So there I was, looking at all those places I’d been running from a distance, thinking “Wow! This is an amazing place.” It’s true, you can see back into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness for miles and miles on a clear day from the summit of Iron Peak. You can look east and see back into the Ellensburg basin and Lion Rock. To the south mount Rainer sits behind the foothills of the central Cascades. And to the north Mount Stuart is framed in blue. It’s an image you could put up above the fire place and when people walked into your house they’d say “Holy moly!” and gawk struck dumb beyond that exclamation unable to move from that location. Yes, it’s a good place to go climb.
The trail up is steep but in really good condition. Not sure who we have to thank for the re-route about 2/3rds of the way up through the downed trees of a late season avalanche, but thanks to you whoever you happen to be. I used trekking poles on the ascent and brought plenty of aqua (2 liters) plus treatment. I needed it. The hill climbs the western side of the peak, in the afternoon during this summer there is little cover and almost no shade. It gets hot and the nearest water is a long way down.
The trail is in such good shape and gets so much use that this is a really good climb if you like to barefoot too. There are rocks, but a lot of horse traffic has a tendency to knock off the edges and make them easy on the feet.
The descent was fast, I pulled the poles off the ground and ran down pretty much as fast as I could go. Holding them, tips forward, like spears in each hand makes them easy to carry as you race down the trail. They’re out of the way and well balanced in your finger tips.