Despite the unpleasant amount of elevation gain, Mount Pugh is a straightforward hike. It starts off as a wooded hike before cresting next to a small tarn. When you get here, make sure to turn left. We turned right and wandered in the woods for a little bit while we looked for the trail. About a mile and a half or so past the lake the view opens up as you start to climb toward Stujack Pass. These views start to provide a small amount of reprieve from the pain in your legs as you work ever upwards.
From Stujack Pass the trail continues its steep ascent until you reach a few areas of scrambling. Many people call this area along Mount Pugh to hike the Knife's edge. From what I had read, I was expecting some more difficult scrambling. I can see how some may consider it difficult with minimal exposure and a class 3 move or two. But, for someone seasoned in scrambling, it is no serious barrier. It felt disappointing as I was expecting a bit of an adrenaline rush from the infamous section.
The summit views from Mount Pugh were superb on this cloudy day. I can imagine on a clear one they are even better. Sloan peak looks appears like a sailing ship and Glacier Peak rises to the east in the sky. While the climb wasn’t quite the thrill I was hoping for it was a great way to spend the morning. The only problem we encountered was on the way back down.
Before reaching the knife-edge there is a small section of class 3 scrambling. Along this section, I was following cairns and making my way back down. But, whoever had made the cairns had lead them toward some vertical cliffs. I noticed the issue before anything happened, but, it did take some class 4 scrambling to get back to the trail. When on Mount Pugh don’t use cairns to navigate, there is no telling where they lead off to.