Hannegan Peak (Aug 1-2, 2014)

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hannegan_pk_coverConditions: backpack
Gear: overnight gear
Map: USGS Mount Sefrit
Area: Mount Baker (Glacier, WA)
Reference: Day Hiking North Cascades
Stats: 11.95mi, 3,308' gain (round trip)

This trip kinda got under my skin earlier this year. I've been wanting to do it but just couldn't arrange for it...until now. Dani had wanted to do it but darn her...she's off doing a section of the Wonderland. I didn't want to wait too long or the bits of snow would be left and it would be a dry and hot trip. It was hot...but thankfully not dry...

I figured to do this as an overnight and camp at the top since I had a nice long 4 day weekend. I knew from another friend just up there that there were still some good snow patches at the top. Problem was...weather. I knew there was a possibility of thundershowers but the forecast said east. But...I'm getting ahead of myself...

I got an early start leaving town. I was up at the trailhead off FS32 at about 8:30am. I hate hiking in the heat. The early start would give me lots of time to suffer. The trail head parking lot was over half full at 8:30am but no huge surprise as it's a common jump off point for several destinations in the North Cascades. It was also a holiday weekend up in Canada.

Note: Hannegan Pass and Hannegan Peak are outside the National Park so no permits are required to camp overnight. On the other side of Hannegan Pass as the trail drops down to the Chilliwack River, it's National Park. Permits are REQUIRED to camp. NP rangers were about and checking permits.

I signed in at the trail register (3113') and headed up the trail. It's forest hiking alternating with open brushy slopes. THANKFULLY a trail crew was in recently and not only did a considerable amount of trail tread work all the way up to Hannegan Camp...they also brushed long stretches of trail. Yeehaw!

Lots of views to the peaks on the other side of Ruth Creek...Sefrit, Nooksack Ridge, and a bit further up the trail a first glimpse of the snowy flanks of Ruth Mtn. The trail does a slow and steady climb up to Hannegan Camp at 4mi (4533'). From the camp, is a few switchbacks up to Hannegan Pass at 4.83mi (5083'). I'd passed and chatted a bit with a NP ranger down below before Hannegan Camp. At my lunch stop at the pass she caught up as did several other small groups. I got an update from the ranger and the forecast was calling for 30% change of thunderstorms in the afternoon and evening. Hmm... I thought about it over lunch and decided I didn't want to be on an open exposed peak during a thunderstorm. I decided to camp neat the pass. I stashed most of my gear and started up the last bit to the top of the peak.

By my GPS it's about 1.15mi to the top of Hannegan Pk from the pass. It starts out steeply in the trees, and then after the first campsite on the ridge (about 5690') the trail is all open. There was one small patch of snow to cross before the high point but it's flat. A good source of water for summit campers. I spent lots of time at the top. No reason to leave early. I watched to the east and south as the thunderheads built. Surprisingly, there wasn't much of a breeze at the top. The bugs (mosquitoes) were out and they were biting. Very few trees as well and it was hot. I spent about two hours lounging around at the top and then decided to head down to camp.

I arrived back at the pass early evening and it was deserted. There was a nice flat spot there (privy off a ways) so I figured it would be the ideal place to camp. After dinner, I poked around the trail that heads off towards Pt 5930. I watched the sunset and then tired of the mosquitos I headed into the tent for a bit of reading.

Late that night there was the sound of light rain falling but thankfully no thunder. It would have been fine to camp at the summit but still a good choice...why take the chance.

Morning came...5:45am exactly and it was the sound of a trail runner that roused me. I got up, packed a bit, boiled some water, started rehydrating breakfast and took a short walk so see the morning colors. Back at what was left of camp, a PNT section hiker came through. Nice chatting with here. She's done the three big trails as through hikes (PCT, CDT, AT) and was on a trip from NYC (where she lives) section hiking the PNT. Her plan was to head into Glacier for lunch at Chair 9. She'd planned a longer hike out but was considering an early exit so my offer to drive her to Glacier came at a good time. After I finished breakfast and a last bit of packing, I hiked out with Melanie (aka "lemstar") to the trailhead and then dropped her off at the Chair 9 restaurant.

Really nice trip...would have been better as a summit camp but oh well...
 
Hannegan Peak Slideshow

hannegan_pk_map

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