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Trip Report

Hannegan Pass and Peak

North Cascades

Trip Report By

Hiked Jul 31, 2021

Type of Hike

Day hike

Trail Conditions

Trail in good condition

Road

Road rough but passable

Bugs

Bugs were terrible

Snow

Snow free

Arrived at the Hannegan Peak trailhead around 9:30 AM on 7/31/21. Parking was still available when we arrived, and the privy was one of the cleanest I've seen. We had intended to do one night of camping just east of Hannegan Pass along the mountaineering trail to Mount Ruth but bailed due to terrible smoke from the nearby Bear Creek Fire that had started just the day before (unbeknownst to us). 

The hike up to Hannegan Pass was very hot and horribly buggy. Thinking we would be camping above the Pass, we pumped a ton of water at the Hannegan Pass Camp, which has a nice clear creek running through it and is the only fresh water source this time of year aside from a very buggy tarn above the pass near where we had planned to camp (no thanks).

At the Pass, instead of turning left for Hannegan Peak, we turned right (east). After another short climb up a few steep switchbacks, we saw plenty of empty campsites with great views. As we started to set up camp, we noticed heavy wildfire smoke rolling in. We decided to follow the mountaineers trail to get a better view of Ruth, Baker, Shuksan, and the direction of the smoke. Once on the ridge, we saw a thick wall of smoke that looked to be moving in the direction of where we would camp.

We enjoyed the mountain views for a while and then made the hard decision to bail out rather than risk a potentially dangerous situation by staying overnight. As we were packing up, we saw a helicopter fly by with a water container that was headed into the smoke, so we realized the fire was likely close. Saw many climbers headed down from Ruth and spoke to two folks who had chatted with a Park Ranger about the fire. On our way down, we saw the trail closure notice (pictured below) that must have just been posted by the Ranger as we hadn't seen it on our way up a few hours before. 

The hike out was just as hot, but we dunked in Ruth Creek to cool off before heading home. Overall a beautiful area that I hope to visit again someday without the smoke.  

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