Sunday, July 16, 2017

Lost Creek Ridge-PCT-NF Sauk loop, Glacier Peak Wilderness

Nick emailed me right before the weekend and it turned out we both had ideas on the western side of the Glacier Peak Wilderness. We settled on going up Lost Creek Ridge and then deciding which route to take based on conditions. With the current snow situation we opted for the on-trail route of the ridge, dropping down to the White Chuck River, taking the PCT south over Red Pass and closing the loop via the North Fork Sauk (trail and 3.5m on the road): 37 miles, 11,800' gain.

  • Lost Creek Ridge: patchy snow on north-facing aspects; never used more than poles.
  • White Chuck River area: expect some route finding, brush, blowdowns.
  • PCT: some blowdowns from White Chuck up to Red basin, lots of water over the trail; basin is still mostly snow-filled up to Red Pass, two patches of snow to cross to NF Sauk, one is steep.  
  • NF Sauk: few large blowdowns near the trailhead, slide paths are brushier than I remember.

Always a good sign to see

Sloan and Bedal from Lost Creek Ridge

Looking back west along Lost Creek Ridge, Breccia Peak back right

Black Mountain, Magenta Peak, Painted Mountain; still very snowy

Dome Peak and Spire Point over Meadow Mountain Ridge


Nick on Lost Creek Ridge, with Glacier Peak

Hardtack Lake on Lost Creek Ridge

On Lost Creek Ridge with Glacier; Nick's photo
Camp Lake just starting to melt out

Melting edge of Camp Lake

Many cool rocks along the ridge

Looking west along Lost Creek Ridge, with Sloan, Pugh and White Chuck

Lake Byrne and Glacier Peak

Lake Byrne

Glacier from the outlet of Lake Byrne
I have a much higher blowdown tolerance now; Nick's photo

Bottom of the descent to the White Chuck River

Old bridge over the White Chuck

New "bridge" over the White Chuck
White Chuck log; Nick's photo

Yup, accurate

White Chuck - PCT junction

Nick coming up through lower Red basin

Many marmots out

Looking south from Red Pass

Looking northeast from Red Pass

Nick reaching Red Pass

Mmmm, bark...

Descending to the NF Sauk trail

Looking back at the steeper of two short snow traverses to reach the NF Sauk trail
The bloom is always a special time in Glacier Peak Wilderness; Nick's photo

Nick coming through the flowers

Thank you random NF Sauk dudes for giving me an ice-cold beer as you drove by! Bad beer never tasted so good...


  1. Nice loop -- NF Sauk and that part of the PCT are really spectacular. You should really go back and run Glacier Peak once things melt off more and the tiger lilies bloom.

    1. It is a little embarrassing I haven't been up it considering how many trips I've done in the area. Maybe this'll be the summer :) . Tiger lilies were out on LCR and NF Sauk!

  2. Very nice! Thanks for the update, was wondering how Lost Creek ridge was doing (still haven't been there).

  3. Wow- so I just did essentially the same trip -but in reverse and climbed Glacier as well ( in three days, not one), and its amazing how much less snow there is compared to your photos. In just two weeks, probably 75% of the snow is gone, Camp Lake and Lake Byrne are completely snow free, and the vast majority of Lost Creek Trail is snow free as well. Sounds like an awesome trail run!

  4. This looks like a great loop! Is the header photo from the same place? If not, where was it taken please? It looks so beautiful.