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Trip Report    

Winter Scramble - Sopwith Camel Mountain (Point 5040)

Traversed from Tunnel Creek Road to Mill Creek (Stevens Pass Nordic Center).

  • Road impassable/closed


Tunnel Creek to Mill Creek final.jpgNote - there is no parking at Tunnel Creek Road on Highway 2. The pullout on the westbound side near the Tunnel Creek Road is for emergency use only. Andy B. really helped us out by shuttling us to the Tunnel Creek Road from the Surprise Lake Trailhead, where we could legally leave the cars. We stayed in touch with Andy via a Garmin inReach throughout the day.

The initial plan was to potentially do Sopwith Camel, Lumiere, and Lux.

We started at about 8:20, and opted to take the ridge to Sopwith instead of following the trail, which worked well. We arrived at Sopwith at about 11:05 and had peek-a-boo views. We decided to head straight for Lumiere Ridge, as it would have even better views than Lux. We intended to hit Lux on the way back, if possible.

Sopwith Summit.jpg

From Sopwith, we dropped to Mig Lake (11:50) and then skirted the west side of Lux, making a rising traverse to 4900 feet. At that point, we crossed a large open slope before making a fun (and steep!) ascent to the saddle between Lux and Point 5578. We arrived at the saddle (~5200 feet) at about 1:50pm.


From the saddle, we headed north up the ridge towards Point 5578, but accidentally traversed around the right side of it, which provided us with a great view of Lumiere Ridge, the Chiwaukums, Stuart, and everything in between. From this vantage point, Lumiere Ridge looked like it might take us a bit of time, so we decided to save it for another day.

Lumiere Ridge.JPG

However, we had really beautiful views of open country between us and Mill Creek, and we decided to turn what was originally an out-and-back into a traverse. We touched base with Andy and made arrangements to meet him at the Stevens Pass Nordic Center.

Looking back towards Point 5578.JPG

Everyone enjoyed the descent from the ridge down to Mill Creek. Snow was heavy, but still perfect for bouncing down the hill. As we were descending, additional views of Lumiere suggested it wouldn’t have been nearly as time consuming as we thought.

Once we reached Mill Creek, we had an easy hike out, and arrived at the Nordic Center at 6:00. We celebrated a great day with fried food at Whistling Post Saloon in Skykomish.

Our GPS's weren't totally consistent, but something between 11 and 12 miles and 3500-4000 feet of elevation gain seems right for this trip.

Big thanks to Sue for organizing and Andy for facilitating a great day out. And thanks to David, Sue, and Kelly for letting me use their photos in this trip report.


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Susan Shih
Susan Shih says:
Mar 13, 2020 10:26 PM

Great report, Stephen! Glad we exited the way we did even though it was a long walk out to the Steven's Pass Nordic Center. (We were not allowed to exit below the chairlifts at Steven's Pass unfortunately.)