Monday, August 29, 2016

Rainbow Pass-McAlester Pass lollipop, North Cascades

Most of my trips southbound on the PCT from Rainy Pass have been early season and the Bridge Creek ford has been waist-deep whitewater. A cooler, late-summer day was perfect to avoid both the heat and the fording issue present earlier in the year. Beyond being absurdly dusty, the trails have been maintained to a near-comical level (read Mt. Si, new Mailbox trail). Definitely makes for quick and easy travel! Thanks to Faron for making the long drive to 'Murica.

Bridge Creek ford: barely over the ankle (note high water on the bank behind Faron)
Looking back down the South Fork Bridge Creek drainage, with a brief rain shower
Rainbow Lake from Rainbow Pass; Tupshin and Devore peaks
The upper tarns at Rainbow Lake
Tupshin Peak, Devore Peak
Descending to Rainbow Lake
Rainbow Lake and the eastern ridge of McGregor Mountain
Climbing up Rainbow Creek to McAlester Pass
McAlester Mountain
McAlester Pass is just a huge meadow


  1. Richard West and I ran this loop in an October day in the early 1990s just after a wet snowfall. I remember freezing feet in icewater. What a beautiful route!

  2. Kaytlyn and I ran this last June in seemingly opposite conditions (and opposite direction) - super hot, high forge, and the trails were unmaintained. The PCT was comically overgrown and between bridge creek and rainbow lake it was almost bushwack status. Glad to know that there was some work done there-- it was a great alternative to elsewhere in the state at the time (fires/thunderstorms), and though not the most scenic miles in our backyard, they're enjoyable!

    1. Ha! Yeah I've been to it in early season and it doesn't look like a nice and easy crossing. I think they wait until they can take horses across and then get to the maintenance.