McClellan Butte - Sept. 12, 2008


McClellan Butte, is 5162' above sea level. The best way to see it is from the East. This picture was taken March 2006 while driving down from Snoqualmie Pass (westbound I-90).  The trail starts at the right, then cuts diagonally up across the front of the mountain, then over the hump on the left, then doubles back on the other side to the bottom of the rock face. From there, as you'll see, it's a scramble.

A couple miles up the trail, looking up I-90 towards Snoqualmie Pass. That last picture was taken from somewhere in the valley there.

Much of the hike is in trees. Occasionally there are breaks in the forest where you can monitor your elevation gain by seeing how high you are compared to rocky Mt Kent. It's a four mile trip one way. (Unless you drive up the logging road short cut, then it's only three.)

When the trail goes over the hump to the other side you can see Chester Morse Lake for a few minutes.

Here is where the trail gets tricky. It has what climbers call "exposure". As you can see from the guy walking on all fours (scrambling), it's not super steep. And there's good footing and hand holds. The problem is, if for some reason you fall and start rolling - it's a long, long ways to the bottom.  If there were trees to grab just in case, I'd walk right up it like stairs.  Instead, I walked on all fours too, very slowly and very seriously.
To slip is to die. It's a rush for sure.

Once I got past the exposed stretch to where I felt safe, I took out the camera and took a picture looking back.
It doesn't really convey the intensity of the moment. I'll try and get a more dramatic shot next time.

I'm not looking up at Mt Kent anymore!

Not sure why somebody would build a cairn (rock pile/ trail marker) here. A blind man could find his way to the top from here.

A look over the other side (North).

Looking a little bit left (West). I like the pattern the clouds are making on the side of Mailbox Mtn.

Looking all the way West towards Seattle. Mt Si is in the center of the picture with Mt Teneriffe on the same ridge to the right of that.
Mt Washington is on the left with the roads/trails zig-zagging up it.

A look east towards Snoqualmie Pass. Mt Stuart is the peak far away near the center of the picture.

Looking south we can see the mountains aren't as rugged. Somebody really likes cairns!

While I was snapping pictures somebody else showed up. Which was nice, he offered to take my picture for me.

An embarrassing picture really. I put on a dry teeshirt when I got to the top, but my cotton sweats are looking pretty wet from all the sweating I did to get up there. I don't wear those anymore.

On the way down, the ferny stretch of trail.

Looking at Mt Kent I can see that the sun is setting and my elevation is dropping.
Time to drive home, shower, and dig into dinner! (Dinner always tastes better after a hike. J )

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