Big Chiwaukum by Snowgrass Mountain via White Pine Trail / 大奇瓦康姆

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Big Chiwaukum by Snowgrass Mountain is the tallest in Chiwaukum Mountains. It shares the #157 spot on Washington State Top 200 Peaks with Devils Peak. Meanwhile, White Pine Trail offers the quickest way of all route options.

Big Chiwaukum awaits
Big Chiwaukum awaits

See more trip photos here.

Big Chiwaukum at a Glance

Access: White Pine Trailhead
Round Trip: 16.3 miles
Elevation Range: 2320′-8081′
Gear: helmet, snowshoes, ice ax
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: with guidance

White Pine Trailhead

The pup and I spent last weekend climbing in Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness. Then today, we came to check out Big Chiwaukum in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. We slept by the empty White Pine Trailhead on Friday night for an early start.

After a good night’s rest, we started hiking at daybreak. The decent trail had several small creeks lower down. But depending on the water level, we either crossed the water upstream or down.

White Pine Trailhead
White Pine Trailhead

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Wildhorse Trail Junction

Later we turned onto Wildhorse Trail at the fork. Beyond that point, the elevation gain was steady, with snow patches appearing. Soon, we found continuous at 4400′, where I put on snowshoes and continued south.

The trail took us around the west of Point 5482 and up the hill a while later. Then we left the path and went southeast up the snowy hillside. Meanwhile, we aimed for the 6640′ shoulder north of Lake Grace.

Trailside view below Big Chiwaukum
Trailside view below Big Chiwaukum

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Big Chiwaukum South Ridge

Much of the snow on the ridgeline had melted. So I put away the snowshoes and went up to a notch. We bypassed a hidden snow ramp from the south before going through slick heather and rocks to 7800′.

From the ridge, we went north while staying west of the crest via several steep snow ramps. Meanwhile, we followed cairns up to the summit area over class 3 terrain. I poked around the big rocks to find a suitable way for the pup.

Snowgrass Mountain and Lake Grace
Snowgrass Mountain and Lake Grace

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Big Chiwaukum Summit Views

But as luck would have it, clouds moved in before we made it on top. Not wanting to leave without seeing something, we waited around for a while. Then it took another half an hour for the sunshine to seep through the mist slowly.

Later, as if on command, clouds had suddenly shifted into the basins. Then it was a beautiful afternoon with views of unfamiliar peaks nearby. But farther out, the notable peaks included Jim Hill Mountain and Mount Howard.

Snowgrass Mountain and Lake Grace
Bulls Tooth and Chain Lakes Peak

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Outro

We went even lower on the west to avoid the snow ramps entirely on the way down. Then we skipped the ridgeline above Grace Lake by dropping into the west basin via a small creek. Glad it worked out for us both.

Soon, we retraced our steps back to the Wildhorse Trail. Then it was a mindless long trek out to the car without much to see in the forest.

Finding our way home
Finding our way home

See more trip photos here.

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