Whitehorse Mountain in Darrington via Niederprum Trail / 白馬山

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Whitehorse Mountain in Darlington ranks #2 in the Three Finger-Whitehorse range. Moreover, this classic high point by Jumbo Mountain is highly famous among mountain fanatics. The standard route begins on Niederprum Trail through Lone Tree Pass.

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 in peace. So I tried falling asleep through the annoying chatters nearby.

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

The simple life
The simple life

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The Not-So-Early Early Start

We hiked for a while until I questioned whether we were on the right track. For some reason, we kept moving away from the mountain. So Aaron checked the route and said we were going the wrong way. Then we backtracked.

Half an hour later, we returned to the trailhead after the unnecessary 1.5 miles. So much for an early start! Shortly, we walked to the other end of the lot and saw the bridge. Funny because we wondered why we hadn’t crossed it sooner.

Taking the path more traveled
Taking the path more traveled

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Neiderprum Trail

We reached the Neiderprum Trail fork in 1.25 miles and went up a dozen switchbacks over the 1000′ altitude. The path later stayed straight at the Boulder River Wilderness boundary. Then it was another 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 showed up shortly. One guy continued as we followed behind. The other party and us would later play leapfrog up to the summit ridge.

Good morning, Darrington
Good morning, Darrington

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Lone Tree Pass

We went out into the open at 2700′ and saw our goal. Two other parties were here days before, so everyone used their tracks. Then the groups ahead took route-finding out of the equation. By now, the snow was beginning to soften.

Glad we decided to leave snowshoes at the cars and use the existing tracks. Meanwhile, the elevation gain was steady and arduous. But before long, we had reached the steep chute below Lone Tree Pass and continued.

On Lone Tree Pass
On Lone Tree Pass

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Whitehorse Ridge

From the treed pass, we went east to the clearing with a tent on the bump by the flat area. We found out later it belonged to three climbers who had come up last night. What a perfect place to spend the night.

We had a view of the impressive Point 6200 from the clearing. The two guys we met earlier showed up and moved on as we took a break. Shortly, we packed up and left after the men disappeared into the forest.

Whitehorse Mountain northwest ridge
Whitehorse Mountain northwest ridge

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High Pass on Whitehorse Mountain

It was just over a mile to High Pass from the clearing. We dropped 250′ on the south side to bypass cliffs off the northwest ridge. Then we traversed to the gully and put on crampons before the steep climb up 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 pass came down. Soon, we reached High Pass and met the same two guys and the lone climber. We were one step closer to today’s goal.

So-Bahli-Ahli Glacier
So-Bahli-Ahli Glacier

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So-Bahli-Ahli Glacier

Despite the steady incline, it didn’t take much effort to come here. Thanks to everyone who had laid out the tracks. Despite being only half a mile away, the summit looked farther. The snow also looked steep from here.

Shortly, we dropped onto the glacier and followed the steps while moving southeast. The terrain was reasonably moderate here. But the late morning heat had started to creep its way 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 climber followed us from High Pass but decided to turn back halfway up the snow. Another lone climber had reached the summit 20 minutes earlier. Then the two guys we have been leapfrogging went up the crux first.

Woot! Glad that the moat hasn’t opened up 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
The final stretch

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Whitehorse Mountain Summit

The firm steps soon took us to the crux in the last ten feet. It was icier and almost vertical, but we all climbed up safely. I looked for Three Fingers right away, 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 all were within reach. White Chuck Mountain, Mount Pugh, and Sloan Peak are farther away.

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

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Outro

It was a busy day with 11 people who summited, and six of us were on top at once. Afterward, we downclimbed using the steps, but the first 10 feet were awkward because of the ice. Then we contended with the slush on the glacier, which was annoying.

Back at Lone Tree Pass, we passed three skiers and a camper who had later turned around. Then we glissaded before entering the forest 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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