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Trip Report    

White Chuck Mountain/Northwest Route

Climbed 26th July, 2014. A quick, fun outing with incredible summit views in all directions. Six hours car-to-car including 45 minutes on the summit. The climber's trail is in excellent condition and is easy to follow. FS road 24 is currently used by logging operations and is in very good shape; other FS roads (2430, 2435) are less travelled but still passable by most passenger cars.

We reached the gully in less than an hour. We scrambled about 100' in the gully proper to a point about 50' below a band of trees; we traversed over to the climber's trail which leads all the way to the summit. The route is essentially 2nd class but does include some sections with extreme exposure. I would not recommend this trip in wet conditions; the rock should be dry. There are some points where the trail diverges left and right but these trails connect later, making a short loop possible between ascent and descent. The last trees are passed at about 6500'. Avoid the temptation to explore a long sloping ledge below that point. The route only reaches the ridge proper at the notch, until then follow the path often staying close to cliff walls. Lots of cairns mark the way. When in doubt stop and look for signs of a trail (tread or cairns), it is always there.

After passing through some heather above the last trees there is a short 15' section with the "down-sloping slabs" referenced in many reports. Easy to climb but this is an exposed spot; we used a handline here on the descent. Shortly before the summit easy 3rd class steps lead down to the notch, above the notch the trail resumes. We used a handline here on both ascent and descent but I can see how many parties do not. The exposure is high on both sides of the notch and a handline can be quickly established. We did not see any goats, which apparently is of concern to the Darrington RS. We did see locals shooting guns on the approach roads and they asked if we had seen any goats. Hopefully there isn't a connection between the shooters and the declining goat population. Plenty of usual wildflowers were out in full bloom: lupine, columbine, phlox, paintbrush, valerian, etc. A fun trip.