Fish Eagle Peak
This one was a Mountaineer scramble. I always have
a good time on trips lead by Jay and Lindy. The name is unofficial. Apparently
it is also called Jupiter Peak. It is Point 7095 on the map, located just
north of Scatter Creek Pass above the Cle Elum River valley. We met at the
trailhead at 8:30 am. It's about 9 miles from the end of pavement. The trail
starts out level for a short distance then begins to climb. There are few
switchbacks but it is not overly steep either. Just a nice steady climb.
There were a few clouds moving in which kept the temperature comfortable at
Bugs are appearing now. They were not horrible anywhere but present most
everywhere. I have a few dozen mosquito bites to show for the day. The lower
trail is in pretty good shape. It does not appear to get a great deal of
maintenance. We climbed over 5 or six logs. One downed tree obscures the route
but it is not hard to pick up again. At about 2 miles the trail splits. There
is a yellow paper temporary trail marker on a tree. The County Line trail
goes off right. The Scatter Creek trail heads left.
In a short distance the trail drops a little to a crossing of Scatter
Creek. This was the hardest of many creek crossings on the day. I went from
log to rock to several steps in the creek where it was widest and least deep.
The rocks were very slick. Some made it across dry and several dunked there
boots in deeper water. Getting across is not hard. Getting across with dry
feet is. Once on the left side of the creek the terrain changed. Instead of
continuous forest we were now in mostly meadows with some forest in between.
The meadows are bright green with high grass and with many flowers in
bloom. Flowers began early on the trail and never let up. Trillium gave
way to columbine and in the meadows we saw lupine, shooting star, elephant
head, paintbrush, valerian, columbine, and many more. Nearer the summit phlox
carpeted the ground. There were red tape markers entering and exiting the
forest and some cairns on boulders in the meadows. Tread varied from minimal
to almost none. The route is much more obvious since our 10 pairs of boots
went up and down the meadows. The meadows were mostly dry but there are some
short muddy sections.
The next half a dozen creek crossings were manageable with dry feet. From
the higher meadows we could see Fish Eagle Peak several thousand feet directly
above us. The valley narrowed as we moved towards the head. It also steepened.
The trail is never particularly steep. Some snow patches were in the upper
valley but we only crossed a few and they were short. The south and west
faces of Fish Eagle were snow free to the top.
One final creek crossing to the left side on a log brought us into a higher
meadow. The trail continues up to Scatter Creek Pass. Turning left from the
trail pointed to an open hillside all the way up to the ridge top. This was
our off trail route. Much of the hillside is forested but this open gap
provided an easy route up. The grade steepens considerably but the footing
is good and there is no difficulty walking right up it. This is where lupine,
and phlox provide a carpet through the grass. I saw some yellow paintbrush
here as well.
By now it was getting very warm. With no shade it was a slow slog up to
the ridge top. From the ridge the views really improved. Over the ridge
I could see Cashmere Mountain as well as Big Jim across the valley of Icicle
Creek. Mt. Stuart loomed very close by. Much of the Cascade crest from Snoqualmie
Pass to Mt. Daniel was in view. The route to the summit is on or just below
the ridge the last 600'. Two of our group went ahead and I took off next.
The only difficulty was finding out which bump was the actual summit.
I popped but up to the ridge very near the top and was soon on top. From
7095' the view was really outstanding. Rainier and Adams were southwest.
The whole Cascade crest was in view. Sloan Peak peeked out the left side of
a nearer peak and Mt. Baker was partly visible to the right. Glacier Peak
was very clear. Mt. Stuart was much closer than I expected. Ingalls Peaks
were just over Scatter Creek Pass. The basin of Lake Ann was easily seen.
Right across from us was Harding Mountain. The Cradle was also close. On previous
trips up Bootjack and Highchair Mountains I had great views of Harding and
Fish Eagle. Now I had the reverse view of those peaks.
I spent a full hour on the summit. It was hot enough I felt less than
great. Food and water helped but heading down helped the most. We dropped
a little farther below the ridge on the descent. One could do a descending
traverse back to the meadow but would have some trees to work through. We
returned to the ridge top and descended straight back down to the meadow.
The hike out was just a long slog on a hot day. Some breeze and a few
clouds made it more manageable. The many flowers also helped keep it interesting.
In the last mile I saw a big black bear running through the trees. It was
not that close and gone well before I could get my camera out. My water was
gone and I was quite glad to reach the cars.
For the day we traveled about 12 miles with 3800' gained. It took about
3 1/2 hours up and a little less coming down. The maps are not generally
accurate regarding this trail. I have TOPO software and it shows the County
Line Trail but not the Scatter Creek Trail. It was taken from USGS maps I
believe so that is also a problem. It also has the trailhead in the wrong
place and shows non existent switchbacks. The most recent Green Trails does
seem to be the most correct. This was a fun hike and my third new summit
in an eight day period. I'm sure I'll be back some day.
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.
Scatter Ck Crossing
Fish Eagle Peak
Photo Page 2
Trips - 2006