Gunn Peak - East Peak, April 2004
Lewis Creek Valley with Gunn Peak behind as seen from across the S. Fork Skykomish River Valley in April 2003. Merchant Peak at far right.

Paul and I attempted Gunn Peak on April 26th. We failed on Gunn's main summit but managed to climb to the East Peak (6,160+ ft). The ledge on the north side that leads to the summit was literally an 80-degree snowslope with cliffs below. A slip here would be deadly in these conditions. Furthermore, it must have been the warmest day yet this spring and the unconsolidated, wet snow provided little in the way of secure footing. We briefly discussed exploring an alternative summit route via the Southwest Face, but given the conditions we were reluctant to commit ourselves to it. Our consolation prize was Peak 5842 and from where were able to take in the western views blocked to us on the East Peak by the true summit. (Photos: SV)

Click thumbnails below to enlarge...
Approach map
Approach map for beta fiends (courtesy of Paul Klenke).

Leave the Barclay Creek Road at the spur heading north approximatly 1 mile from the trailhead parking-lot. The trail to the logjam is flagged to the east of the wide area on the spur road (where the fire pit is located). In 100 yards the trail gets to the logjam crossing. It was easy for us though slick. A second crossing of the creek is necessary shortly thereafter. This one was a little harder due to unsecure 8-inch rotting logs.

The trail then travels north to an old road bed for maybe a 1/4 mile. Turn to the west (left) on the road and continue for approximatly 100 yards to where an even more overgrown road branches off to the north again. Follow that road a short distance to a small grove-like landing, where the road comes to an end. At the other-end of the landing, look for flagging and the start of the climber's trail.
Paul at saddle
At the saddle just below Pk. 5760 with Townsend Mountain in background.

The trail beyond the landing is not very obvious, but, worth trying to sniff out as there is some unpleasant bushwhacking to deal with otherwise. Follow the trail literally to the toe of the rock walls left of the watercourse (visible from parking area). At about 4,000 ft the trail begins skirting the rock walls at the south foot of Pk 5842. Alder and class 3 scrambling is to be found (including the odd class 4 rock sections). Later a steep dirt/duffy downclimb to a picturesque waterfall is encountered. Cautious moves get you down into the waterfall creek. The other side of the creek is more steep gully with ample green belays. Beyond there it gets easier (though still steep at times) to the major basin draining south from between Pk 5842 and Pk 5760.
Tracks in snow
Looking back at our tracks from the corniced saddle. Pk. 5760 at left and Mount Baring at right with Chimney Rock-Lemah group in between.

We hiked west (left) along the saddle to find an easy way down over the cornices guarding the basin below Gunn's southeast side. From the saddle to below Gunn Peak was pretty straighforward for us despite the thermal truncheon beating down on us from above.
Summit tower
Paul approaches the base of Gunn's summit tower. The gully leading to the upper snowfield can be seen branching off to the right.
Paul in gully
The gully leading back up and right to the snowfield below Gunn's upper south side was steep and a little hard in the early afternoon. Plus, there was an annoying moat forming at about center. However, we managed to get up it without belay. (On the return we opted to rappel it with our two 30m ropes.)
Steep snow
Paul climbs the final snow slope towards the summit ridge notch. Much human-caused snow sloughing occurred on the upper snowfield. It was interesting watching the flows move as slowly as molasses.
NNE view
NNE view from East Peak.
NNW view
NNW view from East Peak.
SE view
Looking to the southeast at Chimney Rock area peaks with Grotto Mountain in foreground center and Mount Baring in foreground right.
Merchant Peak
Looking over Merchant Peak's summit with Mt. Daniel area peaks in background.
True summit
Gunn's true summit with views over Snohomish County in distance. Ledge? What ledge??
Paul asks WTF?
WTF?! Paul expresses his displeasure with not reaching Gunn's summit. Lennox Mountain in background left with Goat Mountain in background center.

The rappell back down the gully went without incident, but, I did manage to step into a hidden moat on the descent at the base of Gunn's main summit tower. I was down up to my armpits in this "elephant trap", with feet kicking in empty space. So, this is what a crevasse fall must feel like, eh?
Summit of Pk. 5842
Paul on summit of Pk. 5842 with Mount Index in background.

After failing on getting Gunn, we managed to boot up the east side of Pk 5842 in about 20 minutes from the long saddle on its east. More specifically, we finished the climb on the SE ridge/side.
Mount Baring
Mount Baring from Pk. 5842. Wow, check out that North Face!
View of Gunn
Looking back at Gunn Pk. True summit at upper left with East Peak at upper right. Ryan (Bronco on CC.com) and company's tracks on Pt. 5760 in foreground (they did some ski touring in the area the day before).
Slogging tracks
Tracks leading everywhere and nowhere from the saddle. We did our fair share of slogging on this day.

We managed to get back to the car from that saddle in about 1 hour 45 minutes. 5.5 hours from car to Gunn's East Peak. The East Peak only required class 3 scrambling from the central notch.
        | close page |                                                                                                        Last Updated: May 18, 2004 | 2002 - 2007 sverdina.com