Whitehorse Mountain by Darrington / 靠達靈頓鎮的白馬山

Whitehorse Mountain is famous among climbers. But I’ve shied away because of its popularity. Then out of the blue, I got an invitation from fellow IGer Chandler. So it was either now or never. The pups also got a break after last week.

Whitehorse Mountain summit block
Whitehorse Mountain summit block

See more trip photos here.

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

Whitehorse Mountain

Half a dozen cars were in the lot when I arrived at the trailhead. But I thought there would be more being the weekend. Eek! I couldn’t find a pullout nearby to sleep in peace. So I had to fall asleep through the annoying sounds of people chattering.

I woke up at 3 AM to prepare. Then Chandler’s friend Aaron pulled into the lot at 3:30. He had just spent the last 2.5 hours driving in from Centralia. Then Chandler got up in a short while. So we were right on schedule to start walking by 4:15.

The simple life
The simple life

See more trip photos here.

The Early Start

We hiked for a while. Then I questioned whether we were going the right way. I knew we were heading west. But it seemed odd that we kept moving away from the mountain. So Aaron checked the route and said we were surely not on the right path. Then we backtracked.

We went back to the trailhead half an hour later. But by then, we had walked an extra 1.5 miles. So much for an early start! Later we walked to the other end of the parking lot and saw the bridge. Earlier, we wondered why we hadn’t crossed it sooner. So now we knew why.

There's a trail under there
There’s a trail under there

See more trip photos here.

Neiderprum Trail

We reached the Neiderprum Trail junction in 1.25 miles. Then we climbed up through a dozen switchbacks for 1000′. From the Boulder River Wilderness boundary, the path then stayed straight. Then it was another .6 mile to reach the clearing.

Before we went up into the open, we took a break by a big down tree. A solo climber and a party of two men showed up shortly. The one guy continued as we followed right behind him. Then the other two and we played leapfrog up to the summit crux.

Good morning, Darrington
Good morning, Darrington

See more trip photos here.

Lone Tree Pass

Soon, we were up in the opening at 2700′. There we got a good look at our goal. Two other parties were here just days before. So everyone made use of their tracks. Then the groups ahead took route-finding out of the equation. But the packed snow was beginning to soften.

Glad we decided to leave snowshoes back in the cars. So we just had to follow the existing tracks through the snow. But the elevation gain was still constant and laborious. Before long, we were up in the steep snow chute below Lone Tree Pass.

On Lone Tree Pass
On Lone Tree Pass

See more trip photos here.

Whitehorse Ridge

From the woodsy pass, we then continued east through to the clearing. A tent was on the knob next to the flat area. “What a perfect place to spend the night,” we all thought. Later we found out that it belonged to the party of three who came up last night.

From the clearing, we had the view of the impressive Point 6200. The two guys we met earlier showed up while we took a break. They then continued. Soon, we packed up and left right after the men disappeared back into the forest.

Whitehorse Mountain northwest ridge
Whitehorse Mountain northwest ridge

See more trip photos here.

High Pass on Whitehorse Mountain

From the clearing, it was a little over a mile to reach High Pass. So we dropped 250′ on the southern slopes to bypass cliffs on the jagged northwest ridge. Then we slowly gained elevation as we moved closer to the steep gully below the pass. Shortly, we put on crampons before the steepest section.

The party of two who started at 2 AM came down the gully. Then midway through the steep slopes, the group of three camping on the pass came down. Later, we reached High Pass and met the same party of two and the lone climber. Here we got a closer look at today’s goal.

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

See more trip photos here.

So-Bahli-Ahli Glacier

Despite the elevation gain, it didn’t take much effort to get to this point. Thanks to all the parties who left the decent tracks. The summit was just another half a mile away. But it seemed so much farther than that. Not to mention how steep the snow looked from here.

Later, we dropped down onto the glacier. We then followed the steps moving southeast. This part turned out to be reasonably moderate. But I could tell that the late morning heat was creeping its way into the snow. Soon, we reached the crux of the climb.

Tourists of Whitehorse Mountain
Tourists of Whitehorse Mountain

See more trip photos here.

The “No Moat” Crux

The solo climber followed us from High Pass. But then he decided to turn back halfway up the glacier. Another lone climber had reached the summit 20 minutes before the rest of us. Then the two guys whom we have been leapfrogging went up through the crux first.

Glad the moat hasn’t opened yet. Woot! The other climbers went up unroped. So we did the same and carried our gear up to the summit with us. Aaron went first, then Chandler followed. We all kept a decent amount of distance between us.

The final stretch
The final stretch

See more trip photos here.

Whitehorse Mountain Summit

The steps were solid. But the real crux came in the final 10 feet. It was icier and nearly vertical. Glad we all made it through that part safely. I looked for Three Fingers right after I went up on top. Although impressive, it wasn’t the best angle to view the peak.

Mount Higgins, Round Mountain, and Jumbo Mountain were nearby. Then farther out were White Chuck Mountain. Mount Pugh, and Sloan Peak. It was also a three volcano day, with Mount Baker, Glacier Peak, and Mount Rainier.

East-to-south panoramic view
East-to-south panoramic view

See more trip photos here.

Outro

The mountain felt busy today. A total of 11 people summited. Then the six of us were on top at the same time. Later, we downclimbed using solid steps. Again, the first 10 feet felt the most awkward because of the ice.

The snow on the glacier had become slushy. So it was annoying going back down. Later, we passed three skiers and a camper below Lone Tree Pass. They looked to have turned around after seeing the snow conditions.

Back to Lone Tree Pass
Back to Lone Tree Pass

See more trip photos here.

We got in some glissading before going back into the forest. Then it was another 2.5 miles to return to the trailhead. Then we still had time to enjoy the rest of the day after the 11-hour trip.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.