  • Day Hiking

AUGUST 23, 2014. We left a vehicle at the Excelsior Pass trailhead (7.5 miles past the Glacier Info Center on hwy 542) and drove our group of 9 to the Welcome Pass TH (unmarked and rough road to the left just before mile marker 46 on the same road, about 4 miles beyond). The switchbacks were as steep as I had remembered (gaining almost 2500') but only a couple of miles long and under cool forest, so before we knew it we'd popped out into the meadow fairyland of Welcome Pass, Yellow Aster Butte and Mt Tommyhoi straight ahead and our first indication of flowers at their peak of gorgeousness. Heading west along the ridge trail for 8 miles, we gained another 800' or so of rolling ups and downs, most of the time with broad views of Shuksan, Baker and peaks far beyond to the south, and all the way across the mountains into Canada to the north. The flowers didn't quit: yellow and purple asters, bistort, lupines, paintbrush, valerian, in great profusion. Be prepared to strain your neck trying to look every direction at once! Finally we came upon the short climb up the boot track to the top of Excelsior Peak, then wound down and around to Excelsior Pass on its flat saddle, before heading down, down, DOWN 4000 feet in 4 miles of very rough horse-damaged trail to the vehicles. The drivers shuttled back and got the cars from the start and came back to pick up the group for the drive back home.