windy peak (8,333')
9 / 25 / 2021
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As far as the Bulger peaks go, Windy Peak is not one that is going to stand out from the crowd. In fact, I would say the most challenging thing about climbing it is just getting there. The majority of the Bulger peaks, as many of you peak baggers undoubtedly know, are concentrated into 2-3 main areas. Windy peak is the farthest one from anything (and anywhere). It is nearly in Idaho and just a stone’s throw from being in Canada. I knew I wanted to get it knocked off, so I set out on a Friday night as soon as work was over to make the long trek.
All the roads to get to the trailhead are in good shape. Google’s directions were perfect. But the nearly 4-hour drive was murder. By the time I got there, I was thrilled to crawl into the back of my Subaru for a solid dirt bag nap before the climb.
The long swamp/windy peak trail is nothing to rave about as I said before. For a bulger peak though it is really nice for once to just sit back relax and enjoy the stroll. Usually, these climbs involve days of planning, several failed attempts, and just an endless sense of “why did this list ever find me?!?!”. For once though, it was just a nice well-made trail with little to remark on…
For me, the best decision I had unwittingly made was to walk this trail as fall started to make headway into our woods. I thought that the golden larches were more of a central north cascades phenomenon, but, I was dead wrong. They were everywhere. I always love these trees. Watching them light up the sides of hills like autumn fireworks is like July and December decided to make a halfway point holiday. It is just a brilliant sight to behold.
The last 200 – 300 feet or so of climbing is the only section where something more than a small backpack and two legs will come in handy for the day. There is a small amount of easy scrambling (class 2 max) before you stand on the ~92nd highest point in the American Alps. Quite the reward for such a relatively simple journey.
Like several other of the bulgers (eg Abernathy Peak ) I wish I had more to say. But if you want a bulger peak under your belt, this is about as easy and straightforward as it will get. Any strong hiker can make this a day trip. But good luck with the drive, that part I am never doing again….