2017/9/9-10 – Gopher Mountain + Choral Peak / 地鼠山+合唱峯

Objective number one
Objective number one

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Entiat River Road had been gated at mile 32 the last couple of years due to wildfires. This year it had been reopened to road’s end at the Entiat River Trailhead. Pup and I drove into the area late Friday night and car camped for an early start.

Good trail, albeit somewhat dusty, to the first trail junction where we took a right onto Anthem Creek Trail (#1435). A ton more dust in lower sections, but lots of work had been done in burnt areas to remove down trees from the trail. Trail disappeared from 4,400′ to 5,000′ under massive down trees and heavy brush.

Road to an anthem

Road to an anthem

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Trail reappeared at 5,000′ but with many down trees to negotiate. At the next trail junction we descended Duncan Hill Trail (#1434) due north to the Anthem Creek crossing. The creek was our first water source after leaving Entiat River Trail. Glad to see this area had been spared from fires.

Massive tree debris had buried a small section of the trail at the first clearing above the creek crossing. We went cross-country at 6,400′ through a large talus field and steep heather beneath the headwall extending from Choral Peak’s south ridge.

Anthem Creek Basin
Anthem Creek Basin

Photos from this trip can be found here.

A few ravens swirled overhead as we entered the lush, open basin At 7,000′, with Anthem Creek quietly flowing through the lower grassland. After scouting out a camp spot and dropping off gear, Pup and I headed for the 7,500′ pass at head of the basin.

Before the trip I couldn’t find reports of parties climbing both Choral Peak and Gopher Mountain via Anthem Creek Basin. So the plan was to climb just Choral Peak if we couldn’t descend into Choral Lake Basin, and approach Gopher Mountain from Choral Creek Basin the next day.

North side
North side

Photos from this trip can be found here.

But to my surprise, north of the pass was nothing more than a steep talus with solid rock ledges. “Hell ya!”, I shouted while shifting my attention over to Gopher Mountain, with tips of Chelan Slam peaks formed a nice backdrop behind it. The 300′ descent down to the lake went by fast.

Getting around the buttress extending from Point 7130 turned out to be much less cumbersome than anticipated. Before long, we were scrambling north-northwestward on steep scree and heather to Gopher’s 7,600′ west saddle. Traversing the scree from 7,200′ to the saddle was slow going.

Choral Creek Basin

Choral Creek Basin

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Smoke inhalation from last weekend’s trip seemed to have affected my breathing, I was needing to stop every few minutes and catch my breath. Clouds slowly rolled in from the west as we made the final 400′ ridge walk up to the summit. All the while a mountain goat was quietly watching us from above.

Pretty soon, the tiny window of views was overtaken by clouds, not enough time to get decent photos. We got an hazy look at Choral Peak from other end of the summit before descending, most everything else was 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

Photos from this trip can be found here.

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

Zero views on top, so I signed the register, took our selfies and headed back down to Anthem Lake Basin 15 minutes before sunset. Nighttime temperatures dropped significantly as wind started to blow into the basin. Fall had arrived.

East ridge
East ridge

Photos from this trip can be found here.

I was glad to have gotten both summits on day one, which made day two a relaxing and lazy day. We enjoyed our breakfast in the basin and took our time getting ready before heading out. Temperatures climbed up to high 70s back past noon back at the car.

Access: Entiat River Road
Gear: helmet


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s