2016 Peak Bagging

2016 Peak Bagging

The year 2016 has undoubtedly been one of my most adventurous to date, I cannot recall one dull weekend or week for that matter. The adventures and trips have been endless and I have been trying to keep up with documenting them all. In this installment I will attempt to provide a brief summery of some of my most memorable peaks this year that I have not yet described in other posts. Listed in order by height I will start with my achilles heel – Wallaby Peak and then Segway into the pride of Okanogan county – Mount Bonaparte.

Wallaby Peak 7,995ft (September 30th)

Kangaroo Range in North Cascades

The first attempt of Wallaby Peak was in late August of 2014, the second was in mid September of 2015, and finally on my third try I faced my fear of the mildly exposed scramble to the summit. After making it to the top, I was quite embarrassed that I had been defeated by it in the past. However, even after competing in races in the mountains and rock climbing with Apryle, I still maintain an irrational fear of heights. The approach to this peak is always one of my favorites; Spruce and Firs dominating the canopy in lower reaches while beautiful Larch forests begin their reign near the saddle. The understory is blanketed by green heather and the orange/red deciduous plants transitioning to their winter form. Shortly beyond the saddle, the landscape changes to boulders, loose scree and wind mangled evergreens.

There is a somewhat traceable trail through the dense forest and boulder field near the start marked out by cairns, but it becomes much more pronounced as the terrain steepens. With over 3100 feet of vertical gain in around 3 miles, there is nothing gradual about the latter reaches of the ascent. Narrow, tight, dirt switchbacks give way to scrambling over rocks and stumbling up scree-covered slopes. The final push is a challenge but the views are spectacular. Apryle and I employed a combination of crab walking a glissading on our way back to the saddle. We were fortunate enough to have great weather, but not fortunate enough to have daylight back to the car. We somehow lost the trail and ended up bushwhacking our way through the dense spruce/fir stand in the dark. A memorable summit indeed.

Mount Bonaparte 7,257ft (August 30th)

Mount Bonaparte

This peak has several approaches, most of them are well over 12 miles, but for the sake of time Apryle and I chose to summit via the shortest one (306 trail). I started the run from the intersection of FR 33 and made the 2908ft approach. The first few miles are on a stone road, but the final approach zigzags up a wide, forested and runnable trail. There is a large tower at the summit that is manned by the Okanogan National Forest Service. From the tower you are afforded panoramic views of the sagebrush steppe of the Okanogan Valley as well as the forested mountains of the Kettle Range.

Rock Mountain 6,852ft (October 8th)

Glazed Fir Trees on Rock Mountain Summit

It is likely that this mountain has some spectacular views; unfortunately Apryle and I hiked this peak while it was engulfed by a cloud. There are a few approaches to this summit as well, but we chose the inconspicuous trailhead off highway 2, about 26 miles west of Leavenworth. This hike has around 4300ft of vertical gain (if you take the tangent down toward Rock Lake).

The hike starts weaving several dozen tight switchbacks along a sparsely treed mountainside. After a few miles, we popped out of the tree line into a patch of ripe blueberries. The colors were spectacular, red leaved vaccinium and green heather, contrasting with the gray/brown ridgelines and the lightly snow-covered trail. The final approach to the summit becomes rocky for a few hundred meters, then turns back to a short tree covered slope. On this particular occasion the trees were glazed over with a sheet of ice and the visibility was low.

Mount Kobau 6,117ft (August 9th)

This mountain was a nice weekday ascent via a stone road and short dirt trail section in the South Okanagan Grasslands. This also marked our first visit to British Columbia, and the views from the summit did not disappoint. I had to chase a few cows off the road, but other than that the grade was manageable allowing me to hold a solid pace. Typically, one could drive nearly the entire way to the summit, however, in our case, a stone became lodged in the brake calipers of our car, so we decided to run up instead. This worked out well allowing for a 10 mile run with 1558 feet of vertical gain. I would compare the views to that of Mount Bonaparte. Still the most memorable part of this trip was driving the squealing car through the town of Osoyoos, watching everyone cringe and cover their ears. At any rate we pried off the tire, removed the stone and were ready to tackle the next peak!

Thorpe Mountain 5,854ft (August 28th)

Pacing Jay at Cascade Crest 100

This mountain happened to be placed right in the middle of my pacing stint during the Cascade Crest 100. I was fortunate enough to share about 23 miles of this beautiful course with fellow Ohio ultra runner Jay Smithberger. Thorpe Mountain was a short out and back portion of the race, but Jay and I took some time at the top to soak in the views of Mount Rainier to the southwest. The final 23 miles of the race was quite unrelenting in terms of undulations, but Jay finished out strong in a time of 28:51:16.

Fir Mountain 5,674ft (September 9th)

Fir Mountain Summit

This little mountain was a fun adventure; the trail is a little overgrown in places and the final push winds through some steep rocky sections. For being less than 2.5 miles from trailhead to summit it packs a punch with over 2000 feet of vertical gain. It offers some stunning views of the Kettle Range to the east and the Paysayen Wilderness to the west. A very underrated peak that lies right off of highway 20 between Tonasket and Republic.

Mount Bannon 5,017ft (September 8th)

Sometimes the most memorable summits come after a test in route finding capabilities and this peak was most certainly that. While I was scanning our maps for a quick run to put together one Thursday evening, I came across Bannon Peak Trailhead. I had never heard of the mountain and furthermore, we were not sure that this network of horse trails would actually lead to the summit, so we just winged it. We followed NFD Road 200 until I saw a game trail/cow path that continued straight at a bend in the road. Instead of following the road we took to the lightly treaded path, which led to NFD Road 025. We reached several false summits as the trail disappeared into the brush and trees. As we were heading back down, I felt compelled to dart up one more ridge in order to find a more official summit marking. Sure enough I found a red ribbon covered stake surrounded by a cairns and was certain we bagged another summit.

Strawberry Mountain 4,743ft (August 5th)

Strawberry Mountain

Apryle and I decided on a fishing trip to three different lakes in the Okanogan National Forest – Lost, Beaver, and Beth. Though I enjoy a relaxing fishing trip, I also enjoy a quick ascent to prominent peaks that define the landscape. Therefore, I made a side trip up Strawberry Mountain, which is only about 3.4 miles round trip with roughly 870ft of vertical gain. Because it is such an easy summit, we were also able to run over to the larch grove nearby that featured two giant Western Larch that were over 900 years old! Finally, on the last leg of the fishing trip I made the out and back run from Beaver Lake to Beth Lake and back, which is a sold 4.4 mile run with 436ft of vertical gain. The trail is mildly challenging and skirts along both lakes, offering great views and less frequented fishing spots.

Cactus Mountain 2,000ft

Cactus Mountain was perhaps the most influential mountain of 2016 for my training. I made the summit 13 times, often times more than twice per day. I used it for experimenting with different ascending techniques, practice with hiking poles, building up my weekly vertical gain, and most importantly as a way to warm up before plunging into Lake Osoyoos below. I have fond memories of making the trudge after work and then swimming in the lake with Apryle afterward. The specifics of this mountain are outlined further in July in Okanogan County.

Mountains/Summits of 2016

Mountains/Passes LocationElevationTotal Summits
Rondoy PuntaPocpa, Ancash, Peru15,584ft1
Sambuya PuntaPocpa, Ancash, Peru15,551ft1
Pampa LlamacLlamac, Ancash, Peru14,108ft1
Macrash PuntaPocpa, Ancash, Peru14,016ft1
Bear Pete RidgeMcCall, ID08,280ft1
Diamond RidgeMcCall, ID08,000ft1
Wallaby PeakMazama, WA07,995ft1
Mount FrostyManning, BC, Canada07,949ft1
Crestline PassMcCall, ID07,890ft1
Snowslide SummitMcCall, ID07,875ft1
North CrestlineMcCall, ID07,440ft1
Slate PeakMazama, WA07,440ft1
Fall Creek SummitMcCall, ID07,350ft1
Mount BonaparteTonasket, WA07,257ft1
Duck Lake PassMcCall, ID07,100ft1
Rock MountainLeavenworth, WA06,852ft1
Lick Creek SummitMcCall, ID06,850ft1
Mount KobauOliver, BC, Canada06,117ft1
Thorpe MountainSalmon La Sac, WA05,854ft1
Fir MountainWauconda, WA05,674ft1
Mount BannonTonasket, WA05,017ft1
Strawberry MountainOroville, WA04,743ft1
Mount SiNorth Bend, WA04,167ft1
Whitemore MountainNespelem, WA03,920ft1
Rattlesnake MountainNorth Bend, WA03,527ft1
Steamboat RockElectric City, WA02,250ft1
Cactus MountainOroville, WA02,000ft13
Ninemile MounainOroville, WA01,884ft1
Wilderness PeakIssaquah, WA01,600ft1
Mount ErieAnacortes, WA01,273ft1
Little Round TopAnacortes, WA00,926ft1
Sugar LoafAnacortes, WA00,890ft1
Goose RockDeception Pass, WA00,484ft1


Lifetime Summits/Passes


Mountains/Passes LocationElevationTotal SummitsYears
Rondoy PuntaPocpa, Ancash, Peru15,584ft12016
Sambuya PuntaPocpa, Ancash, Peru15,551ft12016
Mount ElbertLeadville, CO14,439ft12012
Mount MassiveLeadville, CO14,429ft12012
Mount LincolnAlma, CO14,295ft12013
Greys PeakGeorgetown, CO14,278ft12013
Mount EvansGeorgetown, CO14,265ft12013
Long PeakEstes Park, CO14,255ft12013
Mount CameronAlma, CO14,238ft12013
Mount BrossAlma, CO14,172ft12013
Mount DemocratAlma, CO14,154ft12013
Pampa LlamacLlamac, Ancash, Peru14,108ft12016
Mount BeirstadtGeorgetown, CO14,065ft12013
Macrash PuntaPocpa, Ancash, Peru14,016ft12016
Hagues PeakEstes Park, CO13,560ft12013
Mount YipsilonEstes Park, CO13,514ft12013
Mount FairchildEstes Park, CO13,502ft12013
Mummy MountainEstes Park, CO13,425ft12013
Mount AudubonAllenspark, CO13,223ft12013
Mount ChiquitaEstes Park, CO13,069ft12013
Mount IdaGrand Lake, CO12,809ft12013
Chief Cheley PeakGrand Lake, CO12,804ft12013
Hallet PeakEstes Park, CO12,713ft12013
Hope PassLeadville, CO12,600ft92012, 2013
Mount DunravenEstes Park, CO12,562ft12013
Mount ChapinEstes Park, CO12,454ft12013
Flat Top MountainEstes Park, CO12,324ft22013
Boulder Grand PassEstes Park, CO12,077ft12013
Sugar Loaf PassLeadville, CO11,600ft42012, 2013
Twin Sisters MountainEstes Park, CO11,428ft22013, 2014
Estes ConeEstes Park, CO11,007ft12013
Deer MountainEstes Park, CO10,013ft32013
Crosier MountainGlen Haven, CO09,225ft22013
Mount ScottCrater Lake, OR08,934ft12011
Eagle Cliff MountainEstes Park, CO08,905ft72013, 2014
Guadalupe PeakGuadalupe NP, TX08,749ft22015
Bush MountainGuadalupe NP, TX08,631ft12015
Batman PinnacleEstes Park, CO08,600ft12013
Heavens Gate LookoutRiggins, ID08,429ft12011
Hunter PeakGuadalupe NP, TX08,368ft12015
Bear Pete RidgeMcCall, ID08,280ft12016
Garfield PeakCrater Lake, OR08,245ft12011
Green MountainBoulder, CO08,144ft12013
Diamond RidgeMcCall, ID08,000ft12016
Wallaby PeakMazama, WA07,995ft12016
Mount FrostyManning, BC, Canada07,949ft12016
Crestline PassMcCall, ID07,890ft12016
Snowslide SummitMcCall, ID07,875ft12016
Emory PeakBig Bend NP, TX07,825ft12015
Frisco MountainNorth Cascades NP, WA07,760ft12014
North CrestlineMcCall, ID07,440ft12016
Slate PeakMazama, WA07,440ft12016
Fall Creek SummitMcCall, ID07,350ft12016
Mount BonaparteTonasket, WA07,257ft12016
Glacier PointYosimite, CA07,214ft12011
North Franklin PeakEl Paso, TX07,192ft12015
Duck Lake PassMcCall, ID07,100ft12016
Upper Yosimite FallsYosimite, CA06,936ft12011
Rock MountainLeavenworth, WA06,852ft12016
Lick Creek SummitMcCall, ID06,850ft12016
Mount SanitasBoulder, CO06,843ft32013
Clingmans DomeGSMNP, NC/TN06,644ft12011
Mount KobauOliver, BC, Canada06,117ft12016
Sourdough MountainNorth Cascades NP, WA05,985ft12014
Thorpe MountainSalmon La Sac, WA05,854ft12016
Lookout MountainNorth Cascades NP, WA05,719ft12014
Fir MountainWauconda, WA05,674ft12016
Mount BannonTonasket, WA05,017ft12016
Strawberry PeakOroville, WA04,743ft12016
Mount SiNorth Bend, WA04,167ft12016
Sahale ArmNorth Cascades NP, WA03,940ft12014
Whitemore MountainNespelem, WA03,920ft12016
Rattlesnake MountainNorth Bend, WA03,527ft12016
Mount TamalpaisSan Fransisco, CA02,572ft12011
Steamboat RockElectric City, WA02,250ft12016
Upper Table RockCentral Point, OR02,091ft12011
Cactus MountainOroville, WA02,000ft132016
Cairn’s ClimbBandera, TX01,924ft32013, 2015
Boyles BumpBandera, TX01,910ft32013, 2015
Ninemile MounainOroville, WA01,884ft12016
Sky IslandBandera, TX01,850ft32013, 2015
Lucky PeakBandera, TX01,780ft32013, 2015
Ice Cream HillBandera, TX01,690ft32013, 2015
Wilderness PeakIssaquah, WA01,600ft22015, 2016
Mount ErieAnacortes, WA01,273ft22016
Little Round TopAnacortes, WA00,926ft12016
Hill of LifeAustin, TX00,892ft82014, 2015
Sugar LoafAnacortes, WA00,890ft12016
Goose RockDeception Pass, WA00,484ft12016


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