Kendall Peak & Katwalk

After a 45 mile backpacking trip ending on Tuesday I was ready for an easier close in trip. I had not done a trip with Suzanne in months and her trip to Kendall Peak sounded just right. We did not have a sunrise start and when we arrived at the Pacific Crest Trail lot at 8:40 am it was almost full. No solitude this day.  We set out at a nice fast pace and kept it up most of the way. I was surprised at the small number of hikers we passed. Were half those cars filled with backpackers? Last year there were many trees down across the trail. I hiked up to Ridge Lake at the end of October and the logs had all been cut. This year I noticed much more trail work had been done. Stumps gone and root ball holes filled in. The trail was as smooth as I ever recall it. Even some brushing done. It made a very smooth and easy trail even easier.

As expected there is no snow left though we did see a few patches below the Katwalk. There is still a little running water though several creeks are now dry. It was cool at the start but warmed quickly. The forested lower parts kept me comfortable. Out in Kendall Gardens the brush and grasses have just begun to turn color. Not much yet. The seven weeks without rain shows up in the dusty trail. Fine in the forest and across the rocks, it gets very dusty after that. The group stopped at the first switchback and I headed out ahead. It used to be difficult to find the meager climbers path to the summit of Kendall. No longer. Just look for the pile of dirt in the trail. Climbing the steep bank causes dirt to keep sliding down. The meager path is now a well defined track to the summit. I went up the route a short way and waited for the others to make sure they did not miss the start.

There was a group just ahead of me. No solitude on the summit either. Still, a few others has never bothered me. I continued on when the others started up. A few minutes later I heard "rock!" and looked up. Through foggy glasses I saw a big rock headed my way fast. I quickly scrambled to my left and the rock went by right where I had been. A good 20 pounder. That is the closest call I have had on a scramble. After that bit of excitement it was an easy climb to the top. The guys ahead of me chose not to go to the Kendall summit. There were a couple parties there when we arrived. Kendall provides a big bang for the buck. An easy trail and short scramble to a very nice viewpoint.

It was just about 11:10 am when we arrived. About 2:10 to the summit. After a mostly bug free summer I was encased in a fog of tiny flying ants on top. Only brief gusts of wind helped. A great view from the Olympics to Mt. Stuart. From Rainier to Glacier Peak. We had a long lunch on top. At about noon we headed down. I managed to tweak my knee near the top which made the descent more interesting. once on smooth trail it did not hurt at all. Hopefully this will not be a problem. Back at the PCT we chose to turn right and head on up to the Kendall Katwalk. A little more distance and elevation gain for the day.

Now we met the crowds. It is a narrow trail on a steep slope and we had to stand aside numerous times to let other folks go by. Last October I had few folks and a little fresh snow on the trail. This time I had a warm day and lots of company. We went to the far end of the Katwalk and turned around. The way down was fast paced with many more stops to get around groups of hikers. At the junction with the Commonwealth Creek route we chose to take the shorter and less crowded option. For the most part the "abandoned" trail is in fine shape. Lower down it gets steep and rocky for a short bit but most of the route is fine. There was more water in Commonwealth Creek than I was expecting. We were back by early afternoon. Now cars were parked part way down the road.

One other item. Near the end of the rocks at Kendall Gardens Suzanne stopped cold and turned to a hiker heading up. She recognized a PCT through hiker she had seen in the Sierras earlier this summer. How could she recognize a face so easily? She didn't. The hiker is doing the entire PCT in wedding dresses. Oh, and it's a guy. Not so hard to recognize after all. A nice guy. We talked for a few minutes. This was just the post backpacking hike I was looking for. 10 miles with 3100' of gain on mostly easy trail. Even a great viewpoint for lunch. A fun time was had by all.

Parking Lot
Kendall Peak Is Above
Starting Scramble
Scrambling Up
PCT Below
Hazy View Southwest
Keechelus Lake
Kendall Ridge
Hibox Mountain
Cascade Crest Peaks
Mt. Thomson
Group On Summit
Snoqualmie Mountain
Gold Creek
Heading Down
Scramble Route
Kendall Katwalk
Fall Color Beginning
Rock Field
Wedding Dress Hiker
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2012