Mount Forgotten (Snow Climb)

Mount Forgotten (Snow Climb)

Elev. Gain: 
4,165 ft.
High: 
6,010 ft.
Where:
Granite Falls, WA
Distance: 
11.25 miles (round trip)
Difficulty: 
Expert
Rating: 
5
Very challenging scramble to wonderful views in the heart of the North Cascades
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Features

Overview

There's no shortage of fantastic peaks to climb along the Mountain Loop Highway, but we beseech you: do not forget to climb this one. Chuckle, chuckle. Corny jokes aside, Mount Forgotten is a brilliant peak located just north of popular Mount Dickerman that boasts some serious (and seldom seen) views deep into the Glacier Peak Wilderness area. You'll have to earn those views though, as this is not a trip for the faint-of-heart or weak-of-legs. Yes indeed. Experts only on this one, and we're serious about that.

Like any good adventure, climbing Mount Forgotten unfolds in three acts. The first is an easy trek along the Perry Creek Trail. The second is a strenuous hike up to Forgotten Meadows (a great destination in itself that is easily accomplished by most hikers). The final act is, of course, the most dramatic: a Class 3–4 scramble up a rugged peak with plenty of exposure nearly the whole way. Exciting and dangerous. Game on.

Choosing when to climb Mount Forgotten is your own call. To each her own. Snow climbs can sometimes be more desirable than scrambling up crumbling rocks, which is why we target this peak as soon as the Deer Creek gate on the Mountain Loop Highway opens up in late spring. Although this makes for a lot more route-finding, chances are you'll have the place to yourself.

Begin at the Perry Creek trailhead, relocated in 2009 to the shared parking lot with Mount Dickerman. Traverse a nearly flat trail for one mile until it joins up with a gravel road. Don't worry, the gravel road ends soon enough, and at about 1.5 miles you'll reach the old single-track trailhead, still marked with signage.

Follow this well-pounded trail as it climbs gently, meandering along with Perry Creek down below as you cut across avalanche chutes on the northwest flank of Mount Dickerman. At about three miles, you'll join up with Perry Creek, and in another couple hundred yards, cross Perry Creek on a giant fallen log. From here you'll begin to gain elevation in earnest as you angle up to Forgotten Meadows. Under snow it's nearly a straight shot up, later in the summer there's a nice trail with switchbacks to get you there.

Looking north from the meadow, Mount Forgotten is on your right, and Stillaguamish Peak is on your left. Angle east along the ridge towards Mount Forgotten for several hundred yards, then head north, skirting around the east side of a small hill that stands in the way of the ridge.

From here the scramble route begins. There are several possible routes to the summit. Generally speaking, you'll want to drop down about 150' and then regain the southwest ridge, following it up until you again hit 5,200' elevation. Now angle northeast below the ridge line, climbing to 5,400' as you round the the east side of the peak. Most people will continue to follow this line until they reach a broad bench on the northeast side of the peak at 5,500-feet elevation. From here, follow the gully up to the summit. As you'll see on our gps file and route image, we took a more aggressive approach in the snow, heading up to the summit before reaching the bench. Definitely steeper, our route cuts a direct line to the summit that can be a bit trickier without snow.

Once at the summit, enjoy those views in every direction. We mean it. North, south, east, and west; it seems as if there's endless rugged peaks in every direction. See if you can pick out the white-capped Mount Baker and Mount Shuksan to the north, Glacier Peak to the east, and Del Campo Peak and Big Four to the south. Wow. You won't forget this peak any time soon. (We couldn't pass up one last corny joke.)

Please exercise your best judgement and only attempt this peak if you are in good shape and are an experienced climber.

Permits & Tips

Northwest Forest Pass required. Pit toilet available at the trailhead. Check with the Verlot Public Service Center for road conditions – the road is typically closed to the trailhead from Nov–June. The parking lot is shared with several other popular hikes (like Mount Dickerman), so if you are planning a summer climb, be sure to come early to get a parking spot. On snow, crampons and ice axe are required. Helmets and harnesses are a good idea. This is a tricky scramble with lots of exposure and route-finding. Only attempt if you are an expert-level hiker with climbing experience. Also note that the summer route is two miles longer on established trails. 

>>Google Directions

How to get there

From Seattle, head north on I-5 to Exit 194 and merge onto US-2 E.
After two miles, exit left onto WA-204.
Stay on WA-204 for two miles to Highway 9. Take the left onto Highway 9 toward Lake Stevens.
Turn right onto WA-92 to Granite Falls.
In Granite Falls, turn left onto N Alder Ave and continue onto the Mountain Loop Highway.
You'll hit the Verlot Public Service Center (get your maps and passes) in 11 miles, and the trailhead is 15 miles further (26 total miles from Granite Falls).
The large parking lot is on the left (north), clearly signed from the highway.