Swakane Peak (May 5, 2018)

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swakane_pk_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)

I couldn't find any takers to head out for a trip so I figured I'd head out to repeat  trip I'd failed at about 14 months ago (due to snow). I'd been up Swakane Peak before (Mar-2014). It's not an especially hard hike though it does do a fair amount of gain in a short distance. I was up early and drove over Stevens Pass. I found myself at the parking area for Swakane Canyon a bit after 9am and after shedding some last minute weight I started hiking up the gated road (TH 2456'). I followed the road to just past the 4th switchback in the road and then headed pretty much straight uphill (left road at 2.07mi, 2669'). There was lots and lots of balsamroot and lupine blooming up high.

I stayed on the nose of the ridge and skirted the high point of Pt 3923 (3.2mi) and then continued to the minor saddle between Pt 3923 and Swakane Pk (Pt 4297) (3.5mi, 3849'). There are lots of old roads up here and I picked up a road as I was dropping off Pt 3923.

The southern ridge of Swakane Pk is steepish (a few scramble moves) but I wanted to check out the west ridge. From the map it looks less steep and I wondered if it was more of a walk up. I stayed on the road as is traversed the southwest slopes of Swakane Pk to another minor saddle to the west of Swakane (3.91mi, 3887'). There is a gated road junction here. I looked up the west ridge of Swakane and it sure looked like a minor boot path heading uphill. That boot path could very well be a game trail. It petered out after a while but it's still easy enough continue straight uphill to the top (4.22mi). The ridge is much easier than the SE ridge...nearly "hands in pocket".

I had the summit to myself. Good timing, it was lunchtime (about 12:15pm) so I took a nice break to eat my sandwich and my pear.

I came off the summit the same way I ascended. When I got back to the saddle between Swakane Pk and Pt 3923 (4.95mi) I stayed on the road that heads left (to the north side of Pt 3923). This side of the point is more lush, more trees. I'd been up this high on this side before and I knew there were shooting stars that could be found high up. I wanted to check to see if there were still there and blooming. I got lucky...they were. I stayed on the road to the first switchback (5.48mi, 3702') and then headed back up Pt 3923 to meet up with my ascent route from earlier in the morning. I could have stayed on the road but it would have added a bunch of not so interesting road walking to the trip which didn't really interest me.

Just before I got back to the car I met up with a couple who was exploring the area. The live a couple miles down the road but they'd never hiked up the canyon. We chatted a bit and then they continued up while I headed back to my car.

Lots of flowers out (balsamroot, lupine, shooting stars, ball headed waterleaf, penstemon, phlox, bluebells, tritella, western spring beauty). Spotten one slow moving rattlesnake.

Today felt a whole lot warmer than I was expecting. I think temps were right at 70F. It won't be long before this area is just too danged hot to hike.

The gravel/dirt Swakane Canyon Road is still pretty bad in places. Probably not high clearance but definitely not Jetta friendly.
Swakane Peak Slideshow

(click on map to view a larger version)

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Copyright Janet M. Putz
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