Mt Pugh-Northwest Ridge

This was a nice day hike with a bit of steeper snow and a little class 2 rock to keep things interesting. The trailhead is reached by traveling south on the Mountain Loop Highway from Darrington to FSR 2095 (well signed), or alternately north from Barlow Pass. The trailhead is located just past the second switchback and has somewhat limited parking.

The first 1.5 miles of the trail is a bit of a slog through forest to less than spectacular Lake Metan. From here, more switchbacks with little elevation gain eventually lead to the avalanche swept slopes below Stujack Pass, the next notable landmark. Once on the open slopes the trail finally begins to gain elevation as it winds its way to the pass. The 5700' pass is a narrow notch in the ridge north of Mount Pugh and presumably offers some nice views (too cloudy for that when I was there). From the pass the trail heads south on the east side of the ridge, but it is still largely hidden by snow. After a few steep snow sections the trail leads back to the crest and follows just east of it for about a quarter of a mile to the main summit block. This area was still covered in deep snow and required traversing snow up to 40 degrees. Once at the base of the the summit block c.6200', the trail becomes a class 2 scramble with occasional patches of snow to traverse. The summit once had a lookout but it is now gone. Part of a tram used to haul material up the steep cliffs are still evident on the ridge and summit.

Sorry, no photos. It was too cloudy.

Cascade Alpine Guide, Volume 2, Second Edition; Fred Beckey; Pages 88, 101