Here are some pictures of the trip Mike, Helton and I took on my first trip to Black Peak mid-October in 2000...  Normally during this time of year, we head to the Enchantments to take in the great scenery and the contrast the Golden Larch presents to the surrounding countryside.  Having heard of large larch stands near Black Peak, we decided to forego the crowds at the Enchantments, and come here.  Besides, we heard the scramble up Black Peak was great, and afforded great views of the rest of the North Cascades.  We weren't disappointed - the views are truly epic from this not quite 9,000 foot peak!

The hike in from Rainy Pass isn't that long, but requires traversing the dreaded boulder field next to Lewis Lake.  Ski poles are definitely recommended to help get across quickly.  We camped on a knoll in a small stand of larch above Wing Lake which provided a nice flat area, and sweeping views of the peaks to the east.  To the west, Black Peak watched over us, begging for some attention.  If you want more Black Peak, check out the cool traverse we made of the northeast ridge...

Hiking in... - The hike in is straight forward, from the trailhead, hike to Heather Pass, a little over an hour with an overnight climbing pack. From the pass, you can see Black Peak, which is on the west side of Wing Lake...  At the pass, head towards the peak, heading down a path that meets large boulders.  Traverse the boulder field to the left of Lewis Lake, where it will meet good trail up to Wing Lake.  Several nice camp sites are available at Wing Lake, either next to the lake, or back on a knoll overlooking the lake.  Try to stay in established sites, as the meadow is very fragile...  Mike took this shot of Helton as we headed out at Heather Pass.  Black Peak is in the background...  As we hiked in it started to snow, Mike shot this video in which I engaged him on what the definition of snow is (5.4 meg)...  Once our philosophical discussion about snow was concluded, I was able to present to Mike these thoughts (2.4 meg)...  As we crossed Heather Pass, Mike took this video scene of Helton and myself hiking through the larch in snowfall (3.5 meg)... Black Peak from Heather Pass...
Passing the time... - Once camp was set, we decided to pass the time with a little frisbee toss.  Here Helton shows off his technique with Black Peak in the background.  The Golden Larch were at peak while were there.  When the sun broke through the clouds, it was truly spectacular! Throwing the frisbee...
Passing the time... - Later in the day, as the sun got lower, Mike and Helton headed up to the saddle that is part of the scramble route to the summit.  Staying at the saddle, Mike was interested in the low-angle lighting for some pictures.  While there, he took this nice shot of the summit from a point on the far side of the saddle.  In the meantime, while taping some of the surrounding scenery from my vantage, I filmed scary faces as they appeared on a peak across the valley(2.8 meg)... Black Peak summit in setting light...
Summit of Black Peak...  After the moderate scramble to the top, Mike took this summit shot of myself and Helton.  The other Mike was pretty apprehensive about getting on the real summit as there was a steady breeze, and there is a several thousand feet cliff just behind me.  And no, I wouldn't back up any further for the picture.  Mt. Goode is on the left, while Mt. Forbidden is in the distance on the right...  Mike also took this video of Helton and myself on the summit of Black Peak (2.2 meg)...  Helton was a bit timid getting up on to the true summit (1.6 meg), and is documented in this scene. Tom and Helton on the summit of Black Peak...
Heading down... - To get to the summit, we took a scramble route that had a couple low 5 moves to get up.  Not wanting to down-climb that route, we chose to head down the more traditional way which is the northwestern ridge.  Here I caught Mike as he sits at the edge before the real down-climbing starts. Mike on a ridge...
Walking a line... - As we down-climb the ridge, we come to a ledge, which then traverses over to some steps.  There's plenty of room to move across, but since I was wearing plastics, I still took my time.  It was really fun watching Helton move slowly across! Tom walks an exposed ledge...
Vistas... - Down off of the steep sections, it's matter of just hiking off now.  Here at one last vista, I catch Mike in front of Mt. Goode.  Unfortunately, high clouds had moved in, causing the skies to be very flat.  This in turn, made the surrounding peaks to appear bleak and foreboding, as seen in this pic of Goode. Mike in front of Mt. Goode...
Stark terrain... - Being late in the season, with no real snow yet, the landscape coming down was very stark, almost lunar in  appearance.  Here, Mike backed up the zoom to put it into perspective as I made my way over the scree and rocks.  I haven't been here during the summer, but I expect both end seasons (summer/winter) are pretty extreme, because nothing is growing up there.  Of course, I'm still above 7,000 feet here, which may have something to do with it also! Tom makes his way down through the rocks...
Heading out... - Packed up, we head out down the trail from Wing Lake.  There's good trail until the rise that goes down to Lewis Lake, where the dreaded boulders take over.  Here the larch provides nice contrast to the meadow waiting for the first good winter snow, probably only days away... Helton and Tom head down from Wing Lake...
Looking toward Heather Pass... - As we moved further down toward Lewis Lake, the route to Heather Pass is apparent.  The extent of the rocks that must be navigated is also apparent.  What's frustrating is that 450 feet must be down-climbed, and then achieved again in order to reach the pass.  With overnight climbing packs, over the rocks, it's simply a pain in the ass.  At least the scenery is nice! Larch above Lewis Lake, Heather Pass on the near horizon...

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