Big Jim Mountain by Big Lou and Lake Augusta + Hatchery Creek / 大吉姆山

  • Reading time:4 mins read

Big Jim Mountain by Big Lou harbors Lake Augusta inside Chiwaukum Mountains. It’s the #4 tallest peak in the range before Ladies Peak. Several ways to the mountain include the most common route from Hatchery Creek off Highway 2.

Love at first view
Love at first view

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Big Jim Mountain at a Glance

Access: Hatchery Creek Trailhead
Round Trip: 16 miles
Elevation Range: 2800′-7763′
Gear: helmet
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: on the trail

The Preface

I first saw Big Jim Mountain six years ago from Frigid Mountain and Big Lou Mountain. Back then, the broad Lake Augusta Basin alone looked enticing enough to consider an overnight trip. In turn, it would make the 16-mile trip worthwhile.

Fast forward to this weekend. With the increasingly uncertain mountain forecast, the only area looking hallway decent was east of the crest. After tossing around some ideas, I decided on Big Jim Mountain.

Hatchery Creek Trail

The road to the trailhead was rough but still doable in a compact car. We later strolled through many burned trees and fireweeds in the lower trail. The aftermath of the 2014 Chiwaukum Creek Fire was still evident.

The trail first zigzagged up the steep slopes then peeled away from Hatchery Creek. Then it went up the rib east of The Badlands. So far, we’ve enjoyed a dust-free hike through the burned forest thanks to yesterday’s rain.

Big Jim Mountain via the scenic route
Big Jim Mountain via the scenic route

See more trip photos here.

Onward to Southeast Ridge

We later walked past three hunters and got a peek at today’s goal at 5100′. There Big Jim Mountain towered above Battle Canyon Creek Basin. At the 5300′ fork, I first considered going up the north ridge. But the idea of dropping altitude wasn’t appealing.

In three miles, we reached Icicle Creek Trail at 6700′. But before that, I chatted briefly with two overnighters as they came down the mountain. From the fork, we would then go onto Big Jim Mountain’s southeast ridge.

See more trip photos here.

Big Jim Mountain Southeast Ridge

After a quick lunch, we left the path and traversed the ridge for the next 1.5 miles. Lake Augusta Basin to our left looked inviting to spend a night. Then in the east bowl, the newly turned golden larches strewing Big Jim Mountain Lakes was a real treat.

But the largely sunny sky soon became cloudy. En route, we moved through slick, moss-covered rocks. Glad that this way was more direct than I had expected. After going over four high points, we reached 7600′ saddle below the summit.

Last view of Lake Augusta
Last view of Lake Augusta

See more trip photos here.

Big Jim Mountain Summit Views

Lake Augusta soon went out of sight. We walked up the broad, gentle south slopes and reached the top shortly. Within the next hour, clouds hovered over Icicle Ridge and north of Highway 2 to create an inversion. Then the sun was out again!

Enchantments views included Mount Stuart, Cashmere Mountain, Dragontail Peak, and The Temple. The nearby Cape Horn, Grindstone Mountain. Snowgrass Mountain, Big Chiwaukum, and Opportunity Mountain were also visible.

Southern panoramic view
Southern panoramic view

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Outro

We made a loop trip by exciting via the north. Then we left the jagged terrain for the ridge that separated the two Big Jim Mountain Lakes. At 6500′, we went into the lower lake basin through talus and larches.

Soon, we were on Point 6886’s east ridge. Then we went northeast to Point 6245 onto Badlands Trail. The dusty and down treed path was hard to follow but glad not to have come this way. After a five-mile quiet hike, we reached the car shortly after dark.

Big Jim Mountain Lakes
Big Jim Mountain Lakes

See more trip photos here.

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