Abernathy peak (8321')
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Leave it to this guy to think that you can climb three Bulger peaks on a heat wave weekend…
I set off on Friday night to the Scatter creek trail head from the Everett area. I managed to make it there right before midnight. Somehow I believed I could combine Abernathy and the two Gardners to make an epic day. I had seen the temp forecast for the tops of the peaks (90+ at over 8,000ft) but ignored it for some odd reason.
I woke at 5 in the morning with only two other cars in the parking lot. I had heard this group leave at about 1 am and kept thinking that was crazy. After eating a quick breakfast and stretching I headed off on the trail. Immediately the day took a wrong turn. About 150ft from the trail head there is a trail that cuts off and heads to the right. I thought this was my turn and confidently took it. After about 15 minutes and no elevation gain I luckily checked my GPS. Turns out it is the second trail junction that I wanted. I had to backtrack the 1/2 mile or so I had walked and then got on the right track.
From the third switchback on the correct hill I began to realize that the Gardners were going to be a long shot. It was already pushing 80 degrees and was only a smidge past 6 in the morning. The hiking itself was straightforward and easy to navigate all the way to the lake. If the temperature is a little cooler (likely) then it is about as easy as a Bulger approach is ever going to be.
From Scatter lake the climb of Abernathy peak has a simple path. When you arrive at the lake, head around the lake and straight up the hill you will see at the opposite end. There is a lot of scree and talus to make the ascent tons of “fun”, but all in all it is easy to navigate. Once you top out on this slope you will be on Abernathy ridge. From this point is is quite literally a short walk to the top of Washington’s 96th Highest peak.
While it is an incredible view and worthy of the goal, I was a little let down by the ease with which this Bulger can be climbed. Abernathy peak is by far the easiest Bulger peak I have encountered.
Despite the raging heat I wanted to see how far I could get on the ridge to connect with the Gardeners. I made it about halfway before I ran out of water and couldn’t find any more. The scrambling gets pretty intense in a couple of spots, but much of it was pretty tame. I am tempted to come back someday and try to finish the entire ridge.
In the process I made it to the top of Wolftit peak, and hey, who doesn’t want to say they stood on top of Wolftit.