28.5 miles of hiking • 5250' elevation gain • 2 nights
We started noon on Saturday at Pete's Lake Trail. Was very busy, with many families and large groups heading to Pete's Lake, an easy 4 miles with very little eg. Most people stopped there. After another mile, you hit the PCT. We went north(go south to head to Spectacle lake), and climbed 2000ft over 5 miles and 23 switchbacks to reach the heavenly alpine terrain. Ripe huckleberries all along this route. Camped at some little tarns-unnamed on my map, but leader called them "Vista Lakes".
Started out early Sunday morning to climb Summit Chief Mountain, using the Beckey route. Lovely cross country travel over that granite rock. Pretty blue lakes, sea of mountains and views all around, but very little vegetation, and almost no goat sign.
Approaching the summit there was a nice big snow gulley to climb. Unfortunately, the final upper basin had melted out and we were stymied. The steep, loose rock and dirt slopes prevented us from attaining the summit ridge without protection. Some in our group were very uncomfortable with the sketchy scrambling, and after several different approaches we gave up 300 ft below the top.
Mon morning, team packed up early. I elected to stay, pick berries and planned to slowly make my way over to Spectacle Lake. However, the smoke came in the afternoon. The pleasant mountain ambience transformed to a malevolent apocolyptic scene, so I hiked out to my car and drove to hotel in Cle Ellum.