Monday, June 19, 2006

North Chiwaukum 6.19.06

I managed to get out of bed by 6:30 which isn't always easy for me. I had a big day planned and I wanted to get home by a reasonable hour. I don't particularly like Hy 2 and it always seems to take longer than I would like to get to my destination. I still managed to be walking by 10:30. The plan was to hike the Whitepine trail for about .25 mile and then leave the trail just past the old clearcut. I wanted to access the long spur ridge that tends SE towards Pt. 7132. I was hoping a summit of this peak. It is not on the Back Court 100 list because it lack of prominence but it is still a worthy summit boasting a 4400ft gain. I had hoped to follow the ridgeline to Chiwaukum 3(Pt. 7423) which ranks a healthy #23 on the Back Court list. I was plagued from the outset with a weak minded day. All I could think of on the Whitehorse trail was that the climb was a bit more than what I was looking for on this day. I started to think a easy trail walk would be a better fit on this day. I managed to talk myself into a least leaving the trail and just see ""how it goes"". The ridge goes fairly well there were alot of blow downs the first 500ft of climb. I was able to see bits and pieces of a climber's trail and was able to follow for long streches. The grade is a grunt for the first 3000ft but relents a bit until you reach around 6200ft where the grade thankfully eases. Snow started around 5200ft and was patchy until 6000ft where is becomes solid. The snow was great and I made better time on the more open ridgeline. The snow stops around 6800ft and the final push to the summit is snowless and not technical in the least. I was quite shocked to see bootprints in the snow, at least I am not the only crazy out there. The views from the summit were lessened with the somewhat heavy cloud cover. The wind picked up greatly on the summit I am guessing at least 35-40 mph. I am sure the route to Chiwaukum 3 is quite straight forward but I wasn't thrilled with the idea of running the ridge with such strong winds. I decided to descend as quick as possible to my pack I had stowed below me. I enjoyed some well earned nourishment in the shelter of a tree well. The portion of the descent on snow went very quickly but once I was off snow I erred a bit and descended in a more westernly direction. The grade was steep enough to be very vigilant, I was thankfull to have an ice ax. I was very pleased to rejoin the Whitepine trail about a half mile from where I had left it. I was quite pleased that I had beaten my poor mindset to add another summit. I was however quite bummed to have lost my favorite sunglasses on the way down. I am sure the chances of someone ever finding my glasses are much less than me winning the lottery.

4400ft of climb 3:50 up and 3:00 down.

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