St'auk Mountain 4513'
Prominence 473 feet
April 9, 2005
Party: John Roper, Mike Torok, Jim Brisbine, Martin Shetter
St'auk Mountain crouches in stalking mode above Barlow Pass
View from SW on Sperry. S Fk Stillaguamish River in foreground
St'auk Mountain is the closest wooded mass in front of Lewis Peak
View from north. We approached from left. An old trail went up the right (NW) ridge.
This is the easiest and lowest 400-foot prominence peak on USGS Bedal, and one that totally escaped my attention until Jeff Howbert teased it out on the WA Master List of Peaks, and Steve Fox and Dave Fish confirmed its existence by climbing it last spring. It stands between the upper reaches of the St (illaguamish) and S (auk ) Rivers and is kind of fun to say out loud if you pause between the “St” and the “auk.” Try it. It lies about a mile NW and only 2200 feet above Barlow Pass on a long wooded ridge leading up to Lewis Peak, making for a nice short spring workout. Although we did not set the bar very high this day, the name "Low Bar" for the summit next to Barlow was rejected.
Even though this summit has essentially been ignored the last 70 years, Harry Majors pointed out that it was first climbed within 1933-1936 by Forest Service personnel, and a trail was built up its NW ridge that shows on the 1936 Mt. Baker National Forest map, but not on the 1931 or 1933 map. Harry marked this trail on page 48 of his authorative "Monte Cristo Area" guide. (I pleaded the case for a loop trip down this ridge, but with this old trail info, maybe Steve Fox will take us back up here.) The Sauk Indians called Barlow Pass "S-gual-guas," which translates as "a gap."
We were looking for an easy, close trip that none of us had done, and Mike suggested this one at the last minute. An email out the night before hooked Jim and Martin. This spring brought a dump of new snow above 2500 feet after a non-existent winter, but Barlow Pass 2320'+ where we parked was snow-free except for that plow-piled next to the road.
Martin Shetter, Jim Brisbine, and Mike Torok on top of St'auk Mtn
The route was pretty straightforward from Barlow Pass: WSW through open timber with some big Dougs and hemlocks to a bench at 3400 feet, then NW to a 4120+ intervening spur, which was then followed clockwise to the 4513' top. No problems. We hit snow at about 3200' and put on snowshoes at 3600'. The top had miserly views to Twin Peaks, Sperry, and Morning Star, but on the way up the SE ridge there were some nice open windows over to Sheep, and up the headwaters of the Sauk to Wilmans and Columbia, Silvertip and National, and south to Lewis and the stunning Del Campo which made it all worthwhile.
Lewis Peak (L), Del Campo (R) from near top of St-auk
Sheep Mountain and Jim from near top
The 2200+ foot elevation gain over 1.3 miles took about 2.6 hours up, 1.5 hours down.
More photos by Mike Torok.