Whitehorse Mountain in Darrington via Niederprum Trail / 白馬山

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Whitehorse Mountain in Darlington is the second tallest peak in the Three Finger-Whitehorse range. The classic climb is also famous among climbers and alpinists alike. The standard route starts 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

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. Then Chandler’s friend Aaron showed up half an hour later after driving 2.5 hours from Centralia. After Chandler got up and quickly got ready, we were on schedule to start 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 used 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 through to the clearing with a tent on the bump above the flat area. We later found that it belonged to three who came up last night. “What a perfect place to spend the night,” I thought.

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 a little over a mile to reach High Pass from the opening. We dropped 250′ on the south side to bypass cliffs off the northwest ridge. Then we made a rising traverse to the gully below the pass and put on crampons before the steep part.

The party of two started at 2 AM came down the gully. Then midway through the chute, the group of three camping on the pass descended. 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 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 while we kept a reasonable distance.

The final stretch
The final stretch

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Whitehorse Mountain Summit

The firm steps soon took us up to the crux within the final 10 feet. It was icier and nearly vertical, but glad that we all made it through safely. I looked for Three Fingers right after I went up on top. But it wasn’t the best angle to view the impressive peak.

Mount Higgins, Round Mountain, and Jumbo Mountain were all within reach. Then farther away 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

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Outro

The mountain felt busy today. A total of 11 people had summited, with six of us on top at one. We later downclimbed using the firm steps. Again, the first 10 feet was the most awkward because of the ice. The pure slush on the glacier was annoying to cross.

Back at Lone Tree Pass, we passed three skiers and a camper who later turned around. Soon, we glissaded before going into the forest and walked 2.5 miles back to the trailhead. Then we still had plenty of time left after the 11-hour trip.

Back to Lone Tree Pass
Back to Lone Tree Pass

See more trip photos here.

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