Low Mountain via Hemlock Pass

We had to take exit 52 off of I-90 because there was a bridge out between exit 47 and the Denny Creek trailhead.

Carlos and I were starting late so we took a pretty brisk pace up trail #1014 to Hemlock Pass. At the pass we left the trail and took the north ridge of Low Mountain. At first the top of the ridge was pretty choked with young hemlock trees, we found staying to the east side of the ridge was a bit less brushy, but eventually the brush on top of the ridge got better. The last 100 vertical feet of the north ridge (right before the summit) looked like a climb so we dropped down to the east side of the ridge and traversed below the rock. My friend soon stopped because he was uncomfortable on the slope, there wasn't much exposure but the slope was pretty steep and covered with a crummy, thin layer of snow that made footing difficult. (At that point we probably should have dropped down lower and traversed where the slope was more gradual.) I continued on, traversed below the summit, and came up on the south ridge. From the south ridge the summit block is a walk-up. If it hadn't been snowy and wet then going up the east side of the summit block might have been a fun rock scramble.

On my way back from the summit I was glad of my ice axe as I had to self arrest once before getting to where my friend was waiting. We returned the same way, again keeping a pretty brisk pace on the trail to beat the impending sunset (it beat us by 9 minutes).

Copyright © 2004 Gabriel Deal.