The Pulpit via Rainy Lake trail
I parked at the Middle Fork trailhead and hit the Rainy Lake trail. At around 3,600' (maybe half a mile past the biggish stream crossing at 3,200') I left the trail and headed west up the ridge. There wasn't too much brush while ascending the side of the ridge but the top of the ridge was covered in dense, young hemlock trees for a while. The hemlocks thinned out at the low point just south of point 4,400'+. I ascended point 4,400'+ and then headed west to point 4,523' (The Pulpit). On the ridge between point 4,400'+ and The Pulpit I had to dodge gendarmes by dropping to the south and north sides of the ridge, there were some steep, dirt slopes here, which was a bit challenging with the thin layer of snow.
When I reached the top of The Pulpit I was dissapointed to find the only view was of the Middle Fork Valley to the west. I scouted around and found that the sharp ridge a few hundred feet north of The Pulpit would probably provide some nice views. The ridge was steeper than I would to consider on exposed, wet, snowy rock so I didn't try ascending it. From my vantage point I couldn't tell if the ridge would be a scramble or a climb under more favorable conditions.
On the way down, after passing point 4,400'+, I started descending the side of the ridge to the Rainy Lake trail just before the thickets of young hemlocks started on the ridge. This was a bit steeper than my ascent route but was quite manageable. I met with the trail at the 3,200' stream crossing.
approx. 3,665 feet
Middle Fork Snoqualmie Drainage
7 hours 26 minutes
1 hour 4 minutes driving from Lower Queen Anne to Middle Fork trailhead
2 hours 19 minutes ascending from Middle Fork trailhead to where I left Rainy Lake trail
41 minutes ascending from where I left Rainy Lake trail to top of ridge
36 minutes ascending from top of ridge to point 4,400'+
25 minutes ascending from point 4,400'+ to The Pulpit
1 hour 5 minutes descending from The Pulpit to creek crossing on Rainy Lake trail
1 hour 43 minutes descending from creek crossing on Rainy Lake trail to Middle Fork trailhead
Ridge north of The Pulpit
Copyright © 2004 Gabriel Deal.