View of Bearscout from Scout Patrol Peak
Glenn and I continue to work on our mountain conditioning by completing the set of the Harvey Manning Challenge peaks by continuing our objectives from last week’s shortened outing. Today we set forth again from the Hansen Creek Trailhead. We planned to bag Scout Patrol Peak and Bearscout Peak, ideally summiting both as this area South of I90 is not our favorite as the peaks are often treed and access is primarily via Forest Service roads. Bearscout, especially, is not often climbed, with a total of 74 documented ascents on Peakbagger.com. I suspect it because it just sucks. We were the second party this year to summit.
Well, up the crummy old logging road again. Now we encounter more of the dreaded slide alder, which is beginning to choke the path. This stuff is miserable when thick to travel through. It’s a well-known dreaded medusa-like tree, bush, or vine thing in the PNW. It’s a fast-growing invasive species that typically grows along logging roads and areas of recent clear cuts – this is one reason the South side of I90 is less than desirable as the hills are carved with former logging and current forest service roads, creating a rich environment for this plant.
We finally rise above the slide alder and encounter more open roads with expanding views and an initial sight of our first objective, Scout Patrol Peak.
Scout Patrol Peak
We find the boot path to the peak and head up the talus slopes. I’m always sad to see the effects of logging in the mountains. I am thankful for the conservation efforts of Ira Springs and Harvey Manning and many organizations who created and preserved the North side of I90 as the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Scout Patrol Peak is one of 18 peaks in the Harvey Manning Challenge.
Our first decent view of Bearscout Peak, our second objective of the day. Looks far away.
Our uninspiring summit – no views as the summit is forested, much like Little Saint Helens.
With this peak bagged, we descend a ridge towards Bearscout Peak. As usual, in this area which borders the Cedar River Watershed, which is the source of the Seattle water supply, we see the obligatory No Trespassing signs. These are literally spaced about 500 feet apart for the better part of 10 miles along the watershed border.
With our objective in sight, we drop down to the road below and make our way toward Bearscout Peak.
We make our way past the forest service road and find the trail to the peak. We notice a lot of fresh bear scat. The trail goes through second or third growth and is much better than poor Scout Patrol Peak. We found the path up easy to follow thanks to the toe abundance of the No Trespassing signs.
The trail made a direct assault up the ridge line at a 45-degree angle. I am out of shape, so we took our time as the dirt was wet and covered with fir needles and many damp blowdowns. The going was slow, and we could see daylight all the way ahead, believing we were close to the summit.
As luck would have it, we encountered a false summit, fooled by the heather meadows high on the mountain.
All I saw was up!
My calves were burning from the 45-degree incline, and I saw a No Trespassing sign in a grove of trees at a less severe approach angle and decided to make a beeline for the sign and plan a more gentle approach to the summit along the ridge, vs. a direct assault.
We made the ridge, and I decided to visit a small rock outcrop further down to see how the ridge down went. Glenn stayed back, admiring the view in his yellow pants.
Amazing views of Silver, Abiel, and Tinkham Peaks.
Yellow pants for the lead and win to the summit.
The Alpine Lakes Wilderness is in the distance. So many peaks to bag. I Hope Glenn gets the bug.
We take a short break and make our way down the trail enjoying some avalanche lilies and the view of the peak from far down the road. We did not want to regain the elevation of Scout Patrol Peak and decided to find an easier alternative way down. Surely with all these forest service roads, they would connect.
The maps were accurate. Dead end. I informed Glenn that I knew a few routes down. None of them were great options as we were tired and the day was getting long: A) long backtrack down the road and longer road hike out, B) climb Scout Patrol Peak again and descend the talus to the road we used on the approach, or C) bushwhack a short distance to where I thought I spied another road. However, I could only see about 10 feet through the trees and “ahem” slide alder. We chose option C as Glenn wisely brought his yellow pants.
Can you find Glenn in the slide alder? Thank god for the yellow pants. He likened the slide alder to medusas snake nest trapping his foot with every step.
Glenn loves slide alder and talus hopping!
The suck will reduce once we reach that bare spot ahead.
We bushwhacked our way to the bare spot to find it littered with beer cans and shotgun shells. Whooo Whee for rednecks. At least we had a good view of Little Saint Helens, which we hiked last week.
A final parting view of our peak. I wonder if Glenn will hike with me again and grace us with his yellow pants.
As always, thanks for #HikingWithHadland @hikingwiththehad.