Whitehorse Mountain in Darrington via Niederprum Trail / 白馬山

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Whitehorse Mountain by Jumbo Mountain perches above Darrington in Boulder River Wilderness. So-Bahli-Alhi Glacier via Niederprum Trail and Lone Tree Pass offers access to this iconic peak in North Cascades.

Whitehorse Mountain summit block
Whitehorse Mountain summit block

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Whitehorse Mountain at a Glance

Access: Neiderprum Trailhead
Round Trip: 10.7 miles
Elevation Range: 530′-6840′
Gear: helmet, ice ax, crampons
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: no

The Preface on Whitehorse Mountain

Only half a dozen cars were in the lot when I arrived. But I thought more would be here being the weekend. Eek! I couldn’t find a pullout nearby to sleep peacefully and had to try dozing off through the annoying nearby chatters.

I woke up at 3 AM after a restless night feeling irritated. Then half an hour later, Chandler’s friend Aaron showed up after a 2.5-hour drive from Centralia. After Chandler woke up and quickly got ready, we started walking at 4:15.

The simple life in Darrington
The simple life in Darrington

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The Not-So-Early Early Start

We hiked until I questioned whether we were on the right track. The GPS showed that we were moving away from the peak for some reason. Then Aaron checked the route and confirmed we were going the wrong way. So we backtracked.

So much for an early start! We returned to the trailhead half an hour after the extra 1.5 miles. Then we finally saw the bridge on the other end of the lot. Funny because we wondered why we hadn’t crossed it sooner.

En route to Lone Tree Pass
En route to Lone Tree Pass

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Neiderprum Trail

We reached the Neiderprum Trail fork in 1.25 miles and up a dozen switchbacks over the 1000′ altitude. The path later stayed straight at the Boulder River Wilderness boundary. Then it was only half a mile to the clearing.

Before the opening, we took a break by a big down tree. Then a solo climber and a group of two appeared shortly. One guy continued as we followed behind. The other party and we played leapfrog to the summit ridge.

Morning view of Darrington in Sauk River Valley
Morning view of Darrington in Sauk River Valley

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Lone Tree Pass

We entered the opening at 2700′ and saw our goal. Two parties here days before left their tracks, plus the groups ahead took route-finding out of the equation. By now, the day had warmed up, and the snow was softening.

Glad we decided to leave snowshoes at the cars and use the climbers’ tracks. Meanwhile, the steady and arduous include kept me huffing and puffing. Before long, we reached the steep chute below Lone Tree Pass.

Looking north from Lone Tree Pass
Looking north from Lone Tree Pass

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Whitehorse Ridge

From the treed pass, we continued east to the clearing with a tent above the flat area. We found out later it belonged to three climbers who had gone up the night before. What a perfect place to spend the night.

We viewed the impressive Point 6200 from the clearing as we took a break. The two guys we met earlier showed up soon after but continued. We packed up and left shortly after the men disappeared into the trees.

Whitehorse Mountain's northwest ridge
Whitehorse Mountain’s northwest ridge

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High Pass on Whitehorse Mountain

From the clearing, it was only over a mile to High Pass. We dropped 250′ on the south side to bypass cliffs off the northwest ridge. Then we traversed to the broad gully and put on crampons before the steep climb to the pass.

The two people who started at 2 AM were now coming down. Then midway up the gully, the three who camped on the ridge descended. Soon, we reached High Pass and met the same two guys and the lone climber.

So-Bahli-Ahli Glacier below the summit
So-Bahli-Ahli Glacier below the summit

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So-Bahli-Ahli Glacier

Other than the steady incline, coming here didn’t take much effort. Thanks to everyone who had laid out the tracks. Despite being half a mile away, the summit still looked far, with the snow looking steeper also.

We dropped onto the glacier shortly and followed the steps southeast. The terrain was reasonably mild here. But the late morning heat had started to creep in as we arrived at the climb’s crux.

Tourists of Whitehorse Mountain
Tourists of Whitehorse Mountain

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The “No Moat” Crux

The solo guy followed us from High Pass but wanted to turn around halfway up the snow. Another climber had reached the summit 20 minutes earlier. Then we let the two guys we’d been leapfrogging with going up the crux first.

Woot! Glad that the moat wasn’t there yet. The other climbers went up unroped, so we did the same and carried our gear up to the top. Aaron went first, and Chandler followed as we kept a reasonable distance.

The final stretch through So-Bahli-Ahli Glacier
The final stretch through So-Bahli-Ahli Glacier

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Whitehorse Mountain Summit Views

The firm steps soon took us to the crux in the last ten feet. Despite being icier and nearly vertical, we all went up safely. I immediately looked for Three Fingers, but it wasn’t the best angle to view the unique peak.

It was a three-volcano day with views of Mount Baker, Glacier Peak, and Mount Rainier. Mount Higgins, Round Mountain, and Jumbo Mountain across the valleys were within reach. White Chuck Mountain, Mount Pugh, and Sloan Peak sat farther away.

East-to-south panorama from Whitehorse Mountain
East-to-south panorama from Whitehorse Mountain

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Exiting the Mountain

It was a busy day with 11 people who summited, and six of us were on top at once. Afterward, we downclimbed awkwardly through the first ten feet due to the ice. Then we contended with the annoying slush over the glacier.

Back at Lone Tree Pass, we passed three skiers and a camper who had turned around. Then we glissaded down the chute and walked 2.5 miles back to the trailhead. An early start left us with much time to spare after 11 hours.

Back to Lone Tree Pass
Back to Lone Tree Pass

See more trip photos here.

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