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Trip Report    

Big Chiwaukum

  • Mon, May 26, 2014
  • Big Chiwaukum
  • Scrambling

Several stream crossings along the Whitepine trail. There were rocks or logs either above, at of just below the water level to help keep boots out of the water. Maximum depth of those strems could be 8-10 inches.

Essentially snowbound at 4600ft on the Wildhorse Trail. There were a few feet of dry ground in places. Map reading skills were essential as well as small clues that revealed the trail beneath 4-5 feet of snow. Camped in a bowl at appx 5500 feet where we found some dry ground or camped on snow. We found running water nearby. Skies cleared by evening and revealed the summit block 2700 ft above us.

Due to conditions, we ascended (at 6:15am on summit day) to the south slope through a bowl and snow-finger just north of the saddle on the westward finger. Snow was reasonably firm and made for a quick ascent. Beyond that there were a few patches of snow but mostly rock and heather steps. At around 7800 feet notice an 8-foot tall rock tower. We traversed at this elevation until just below the obvious notch in the ridgeline and continued up on the right hand side to the ridge crest. From there a class 4 move gains the next bump (west just below the ridge crest). Follow the ridge crest to highest point. Due to time of day (10:00am), complexity of scramble route, logistics of descent to trailhead, and turning weather conditions, we made our zenith (just shy of the highest point) and made our descent through snow flurries and drizzle. New moisture made the rocks and heather slopes very slippery on the descent, but we had descended quite a bit before the snow arrived in earnest. Snow-finger conditions were ideal for glissade or plunge-step. Returned to camp by 1pm and back at trailhead by 5:30pm.

Round trip appx 16 miles and 5300ft gain.