Sulphur Mtn Lookout (aka Sulphur Point) (Nov 16, 2014)

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sulphur_mtn_lo_coverConditions: day trip
Gear: microspikes
Map:  USGS Lime Mountain
Area: Darrington, WA
Reference: Day Hiking North Cascades
Stats: 10.94mi, 4930' gain (round trip)

I'd been up Sulphur Mountain many years ago, before the road washed out. We'd tried going up early in the season and got into some rotten snow so we decided to turn around. I'd always wanted to return...

Kim put the word out...anyone interested in Sulphur? A few of us chimed in pretty quick and a plan was hatched. Don and Lyn would meet us at the IGA in Darrington. Kim, Jim and I would meet them there and then we would head to the trailhead. Kim initially suggested meeting at the trailhead at 9am but knowing how short the days now are it wasn't hard to talk the group into an earlier start. We were at the TH (1583') and hiking by about 8:10am. it was FREAKING cold! We were barely out of the car and my fingers were already screaming.

The trail starts out steep and pretty much keeps up that pace all the way to the former lookout site. The first mile you gain about 1000', 2 miles 1900', 3 miles 2700', 4 miles 3582... Finally at about 4 miles the grades eases up just a bit but don't expect flat...not yet. At about 5 miles we (Don, Lyn, myself) finally reached the ridge and the views opened up by now we'd gained about 4400' from the trailhead. But we didn't stop...not yet. First up one bump (heading southeast along the ridge) where we dropped pack, and took a break at about 12noon. Time to eat. Don wandered over to the old lookout site (5.29mi from the trailhead). This was never a permanent site, reports call it nothing more than a rag camp. Still interesting though. Just as he was wandering back over to our lunch site, Jim showed up and we all headed over to the lookout site. We snapped some photos, gawked at the peaks (Dome, Sinister, the Ptarmigan Traverse, Baker, and of course...Glacier Peak) and then headed back over to our lunch spot where Kim had arrived a bit after 1pm. At our lunch spot the was only about 6-8 inches of snow.

The trail is steep and I wanted to be off of it, if possible, before dark. Our mini group of 3 decided to head back down at 1:30pm and Kim and Jim followed soon after us.

We were back to the car at 4:15pm with just a bit of daylight to spare.

The trail is in surprisingly good shape. There are a few trees down and most are easy enough to slide over. Just one was a pack off dirt scoot to get under it. There isn't much brush on the trail either though some of the salal down low is pretty healthy looking. The trail is also a bit narrow in some sections. But...overall...it's in great shape top to bottom.
 
Sulphur Mtn LO Slideshow

sulphur_mtn_map

(click on map to view a larger version)

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Copyright Janet M. Putz
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