Dome Peak has been lurking on my list for a long time. I expected to get back there at some point on a Ptarmigan Traverse, but things lined up to head back there with Colin as a two-day weekend mission. We were both interested in going somewhere beautiful, fast and light.
We drove up on Friday night and spent the night at the Downey Creek Trailhead in the car. With a 5am wakeup, we were on the move by 6am Saturday morning. We made it to the 6.5-mile first turn in 2 hours, then cruised up the valley, cutting into an overgrown area at about 4,000 feet and crossing Bachelor Creek into a long section of brushy trail that felt like bushwhacking at times. This area collected dew and made us really wet, soaking our pants, socks, and shoes in particular.
Things improved from about 4,800 feet on and eventually entered a gorgeous area at Cub Lake, with views South to Glacier Peak, at about 11:45am. We climbed up Itswoot Ridge at 6,300 feet and got our first full view of Dome Peak at 1:15pm. The traverse from there went pretty quickly. We were able to stay on the left margin of some snow to gain elevation and didn’t put our crampons on until we were at 7,200 feet or so. We made it to the saddle at 4:30pm and dropped our overnight gear there.
After a quick break at camp, we headed up more untouched snow to the summit at 5:30pm. It was a great view from such a central location in the North Cascades. We took it in for a while, scouted out Sinister a bit, and decided that, without a rope, it didn’t make sense to drop down and try to do Sinister as well. So we headed down to camp, ate dinner, and got in bed well before sunset.
While it was a nice and calm evening, the wind kicked up fiercely around midnight and made for some pretty challenging sleeping conditions. Colin got a hole in his pad (potentially from a snafflehound chomp), so he was in an especially tough spot. We decided to get up at 4:30am and start our trek back out. Everything went smoothly enough and we were back at the car by 2:30pm. The GPS suggested it was about 31 miles and 8,400 vertical on the weekend.