Spokane County Highpoint Trip Report

Mount Spokane

Date: April 26, 2008
Author: Ryan Courtney

As an avid driver, hiker (200+ trail miles last summer), backpacker, and serious geography enthusiast with many cross-country road trips under my belt, how had I never hit a single cohp? I'm just not sure. Previous reports for Mount Spokane cover all the bases. I am happy to report that my first county highpoint was done with ice axe and crampons. If anyone from afar is climbing in the Northwest this summer, be aware that the snowfall was huge throughout Washington this season. Mt. Spokane was, according to internet reports, still under 15 feet of snow before my attempt and had received even more in the days preceding my climb. It was powdery and highly doable with snowshoes or even kicking steps but I just bought crampons for my summer attempts and had never had the pleasure of using them before. Not sure I want to hike on rock anymore! Having no prior practical crampon experience and not knowing how tough it would be to climb in powder, I had snowshoes with me as well but did not use them.

Despite the lifts being closed, there were a fair amount of people on the mountain. I saw three climbing in front of me (did not see them at the top or their descents) and saw three more climbing up with skis during my descent. I talked for quite awhile at the top with a guy from Spokane who had skied up. Despite the lack of passable road, two guys made it a drive-up on their snowmobiles. Noisy but they were friendly enough. I took a bunch of photos on my ascent and have admittedly become slightly puffy after sitting behind a desk for 90 hours a week during tax season - the climb took me about 2 hours.

My sitting glissade down only took about 20 minutes, including a couple of sideways traverses. I covered the area at the north end of the summit around the Vista House and, for good measure, the areas around the communications towers on the south end. A very long and extremely enjoyable daytrip from Seattle.