North Cascades/Pasayten Wilderness

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North Cascades/Pasayten Wilderness

Post by dave54 » Wed Apr 15, 2015 8:52 pm

Long time on my bucket list but just never able to pull it off.

I want to go explore the North Cascades NP/Pasayten Wilderness. Never been there and now able work it in.

Anyone with suggestions? Best time of year?

Paddle up Ross Lake and do a loop hike, returning to the lake for a paddle back?

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Re: North Cascades/Pasayten Wilderness

Post by skiker » Fri Apr 17, 2015 7:29 pm

Haven't done anything in N. Cascades but have done some in the Pasayten which is gentler and less demanding. I wouldn't say the Pasayten is spectacular but it has a serene quality I don't find elsewhere. My wife and I are both very fond of it.

We did a lollipop from Billy Goat Pass up to Ramon Lakes (almost in Canada) and then back over Ashnola Pass and Fawn Lake. It's been several years -- more than I care to think -- but I remember liking the trip a lot although I wouldn't say it had spectacular scenery. Also did a loop starting at Horseshoe Basin and going to Cathedral Peak and Remmel Mountain, returning on an unmaintained trail that my well be gone by now. Remmel Lake is heavily used by horse packers and I'd avoid it.

Between the N Cascades and the Pasayten, you could do the longest roadless loop in the US - from the eastern end of the Pasayten to Ross Lake and back. Around 240 miles IIRC. No easy resupplies and shuttle services are erratic. Here this year, gone the next.

Pretty good grocery stores, good brew pubs and decent coffee (hey, it is the the northwest) in Winthrop and Twisp on the east side in the Methow Valley. As well as some okay to slightly better places to eat and plenty of motel space. Showers at the Pine Near campground in Winthrop (although someone's trying to turn it into condos so that may be gone) and the laundromat in Twisp.

The Pasayten will be dry this year. Not as dry as the Sierra, but dry.

We don't get to the Pasayten as often as we'd like although it'll likely be our backup this year if the Sierra's on fire.

Rob Brading

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Re: North Cascades/Pasayten Wilderness

Post by Wandering Daisy » Fri Apr 17, 2015 8:04 pm

Well, climate is changing so all I can say is what it used to be like. I grew up in the PNW and climbed in the Cascades. We used to do the big climbs (Rainier, Adams, etc) in May so the routes would be totally snow covered. Volcanoes are horrible to walk on once snow melts. Shasta is the same too. June used to be quite "iffy" - OK if you are flexible and watch the weather reports, but can be quite rainy. The Cascades do not get the severe lightning as the Rockies, or the monsoonal rains like the east side of the Sierra; more drizzly conditions. Early July can also be rainy. Late July-August usually OK. In a high snow year, you still can have snow covering trails in early July. It is also much farther north - daylight really decreases drastically after Labor Day, although September is usually quite dry. And in late June-Early July you have daylight from 4AM until 10PM, if you include dusk. You could go back and look at some PCT journals. They hit that region late in the year - I recall some real epics for the last miles to the Canadian border due to weather - September also being iffy - sometimes great, sometimes not.

The last time I was in that area was BEFORE the North Cascade Highway was built! It used to be even more remote.

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Re: North Cascades/Pasayten Wilderness

Post by paul » Sat Apr 18, 2015 3:23 pm

The guy you want to talk to to John Dittli - a member here - he used to be a backcountry ranger in North Cascades NP.

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Re: North Cascades/Pasayten Wilderness

Post by Ikan Mas » Thu Apr 30, 2015 9:45 pm

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Re: North Cascades/Pasayten Wilderness

Post by John Dittli » Tue May 05, 2015 6:21 am

Well now, I haven't been here for a while, new look for HST; thanks for the heads up Maverick.

The best time of year used to be the first week in August, though now I hear the season can be a week longer :D Though there are a few motors on Ross Lake, it alone can be quite enchanting. Depending on what kind of adventure you are after, you can get it all from Ross Lake. To the east the alp slopes of the Pasayten (Devils Dome loop is a good trailed walk). To the west is some of the wildest, most rugged terrain in the lower 48; the Picket Range offers nice rugged, bush whacking/mountaineering adventure.

If you want specifics, PM me, I did most everything out of Ross Lake when I worked there. It was back in the 80's so things may have changed a bit. I was on Ross Lake (and in the Pasayten) last summer though, still nice)
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