Larrabee is a fantastic destination for a day trip. It's only 2 hours from Vancouver and is easily doable in a day at a leisurely pace. Hike up to High Pass or if you're comfortable on steep, exposed, loose rock, carry on to the summit.
The road is pretty rough after the Yellow Aster Butte trailhead but we made it in a CRV just fine. The trailhead is located at Twin Lakes.
Like most Washington State trails, the trail was in excellent shape with perhaps too many switchbacks and we were up at high pass in about an hour and a half. Had the weather been better we would have had steller views of Winchester Mountain, American Border Peak, Larrabee of course.
After a leisurely lunch break, we headed for Larrabee. Finding the route was a little tricky given that the visibility was fluctuating between really bad and none but we managed to make our way across the snow basin, up the SE facing slopes to the ridge.
Once on the ridge, we headed North. The packed sand/gravel on this section of the ridge isn't much fun. It's steep and the footing is terrible but before long we had made it to the gully and dodgy footing made way for dodgy holds. It was fun climbing except when the holds came out in our hands or gave way under our feet.
There was one particularly tricky bit that got our hearts pumping but once we were around that it was smooth sailing... as smooth as sailing can be on totally crap rock anyway. After the tricky bit, the grade eases but you have to deal with a LOT more loose rock and sand which is quite miserable when you are socked in with nothing to take your mind off it. The summit was in view though and before long we were on it :)
Just before the summit is an opening in the rock with a view straight down on to the glacier below. It was pretty cool. The summit has a nice flat top that would have been nice to stretch out on and bask in the sun had there been any. We had a short lived view of Slesse before it was devoured by clouds.
The way down was worse than the way up but it was thankfully much faster. It was easier to see the route from above and we were back down at High Pass relaxing with some actual views of the Skagit Range in no time.
This trail is rated difficult assuming that you summit the mountain. If you only go as far as High Pass it would be easy.
Take the Sumas border crossing. Turn left at the stopsign once in the US and head east on Hwy 547 to the junction with Hwy 542. Turn left and continue on, through Glacier (stop at the ranger station here if you need to pick up a parking pass). Watch for the Twin Lakes Road turn off on the left about 21km past Glacier. Turn left here and continue past the Yellow Aster Butte trailhead to Twin Lakes.
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Posted By: doug phillips
- Tue Feb 06 14:58:14 EST 2007
UpsideAwsome alpine views and feeling. You start high, so the zen is easy. DownsideFirst part of road after Yellow Aster TH is quite rough - My outback barely made it. After that part, road is greatly improved. CommentGo in the Fall - the colors will kill you