aka The Tomtit Alps

(USGS Sultan, DeLorme p.80 B- 2)

Climbed 1999-2002

Party: JR, Jeff Howbert, Ian Mackay (3 trips)


South of the town of Sultan and the Skykomish River, and clearly visible to the well-peeled eye from HW 2 just west of town, is a tight cluster of six blobs hiding below the skyline. Take a gander sometime, and go explore if you want some exercise that's close to home. Four of the “peaks” surround the headwaters of McCoy Creek. The most impressive summit lies a little farther south above Youngs Creek. These are part-hills/part-alps, so a summit here could be called a “h-alp,” which is exactly what you'll be saying when you go for Hatfield's Daughter.


Harvey Manning explored this area in 1976-7, and coined the term “Tomtit Alps” for the group in his great little out-of-print book, Footsore 2, playing off the map-named Tomtit Lake. Just to let our friends named “Tom” know he was not picking on their anatomy, it should be said that the tomtit (another name for chickadee) is a cute little bird seen around this part of the state. [Or was it this tomtit?  Maybe, since Airplane Lake is so close, just one click east on Topozone.]

Jeff Howbert has calculated the prominences in this rangelet, and names appear on his website for the summits with greater than 400 feet of prominence. Call them what you want, or nothing at all.


Mileage hints (as of 1999-2002)

0.0 Sultan

0.8 Ben Howard Road

1.8 McCoy Creek road (gated, unsigned) to Hatfield's Daughter

2.9 “Cedar Ponds Road --Dead End”

0.0 Cedar Ponds Road -- Ben Howard Road

1.2 End of County Road and pavement

1.4 Left Y to Elsie's Charms

2.9 Cross Youngs Creek

3.4 Left turn

3.5 Gated road to Second Base

3.9 Yellow gate “48” to Young Love

                                  Hatfield's Daughter (L) and Real McCoy (R)

Hatfield's Daughter (Alp 1070'/450' of prominence) 4/14/02—This summit lies at the head of McCoy Creek, one mile north of Dagger Lake, on the west edge of Section 16. From Sultan, head south over the Skykomish bridge to a T at Ben Howard/Mann Road (0.8 miles). Turn right and go another mile to a gated road on the left. Ian and I parked here and did a “Pack & Pedal” trip, biking up McCoy Creek, crossing it, then taking the first road on the right (south). The trees along the road are draped in a thick mossy, rain-forest coat. We were able to ride about 2.7 miles before the road ended in a blackberry patch. From here it was a nasty, scratchy, painful 0.2 miles to pleasant big second growth and on up the final SW ridge. There are some peekaviews to the west and SW along the way, but this was a bad enough route to suggest trying it from the NE, starting near lake 617 (Harvey calls this Mud or Lost Lake).


Real McCoy (Alp 1020+/ 360' Prominence)—0.25 miles NW of Tomtit Lake. We were originally going to do this one too, but had so little fun on Hatfield's Daughter that we skipped it. Plus, since it's not a 400' prominence summit, it's not the Real McCoy anyway.


Elsie's Charms (Alp 1020+/P420') 12/26/99—0.4 miles NE of Lake Elsie. Turn left (south) off Ben Howard Road on Cedar Ponds Road (2.9 miles from Sultan) which takes some turns to the end of pavement and the county road in 1.2 miles. At 1.4 miles is a left turn, and in another 0.1 miles is another Y where the right fork goes 1.7 miles to very near the summit. There are some “No Trespassing” signs along the way, so be sure and get permission to proceed. The road and top have very nice views up and down the Skykomish valley, and south to the rest of the range.


Second Base (Alp 1200+/P460') 4/23/02—0.25 miles west of Dagger Lake. 3.6 miles from Ben Howard Road is a Hancock Timber gate on an overgrowing road/path that leads to the top, even though the USGS map doesn't show the last section. Take a map (or these turns) as you proceed up (left, right, left, right, left). The summit opens up to a direct look down into Dagger Lake with Ten Four Mountain rising above. Off to the south are good views to Young Love, and you can even see the line-up from Somerset to Hilltop, The Summit, Cougar Mtn, Squak, and Squeek.


First Base (Alp 1020+/P160') 4/23/02—Just NW of Cedar Ponds Lake. There is a spur off the above road that leads to near the top, passing a borrow pit. Some partial views, but not really worth the minor effort.


                                Young Love from SW

Young Love (Alp 1440+/ 560' of prominence) 12/26/99—0.65 miles SW of Cedar Ponds Lake. This is the prize of the group for looks and form, somewhat on the order of Fuller Mountain in visual quality. 3.9 miles from Ben Howard Road is a sturdy yellow gate with a “48” on it. Jeff and I parked here and walked a road counter-clockwise and farther than the map shows around to the SE side, enjoying vistas west. Some second growth, then a little rocky crest leads to the top which had skimpy views, we thought in 1999, but Richard Brayton found some pretty good ones in 2006.


Copyright 2004-06, John Roper. All Rights Reserved.