Remmel Mountain (8,685 ft)
Eric and Katie
October 14-15, 2017
The fires in the Pasayten had finally died down with the fresh snow, so we headed out Friday night to try to climb Remmel Mountain, one of the Washington Hundred Highest peaks that’s farthest away from Seattle. The original plan was to drive to the 30-mile-campground trailhead past Winthrop, but unfortunately we discovered at midnight that the road was closed 10 miles before the trailhead for some construction. I guess I didn’t do all my homework researching this trip.
There was another trailhead about 15 miles farther north from the closure point, near Windy Peak, but it would require an additional 2.5-hour drive spiraling around to Loomis to get there. I really wanted to climb Remmel still, so kept driving. We reached the new trailhead around 3am, and it looked like winter already up there at 6,000 ft. There were a few inches of snow on the ground, and the temperature was only 7F !
We slept in the car next to a few other trucks (probably hunters), and got up at 9am the next morning. What was supposed to be a “sunny” day turned out to be snow showers all day. The trail was pretty, though, as we descended down to the Chewuch River, then up the river to Four Point Lake about 13 miles later. There were 6 inches of snow on the ground at the lake, and it was still actively snowing and socked in at 4pm when we arrived. Our original plan was to summit that evening, but instead we decided to just break trail a mile farther, then return the next morning in hopes of better weather.
By sunset we were back at the lake. We cooked a quick dinner of Ramen Noodles and went to sleep. Luckily it wasn’t
as cold that night, maybe only in the 20s, and we got up at 5am to start our trip. We hiked the first mile or so in the dark, following our tracks, and by dawn were hiking up the southeast slope of Remmel on an excellent old abandoned trail. This is actually one of only two of the Washington Hundred Highest mountains that has a trail to the top!
It was still tough at times breaking trail through the deep snow, but we summitted at 8am under clear skies. We’d definitely made the right call to wait for the weather to improve. We could see British Columbia just 10 miles to our north, and Mt Baker far to the west.
After a short break we descended back down to the lake, and hiked back out to the car. All the snow had melted from the trailhead when we got back around 3:45pm, and lots more hunters were parked in the lot. It was a long 6-hour drive back to Seattle, but we stopped in Winthrop on the way for a nice dinner.