Big Chiwaukum by Snowgrass Mountain / 靠雪草山的大奇瓦康姆

We spent last weekend climbing in the Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness. Then this week, the pup and I went up to Big Chiwaukum–the highest point on the Chiwaukum Mountains. It is an area I have rarely visited. But it was long overdue.

Big Chiwaukum awaits

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Big Chiwaukum at a Glance

Access: White Pine Trailhead
Round Trip: TBD
Elevation Range: 2320′-8081′
Gear: helmet, snowshoes, ice ax
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: with guidance

White Pine Trailhead to Wildhorse Trail

Pup and I slept in the car at the empty White Pine Creek Trailhead. Then the next morning, we started hiking early. We crossed several streams along the trail. So depending on the water level, we forded them either upstream. or down.

The elevation became steady past the Wildhorse Trail junction. Then snow patches soon turned full coverage at 4400′. There I put on snowshoes, and we continued to move southbound. After rounding Point 5482, we left the trail and traveled southeast. We aimed for the notch to the north of Lake Grace.

Snowgrass Mountain and Lake Grace making a cameo
Snowgrass Mountain and Lake Grace making a cameo

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Big Chiwaukum South Ridge

Much of the snow on the ridge had melted. So I put away the snowshoes and checked out Lake Grace from the 6600′ shoulder. A short distance uphill was another notch with a hidden snow finger. So we bypassed it by staying on rocks to the south of the crest. Then the rest of the scramble to 7800′ was on slippery heather and rocks mostly.

We stayed low on the steep west slopes. Then we continued north through several melting snow ramps. The cairns eventually took us up to the base of the summit. But the traverse seemed to have taken forever. I need to find a way for the pup to get through the final stretch because of the big rocks. But other than the exposure, it wasn’t anything technical.

Southern peaks
Southern peaks

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Big Chiwaukum Summit Views

But as luck would have it. The clouds slowly came into the area before we even made it up fo the summit. So we had no views at first. But I wanted to see how things would pan out. So we waited a while. Then the sunshine slowly seeped through the mists 30 minutes later.

But as if on command. The clouds began to shift and dropped into the basins all at once. Soon, it was a beautiful afternoon with views all around us. I didn’t recognize many of the peaks nearby. But farther out, there were familiar faces of Jim Hill Mountain, Mount Howard, and Mount Mastiff.

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Outro

On the way down, we stayed even lower on the west slopes. So we could avoid the snow fingers entirely. Then we skipped the ridge by dropping into the basin through a small creek. Later, we followed our tracks back down to the Wildhorse Trail. Then we hiked the long way out to the car.

Southern peaks
Southern peaks

See more trip photos here.

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