Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble - Grindstone Mountain

Beautiful views on this one!

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Road to the Chatter Creek TH in good condition although the last couple miles are on gravel.  NW Forest Parking Pass required.  No restroom at the TH.

Eight of us met a Tibbets P&R in Issaquah at 5:30am and made it to the TH at 8am with no stops along the way.  We left the TH at about 8:15am on a nippy, but lovely morning.  The trail is in good shape with what we believe were rangers, who were just there a few days before trimming back the brush.   We are under the trees for at least the first 3rd of the hike in and pass by a couple good size campgrounds.  One is occupied by 4-5 men drinking beer under a tarp with a fire burning in the firepit at 9am. When we return, we notice they have left the campsite spotless.

Around 5500' the views appear.   We can't see Grindstone yet, but know it's behind this ridge.  We will continue to follow the good trail to about 6400' and will then leave it for the saddle pictured below, aiming towards the left side of the square shaped rock at the saddle.Closer photo of the saddle.Heading off trail towards the saddle.  The weather and views are great.Looking back at the trail we left.  Still some lovely fall colors.It's been warm and pleasant until we reach the saddle at about 11:15am.  It's breezy and chilly here and the north side of the ridge is in shade.    We put on jackets and helmet and drop 200' traversing under the ridge.  The ground is hard with a bit of snow so we can't edge with our boots.  Spots are slippery so we have to be very careful while aiming for the bench.  We still can't see Grindstone.  We stayed lower on the traverse on the return (as shown with the red arrow) which made it easier.Getting closer to the bench.

First views of Grindstone. (Photo taken from the bench on our return.)  We head up the left ridge  of Grindstone for the summit, following some cairns on the ridge and avoiding the black ice periodically encountered.    Nice to be done with the sidehilling.Closer view of Grindstone also taken on the return.
We arrive at the summit at about 1:15pm.  

What views all around!  Enchantments and gold larch still below.Big Lou and Big Jim, named after the Whittaker brothers.Sylvester Lake below.  Another route to Grindstone is from this lake.  Steeper, but shorter.Looking west and below where we have lunch after going to the summit.Forty-five minutes after reaching the summit, we depart.  Back at the bench and ready to traverse to the saddle again.  Thankful the sun has warmed up the ground making it easier to edge.  We're back at the saddle right before 3pm and quickly head for the trail that's about 600' below us.  Mountain Forecast says the rains will start at 5pm.When back on trail, Katheryn, my helpful assistant leader takes off with the faster participants while Mark and I bring up the rear. 

My last photo, with the clouds and rain coming over the Enchantments.  Heavy snow is predicted tonight.  The last of us arrive at the TH at 5:30pm, just before it really starts raining.  Dinner at Stein's in Leavenworth and then the long drive back in heavy rain.  Such a fun day, made even better knowing we "threaded the needle" weather wise on this one.Stats:

5200' gain

11 miles

9hrs & 15min w/45min on summit included.


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