Chikamin Peak by Huckleberry Mountain via Mineral Creek + PCT / 奇卡民峯

  • Reading time:11 mins read

Chikamin Peak by Huckleberry Mountain towers above the head of Gold Creek Valley. Three main routes to the peak include Mineral Creek, which offers the shortest distance at eight miles each way. But they all require hiking parts of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) en route.

Chikamin Peak in the mists
Chikamin Peak in the mists

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Chikamin Peak at a Glance

Access: Mineral Creek Trailhead
Round Trip: 16.5 miles
Elevation Range: 2360′-7000′
Gear: helmet
Route Info: Ian Lauder
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: no

The Preface on Chikamin Peak

I took my first picture of Chikamin Peak from Iron Peak in Teanaway a decade ago. Back then, the unique ridgeline under a white coat looked unreachable. So I filed it away and admired it from other places over the years.

Fast forward to today and ten years later. With my recent visit to Huckleberry Mountain, a call to this hard-to-reach high point was in order. It would be my last new place to visit off PCT in north Snoqualmie Pass.

Mineral Creek Trailhead
Mineral Creek Trailhead

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Mineral Creek Trail

It’s our first time here. The pups and I started walking from the empty lot an hour before sunrise to prepare for the long day. Soon, we came up to Kachess River and crossed the water on a skinny log.

The rocky old roadbed took us to 2600′ before turning into an actual trail alongside Mineral Creek. Later at mile two, we crossed the stream on rocks to the north. So far, the views in the trees were spotty because of the clouds.

Morning light
Morning light

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En Route to Park Lakes

We hiked the brushy trail along the foothills of Three Queens. Meanwhile, the increasing mists had brought out the vibrant fall colors. At 4000′, we crossed the stream from Lower Park Lake and went up the steep hillside.

Soon, we made a brief stop by Middle Park Lake and went up the ridge. Then in half a mile, we reached the trail fork and took the PCT. Once we went past the lakes, we’ve lost the little views we had entirely.

Middle Park Lake
Middle Park Lake

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Pacific Crest Trail Southbound

PCT took a turn west at the next fork by Chikamin Ridge high point. Going straight would’ve taken us down through Glacier Lake. But the weather was too uninspiring, and so I gave up on the idea to see the lake.

The trail took a sharp corner over the ridgeline in half a mile. Soon, we were west of Chikamin Ridge and walked north through a few inches of days-old snow. The heavy clouds and the stillness had made it eerie throughout.

From PCT to Chikamin Peak
From PCT to Chikamin Peak

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In Search of the South Gully

We walked north for a mile and slowly dropped 200′ in the process. En route, we went below Four Brothers that I had hoped to see but couldn’t. Later at 5500′, we left PCT and went uphill in the trees.

The goal was to find the correct gully. Soon, we went out of the trees east of the massive rock field, which happened to be the right spot. But the slabs over the steep terrain were damp and slippery.

In the south gully
In the south gully

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Chikamin Ridge South Ridge

Later we bypassed short cliffs unsuitable for the dogs from the west. Then we went back east on a ramp to be above the crux. From there, we continued in a narrow gully, and I helped the pups up a tall step.

Things started looking promising above the narrow path. Then I guided the dogs through the west of the dike on the steep incline. Soon, we were on grassy slopes and went up to the 6240′ saddle above the slick heather.

Chikamin Peak south ridge
Chikamin Peak south ridge

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Final Stretch on Chikamin Peak

More snow showed up on the pass as we went north and bypassed krummholz from the east. The limited views kept us from seeing the route up ahead. So we slowly moved through rocks and later came upon a massive talus at 6300′.

At 100′ above the rocks, we moved back onto the crest. The lack of snow showed a faint path here as it weaved its way up the south ridge. So we followed it up another 400′ to reach the summit block.

The crux gully below the top
The crux gully below the top

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Chikamin Peak Summit Minus the Views

I poked around and found the standard way to the top. But just when I thought the pups would need to stay behind, I found a ledge below the crux gully. Then with some guidance and more scrambling, we all got to the top.

The sun looked like it would come out when we were on the south ridge. But that never happened. The dense clouds didn’t move an inch during our visit. Too bad, I had been waiting for this moment for a long time.

Kodak moment on Chikamin Peak
Kodak moment on Chikamin Peak

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Outro

Ugh, it’s a long way to come here without seeing the breathtaking landscape. I had wanted to see Lemah Mountain and Four Brothers up close all the years I’ve climbed in the area. Oh well, better luck next time!

Clouds persisted as we made our way down the mountain back to the PCT. The evening colors in the valley were even more vibrant than in the morning. At last, fall has arrived.

Finding our way home
Finding our way home

See more trip photos here.

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