You don’t have to die to get to heaven

Pickets Range


My friend John has a mild obsession with the Pickets Range; he’s made multiple trips there and will likely go back again someday. So when he emailed to say he and Gary were headed up Trappers Peak in the North Cascades today, I wasn’t surprised. It has, after all, one of the most spectacular views of the Pickets from any mountain top.

I thought my ankle was up for a 10-mile, 3300’ day, so I agreed to join them. It had the double bonus of keeping me busy while Nick was at an all-day endurance mountain bike race in Olympia and helping me achieve my goal of climbing five peaks I’ve never been up this summer.

We left town around 6:15 a.m. and arrived at the TH about 2 hours later. The initial 2.5 mile hike on the old road bed was flat, a nice change from most of the peaks we climb around here that go straight up from the parking lot. I was a little slow crossing Thornton Creek on the logs (balancing on one foot on a round log is amazingly hard after spraining your ankle), but I made it without plunging into the cold water. Then it was up, up, UP! The trail was in the forest, which was particularly nice as the temperature would have been unbearable otherwise.

At about 4.5 miles, we arrived at the pass and the junction for the proper trail down to Thornton Lakes and the climbers’ boot path to the summit. We turned right and headed in the direction of the summit.

One thing is for sure: once you gain the ridge and leave the forest, you are easily rewarded with spectacular:

Another 0.8 miles and 900’ of gain and we attained the summit, where three others were enjoying themselves, including this guy with a medium format camera:

John pulled out his map of the North Cascades and a solid round of “name that peak” ensued:

Then it was picture time. Anyone who thinks they have to die to reach heaven certainly hasn’t been to the summit of Trappers Peak:

After a suitable amount of picture taking, we started our descent and arrived back at the cars two hours later. This is definitely a peak worth repeating!

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