French Cabin Mountain on Kachess Ridge / 卡契斯上的法國小屋山

  • Reading time:3 mins read

French Cabin Mountain is a group of high points on Kachess Ridge. The main summit (west peak) also ranks #5 on the top 10 highest peaks on that ridge. Best of all, there’s plenty of solitude to have during the off-season.

French Cabin Mountain south ridge
French Cabin Mountain south ridge

See more trip photos here.

French Cabin Mountain at a Glance

Access: NF-4308
Round Trip: 10.3 miles
Elevation Range: 3440′-5724′
Gear: none
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: with guidance

The Preface

Alas, summer climbing has come to an end. During which, we had four months of excellent weather. I was content to have met my ascent goal for the season. For now, we are back to doing day hikes and soon snowshoe excursions.

Salmon La Sac Road was inaccessible past NF-4308 junction because of the Jolly Mountain fire‘s aftermath. Later I parked by a big dip half a mile before Domerie Peak Trailhead (4308-115). Then we cut uphill to the trail. Soon, the partly sunny weather turned cloudy.

Fall is here
Fall is here

See more trip photos here.

Domerie Peak Trail

Only a handful of down trees over the trail that we needed to bypass. In fear of the weather turning worse, we went to French Cabin Mountain’s main summit (west peak) first. So we skipped the north and south peaks along the way.

The trail stayed over and south of the crest. Meanwhile, the path went over all the high points except the north peak. The sky cleared up at one point as we neared the south peak. But the sunny weather didn’t last very long.

South Peak
South Peak

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South Ridge Route

After we went by Point 5563, the trail then dropped to 5000′ in the meadows. Later we climbed back up to reach French Cabin Mountain’s south ridge at 5300′. There we left the trail and headed north.

Despite the gentle contour lines on the map, the ridgeline was anything but smooth. So we stayed west of the craggy crest via ledges, talus, and heather. The final scramble up to the top was fairly woodsy. But the summit was out in the open.

Trail junction
Trail junction

See more trip photos here.

French Cabin Mountain Plus South Peak

Too bad we missed out on the views; they’d been great on a clear day. A mixture of snow, rain, and hail came right before we reached the top. We took a quick break to change out wet layers and take some photos. Then we went back down.

Back on the trail, we retraced our steps and went up to the woodsy South Peak later. The high point was merely a bump on the ridge next to the trail. But it didn’t take much effort to climb this one! No views here, and so we left right after making our cameo.

Kodak moment on French Cabin Mountain
Kodak moment on French Cabin Mountain

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North Peak and Out

North Peak’s gentle south ridge made for a smooth traverse over the heather slopes. We had views down toward Cle Elum Lake, but nothing in other directions. Later we dropped down the northeast ridge through the forest. We bypassed some outcrops just before joining the trail at 5000′.

On the way out, we saw a dirt biker scoping out the trail conditions. Then we chatted a bit. He mentioned that the bikers association would be back and take care of any major concerns if needed. Thanks to the crew for continuing to maintain this path!

Cle Elum Lake
Cle Elum Lake

See more trip photos here.

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