Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble - Chikamin Peak & Lemah Mtn

Very beautiful summits although Lemah should be considered a Basic Alpine Climb

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Drive to the Mineral Creek TH was partially on gravel, but not a problem.  The parking area was quite full by the time we returned on this July 4th holiday weekend.

This was posted as a leisurely trip and it certainly was, but it was not necessarily an easy trip, esp the climb of Lemah Mtn.  

Day 1:  To Glacier Lake

The 7 of us departed the TH at 10:30am and within minutes had to make our way across the Kachess River using different methods.

From this point forward we brushbash on and off all the way to Park Lakes where we take a longer break.

Soon we're at the PCT junction where we  take a left on the PCT for about half a mile before leaving the trail at about 5200.'  There's a distinct worn boot path heading north towards a saddle.  Once at the saddle, the  most stunning views appear.  Lemah, Chimney Rock, Summit Chief and more.Mt Stuart, Mt Daniel, etc.From here we drop down a steep and wet gully.Once below the gully it's less than a mile to lovely Glacier Lake where we will camp for the next few nights.  We pass many tarns along the way.Beautiful Glacier Lake with Four Brothers above.It's close to 5pm when we finally decide on our camping area which has a great view of Three Queens.  It's breezy today which keeps the mosquitoes away.  Day 2:  To Chikamin Peak

Chikamin will be an easy scramble from Glacier Lake so we don't depart till 8am.  The famous obelisk is near our camp.

We stay on the bootpath that parallels the stream which drains from an unnamed lake at about 5400'.  There is one little waterfall after another all the way up.

The beautiful no name lake where we take a long break.We cross the outlet of the lake and circle around its south side and head westerly climbing up. Looking back at the lake.

Climbing up slabs and crossing a few snow patches.  Below is Spectacle and Glacier Lake with Three Queens above. Above is Chikamin's summit which has been hidden in low clouds most of the day.Continuing up the bootpath, we come to the 1 class 3 or 4 move that basically takes you to the summit.It's about 11:30am and so early so we relax and watch the clouds drift by.  Unfortunately few views in most directions except to the south.  Looking north towards Lemah and Mt Daniel.At about 12:45pm we start heading back.  After taking another short break at the lake, most of us reach our campsite around 4pm.  Andy and Jason leave us before returning to the campsite to scout the start of tomorrow's climb of Lemah Mtn.

Day 3:  To Lemah Mtn

It's going to be a much longer and harder day today so we depart camp at 5am.  We start on the same trail, passing the obelisk and then leave the boothpath for another that will take us to Chikamin Lake.  The sunrise is lovely and we're so glad it's clear.We pass one tarn after another.  It's even more beautiful than what we've already seen.We will pass by Lemah 1 which is on climber's left.On we go.  Chikamin Lake is just past and behind the trees.  From there we will corkscrew to the back of that ridge.Chikamin Lake is absolutely stunning.  Chikamin Peak above.We circle the east side of the lake and then head up the chossy ridge.  Low clouds are trapped on the other side of the crest making it look like a sea of islands Once on top of the ridge, we follow another ridge downwards.  Passing by Lemah 1.Beautiful views in all directions.We now need to drop down to the Lemah Glacier and traverse below Lemah 2 to get to Lemah Mtn.  It's not easy dropping down here due to the choss.  Rock fall is a real problem.

Getting on to the glacier.The traverse below Lemah 2.The summit in view after we go around the bend.Luckily we have no problem getting from snow to rock.The rock is solid and fun to climb - class 3.Then back on steeper snow, probably up to 40-45 degrees.Then back on rock for the rest of the way. 

A couple class 4 moves with exposure.And soon we're on the summit - 11:15amGreat views!On the summit for about a hour and then down we go retracing our steps.By the time we're near Chikamin Lake, the clouds are returning.  Whiteout at the lake.  We're glad we did not move camp here the night before.Day 4:  Back to the Trailhead

Depart camp at 7:30am.  Goodbye Glacier LakeA good look at HiboxBack at the TH at 12:30pm.  Lunch at the Hideaway in Roslyn because The Brick is packed.  What a great trip to do in 4 days if you have the time.

Many thanks to my co-leader Andy Boos who did most of the navigation and to the participants who contributed photos for this trip report.  What a great group!


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