Snowgrass Mountain by Big Chiwaukum via Frosty Pass / 雪草山

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Snowgrass Mountain ranks #2 in the Chiwaukum Mountains. Meanwhile, it shares a long ridgeline with the taller Big Chiwaukum to the north and Ladies Peak to the south. Plus, Frosty Pass offers one of the many ways to the mountain.

Snowgrass Mountain summit in the mists
Snowgrass Mountain summit in the mists

See more trip photos here.

Snowgrass Mountain at a Glance

Access: White Pine Trailhead
Round Trip: 21.8 miles
Elevation Range: 2320′-7993′
Gear: helmet
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: with guidance

The Preface on Snowgrass Mountain

Snowgrass Mountain wasn’t on my radar until this year, but it’s one on my list doable in a long day. Compared with last weekend, the weather was rather dire. I would’ve liked to have spent the night and climbed other peaks.

Snowgrass Mountain is an unranking peak on the T200 list. I had hoped to save it for the end, but the weekend’s weather made me decide to check it off the list. Whoever elected to add more peaks to the lineup wasn’t thinking. Grr.

Entering Alpine Lakes Wilderness
Entering Alpine Lakes Wilderness

See more trip photos here.

White Pine Trailhead to Wildhorse Trail

It was nice to have a trail clear to Frosty Pass despite the limited views in the trees. We made it to the Wildhorse Trail fork without many photo stops and continued. When we went into the clearing, the weather didn’t look good.

Marmot screeching started as soon as we hiked past the trail to Lake Grace. “Shouldn’t they be napping on this dreary day?” I wondered. Snowgrass Mountain would have been visible if it weren’t for the persistent clouds.

A sea of devils
A sea of devils

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Frosty Pass Plus South-West Ridge Traverse

We later met a man on a five-day trip who stayed at Lake Margaret 400′ down the south side. He warned me about a black bear in the area before moving on toward Lake Mary. The pup and I left the pass shortly.

As suggested in a report, we moved east on the ridge and soon went over Point 7161. After going down to the east saddle, I peered into the northwest gully. It looked like a feasible route to bypass Frosty Pass on the way back.

Frosty Pass to Snowgrass Mountain
Frosty Pass to Snowgrass Mountain

See more trip photos here.

Snowgrass Mountain South Ridge

Visibility stayed weak as we moved slowly to the 7400′ south saddle. It had been breezy since we left Frosty Pass, then the speed picked up as we neared the crest. We waited east of the creat for the gusts to die down, but they never did.

We climbed toward Snowgrass Mountain summit east of the crest as visibility worsened. But since we were near the top, I wanted to tag the high point and call it good. I had looked forward to seeing the green foliage this time of the year. It began to drizzle then.

Point 7161 on the right
Point 7161 on the right

See more trip photos here.

The Final Stretch

Soon, we were on the false summit. But the clouds were so dense that the actual high point was still not visible. Through the mist, the eerie broken ridgeline looked impassable.

I knew this wasn’t a technical climb, so we poked around the east and found a ramp there. Then we went down to the notch via downsloping ledges plus loose talus. By now, the drizzle had turned into light rain.

A pre-summit dance for Snowgrass Mountain
A pre-summit dance for Snowgrass Mountain

See more trip photos here.

Snowgrass Mountain Summit Without Views

At last, I had the first actual sighting of the summit from the notch. Then it was only another 150′ gain to the top. But what lousy weather it was! It was also our second trip this season without views on top.

The trip reminded me of McGregor Mountain, but at least it didn’t rain then. We stayed long enough to grab our selfies and sign the summit register. As luck would have it, the rain stopped as we were leaving.

Kodak moment on Snowgrass Mountain
Kodak moment on Snowgrass Mountain

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Back to the Meadow and Out

Soon, we were back on the saddle by Point 7161, so I decided to shortcut down the gully instead. We bypassed boulders by hugging the grassy slopes. But as the terrain steepened, we moved to the center of the route.

En route, we stopped several times to enjoy lots of delicious blueberries. I later located the trail in the field and hiked the long way back to the car. Soon, it drizzled but didn’t last long, and the clouds stayed in the valley well into the evening.

Finding our way home
Finding our way home

See more trip photos here.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Eric Jain

    I hope the picture labelled “In search of Snowgrass Mountain summit” was mixed up, and winter hasn’t arrived quite so early 🙂

  2. onehikeaweek

    Thanks Eric for letting me know! Glad someone caught the mistake. I’ve used many of your WTA reports for my off-season outing ideas. So thanks for those!

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