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Friday, March 21, 2013

Mount Aix - Mount Aix Trail, October 2013

Seemingly out of place for this part of the southern Washington Cascades, 7766-ft Mount Aix is a prominent peak well east of the Cascade Crest with excellent 360 degree views that include Rainier, Adams, Goat Rocks and the Stuart Range. Approached via the Mount Aix Trail, itís just a 12-mile hike (round-trip) with only a short bit of class 2/3 scrambling to reach the top. About a third of the route is on high ridges which are often frequented by mountain goats. The trailís southwestern exposure makes it a great late-season venue after the first snow has claimed the more shaded north and east aspects. The neighboring peaks and bowls, including Aix itself also appear to offer excellent ski touring potential, was it not for seasonal pass closures making for a long drive from Seattle.

Friday, March 7, 2013

Mount Angeles - Route 1 (via Klahhane Ridge), October 2013

Clearly visible from Highway 101 between Sequim and Port Angeles, and from Victoria, BC not 30 miles to the north across the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Mount Angeles is a popular scrambling peak with impressive views of the Olympus massif, Bailey Range, and southern tip of Vancouver Island. Approached from the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center via the Klahhane Ridge Trail, itís a mere 4 miles and ~2000 feet of absolute gain to reach the summit. Taking a left after about 2 miles onto the unsigned Mount Angeles Climbers' Trail, the route switchbacks to reach a talus bench and from where a final crappy chute leads to the top. For extra credit, I traversed the crest to the east summit before descending back to the Klahhane Ridge Trail at a broad saddle high above Lake Angeles. I had designs on the peak at the extreme east-end of Klahhane Ridge, but my desire for it quickly vanished upon reaching the end of the established ridge trail. All-in-all, Mt. Angeles makes for an enjoyably casual outing; the ideal venue for escaping the lowland fog that blanketed much of the Puget Sound basin for several weeks this past October.

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