Route: Suiattle Crest Loop (WA)

California, US

Colin Abercrombe designed the route, and Leor Pantilat reported:

Colin Abercrombie and I completed a 50 mile loop in the Glacier Peak Wilderness that includes 12,500+ ft of elevation gain and passes through six passes (Little Giant Pass, High Pass, Buck Creek Pass, Suiattle Pass, Cloudy Pass, Spider Gap). The 50 mile distance was not contrived – we simply used existing trails and routes that made the most sense. We did the loop in 13:37, but our progress was often slowed by stops to photograph the amazing scenery. A large portion of this extremely aesthetic loop follows near the Cascade crest along the Suiattle River drainage, hence the name “Suiattle Crest 50 mile.” The first 16 miles are particularly challenging with steep hill climbs, thick brush, off-trail travel, and routefinding issues. The remainder of the route is more straightforward and the last 13 miles are very runnable.

Pantilat posted a TR to

A shorter option that is very popular with backpackers is the ~36 mile Spider Gap/Buck Creek Pass Loop. This option avoids the complexities of Napeequa Valley and the ascent to High Pass, but the stupendous scenery in Napeequa Valley and High Pass are well worth the extra effort and mileage.

It’s sad to note the recession of the Lyman Glacier, which is essentially now a remnant ice patch. Despite relatively healthy snowpacks the last couple years, the glacier has continued to lose thickness appearing noticeably smaller than my visit in 2009 with the terminus even receding from the last glacial lake.

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