Swakane Peak (Mar 19, 2017)

h o m e     |     a b o u t     |     l i n k s     |     c o n t a c t     |     t r i p  r e p o r t s

swakane_peak_coverConditions: Day Hike/Scramble
Gear: nothing special
Map: USGS Rocky Reach Dam
Area: Wenatchee, WA
Reference: n/a
Stats: 7.47mi, 2947' gain (round trip)

Spring is here...almost. Tired of the rain and dark days, I wanted to head east and hike with dirt under my boots and sun in a blue sky. My thought was a repeat of Swakane Peak which I'd done almost exactly 3 years ago. Steve and I headed east over Hwy2 early. With the good weather forecast there was lots of ski traffic headed up to Stevens Pass ski area. We continued east on Hwy2 all the way into Wenatchee, then north on Alt-97 and then made the left onto a dirt road signed "Swakan Canyon". I've been up this road several times and this year...it's bad. Lots of deep potholes and lots of rocks in the road. My old Jetta never would have made it to the trailhead. This year the new 4Runner did just fine. We parked at the "trailhead" (2.9miles from Alt-97, 1457' elevation), the only car there. The trailhead is not signed. The guide books say a Discover Pass is needed so we hung one.

We sorted our gear, applied the sunscreen, and started hiking up the road signed "5215" which is gated just beyond the first bend in the road (basically right out of the parking area).

We stayed on the road to the 4th switchback. Right before this 4th switchback we saw the first snow of the day. It was just a short stretch. Easy enough to walk on the dirt margin and when that wasn't possible, the snow was firm enough to walk on top of it. At this switchback (2.02mi, 2630') we headed nearly straight uphill staying on the south ridge of Pt 3923. It was at the top of Pt 3923 (3.16mi) that we saw the first real snow on the route. The snow is consistent from here to the saddle between Pt 3923 and Swakane Peak (Pt 4297). The snow was first and when we did punch through we didn't go far. The snow at most is 2' deep. At the saddle where the road crosses back over from the north side of Pt 3923 to the south side of Swakane Peak the snow stops again (3.43mi, 3835'). We thought about following the road to the west side of Swakane and heading up from there, it looked less steep. But the snow was getting a bit soft, travel was a pain, so we headed straight up the south ridge of Swakane Peak.

I somehow managed to injure my shoulder the past week. Not knowing really was the issue is but with it being sore, I didn't want to tweak it pulling myself up the last few feet to the summit so we stopped just shy of the top at a nice bench (3.8mi, 4220'). It was a good place to stop being protected from the cool breeze. We ate a late lunch, enjoyed the solitude and the views, and then headed back down.

The hills are starting to green up nicely. Spring is starting to take hold. No flowers today. I did see lots of buttercup flower buds and it won't be long...days...a week maybe...before they start to bloom. I even saw the spider-like leaves of bitterroot high up on the ridge. Down lower Steve and I were entertained with the chirping and flitting about of a small flock of mountain bluebirds. I tried to take some photos with my point and shoot camera but at best, they may appear and small light blue blurry spots.
Swakane Peak Slideshow

(click on map to view a larger version)

h o m e     |     a b o u t     |     l i n k s     |     c o n t a c t     |     t r i p  r e p o r t s

Copyright Janet M. Putz
All content is copyright and cannot be used without written permission.