Snowking Mountain - Kindy Ridge, November 2002
It was late November and barely a dusting of new snow graced the high peaks of the North Cascades. The clear and relatively warm weather that we Western Washingtonians enjoyed through October and the first part of November proved to be very persistent and was still very much with us towards the end of November. As is often the case when sunny weather is forecast for the weekend, I found myself drawn once again to the hills. A casual review of my climbing wish list (we all have one, don't we?) yielded numerous options, of which Snowking Mountain somehow appealed to me the most. Located roughly east of the Sauk River valley, south of the Skagit River valley and southwest of the Cascade River valley, Snowking Mountain is uniquely situated to offer sweeping views of the Cascade Pass/Boston Basin peaks to the east-northeast and a panorama from Mount Baker to Snowfield Peak panning from the northwest to the northeast.
Though a climb of Snowking Mountain can generally be accompished on a long summer day, I opted for an overnighter given that it now gets dark around 5:00pm. Finding a partner for this outing proved to be quite challenging as it was also "Apple Cup" weekend, and most of my climbing partners tend to be either WSU or U of W grads. Fortunately I was able to persuade Tom into joining me with the promise that I would bring my shortwave radio in hopes that we could pick up the game once at camp. Crossing the Skagit River one could clearly see Dorado Needle and Eldorado Peak above the Marble Creek basin. About 14 miles up the Cascade River Road, we turned right onto FSR 1570. It is while driving this road that we would encounter the "crux" of the climb. Numerous water runoff drainage humps have been installed diagonally across the road which proved very challenging to navigate over in a lowered VW. We finally reached the washout and I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that I at least made it to the "trailhead" with exhaust sytem intact. We hiked the 1.5 miles up what remains of the road, ignoring the orange tagging at a clear-cut on the right side. We reached the end of the road shortly after the first and only switchback and easily located the trail that led steeply upwards. (more...)
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