Photos from this trip can be found here.
This was a trip to remember as it took us a lot of will power just to get to camp. The six-mile hike to the Chancellor/Mill Creek trail junction was smooth sailing, but four of the five miles on Mill Creek trail was just brutal. Apparently, the trail has not been in much use since the closing of the Azurite Mine and most of the trail was covered in massive slide alder, shrubs, and down trees.
It took pups and me four hours to get through the first four miles, and we got to the mine in late afternoon. I forewent the original plan of also climbing Azurite and settled on just Mount Ballard. As far as I could see, brush continued for the next three miles up to Azurite Pass. I was somewhat mentally shaken by the bushwhacking and called it a day after pitching the tent.
Since we camped directly at the base of Ballard, the route to the top was visible and straightforward. Getting through brush at the bottom of the mountain and finding the correct gully for the final scramble were the only cruxes of the climb. Pups required help getting up a couple of big steps, but other than that no major issues.
A long afternoon and evening ahead to get back out to the car.
Access: Canyon Creek Trailhead