2017/6/3 – Big Chiwaukum / 大奇瓦康姆

Destination awaits
Destination awaits

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Pup and I car camped at the empty White Pine Creek Trailhead Fright night. On the way to Wildhorse Creek Trail the next morning, we encountered several large creek crossings and negotiated them farther up or downstream.

Elevation picked up past the trail junction with patchy snow, full snow coverage at 4,400′ where I put on snowshoes and continued to head south. After rounding Point 5482, we left the trail moving southeastward while aiming for the west ridge.

Much of the snow had melted on the ridge overlooking Lake Grace, so I packed up snowshoes on the 6,600′ notch. Not far uphill from the notch was another notch with a snow finger, we bypassed it by getting on rocks south of the crest. Scramble to 7,800′ was mostly on slippery heather and rocks.

Snowgrass making a cameo
Snowgrass and Lake Grace making a cameo

Photos from this trip can be found here.

We stayed low on the steep west slopes and moved northward through several receding snow fingers. With the aid of some cairns, we finally arrived at the base of the summit block after a long traverse. Final scramble to the summit required some route finding for the pup. Some big steps to get up and down but nothing technical.

Clouds slowly rolled in before we got to the top with no views. We patiently waited a half hour until sky began to show some blue and the sunshine finally seeped through. Within minutes clouds dropped to lower basins, and we soon were blessed with beautiful afternoon views in all directions. Most nearby high point looked unfamiliar since we hadn’t spent time in this area before.

Southern peaks
Southern peaks

Photos from this trip can be found here.

On the way down we stayed even lower on west slopes to completely avoid the snow fingers. We skipped the west ridge by continuing down on west slopes alongside a small creek into the head of the west basin. In the basin we followed our tracks back down to Wildhorse Trail and hiked out.

Access: White Pine Trail > Wildhorse Trail
Gear: helmet, snowshoes, ice axe


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