On Thursday, 3/17/2005, I (Paul) joined eight other Kitsap Climbers as we entered Washington's Buckhorn Wilderness, ascended Welch Peak (s) (6110'), then gained the summit of Mt Townsend (6280'). Click here for slideshow.
The Route. Starting from the upper Mt Townsend trailhead, we followed the trail to just below Camp Windy . We then turned south, traveling cross-country to gain the Welch Ridge (North Face), kick-stepping up a snow chute east of the peaks. Following the ridge, we ascended Welch Peak, then scrambled along a ridge route to the summit of Mt Townsend. For our return route, we descended Mt Townsend via a steep snow covered, boulder strewn scree field. The scree field began at a Townsend Ridge saddle, then steeply descended to the original trail. The pictures begin with views entering the Buckhorn Wilderness, beginning the ascent of Welch Peak(s), the Welch Peak Summit, the ridge connecting Welch Peak to Mt Townsend, and the Mt Townsend summit. No pictures were taken on the return descent from Townsend - I was a pretty busy staying upright.
The Weather. The climb began on a beautiful partly sunny day. Within an hour, while preparing to gain Welch Ridge and throughout the remainder of the climb, we received almost continuous snowfall. Although the snow pack was low, the area had received much snow on the previous day. Temperatures ranged between 22 and 32 degrees F, with a very brief rise to the low 40s.