GYPSY PEAK

GYPSY PEAK, NORTHEASTERN WASHINGTON, 7309’, July 5, 2009
Map: Salmo-Priest Wilderness (US Forest Service)
Janice and I decided to help the Americans celebrate their Fourth of July weekend by scaling this minor league but scenic peak, billed as the highest summit in northeast Washington.
On Friday evening, July 4th, we drove to Sullivan Lake, set the odometer, and followed county road #2220 up Sullivan Creek, before turning left onto #2212 at km. 11.6. At km. 19, we turned right onto the signed #200 and continued to a landing at road’s end at 29.7 km. Here, at Bear Pasture, 5600’, we car camped (plenty of level space, ample parking, no water, no toilet). Books and signage caution the driver about difficult wilderness roads, but everything we drove was 2WD with very gentle grades. I guess they might present difficulties for your horse trailer or travel trailer.
After a warm night, we found the bugs so bad that we skipped breakfast and headed out at 0650 on the well-signed, well maintained Crowell Ridge Trail, #515. Fifty minutes of hiking got us to the crest of Crowell Ridge; there, the trail heads west toward Sullivan Mtn. From this spot, we followed a more sketchy trail east, stopping at point 6617’ for a bug-free brekky. Continuing north on the adequate trail, we descended 200’, scaled a small bump, traversed u/n 6853’ on the west or left side via a flagged route, and reached the top of u/n 7177’, south of Watch Lake, by 0850. Continuing down, up, and down to the northwest and north, we meandered over point 7033’, and plodded up the final 550’ to the summit by 0950 (no cairn, 3 hrs. up). In essence, there is a trail right to the top.
During our 40 min. stay in breezy, pleasant weather, we identified Hooknose, Abercrombie, Salmo Mtn., Shedroof, Sullivan Mtn., Little Snowy Top, the three Snowy Tops, Ripple, Mt. Kelly, Siwash, Lost Mtn., and Old Glory, among others.
We then made an uneventful return via the ascent route in 2 hrs. 35 min. for a 6 hr. 15 min., 3400’ day. This two-ski-pole walk-up would make an excellent autumn trip, but the road access is closed after August 15th to leave the bears to harvest huckleberries in peace.
In addition to the map mentioned above, we recommend 50 Hikes for Eastern Washington’s Highest Mountains, by James P. Johnson. Sullivan Lake Ranger District Trail Guide (USDA) is also of some help.
Kim Kratky

About admin

I would like to think of myself as a full time traveler. I have been retired since 2006 and in that time have traveled every winter for four to seven months. The months that I am “home”, are often also spent on the road, hiking or kayaking.
I hope to present a website that describes my travel along with my hiking and sea kayaking experiences.

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