Bryan Carroll summits Mt Fernow

Solo Climb to Mt Fernow and Jakes Lake

By Bryan Carroll CFMP, NTP, FAFS

August 17, 2021




Our Rating

Beckler Mountains near Skykomish

7.5 miles, roundtrip

(This is from what we recorded on a Garmin Fenix 6x

Gain: 3300 ft.

Highest Point: 6123 ft.

Mt Fernow and Jakes Lake are located in the Beckler Mountains just outside of Skykomish. I have had 2 previous attempts at summiting Mt Fernow, but couldn't make it.

The third time is the charm, and with a break in the smoke it was time to try it one last time.

Mt Fernow is not an easy climb as the majority of the climb is off trail and requires route finding. This area is steep which means getting off course by a dozen feet can put you into bad situations.

I recommend having the skills to route-find and being comfortable on steep heather and slick pine needles to complete this climb.

Getting Started

You'll take the Beckler Road just outside of Skykomish to get to the trailhead. Right after the road transitions from pavement to gravel, turn a sharp right to get onto Forest Road 6520. Follow this until there is a split, and you will take the right side which is Forest Road 6524.

There are some drainage ditches that are pretty large and my Subaru did scrape on 2 of them.

You will reach a gate, and this is the end of the road for you. Park, and follow the road for over 1 mile. There will be a split in the road, take the left side even though it doesn't look much like a road anymore.

Following the Ridge

The name of the game is to stay as high on the ridge as possible. In fact, about 10 feet to the south side of the ridge is a very faint trail that will make your life much easier if you can follow it. Otherwise, if you find yourself getting low on the ridge, you are probably in a bad position.

The ridgeline goes back and forth between gaining elevation and losing it. The soil can be tough to get good traction as well since it is usually dry dust covered in slippery pine needles, so good traction on your shoes is encouraged.

Follow the ridge all the way over to Jakes Lake. If you are doing this hike July or earlier in the year, expect lots of mosquitos who are very hungry.

Climbing to the Summit of Mt Fernow

Follow the left side of Jakes Lake until you reach a boulder chute. Climb the boulders until there are no more to climb. You will have to pick your way through some trees, which will then open up into the heather and huckleberry fields.

Be careful in this section. Your destination is obviously upwards, but the heather is very slippery to climb on. I would much prefer to climb on boulders. Follow this chute all the way to the top, which will pop you out less than 50 feet below the summit.

The rest of the route to the summit is easy compared to the rest of the climb. At the top you'll find a summit registry, add your name so you can be in the history books!

Access to Water

This route has very little access to water (at least in late summer), so make sure to carry plenty of water to get to the lake. You can refill at the lake, but other than that you won't have many options to refill.

Click on images below to see a bigger picture

Climb to the top of Mt Fernow via the Jakes Lake route

Practicing LNT Principles, and Giving Back

We really want to encourage everyone to practice LNT principles when they explore these beautiful places. We spent years trying to minimize social impact on these locations, but the cat is out of the bag and these places are easy to find online. So it is our mission to share more about ways to keep these places as pristine as possible.

We also donate 3% of all our profits to organizations supporting the outdoors and working hard to keep these areas protected and safe.

About the author

Bryan Carroll CFMP, NTP, FAFS

Bryan Carroll is a certified Functional Medicine Practitioner and Movement Therapist who helps the outdoors community to reduce injuries and improve their health so they can get back to exploring nature. His big health crisis from mold exposure taught him the importance of finding the root causes to illnesses so you can take back control of your life. He is also the host of the Summit For Wellness Podcast.

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