Bryant Peak-Southwest Route


Winter seemed like it was slow in coming and since we couldnít do anything about that Chris Mattson and I decided to take advantage of the mostly snow free trails. Bryant Peak isnít particularly a dominant or important peak but seemed like a worthwhile objective at the time. Located between The Tooth and Chair Peak, Bryant has plenty of steep rocky terrain but the route up the south side is mostly forested and low angled.

We were able to drive all the way to the Denny Creek Trailhead (c.2100í) where we would begin the 4 mile hike to Hemlock Pass (c. 4600í) passing Snowshoe and Keekwulee Falls along the way. We arrived at the pass and continued on toward Melakwa Lake. At about 100 yards from the pass we left the trail and began a slightly rising traverse at a small talus field. There was just enough snow on the talus to cover the small holes but not enough to keep us from falling into them. The talus ended in a couple hundred feet and forest with light brush gained a crest. We followed this north to a small flat area just beyond which there is a steeper section of light brush and rock outcrops that was thinly covered with snow and patches of water ice.

We started up this 200-300í tall obstacle clutching at the light brush and occasion tree before finally putting on our crampons and pulling out our ice axes less than half way up. It isnít difficult but was slippery and was no place I wanted to fall. Once we were above this section we entered the basin south of the summit.

From the basin we started up the ridge to our left which offered straight forward postholing for the next 700í. The final 50 feet or so is class 2 that was made a bit interesting by the thin snow cover. It was enough to hide all the rock holds but certainly not enough to offer any real footing or to get a solid axe placement in.

Chris on Bryant Peak, Lemah/Chimney group in background

After probing around in the snow looking for a summit register I gave up. It seems likely that there is one but then again I donít recall finding one on The Tooth or Chair Peak either. I would have to settle for the views. They werenít bad.

Kaleetan and Chair Peaks from Bryant

On descent we continued down to the basin but rather than heading back down the steeper section we decided to cross a small creek then work downhill and east as necessary until we reached the trail at a small talus slope southeast of Hemlock Pass.

Chris descending from the summit

References:
Cascade Alpine Guide, Volume 1, 2nd Edition; Fred Beckey; Pages, 146-147, 150