Trip Number: 12114A
Staff: Bill Gifford and Shelly Eberly
- Backpack through remote wilderness in one of the most beautiful sections
of the PCT
- Ride a boat up Lake Chelan
- Enjoy enchanting lakes, mountain vistas, and alpine meadows
- Delicious vegetarian-friendly meals
- Experienced leader team
- Food cache to lighten your pack
Photo: Shelly Eberly
Do you love the mountains? Would you like to explore a 100-mile section of
the Pacific Crest Trail with an experienced leader team? Would you like to camp
in secret camp sites and watch the light change across the face of Glacier Peak,
the hidden mountain of the Cascades?
Then join Shelly and Bill as we hike what some say is the most beautiful section
of the PCT, and see what you say. We will start at Lake Chelan, a 55-mile-long
inland fjord thrusting deep into the mountains from the plains of eastern Washington.
The boat ride up the lake on the Lady of the Lake will allow us to decompress
as we leave civilization behind and enter into the wilderness. Arriving at Stehekin
landing at the upper end of the lake, we will take a bus up the valley to stay
the first night at Stehekin Valley Ranch in tent cabins within sound of the rushing
Stehekin River. In the morning, we will ride another couple of miles up the road
and begin our trek at the PCT trailhead, heading south up the valley of Agnes
Creek. For the next ten days we will travel south on the PCT, crossing no roads
until we end our hike at Stevens Pass. If you love the mountains and like to hike
through gorgeous, flowery meadows and camp near high lakes, if you are up for
a rugged hike with full wilderness immersion, then this is the trip for you.
Day 1: We will meet at the boat landing on Lake Chelan, leave
our cars, and catch the boat to ride up the lake to Stehekin. Here, we will
take a bus up the valley to the ranch for our first night.
Days 2-10: For the next 9 days, we will head south on the
PCT, traveling about a hundred miles to our destination at Stevens Pass. Our
campsites are not fixed, nor our daily mileages, so we have the luxury, freedom,
and flexibility to vary the number of miles traveled each day, taking extra
time in areas particularly interesting or challenging. On average, though, we
will need to hike ten miles a day. If we do more than that on several days,
then we may indulge ourselves with a layover day.
Photo: T.J. Wyatt
We will travel through a landscape of passes, ridges, alpine meadows and mountain
lakes as we pass around the northern, western, and then southern sides of Glacier
Peak. This volcanic mountain has 11 glaciers and is over 10,000 feet high, yet
it is not visible from any highway; only those who travel into the backcountry
may admire its valleys, cliffs, and glaciers. Place names such as Fire Creek
Pass, Kodak Peak, and Lake Valhalla give some of the flavor of the beauty of
the landscape through which we will pass.
To help ease our load, midway along our route we will pick up a food cache
that Bill and Shelly will have deposited beforehand. The route around Glacier
Peak had been rerouted since a major storm in 2003 washed out sections of trail
and destroyed bridges. In the fall of 2011, the original route was reopened,
so our trip will get to appreciate the recently renovated trail and bridges.
Day 11: On our last day, we will hike approximately eight
miles, the final miles of our enchanting 100-mile journey. We plan to arrive
at Stevens Pass in the early afternoon. We will be picked up and shuttled back
to Fields Point on Lake Chelan. After loading our vehicles, we will say our
good-byes and spread to the wind. Boat, bus, and shuttle fees are included
in the trip price.
We will meet at Fields Point boat landing on Lake Chelan the morning of Wednesday,
August 22. Directions will be provided. Cars will be left in the gated parking
lot here. The closest major airports are Seattle/Tacoma (200 miles) and Portland
(320 miles). Amtrak provides service to both Seattle and Portland. The leaders
will provide a roster so participants can arrange carpools from Portland or
Accommodations and Food
Photo: T.J. Wyatt
We believe in eating well on hiking trips and plan for a variety of tasty,
nutritious food. Meals may include meat but can be adapted for vegetarians.
As everyone has different tastes, we will ask participants about food preferences
before finalizing the menu.
All meals are included from dinner at the ranch on our first night to lunch
on the last day. We will have breakfast at camp each morning, enjoy lunch along
the trail, and have dinner at the next night's camp. Everyone will share in
the cooking chores, which we will rotate daily.
This trip rates 4 on a 5-point scale (moderately strenuous) and the rewards
are equal to the effort. We will hike about 100 miles, with about 16,000 feet
of elevation gain and loss in ten days, perhaps with one layover day. A food
cache will help to lighten our loads. Elevations will mostly be in the range
of 4,000 to 6,000 feet. This is definitely a trip for fit and experienced backpackers.
If you have any questions about your fitness and experience as they relate to
this trip, please discuss them with the leaders in detail.
Water will be readily available along our route so we should not have to regularly
carry large amounts of water. That plus the food cache will mean that our packs
should not be overly heavy even though this is a 10-day backpack.
Although anything is possible with weather, August in this area is generally
warm and sunny with little or no rain. It is not uncommon to hike for a week
or two at this time of year and have nothing but good weather. Extremes are
possible, however, and you must come prepared for anything, as you would on
any backpack trip. The demands of the trip require very good physical conditioning,
a flexible attitude, and a sense of adventure. With these three traits, the
rest will work out!
Equipment and Clothing
Photo: Bill Gifford
Trip members furnish their own backpack, sleeping bag, tent, and other personal
gear, including eating utensils. This must not weigh more than 25 pounds --
and if you can keep it below 20 pounds, all the better. The Club will provide
commissary equipment, including pots, stoves and cooking utensils, and all food.
For water treatment, the Club will provide a group water filter at camp and
purification tablets during the day. Your share of commissary, including bear
canister, food, and cook gear, will weigh 10-12 pounds to start, but will decrease
each day, then increase when we pick up the food cache, and then decrease again.
Your pack must have sufficient volume to accommodate a bear canister. We will
have a group first-aid kit for emergencies; you should bring personal supplies
and medications. You must bring mosquito repellent, sunscreen, a quart water
bottle, a hat with a brim, and clothing suitable for possible rain and cold
along with well broken-in hiking boots.
Green Trails Maps Inc:
- McGregor Mtn.....# 81
- Glacier Peak ........# 112
- Holden..................# 113
- Benchmark Mtn. ..# 144
- Spring, Ira, and Harvey Manning, 100 Hikes in Washington's Glacier Peak
Region. The Mountaineers.
- Lorain, Douglas, Backpacking Washington. Wilderness Press.
Photo: Myra Cobbledick
The Sierra Club is an environmentally focused entity. We are concerned about
conservation and sustainability of resources, both locally and globally. Our
work is accomplished by volunteers and aided by a salaried staff, and encourages
grassroots involvement. Our outings seek to empower participants toward greater
understanding, advocacy, and participation in the goals of the Club. Sierra Club National Outings is an equal-opportunity provider and will operate under a permit from the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.
We will be hiking in an established wilderness area, away from roads and civilization,
where we can appreciate past conservation efforts and consider what yet remains
to be done. To minimize our impact, we will take special care to practice the
Leave No Trace ethic.
See the How to Apply for an Outing section for more details on registering for this trip and details
about our Reservation and Cancellation Policy.
The payment of a deposit does not confirm you as a member on the trip. Participants must be approved by the trip leader. After signing up for this trip, you will be sent a confirmation packet containing approval materials (Participant Approval Questionnaire, Medical Form, Liability Release Form). Each applicant (including those on the waitlist) must fill out these forms and promptly mail them to the trip leader. The leader will review the approval materials and notify you of your acceptance in a timely manner.
Bill Gifford has been leading Sierra Club backpack trips in the Northwest since 1976, including trips to Mount Hood, Mount Rainier, Eagle Cap, Glacier Peak, the Three Sisters and the Strawberry Mountains. Trees and wildflowers are his particular area of expertise, which he enjoys sharing with other hikers.
Shelly Eberly has loved hiking and backpacking since being old enough to walk, and she has finally balanced work and play enough to have time to share that passion with others. She has led backpacking trips in the ecologically rich Appalachians of North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia, in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming, and in the deserts of Utah and Arizona. Regardless of where she is backpacking, Shelly looks forward to sharing the rejuvenating power of the natural world with you. She is a certified Wilderness First Responder.
General Notes About Sierra Club Trips