Russian Butte via Granite Lakes

Ian and I rode our mountain bikes up the Granite Creek Road-Trail, the later part of this road is too steep for us to pedal up and it sure is hard to push a bike up a road with a overnight pack on. We parked the bikes shortly before the road that forks right to the Granite Lakes and continued on up to Thompson Point 5124 on foot. We set up camp where the logging road meets the top of the ridge at an intersection. In good weather the view here is very nice, but we were in a cloud by this time.

We awoke to worse visibility but at least no rain (yet). We went up the ridge to a spur road that leads NE toward Revolution Peak, followed that road to its end then traversed the clear-cut into forest. The only difficulty on the way to Revolution Peak is a steep gully that we had to drop below. Revolution Peak had a register.

We continued on north to the butte, eventually dropping down to the east side of the ridge. We passed through some delightful meadow land, is this really the middle fork? where is all the brush?!? Most of this trip was remarkably brush-free.

We scrambled to the summit of Russian Butte from the SE side. This involved 20-30 feet of wet rock that I found very challenging and not at all enjoyable. At least in wet weather I prefer our descent route.

The summit register was the most interesting one I have come across. The earliest entry I found was 2002. Entries included John Roper, Mike Torok, Johnny Jeans, a guy who approached via Mason Lake (!), a party that ascended from the Gifford Lakes, Bob Driesbach (author of Seattle Outdoors: Hiking & Cycling-Puget Sound and Cascades), Carl Driesbach (author Middle Fork Guide: Seattle's closest mountains), and Jeff Howbert (The Northwest Peakbaggers Asylum). The summit register was an unbound collection of paper in a plastic bag inside a glass jar.

We descended via the steep heather slopes NE of the summit then circled around to the south side, longer but no wet rock to downclimb. After passing Revolution Peak we screwed up and encountered the steep gully too high, instead of descending like we should have we crossed the gully high on exposed, wet, dirt ledges, a low point of the trip for both of us.

Quote of the trip: "I like big buttes, I cannot lie."

  • Date:
    2005/07/01 to 2005/07/02
    Round-trip distance:
    22 miles (12 miles on foot, 10 miles on bike)
    Elevation gain:
    5,680 feet
    Trip type:
    USGS quad:
    Middle Fork Snoqualmie Drainage
    2 days
    • 2 hours 58 minutes ascending from Mailbox Peak trailhead to turnoff to Granite Lakes (near where we left our bikes)
    • 1 hour 36 minutes ascending from turnoff to Granite Lakes (near where we left our bikes) to camp below Thompson Point 5124
    • 1 hour ascending from camp below Thompson Point 5124 to Revolution Peak summit
    • 2 hours 42 minutes ascending from Revolution Peak summit to Russian Butte summit
    • 4 hours 19 minutes descending from Russian Butte summit to camp below Thompson Point 5124
    • 50 minutes descending from camp below Thompson Point 5124 to turnoff to Granite Lakes (near where we left our bikes)
    • 55 minutes descending from turnoff to Granite Lakes (near where we left our bikes) to Mailbox Peak trailhead
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  • The bears seem hungry around here
    The bears seem hungry around here

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