DeRoux Peak

Janet joined me for another trip to the Teanaway. Two weeks earlier there was a lot of snow atop Iron Peak. I expected the snow to be gone down low but was not sure what to expect higher up. We decided to head to the DeRoux Spur trail and then decide whether to go left to Koppen Mountain or right to DeRoux Peak. Janet had done Koppen once and had not done DeRoux. I had done DeRoux twice and Koppen Half a dozen times. All of my Koppen trips but one were via Medra Pass. It had been more than 25 years since I had been up Koppen via DeRoux. We met in Bothell at 6:45 am and headed out on I-90. One stop in Cle Elum and we headed on to the Teanaway Valley. There was a running race off the West Fork but we did not see any other traffic on the Teanaway Road.

Two weeks earlier the NF Teanaway Road was in bad shape after the end of pavement. A recent trip report mentioned the first half mile had been graded. Now the road has been graded at least to the DeRoux Campgrounds at the 8 mile mark. It was very smooth. Almost zero pot holes left. Through a mix up Janet did not have her parking pass in the car. Rather than take a chance on permits not being checked yet this year, we chose to park at Camp Wahoo just down the road. The camp is not yet open. Only a few tent tops have been installed on the wooden buildings and no horses are there yet. The camp has a trail to take them over to the DeRoux Trail and we used it. It was 9:18 am when we headed out.

It was only supposed to get up to the high 60s at our 3700' elevation but it was already warming up. Shorts and short sleeves worked. We quickly reached the DeRoux Trailhead and found three cars in the lot. The trail quickly drops to a crossing of the NF Teanaway River. Just after that we reached the meadow. At this time of year it had many shooting stars in bloom. This was the beginning of a surprisingly good wildflower show. We hike slowly and took photos of yellow violets, calypso orchids, ballhead waterleaf, many trillium, and more flowers in bloom. There were a number of logs down in the first mile plus. A number could be stepped over but several were high enough to require even us long legged hikers to go around or sit on top and pull ourselves over. These should be taken care of quickly when the horse camp is open.

The creeks and rivers are running strong though much lower than two weeks earlier. We saw a little snow in the valley bottom but none on the trail. Not much at all is left. After crossing DeRoux Creek on a bridge there were several spring creeks running across the trail. These will be dry in a few weeks. We had a few small snow patches on the trail near the junction but the junction itself is dry. Up we went on the DeRoux Spur Trail. I was afraid that the trail's location on a northern facing slope would hold snow but for the most part it is snow free. It is not dry. For three or four long switchbacks the trail is a creek. We were able to divert a little of the water but the trench the trail sits in makes it hard. We had heavier leather boots and this was not a problem for us.

This is a horse trail and it gains elevation at a very gently grade. The trail is longer than most hiking trails would be to gain the saddle. Still, it makes the downhill very easy on the knees. As we neared the pass there was some snow. The trail crossed a creek. Beyond there the ground was mostly under snow. Rather than heading into the snow we went straight uphill on mostly bare ground. We found several patches of western anemone. There were also thousands of Columbia lewisia. Near the saddle we came upon the mini Mt. Stuart rock mentioned in the book "Teanaway Country". The last short climb to the saddle was on snow. As expected the saddle itself was completely bare. On the hike up we were leaning towards heading for DeRoux Peak. DeRoux was in sight down the ridge. Some snow on top and some on the crest below the summit. Most of the ridge looked fairly snow free. The route up Koppen started in the snow.

After a break we headed up the ridge towards DeRoux Peak. My last visit was on 7-09-11. My recollection was to stay on the ridge crest as much as possible. With that in mind, we headed steeply up the ridge. The first part was brushy and we soon dropped down to another saddle. It was clear that there was a boot path that traversed below the top of the ridge. That was our route on the way back. The right side of the ridge had snow in places. The left (south) side was snow free. There is definitely more of a boot path now than in 2011. Not a trail but it can be followed much of the way. There is some steep hillside to ascend but it was not exposed. We made it will up the next to last bump on the ridge when we encountered snow. It was thin enough in spots to be problematic. I went up one spot between a vertical rock wall and several feet of vertical snow. At the top I found more slopes of snow. This was far enough. I dropped down to where Janet was and we had lunch.

We probably could have made it to the summit but coming down on thin crappy snow did not appeal to us.  We had excellent views from our high point on the ridge. Esmerelda Peaks were right across from us. part of Hawkins Mountain was in sight.  Iron and Teanaway Peaks were to the northeast. To the south was the Louvre. The summit of DeRoux Peak was just up the ridge. It looked like we were higher than Koppen Mountain but the GPS and map put us at 5800' and Koppen is just over 6000'. Although there was some loose rock on the ascent the descent proved easier than expected. We cut half an hour off our uphill time from the saddle.

From the saddle we dropped back down our ascent route to meet the trail. While taking more wildflower photos we heard two hikers approaching. An athletic looking guy with a baby in a carrier on his back. A tall woman was right behind. Janet and I know of a hiking/climbing couple that exactly fit that description with a child of about that age. We were sure it was Mike and Carrie. Their daughter is named after an little known big local peak. I was not sure how to pronounce it. I called out to the approaching group inquiring how to pronounce their child's name. The answer was "Andre". Clearly these were not the folks we thought they were. They were nice people and we had a good conversation. They then headed off. I bet that was the strangest question they have received on the trail.

That family was the only group we saw all day until the last half mile. Pretty good solitude. The rest of the hike down was easy enough. we did divert some more water and move a few branches off the trail. We did pass a couple groups coming in near the trailhead. We reached the trailhead at 4:20 pm and the car at Camp Wahoo about 10 minutes later. After a quick stop for a milkshake the drive home was very easy. Traffic is usually light after a holiday weekend. While we did not reach the summit we did get most of the views. The scrambling was fun and the wildflower show was excellent. The solitude was as expected on this trail that is seldom used this early in the season. I do need to get up DeRoux again after the snow has melted. All in all, it was an excellent day on the trail.

Walking To Trailhead
Flower Show Begins
Shooting Stars
A Shooting Star
Yellow Violet
Ballhead Waterleaf
Calypso Orchid
White Flower
DeRoux Creek Bridge
Glacier Lilies
DeRoux Creek
Many Trillium
Western Anemone
Peaks In View
Mini Mt. Stuart
Spring Beauty
Janet At Work
Yellow Bells
DeRoux Peak
Ascending Ridge
Koppen Mountain
View Of Esmerelda
Argonaut Peak
Hawkins Mountain
West Esmerelda Peaks
DeRoux Is Closer
Steep Drop
Near Turnaround Spot
Looking Down Ridge
Iron Peak
Little Annapurna
Lunch Spot
Towards Jolly Mt.
Heading Down Ridge
Koppen Mt. Again
Rock Outcropping
Hawkins & Esmerelda
Back At Saddle
DeRoux From Saddle
Western Anemone II
Western Anemone III
At DeRoux Creek
Bridge Over Teanaway
Near Trailhead
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2017