X Mountain

November 1, 2019


North Cascades Highway, WA

“X Mountain” is the unofficial name of the north summit of Trappers Peak not far from the small village of Newhalem and also not far from the infamous southern Picket Range. The original name of this small summit was “Cross-Dyke Peak”, named by the FA party in 1966 but was later simplified to “X” according to the Washingtonian peak-bagging legend John Roper. There’s a X-shaped cross on the shear east face of this peak, if one looks for it and I assume the name came from there. To me this peak isn’t iconic, isn’t prominent (same height as Trappers Peak), isn’t difficult, and the name seemed too unofficial for my like, so the reason I went, and claimed this as a separate summit is because of the views. The summit of “X” offers arguably better view than from Trappers Peak, especially that the east face of Mt. Triumph is completely unobstructed from this vantage point.

Trappers Peak and X Mountain hiking route. GPX DL

Earlier in the morning I had watched sunrise from the summit of Trappers Peak and now I turned my focus onto the next objective. The previous hikers’ tracks all stopped at the summit of Trappers Peak so I was on my own, exploring a route down the NW ridge. The snow was firm and icy but not steep enough to require traction devices. There’s a section of steep and semi-exposed heather slope to descend. The grass was free of snow, but frozen solid that I had to be extra cautious. By comparison, the SE Ridge of X Mountain was rather just a scenic ridge walk.

The eastern horizon towards Jack Mtn., from Trappers/X col

Looking ahead towards Thornton Peak and Mt. Triumph

The shear east face down from Trappers/X col

The southern Pickets from the col.

The SE Ridge of X Mountain is very easy

If you look closely you can see a “X” on this face

The lower Thornton Lake in the foreground

Partial Summit Panorama from X Mountain. Click to view large size.

The upper Thornton Lake and the ridge south of Thornton Peak

A full show of the Southern Pickets

Jack Mountain dominates the eastern skyline

The rugged Snowfield Peak Group

Me on the summit of X Mountain

Another photo of me on the summit of X Mountain

Thornton Peak doesn’t look very impressive from here

Mt. Triumph is very impressive from any side…

This is looking towards the Northern Pickets – Phantom Peak et al.

Mt. Fury is that big peak on left; Twin Needles et al. on right

Mt. Terror and “The Rake” rise behind the tiny Pinnacle Peak

Mt. Degenhardt, “The Pyramid” and Inspiration Peak from L to R

West McMillan Spire and East McMillan Spire.

Mt. Despair rises behind some rugged country. It’s another remote peak.

The upper Thornton Lake

At this point I wasn’t quite sure how well I was doing on time, so didn’t linger too long up there. Descending the SE Ridge of X Mountain was trivial and scrambling up that steep, grassy section on NW Ridge of Trappers Peak also felt much easier than descending it earlier in the day. In short time I was back on top of Trappers Peak ready to rush home for work. The rest of the descent was also written in the Trappers Peak’s trip report.

Hiking back with Trappers Peak ahead in foreground

The middle and upper Thornton Lakes both in show

Almost back to the summit of Trappers Peak now