McClellan Butte 08-31-2018

Level 11 representing on the summit…

Hiked with my friend and colleague Chris Massot for the final day of Washington Trail Associations 2018 Hike-A-Thon. 2nd trip this year – finally without snow.  Made the summit block.  The trailhead had one car at 10:30 AM.  The trail is in great shape, with the exception of 4 blowdowns  – three are at the trail junction where it turns back North to the summit on the Southern side facing the Cedar River watershed – no issues traversing the downed trees.  Once you cross FS Road 9020, the steepness begins – long switchbacks and longer sustained stretches will provide for a good workout, as between 2-4 miles is where you will gain the most elevation.  The West part of the trail headed North to the summit is perhaps the most enjoyable – mostly level with great views of mountain meadows and ponds. 

My pictures in the report are intended for those who have not climbed the summit and are interested in the summit block challenge.  When dry it’s a reasonably easy scramble.  See pics of the ascent, the initial part of the block and summit.  The initial part of the block is the most difficult and intimidating.  Just follow the line up keeping mostly to the left.  You will see remnants of former iron poles in the rock – maybe these were used to tie in or had chains – this is the best way up – so try to follow these – most likely you will need your hands to scramble – its nothing more than a steep set of stairs, and once you gain the initial portion, there is a much more gradual walking trail to the top.  The summit has a summit log in a white PVC pipe and a USGS marker.  Some remnants of former aircraft beacons are also scattered about. 

The 360 views from the summit are awesome.  Great views of the I90 corridor up to the pass, Mount Kent and the Duke and Dutchess looming above Alice Valley to the East.  The Cedar River Watershed to the South, and Mount Washington and many unnamed high points and logging roads to the West.  To the North, you will see Mailbox Peak, Dirty Box, Dirty Harry’s Peak, Web Mountain, Putrid Pete’s Peak and Mount Defiance – a worthy ridge objective.  The challenge to gain the summit block is definitely worth the effort of climbing the top.  Blueberries were ripe along the trail and proved to be a tastiest reward.  See all pictures of the trip along the trail in my AllTrails link below.

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