I was prepared for the approach to Snowking to be a bit tedious and I'm glad my expectations were set. We left the car at about 1,200 feet, just on the South side of the Cascade River. While it wasn't raining, it had rained overnight and all of the brush on the trail (which was copious) was soaking wet, which made for a pretty unpleasant bushwhack up the road to the start of the trail around 2,300 feet and a little over 2.5 miles later.
While the trail was a bit steep and loose, we were thankfully out of the brush at that point and slowly dried out while getting up to the 4,800-foot saddle East of Found Lake. A little bit of searching led to finding the trail up to Point 5791. I'd been hoping for sweeping views at this point of Eldorado and Boston Basin as well as His Majesty, Snowking, but we were socked in and only had some brief teases of mountain landscapes looming in the distance.
We continued over the various bumps along the ridge line before running into a pair of climbers near the saddle above Cyclone Lake. They said that they'd tried in vain for the day to find the trail to the start of Snowking's East ridge. Given that, after we found a worthy campsite on the shoulder of the final bump before the ridge, I set off to find a way through for the morning. After traversing to the far side with ample use of my whippet in the steep dirt, I found the trail and followed it back to our tent—no problem. I felt bad for those guys who had hiked all the way out and not summited.
Things cleared up as we made dinner and we were treated to a lovely sunset that lit up our route for the morning. At about 5am, we got up, had some breakfast, watched the sunrise light up Baker in the distance, and geared up for our jaunt up the snow. Aluminum crampons and light axes were plenty to feel secure on the easy ridge. We wove around a little bit to stay on snow, with one short bushy traverse from the northern to the southern side of the ridge, but things were quite efficient in general. After leaving camp at about 6am, we made it to the 7,433-foot summit at 8am. It was a beautiful, crisp morning with awesome views all around—a worthy summit all by itself.
The hike out was pretty long and especially steep down the climber's trail, but it all went uneventfully and we were back at the car by 3pm for a leisurely drive home.