Feb 8, 2014 at 2:36 pm #1313049
Looking at 7-10 day loop hikes in Washington for late August, I am wondering about a way to combine the Spider Meadow – Buck Creek loop with the Bath Lakes High Route (or any other spectacular long hike). I feel like my biggest obsticle is not having a great trail map of the area. I have searched for an embarrasingly long time without being able to figure this out myself. Can anyone point me in the right direction for a map, or offer any suggestions on a route?
Thanks in advance for any help.Feb 8, 2014 at 3:10 pm #2071239
Hi Max, in the short term, you could sort out your route on Caltopo.com. I was researching a circumnavigation hike around Glacier Peak a couple weeks ago but didn't go so far as to research maps. I'm returning to the Wonderland this summer but I've tentatively penciled in Glacier Peak for a possible 5-7 day hike in 2015.Feb 8, 2014 at 3:11 pm #2071240
@jdw01776Locale: Southeast Texas
Try Greentrails maps — website (www.greentrailsmaps.com), or purchase at REI mothership in Seattle.Feb 8, 2014 at 3:15 pm #2071243
Hiking MaltoBPL Member
@gg-manFeb 8, 2014 at 3:21 pm #2071245
"Looking at 7-10 day loop hikes in Washington for late August, I am wondering about a way to combine the Spider Meadow – Buck Creek loop with the Bath Lakes High Route (or any other spectacular long hike). I feel like my biggest obsticle is not having a great trail map of the area. I have searched for an embarrasingly long time without being able to figure this out myself. Can anyone point me in the right direction for a map, or offer any suggestions on a route?"
First of all, I commend you on your taste in routes. The Bath Lakes High Route is a Cascades classic that will test your stamina and resolve to the fullest to paraphrase the authors of the book, "Routes and Rocks, Hikers Guide to the North Cascades from Glacier Peak to Lake Chelan". It has been out of print for a long time now, but there is a used copy for sale on Amazon at the link below. This book is THE guide to off trail routes in the Glacier Peak Wilderness, and would be well worth the $59 the seller is asking, IMO. If you decide to buy it, be sure it includes the map set, which has most possible routes indicated. The biggest problem you will face is accessing the route. Normally, you start by ascending the Sulfur Mountain trail from the end of the Suiattle River Road, but it has been closed for nearly 8 years due to wash outa and Audobon Society legal objections to its repair on environmental grounds. The upshot is that the Sulfur Mountain trail has not been maintained during that entire period, and would present major obstacles to either ascending or descending it. I can tell you from years of experience that it is problematic after even 2 years of neglect. This means your only practical access to the route is from the east, and would require that you do the route as an out and back. This would be extremely challenging unless you a Killian Jornet analogue. Still, if you think you are up for it, get the book, study the routes required, and let me know if I can fill in any blanks. I can guarantee you it will be a hike you will remember for the rest of your life. in closing, word has it that the legal obstacles to repairing the suiattle River Road have been overcome, and that repairs will commence this year. If that proves true, and you can wait, I would strongly recommend that you wait until the road is repaired and preliminary maintenance of the Sulfur Mountain trail is complete before attempting the route. A good contact number to find out the status of the Suiattle River Road and the Sulfur Mountain trail is: Darrington Ranger Station 360-474-7324.
If I can be of any further help, post here or PM me, and I'll do my best.Feb 8, 2014 at 3:29 pm #2071248Feb 8, 2014 at 3:33 pm #2071251
Thanks everyone, the maps are a big help.
Re: the washout, I found out more about the Bath Lakes High Route from this trip report:
This was after the floods, but now nearly a decade has passed. I think it might be good advice to think of it as an out-and-back hike at this point. The ridge is fine I'm sure, but the lower elevations along the creek without traffic for so long are probably shot.
Tom, I came across that book earlier today in my google searching…the full text is available online in a pdf:Feb 8, 2014 at 3:54 pm #2071257
"Tom, I came across that book earlier today in my google searching…the full text is available online in a pdf:"
Sounds like you've got what you need, if you can correlate the text with maps from other sources. The route finding is not straightforward in places, but that is part of the fun. ;0) Best of luck. I hope you'll let us know how it goes.Feb 8, 2014 at 4:00 pm #2071259
Dale WambaughBPL Member
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
The Suiattle River road is one of my research projects for doing a hybrid hike using a bike to cover the closed road section and hiking from the original trailheads. I hadn't considered trail maintenance the blowdowns alone could be amazing. Some questions in the trail reports forum at nwhikers.net may get some info too.
As far as loop hikes, Mountaineers has a book of course: Best Loop Hikes in Washington. http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0898868661Feb 8, 2014 at 5:42 pm #2071297
Steve MartellBPL Member
@steveLocale: Eastern Washington
If you want another challenge add the spur trail up to Gamma Peak. This is an abandoned trail so navigation up to the ridge can be tricky. This is also the route to a rarely visited hot springs–Gamma Hot Springs. Not sure if they still exist (?)–may have been buried in the floods/landslides that also took out the Suiattle River trail bridge.
++GreenTrail MapsFeb 8, 2014 at 6:09 pm #2071305
"Not sure if they still exist (?)–may have been buried in the floods/landslides that also took out the Suiattle River trail bridge."
Are there any bridges left that cross the Suiattle in Glacier? I'm guessing the Pacific Crest bridge? Any others?Feb 9, 2014 at 3:29 pm #2071590
"Are there any bridges left that cross the Suiattle in Glacier? I'm guessing the Pacific Crest bridge? Any others?"
Call the Darrington Ranger Station at the number in my original post.Feb 10, 2014 at 4:12 pm #2072006
I talked to a ranger today, it sounds like there is one bridge across the Suiattle open 1.5 miles upstream from Canyon Creek where the PCT has been re-routed. I'm thinking about staying to the east of the Suiattle for the entire trip.
Talking with my hiking buddy I think we will take a leisurely 8-12 mile per day pace along the traditional Spider-Buck loop, with an added hiking north to Canyon Lake and the Bath Lakes.
Day 1: Spot the car at Trinity, Phelps Creek to Spider Gap
Day 2: Spider Gap to Lady Camp (not too far, is it?)
Day 3: Lady Camp to Image Lake, day hike Miner's Ridge towards Plummer
Day 4: Image Lake to Canyon Lake
Day 5: day hike the Bath Lake High Route and back to Canyon
Day 6: Canyon to Lady Camp
Day 7: Lady Camp to near Flower Dome (not sure the best campsite in that area)
Day 8: day hike to High Pass and back to Flower
Day 9: out to Trinity
Do these distances look reasonable? I guess I'm worried that some of the days are too short. Is there a better way out, ie a better place to camp idea for the last 2 days or a more enjoyable hike east from High Pass?
Thanks in advance.Feb 10, 2014 at 4:49 pm #2072019
"Do these distances look reasonable? I guess I'm worried that some of the days are too short."
The only day I would have concerns about is day 5. I have no idea how much backcountry experience you have, route finding skills, physical conditioning, scrambling ability, etc, nor am I trying to be condescending, but before you plan on doing the full Bath Lakes High Route both out and back as a day hike, it would be wise to very honestly evaluate your capabilities. It is a serious undertaking and will demand a lot from you, even one way. Out and back more than doubles that challenge and the associated risks. If you do decide to attempt it as a day hike, it would be prudent to carry gear and food for a potential unplanned bivy. There are several places that would be well suited for that, should it prove necessary. A much safer, and far more enjoyable option, IMO, would be to drop the day hike from Image Lake toward Plummer, and do the Bath Lakes High route as a 2 day out and back. It is an outstanding route. Why not enjoy it fully rather than turn it into a forced march that will deprive you of a rare experience and possibly not end well? Again, this is not meant as a put down but, rather, well intentioned advice from one who has done the route and knows what it entails. That said, go for it, and the very best of luck to you.
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