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Horseshoe Basin (Pasayten Wilderness) Loop
Timestamp Free: 2018.12.18 - 07:26:59
Ranges: Northeastern Cascades
  (1 days)     Elevation Gain: 1500m
Participants: Simon Chesterton
Difficulty: 2: Maintained trail access with open terrain on all the mountains.
Hiking into Horseshoe Basin and looping around 5 peaks. Note that elevation gain listed above is cumulative.
I took a week off work in mid September and headed out to the Osoyoos area with a plan to hike every day. I checked out Crater Mountain (off Ashnola) on the drive out then spent 3 days visiting Washington State. After the Tiffany Mountain area then Mount Bonaparte I headed down south one more time (the US border agent was getting to know me well) and drove up to the Iron Gate Trailhead which was packed with trucks, SUVs, one sedan and 5 horse trailers. Hunting season had just started and with good weather all week plenty of people were taking advantage.

The trail is an old jeep road to start and drops down a little then flattens out at a junction where a trail to Windy Peak goes left. Beyond this the trail goes through a very extensive burn area (2006 Tripod Complex Fire) that burned a huge amount of area (175,000 acres) from the border down towards the Winthrop area. The burn continues all the way up to Sunny Pass with a few stands of live trees around. Horseshoe Basin lays out before me with peaks surrounding it. Much of the forest in this area is untouched as I take a quick break and chat with a hiker heading out. I'd already seen a few hunters by now who were looking for mule deer. [photo]ResizeofIMG_3444.JPG[caption]Looking into Horseshoe Basin from near Sunny Pass. Rock and Armstrong distant left to centre with slopes of Horseshoe Mountain on the right.[/photo]

I follow the trail a little further then head off it and up open grassland slopes on the western side of Horseshoe Mountain (right side of picture above). Looking behind me, Windy Peak (highest mountain in the area) rises up behind Pick Peak. I'd originally planned on a Windy to Horseshoe loop but decided to forgo Windy on this trip and instead head to the border and check out the peaks there and...

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