Monday, March 4, 2019

The Picket Range in North Cascades National Park

The Southern Picket Range as seen from above Luna Saddle in North Cascades National Park, Washington, USA
The Southern Picket Range, North Cascades National Park
The Picket Range of the North Cascades remains the wildest region in the North Cascades.  There are no easy approaches, and most all approaches involve heavy bushwhacking, stream crossings and challenging route-finding.  But for the seasoned climber willing to take on the challenge, the Pickets can be a spectacular place from which lifetime memories can be made.

The Picket Range is divided into two groups - the northern and southern groups.  While both provide challenging approaches, the northern group's are substantially longer and most challenging.

I've been fortunate enough to have spent considerable time in both groups.  While not always successful, the memories of friendships, challenges, celebrations, and defeat that I've brought back live with me forever.

I have fond memories of high camps on Easy Ridge on the approach to Mount Challenger, and camps in Terror Basin while ascending McMillan Spire.

But my most memorable trip was the one in which this image was taken.  It involved taking a boat taxi up Ross Lake to Big Beaver Landing and hiking 10 miles up the Big Beaver Trail.  From here, we "turned off the paved road", venturing cross-country to the raging river known as Access Creek and nervously crossing it on a wet log ever so diligently and greeted by one of the worst bushwhacks I've ever experienced.  The rewards that awaited us were many, with some of the most fantastic high camps I've ever enjoyed.  We climbed both Luna Peak and Mount Fury (East Peak) on this trip, and had hopes of climbing many more as we traversed to the Southern Pickets and exit via Goodell Creek.  We didn't make it to the Southern Pickets this trip, unfortunately.  As often happens, we encountered unforeseen challenges that would require additional time to navigate - challenges we hadn't budgeted time for.  Still, in the arms of defeat, this was a pretty special trip!

The image above was taken from a camp above Luna Saddle, and is currently appearing in a German travel brochure.  While morning photography often involves waking up well before sunset and scampering up some ridge in the dark, such was not the case here.  It was our view from our sleeping bags!

I hope you enjoy.  If you wish to see more images from this area, I invite you to visit my North Cascades Gallery.

As always, thanks for looking!