Glacier Peak Loop

A Little Something For the Effort

The sp*mming continues! Seeing as Ploss is still jonesing for a truly bone crushing death march, I offer the following Olympic alternative: the Glacier Peak Loop.

This 98-mile odyssey through Washington’s North Cascades Glacier Peak Wilderness not only runs a good stretch of the PCT, there’s apparently a nice chunk of it missing. That’s right, our old friend Douglas Lorain reports in Backpacking Washington that:

A short but important section of trail connecting the Napeequa River with Little Giant Pass has been abandoned. The tread still exists, sort of, but its is steep, difficult to locate, and dangerous to hike. Even if you manage this section you still must negotiate potentially difficult crossings of the Napeequa and Chiwawa rivers.”

Yeah! The news for Ploss gets better courtesy of GORP:

Rangers sometimes sound frankly gleeful on the subject of things like bridges taken out by avalanches, campsites under snow in the middle of August, and man-eating mosquitoes. These are remote, high mountains in a northcountry wilderness, so take their warnings seriously.


To avoid avalanche chutes, glaciers, and permanent snowfields, the trail descends into valleys and climbs back up to passes, so expect a lot of ups and downs.


Weather: Snow usually clogs the mountains well into July, and winter storms start sometime in September or October, leaving August as the best month for this traverse. The high peaks are weather-makers, so expect weather to be made. It can snow any month of the year.”

This would appear to be as close to final frontier available w/in 8 hours of Smackland, and for obvious reasons is penciled out as a 9-12 day excursion to complete the entire 98 mile circuit. Total elevation TBA. While shorter variations and section hikes of the area exist, only a real wuss would settle for anything less than the full meal deal.

Suffice to say there is a wealth of information to further sort through before clearing out a few weeks on the calendar, but the place to start is with the map. Considering the mountaineering aspects of this expedition, this could either supplant the Olympic/Adams events planned for 2009, or could be the mother of all trips to plan for in 2010.

About McLovin

Author: MCLOVIN. Age: 41. Disposition: Gimpy. Resident: Itinerary Obsessive. Ancestry: Dutch. Politically: Left/Side. Nutshell: Magellan, P.I. Philosophy: Kali Ma!
This entry was posted in Backpacking, Mountaineering. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Glacier Peak Loop

  1. russhanbey says:

    I am writing a book that features the Glacier Peak Wilderness. Do I have your permission to use the 1st Photo taken above – it appears to have been taken from above Kennedy Hot Springs in the Lake Byrne area

    Russell Hanbey

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