Spokane County Highpoint Trip Report
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.