Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble - Frigid Mountain, Big Lou & Big Slide

Stunning views! Probably better to do early season when brush is snow covered.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • About half hour drive from center of Leavenworth to the Chatter Creek TH.  Road in good shape although the last couple of miles are in gravel.  NW Parking Pass or equivalent required.  There's a campsite at the TH, but no toilet.51242994534_8973618b14_o.jpg

A Plan B trip due to bad weather for Plan A, Mt Mystery.

The 4 of us left the Chatter Creek TH at 8:30am.  We cross Chatter Creek on a good bridge about a mile in and continue on a nice, shaded trail.51239424491_46e4c8668d_o.jpg


After about another mile (4550') we easily hop a couple rocks to cross Chatter Creek again.  Soon we need to cross another branch of the creek.  This one not as easy.  I carefully crawl across on a log while the others change into Crocs to cross.  I do this on the return as it's much easier.  Photo  taken on the return.51239433216_26b1b6f0ba_o.jpgFrom here, it's about .15 miles to where we'll leave the trail and start a steep ascent to the basin where we're planning to spend the night.  It's a decent bootpath with not much brush that parallels a branch of Chatter Creek  heading northeast.    Somewhere before 6000' we break out of the forest and start up a bouldery gully.  The views of the Enchantments are lovely.51239425291_6f257d197c_o.jpgAt 5800' we hit firm snow, but we're able to stay off it most of the time by staying on the bootpath at the edge of the gully.51238714012_102fd73141_o.jpgThere are occasional cairns to mark the way.  Almost to the basin.51239425961_3d600a7ca4_o.jpgLooking down the gully.  The views just keep getting better.51239625808_a921593c9f_o.jpgWe arrive at the snow filled basin at 6400', but there is no running water so we continue up the basin.  At 6600' we find a great area to camp off snow with running water next to us and stunning views.51238714767_5ce6db03ba_o.jpgAfter setting up camp and some rest time, we start for Frigid Mtn around 3pm.  It's about a half mile/800' gain away from us.51240193099_1b7fe2d45d_o.jpgLooking back at camp.51240193644_e6913ff6f5_o.jpgHeading straight for the snow covered saddle and then a left turn will take us to the summit.51239626493_0c793b2b45_o.jpgLooking back at the route we'll take tomorrow for Big Lou and Big Slide.51241252202_576222f51e_o.jpgWhat you see from the summit.51239433846_f309261954_o.jpg51239633788_03c77614f6_o.jpg51239634013_009eb3f508_o.jpg51242677464_9d8564ab4b_o.jpgBig Lou and Big Slide.51242967305_de65a02e0a_o.jpgAfter spending about a hour on the summit, we head back to the saddle and down the steep face to our camp.    In the below photo, Big Jim is the big peak on climber's right.   Big Jim and Big Lou are named for the Whitaker brothers.51238716842_470a76568c_o.jpgNext day we're off a little before 8am, heading for the 7000' saddle that will take us to Big Lou and Big Slide.  We're going to do a loop camp to camp route. There are some low clouds hiding our Enchantment views.   51240195834_fe0b8703d5_o.jpgFrom the saddle we get a good view of Frigid Mtn and the saddle.51240482500_5a680dce57_o.jpgWe're dropping down about 150' and will start a traverse to another saddle between Peaks 7313' and 7126'.51238718102_ee90495c49_o.jpgArriving at this 2nd saddle.51240483210_d230f096fe_o.jpgSoon Lake Ida comes into view.  We'll contour around the north side of the lake and then head up.  On our return, we'll follow that ridge across the lake and down the other side to camp.51243679120_792837d861_o.jpgFrom where we came.51242342138_9217cc8649_o.jpgSoon after we reach the east end of Lake Ida we remove our crampons and head straight up about 300' for the ridge.51239430541_78a7677aba_o.jpgOnce on the ridge, it's a straight shot for Big Lou and Big Slide.51240197694_f4affc4d1c_o.jpgLooking back.51238719187_44429c5262_o.jpgIt's windy and cold on the ridge and in our haste, we accidently bypass Big Lou which we were planning to summit first.   But it's no problem to summit Big Slide first.  On Big Slide looking back at Big Lou.51238719462_1004866720_o.jpgShauna with Big Slide's summit register.   51239431101_956ba3d722_o.jpgWe quickly leave and head for Big Lou.51240198599_432245abb0_o.jpgWomen on the summit with Big Slide in the background.51238720337_738cc92b67_o.jpgThen a descending traverse back to Lake Ida.  Up the ridge we go.51241475537_2334d6aa25_o.jpg  Back down at the lake.  Pano of Lake Ida.51239432451_576cc40279_o.jpgOn the ridge.  What a beautiful place this would be to camp.51240486010_f5f6570a95_o.jpgLooking back at Big Lou and Big Slide.51239432721_b000d1c701_o.jpgSoon we're back at our camp.  51238721447_25110d32fc_o.jpgWe pack up and head out.  Sharon and I stop for dinner at South Restaurant in Leavenworth.    Although this trip could easily be done in 1 day by faster climbers, we all enjoyed doing it in this relaxing manner.  Fun times, great group!

TH to camp to Frigid Mtn to camp - 4.3 miles/4563' gain

Camp to Big Slide to Big Lou to camp - 4.03 miles/1722' gain

Camp to TH - 3.3 miles/0' gain

TOTAL - 11.63 miles/6285' gain