May 12, 2000

FA Thanks to Grant Myers and his dog, Pantera


Dead Duck Mountain

from NE, the wooded hump being swallowed by Mount Pugh

Head up the Sauk River/Mountain Loop Highway from Darrington, and turn left up the White Chuck River. Then in another 5 miles, just before crossing the White Chuck bridge, Dead Duck Creek is crossed, just north of Mount Pugh. About 1.5 miles NE of Pugh, in the center of Section 23 is an unheralded 4642' peaklet with 482+ feet of prominence.

You, I, and Grant Myers would never ever go to this spot voluntarily unless we were acolytes of the prominence seekers who "wring out the quads" and figure out landforms that rise the magical 400 feet above the pass that separates that peak from the next higher peak (in this case, Pugh). Dead Duck does.

How did Dead Duck Creek, which actually shows on the map, get its name? Did some Forest Service ranger come upon a dead duck here, or was this named for Nels Skaar after the district ranger upbraided him for playing his Rat Trap song to the Darrington Forest Service office?

Grant, his dog, Pantera, and I parked at the upper end of the White Chuck River bench trail at 1550', north of the river, and walked west back over the bridge, then headed up straightaway via the NNW ridge of Dead Duck 4642'. Grant enjoyed the concept that his Springer Spaniel, a bird dog, was "retrieving" Dead Duck Mtn, though he admitted he'd never shot a duck, and that Pantera had never fetched one.

The lowest section was messy - steepish windfall, with muddy slopes - that became more pleasant at 2600'. At 4100' the fresh snow quickly piled to a foot deep, making us snowshoe up, whereafter we punched on to the top. There is an opening on top that gives good views north, and we could look up through the trees to the impressive, quite serious NE cliffs of Pugh.  3.4 hours up, 1.5 down.