Choral Slam via Anthem Creek / 經頌歌溪上聖歌滿貫

Gopher Mountain across the basin
Gopher Mountain across the basin

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The Lowdown on Choral Slam

Choral Slam = Gopher Mountain + Choral Peak
聖歌滿貫=地鼠山+聖歌峯

Access: Entiat River Trailhead
Round Trip: TBD
Elevation Range: 3160′-8243′
Gear: helmet
GPS Track: available

Entiat River Trail to Anthem Creek Trail

Due to wildfires in the last couple of years, the Entiat River Road had only been accessible to mile 32. Luckily, this year forest service reopened the road to Entiat River Trailhead. Pup and I arrived late Friday night, and car camped for an early start.

Next morning, we hiked on the well-maintained, albeit dusty, trail for a while. Then we made a right onto Anthem Creek Trail (#1435) at the first junction. There was a ton more dust in farther up the path. The effort in removing down trees from the trail in the burnt areas was evident. Then from 4400′ to 5000′, the trail disappeared under massive down trees and dense brush.

Road to an anthem
Road to an anthem

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Dusty and Down Tree-Infested Trail

Trail reappeared at 5000′ but with many more down trees to bypass. Then at the next junction, we descended on Duncan Hill Trail (#1434) and headed north to the Anthem Creek crossing. The stream was our first water source after leaving Entiat River Trail. Glad to see that the fires had spared this area.

Shortly afterward, we stumbled upon large tree debris. It had buried a small section of the trail at the first clearing. Then at 6400′, we went cross-country through a large talus field and steep heather. The headwall extending down from Choral Peak’s south ridge was directly overhead.

Anthem Creek Basin
Anthem Creek Basin

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Anthem Creek Basin

As we entered the lush, open basin At 7000′, a few ravens began to swirl overhead. Anthem Creek quietly wound its way through the lower grassland. I scouted out a campsite and then dropped off the overnight gear. Shortly after, the pup and I headed toward the 7500′ pass at the head of the basin.

Before the trip, I couldn’t find reports of parties climbing Choral Slam via Anthem Creek Basin. So the original plan was to climb Choral Peak if we couldn’t descend into Choral Lake Basin. Then the next day we would climb Gopher Mountain via Choral Creek.

The north side
The north side

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Gopher Mountain Climb

But to my surprise, north of the pass was nothing more than a steep talus with solid rock ledges. I shouted “Hell ya!” while shifting my attention over to Gopher Mountain. The tip of the Chelan Slam peaks formed a beautiful backdrop. The 300′ descent to the lake didn’t take long.

As it turned out, getting around the buttress extending down from Point 7130 was much less cumbersome. Before long, we were scrambling on steep scree and heather aiming for Gopher Mountain’s western saddle. Traversing the scree from 7200′ to the saddle was slow going.

Choral Creek Basin
Choral Creek Basin

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Gopher Mountain Summit

Smoke inhalation from last weekend’s trip seemed to have affected my breathing. It felt as though I was stopping every few minutes from catching my breath. We made the final 400′ ridge walk up to the summit just as the clouds began to roll in. All the while, a mountain goat was quietly watching us from above.

Pretty soon, clouds had overtaken the tiny glimpses of views, not enough clearing to get decent photos. Just before making our descent, I got a quick look at Choral Peak from the other end of the summit. But most everything else was still in clouds. Less of a problem going down on scree, we plunge stepped most of it.

Choral Peak from Gopher Mountain
Choral Peak from Gopher Mountain

See more trip photos here.

Choral Peak Climb

A quick break by Choral Lake, then we proceeded to head back up to the pass. Summit was just another 400′ ascent via the east ridge, which steepened at 150′ below the top. We bypassed hidden outcrops via the south side of the crest on easy yet exposed boulders and ledges.

There were no views on top. So after signing the summit register and taking our selfies, we then headed back down to Anthem Lake Basin. We got back to camp at 15 minutes before sunset. Nighttime temperatures dropped significantly as the wind started to blow into the basin. Fall had arrived.

East ridge
East ridge

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Outro

In climbing both high points on day one allowed us to enjoy a relaxing exit the next day. We enjoyed a quiet breakfast at camp, and then we took our time getting ready before heading out. Back at the car, temperatures rose to the high 70s just past noon.

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