Monday, July 3, 2017

Central Pasayten Wilderness Loop: Hidden Lakes, Ptarmigan, Quartz Lake, Sheep, Sand Ridge, Ashnola

This route includes approximately 7 miles of blowdown hell through burn areas that have not and most likely will not be maintained again. However, it was the only way to make the loop work.

Route from Billy Goat Trailhead: Hidden Lakes, out and back to Ptarmigan Peak via Tatoosh Buttes (165 blowdowns), Big Hidden Lake to East Fork Pasayten, XC travel up Snowslide Creek ridge to Quartz Mountain (from Big Hidden to the XC section has 1,000+ blowdowns), Boundary Trail to Quartz Lake (camp), Sheep Mountain, Sand Ridge traverse, Ashnola Mountain, return to Billy Goat via Larch-Three Fools-Billy Goat passes.

65 miles, 17,500'+ gain

Sleeping in the parking lot Friday night we were continually awoken by a porcupine (tugging on my sleeping bag, gnawing on the out house and later my car), we saw a nice black bear on the way to Hidden Lakes, deer, various birds, gorgeous flowers and enjoyed solitude in what remains probably my favorite Wilderness area.

Thanks, Ben; a very special trip!

Crazy parking lot porcupine; Ben's photo

Continued...Ben's photo

Looking toward Lost Peak

Marshes before Cougar Lake

First Hidden Lakes

One of the cabins near Middle Hidden Lake

Barrow's Goldeneye family in Middle Hidden Lakes

Heading up the Tatoosh Buttes trail

Nearing the top, looking at Tamarack Ridge and Ptarmigan Peak

On the way to Ptarmigan with Lago, Carru, Osceola

South (l) to northwest from the summit of Ptarmigan

Pickets, Baker and Shuksan over the western Pasayten

Descending Ptarmigan with Tamarack Ridge and Tatoosh Buttes

Ptarmigan Lake and the eastern Pasayten

Tamarack Ridge

Looking back at the route up Ptarmigan

From Tamarack Ridge, looking at the route we would take up out of the East Fork Pasayten on Snowslide Creek ridge to Quartz Mountain; Sheep Mountain behind Quartz

Welcome to the East Fork Pasayten River

Standard East Fork Pasayten

XC route up Snowslide Creek ridge; Ben's photo

Earning blowdown merit badges

But eventually you break out; Quartz Mountain and the Boundary Trail ahead

Phlox was everywhere; Ben's photo

Headed to Quartz Lake on the Boundary Trail; day 2 destination Ashnola Mountain at right

Looking west near sunset

Quartz Lake in the morning

Meadows below Peeve Pass

Bear and ungulate prints in the meadow

Dropping packs on the way up Sheep; Sand Ridge at center

Climbing up Sheep; Ben's photo

Ben climbing up Sheep

Ramon Lakes basin from the summit of Sheep

Sheep summit pano; Ptarmigan (at left) looks pretty far away

Ben on the summit of Sheep

Ptarmigan on Sheep

Headed up to Sand Ridge; Ben's photo

On Sand Ridge

Sand Ridge with Sheep beyond; Ben's photo

Sand Ridge and Ashnola Mountain over Whistler Basin

Sand Ridge, on the way to Ashnola beyond; Ben's photo

Mini lupine on Ashnola

Sheep, Sand Ridge and Whistler Basin from the summit of Ashnola

Pano from Ashnola summit

Last summit of the trip

McCall Gulch and Larch Pass

Three Fools Pass under the scorching east side sun


  1. Nice ! How was the Billy Goat trail between the TH and the Pass ?

    1. The first 2.3m up to the pass is fine; some erosion and rockier sections.