Bryant Peak - 5801' Miles: 10 Gain: 3500' GT Snoqualmie Pass #207
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 August 29, 2010
Likely the most challenging part of this scramble was retrieving my trekking pole from the forested bank of Denny Creek, not a 1/4 mile from the car.

It's funny how you pick a destination for these trips sometimes.  Bryant isn't a big mountain or even a particularly challenging scramble.  I'd been up much of the route on a winter trip to Hemlock Peak and I'm not one of those list driven peak-bagger types that can't rest until they've completely exhausted all the scramble opportunities an area has to offer.  I was intrigued on the Hemlock trip watching two scramblers plunge step very steeply and aggressively off the summit so maybe I just needed to see for myself what that was all about?

I do know that I was looking for something that I could solo which didn't involve tough off trail for long distances or major route finding problems.  As anyone who's been there knows, route finding for most of the popular peaks in and around Snoqualmie Pass isn't usually an issue.  Heavily used hiking trails connect to climbers paths made nearly fool proof by many booted visitors each year. Doesn't mean that you shouldn't be prepared for a challenge on some of the peaks, but finding them typically isn't a problem.

Of course the drawback in this case is that you share the Denny Creek Trail with families carrying beach towels up to the water slide swimming hole about a mile from the TH in addition to all the day hikers heading up to Melakwa Lake.  I always feel a little over dressed here.

The route for Bryant starts at Hemlock Pass about 4 miles and 2300' from the Denny Creek TH .  A good description was posted by John Gilbert on the WTA web site in September 2004.  In general, you'll take the NE ridge and allow it to convey you over a series of bumps to the summit block.

I left the trail right at the pass and began climbing up the well defined NE ridge (heading of roughly 35 degrees).  I was a little surprised to find that within just a few feet of the pass, the climbers path almost completely disappears in the forest debris.  Hmmm, so much for the well defined and fool proof.  But it's not really an issue as the ridge is narrow and easy to stay with and I did find pieces of path as I scanned ahead and played the "if I were a trail, where would I go..." game. It was just a little unexpected that as often as things around here are scrambled not to find a better boot beaten path.

Anyway the path crosses a 4800' bump sporting a distinctive boulder at the top.  On the Hemlock trip, we left the ridge top here and went down (east) into the basin before turning NE for the climb up to the saddle between Hemlock and Bryant.  Today though I was going to stick with the ridge all the way.

Leaving the bump the route drops down the other side and in short order reaches a flatish meadowy spot with grass and small pond.   On the far side of the grassy meadow you're confronted with a steep unattractive brushy slope, bounded on the left by cliffs and the right by a stream gully.

There was a downed tree that prophetically it seemed, pointed at a spot near the center of the slope and I could see no better alternative than to dive into the brush where it indicated.  No obvious path guides here.  Although I did stay out of a dry creek to the right and didn't stray too far north (left).  After 200' or 300' of this (around 5100' +), the brush begins to thin and off to the left I could see a talus field through fog shrouded trees. 

From John's report I knew that part of his route was on talus so I followed this sculpted rock carpet to just below the summit block.  The final 100' is over slabby broken rock and scree. Seems like there are a number of ways to do the summit block itself.  The way to the left is not difficult but is (apparently) exposed and any paths nearer the middle are on broken loose rock.  Take you pick. I went up on the left side and came down in the middle.

I hung around the summit for about an hour, hoping that the clouds would burn off, revealing the alpine wonders surrounding me. I got fleeting glimpses down into the Snoqualmie River valley above Alpental and Source Lake, even hearing voices of people hiking along the Snow Lake trail, but no Hemlock Peak, Chair, Snoqualmie or any of the others nearby.

Resigned that the clouds were going to be able to easily outlast me, I headed down.  An uneventful hike out except when just after crossing the stout bridge near the trailhead, I lost control of my trekking pole and watched as it slipped off the side of the trail going maybe 10' before getting tangled enough in debris to stop it's slide. The little bank, maybe 25' high was so steep that it took me 5 minutes just to work my way down to it and climb back up to the trail. 
drive I-90 to exit 47.  on the north side of the freeway at the "T" stay right on Road no. 58 following signs to the denny creek campground, pass it at about three miles and a short distance beyond turn left (signed), cross a small bridge, pass the trailhead for franklin falls and in .2 mile reach the road end and the trailhead for melakwa lake.

more reports:
WTA - John Gilbert
Hemlock Peak
Kaleetan Peak

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