Location: North Bend, WA
Required Pass: Discover Pass
Mailbox Peak is one of the most challenging summits in all of Washington, especially when you opt for the legendary Old Trail.
5.4 Miles Roundtrip
“The old trail up Mailbox Peak was the stuff of legend. It inspired potential Rainier climbers, challenged adventurous day hikers, and occasionally Mother Nature used the trail to bite back. The number of injuries and rescues on the old trail, as well as terrible erosion caused by the masses of daily visitors, prompted the Department of Natural Resources to create a new trail to the top. While still relatively steep, this new route, built-in part by WTA volunteers, offers a safer way for folks to attain the summit of this formidable peak.”
The original route, which is my absolute favorite way to go up, but not always my ideal way to descend, entails 4,000 feet of climbing in less than three miles. It’s an absolute grinder, one that I’ve found to be quite fun for some weird masochistic reason. What can I say, sometimes I’m a glutton for this kind of funishment.
When it comes to Mailbox Peak, I have visited the Mailbox at least a half dozen times, and I expect to make at least that many more trips up there by the end of the year. That’s right, I have some goals for this peak. Therefore I intend to create a spot for everything I do related to Mailbox Peak. This page will serve as running documentation of my Mailbox Peak goals and the stories as I work toward achieving them.
MY GOALS FOR THE INFAMOUS MAILBOX PEAK
- FKT: Fastest Known Time – This may be lofty, and it may not, with my newly fixed hip I’m starting to push myself to a whole new level, and I am finding that my body is ready to start doing what it needs to do to go faster. The next few months will be exciting, I don’t know that I’ll make my attempt at this goal this year, but it’s something I am going to be continually training for. This may be a lofty goal going up against Uli Steidl, the same guy who has the record on Mt. Rainier, but I think I can do it. The record isn’t recorded anywhere officially. On FastestKnownTime.com Stuke Stowle posted some times from Strava, and on Seattle Backpackers Magazine there’s an article with Uli Steidl, but he claims his fastest time doesn’t count. His rationale is that he stopped to talk with people and the record should consist of total time, not just moving time. Going by total time, my fastest elapsed time is 2:15:11 with a moving time of 1:54:18. Uli’s fastest-moving time is 1:27:33. When I achieved my fastest time, it included some snow at the start of the talus field, which required stopping to attach and detach my microspikes. At the right time of year, I imagine I can decrease my roundtrip time from gate to summit to gate by a significant amount of time. As my hip and body strengthens and becomes more resilient with each of my many peaks this year, I’ll be able to perform this feat, eventually. I will make this a reality.
- Mailbox Peak to Granite Mountain Traverse – this endeavor is an 18 Mile Route from start to finish. To complete this challenge, I will require the aid of someone willing to sacrifice a portion of their day to aid me in completing this without having to run along the highway to get back to my car some 9+ miles away.
- Mailbox Peak 24 Hour Challenge – I’ll be doing this on October 18, 2019, and I’m really looking forward to it. I had the idea to host a similar type of multi-lap challenge, except instead of on Mailbox Peak, I was going to host it on Mt Si. When I had that idea, I searched to see if anyone else was hosting it. That’s when I stumbled on the Mailbox Peak Sufferparty. Excitement ensued, and I’m officially registered for the Sufferparty of a lifetime.Ever since that time at the Death Race when I ran up and down Joe De Sena’s mountain for 7 hours and came out with 9 laps, I have longed for another mountain challenge like that. I can only imagine the endorphin high I’ll get from this experience. It should be a good one.
- Mailbox Peak 36 or 48 Hour Challenge – I haven’t decided if I am fully committed to spending 48 hours running up and down this mountain, yet. The only way I’ll do this one is if we can set up a fundraiser and raise a butt load of money for XYZ foundation (help me identify one?). Leave a comment if you want to help figure how to do this and/or if you are willing to help orchestrate a charity drive (that isn’t my forté).