Area: Middle Fork Snoqualmie

Length: (7.0 +) 1.8

Elevation: 4620 + 1220 - 20

Condition: off-trail

Solitude: very high

Appeal: very high

Features: views, stable boulders

Difficulty: moderately difficult

Administered: North Bend RD

Trailhead: Dingford TH

Connects to:
Williams Lake
Necklace Valley

Guides: none

Maps: Green Trails Stevens Pass


 

Overview

 

 

This is a bouldering route, not a trail. However, as boulders go, it is relatively safe and stable. Those who don't care for boulders are not going to go far past Williams Lake. However, for those properly equipped, skilled in off-trail navigation, and so inclined to continue on, the solid footing makes this approach slightly easier than the "official" route up to the Tank Lakes from the Necklace Valley side.

 


 

Details

Follow the Dutch Miller Gap trail and Williams Lake trail. Turn left at the lake, crossing the outlet creek and passing the favored camps along the west shore. As you reach the northwest corner of the lake, take advantage of the mild slopes to gain as much elevation as you can through thin patches of timber, heading in a generally northwest direction directly toward the cliffs at the far end of the lake. In particular, look for an obvious and distinctly "dark lump" in the cliff wall, and head to the left of it.

View down to Williams from Broad Street

As you start to approach, break out of the broken timber and find a ribbon of white granite boulders, typically 4 to 6 feet in size, leading generally up and to the west near the base of the cliffs. I call this route "Broad Street."

 

 

Watch your footing and follow the rock channel up the hill until it seems like you are about to reach the sky. Round a prominent corner of rock as you pass the shoulder of peak 6283, swinging to the right (north) as things open up. Before proceeding, you can take a brief respite at a small melt-water pond just on your left. Note your location so you can find it again on a return trip.

 

To continue, swing to the right, northward, leaving the even granite boulders and into a cirque of smaller, much more broken stones. The cirque has an unusual elongated horseshoe shape, with a higher fold of rock running up the middle between the two horseshoe legs. Your strategy is to ascend along the right leg of the horseshoe on a northerly path until you can find a good place to cross over and climb to the top of that middle bulge. Then, apply the same strategy again, following the bulge in a generally northward direction until you find a good place to cross up and over the left leg of the horseshoe.

You find yourself at the top. As you pass over the top of the gentle ridge here, you connect to the tail end of the Alpine Lakes High Route. Follow it on a level plane to the right about 1/4 mile to reach the Upper Tank Lake.