Jumbo Mountain by Whitehorse Mountain in Darlington / 巨山

  • Reading time:4 mins read

Jumbo Mountain by Whitehorse Mountain towers above Darrington, Washington. It’s also in proximity to Mountain Loop Highway. The popular way to reach the mountain is through Squire Creek.

Jumbo Mountain summit ahead
Jumbo Mountain summit ahead

See more trip photos here.

Jumbo Mountain at a Glance

Access: Squire Creek Trailhead
Round Trip: 6.8 miles
Elevation Range: 1120′-5840′
Gear: helmet, ice ax, snowshoes
GPS Track: available

Dog-Friendly: on the trail

Squire Creek Trail

We walked one mile on Squire Creek Trail. Then I had a hard time finding the cairn marking the start of the scramble. So before the creek with a duct, I picked a random spot to enter the woods. Later we found the faint trail at 2200′ with some flagging along the way.

We went through down trees and dense brush en route. But we were still able to stay on the trail up to 2900′. Then it dwindled together with the flagging. From there, we moved over to the next ridge via a small gully. Soon, route finding became annoying. The pups also didn’t have much to add to the decision-making process.

One-mile road walk
One-mile road walk

See more trip photos here.

Through West Gullies

Another 400′ elevation and we went into a broad gully at 3300′. But not before we dove through the alder. We didn’t go up in the ravine as the other groups did. Instead, I found a decent spot to go up the adjacent ridgeline. Then we climbed up in the forest instead.

Later we came out of the forest at 4300′. At last, a clear view of the rest of the route. The snow line began on the other side of the rock ledges. So I put on crampons there, and then we continued. It wasn’t yet slushy, and postholing wasn’t an issue.

The main gully
The main gully

See more trip photos here.

West Snowfield Basin

The narrow gully at 4450′ had steep snow. The route then led to the lower basin above. It was nerve-racking that I could hear the stream running rapidly underneath us. So I tested every step and moved up slowly. The pups followed closely behind me.

Later we reached the lower snowfield at 4700′. Then I changed to snowshoes and used them for the rest of the climb. By now, the sun had been out for quite a while. So the higher we went, the more slush there was.

The narrow gully
The narrow gully

See more trip photos here.

Jumbo Mountain Real Summit

At first, I mistook the south summit for the middle one. So we went up toward the visible saddle. But I knew we were off route when I saw cornices. Then I realized that the actual summit was now on our left. So we moved northeast toward the north-middle peak saddle.

Meanwhile, I saw old snowshoe tracks on the slopes. Whew! Glad to know that we were back on route! The ramp leading up to the pass felt steeper than the snow gully down below. But without the rapid stream beneath us!

The final stretch below Jumbo Mountain
The final stretch below Jumbo Mountain

See more trip photos here.

Jumbo Mountain Summit

Going up to the top was tricky for the pups. Plus, we needed to avoid snow on the north side. The big rocks made it challenging for them to go through. But I was able to guide them. The top was smaller than I thought. So I made sure that the dogs didn’t move when I did.

Holy cow! What incredible views all around! But, of course, I say that about just any peak on a gorgeous day. The main attractions were Whitehorse Mountain and Three Fingers. But I have yet to climb either of them. I could see all the familiar places too.

West view
West view

See more trip photos here.

Outro

Later we made our way back into the forest safely. Then I found parts of the old trail from 2200′ down to 1600′. It was so great to be able to go that far and bypassed the brush. From there, we dropped another 100′. Then we were back on Squire Creek Trail.

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