Photo #1 shows the route from a distance. From the 10,400-foot trailhead, follow the 4WD road up a short distance to a road junction. Going straight will take you into Spruce Creek. Turn right and take another road up toward Crystal Creek. Follow the steep road for over a mile and eventually leave the heavy forest. Near 1.3 miles, from the trailhead, cross the Wheeler trail. Photo #2 (taken in winter) shows the view ahead. Continue on the road through Crystal Creek basin to Lower Crystal Lake near 12,000’. The lake is approximately 2.25 miles from the trailhead.
Near an old mine building, turn right and walk down to the creek - Photo #3. Taken from Mt. Helen, Photo #4 and Photo #5 show the route as it ascends part of Peak 10 and then heads west toward Crystal Peak. Follow an old road west past the lake to the end of the basin. The road reaches the south side of Peak 10, turns right, and begins climbing the slope - Photo #5. Switchback up the slope as the road turns into a trail. The solid trail heads left (south) near 12,400’ and climbs to 12,800’ before leveling out and heading toward Upper Crystal Lake. The traverse across this slope crosses some steep terrain. Snow makes portions of this slope slightly dangerous. Follow the trail toward the lake - Photo #6.
Before reaching the lake, near 12,900’, turn right and hike directly up to the Crystal-Peak 10 saddle. Photo #7 was taken below the slope leading to the saddle. The slope is covered with grass and stable talus. Upon reaching the saddle, turn left (southwest) and ascend Crystal’s Northeast Ridge - Photo #8 and Photo #9 are different views of this easy ridge. There are a couple of narrow some spots but nothing that exceeds a difficulty of Class 2. Photo #10 and Photo #11 were taken on top.