Tibbetts Mountain

It was time to head east for some flowers and sun. Also time for another brand new trip. Suzanne, John, Barb, and I met in Bellevue at 7:00 am and we picked up Tisha in Issaquah. We headed east on I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass to Cle Elum then north to Highway 2. A few miles east on Highway 2 brought us to the left turn to Peshastin Pinnacles State Park. We arrived at 9:15 and found no other cars in the lot. It was sunny and warming. It was in the 30s at Blewett Pass but already in the 50s at the trailhead. We headed up the trails to the top of the state part then up a steep short section to the ridge top. Views extended from the valley below to the peaks of the Enchantments area.

There were some balsamroot blooming but most were past their prime. Lupine was mixed in too. We headed along the ridge top as it dropped and climbed in small sections The balsamroot improved as we ascended. a number of other flowers also began to appear. We crossed an old road and continued up. The summit came into view. Our route climbed the ridge to the left of the summit and curled around to the right for a steep final climb to the top. At one point we could see the road up Olalla Canyon below to our left. The road climbs to near the summit.

The open meadow ridge was a lot of fun to hike. Some shade in trees and lots of sunshine. We passed one campsite with benches and a table. There is no water anywhere on this route. I won't be back on a day beyond mid spring. It would be awfully hot in the summer. Another ridge to our right makes a smooth climb to the summit. The downside is the steep climb down and up to get over to it. We chose to stay on the left ridge.

It's about 4 miles to the summit with 3800' of gain including ups and downs. Most of the elevation gain is in the last mile. the ridge narrowed as we ascended and different flowers began to appear. I stopped at one patch of white bitterroot and did not see another one the rest of the way. Prairie star, blue bells, and yellow bells began above 3500'. The views kept getting better. Mission Ridge to the southeast, Big Jim Mountain to the west, and some of the Teanaway peaks came into view.

The last part was the steepest though not nearly as bad as it had looked from farther down the ridge. After three hours of hiking and photo stops we finally reached the top. The rest of the Wenatchee Valley came into view including the Columbia River at the city of Wenatchee. The temperature was probably in the mid 60s and it was very pleasant. We had a nice long stay on top. Paragliders were taking off below us where the road ends. One climbed high above us as the thermals created a lot of lift.

The trip down was much faster, at least most of it. I missed the bitterroot this time though I was looking for it. When we reached the camping spot we found a group of about ten folks there. They were the only people we saw until reaching the parking lot. Back at the top of the ridge above the pinnacles we stopped. Several of us, who will go unnamed, looked at the gentle ridge to the right. It looked like there was a trail tying back into the park trails. Besides, if we went that way we would avoid the short steep loose section we had come up. Maybe not such a good idea...

Down we went on an obvious trail. It was a little cliffy to our left so we kept going down. Down and down. Three quarters of the way down we headed left down the slope on a narrower trail. It looked like we could reach the bottom then cut across to the main trails not far away. Except for the fence. At the bottom we could now see a tall fence to keep the deer out of the orchards. Uh oh... Suzanne and John went to the bottom to find no way through the fence. Tisha went high above one pinnacle and out of sight. As Suzanne and John headed up Barb reached the fence and found a hole in it. Down we went again.

We made it through the fence and headed towards the trail. Tisha came down and was on the other side of the fence. We needed to get back across the fence to get to the trail. All this instead of retracing our steps from the ridge. Suzanne, John, and Barb headed back and began to climb around the pinnacle. Tisha yelled that there was a gate. I went back for the rest of the group. Finally we were all through the fence and back on route. In just a few minutes we were back at the trailhead.

Our little adventure took a lot of time and effort but did work. I would not recommend that anyone try heading to the far west side to get up onto the ridge. It was in the low 70s and felt like 85. The first warm days of spring feel a lot warmer. Summer is not too far away now. After the trip we took a short detour to the Icicle Winery before heading on home. This proved to be a nice trip. Warm but not too hot. Lots of elevation gain but with many flower stops it never felt like a grind. Good company, good weather, and a new trail made for a fun day.

Suzanne's report is here:  Nwhikers Report & Photos


Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2010