Monday, May 26, 2008

White Pine Wanderings 5.26.08

was looking forward to a full day in the mountains and with some benign weather I was looking for a big day. I wanted to summit Chiwaukum Mt. 7423'. I had been in the area once on a previous trip I used a distinct NW ridge to summit Chiwaukum 2 7132' and had hoped to continue on to Chiwaukum Mt. I was forced off the ridge by some stout winds so I was eager to clean up my mess. From the outset the day was filled with problems. I hadn't shut the Subaru's door completely and the battery was dead. It took 45 minutes to get enough charge to get the car started. I had mangaged to get out of bed by 0500 so I felt like I might still have enough time to make it back for my evening obligations. I made good time to the Whitepine Road which was in great shape. Today's route was originally going to be different. I parked at a gated spur road at around 2400'. I wanted to use this road for the initial ascent until I could reach the subtle ridge that leads to Chiwaukum 1 6602' I hoped to continue on the McCue Ridge 6935' and then on to Chiwaukum Mt. For some reason I felt like this route that I had no info on wasn't such a good idea. I decided to use my route from my previous attempt instead. I parked at the end of the Whitepine Road and started to pack. I suddenly became quite ill, losing my breakfast in the process. This day was off to very auspicious start. I stayed on the trail for about .25 miles and then left for the steep climb. After 400' I decided that what I needed was a nap and not a long climb. I have been working an absurd amount of hours recently and I starting to feel the effects. I backtracked to the Whitepine Trail and enjoyed the feel of earth under my feet. The melt is in full swing and I was stymied by some heavy stream flow at 3100'. I just bought a new camera so I played around with it for a while and I tried to take a nap without success. I decided to head back to the car. When I reached my original spur road I thought I should at least take a look. I left the pack in the car to make my way up what I thought was a short road. My map shows the road ending at 2900' I was able to walk all the way to 4200'. From there I reached consolidated snow and was able to ascend easily. Now running short on time I was forced to turn back. I cut some switchbacks on the way down. For my next jaunt up this road I will leave the road at 3400' instead of staying on the road. I was worried about the drive home because of the holiday traffic. Not wanting to get stuck on HY 2 I drove to Leavenworth and back home on I-90 which turned out to be just as bad. As I finally broke free from traffic I was blasted with some intense thunderstorms. I managed to make it home only 30 minutes late. I saw a nice young black bear just after cresting Steven's pass. I saw the same bear on the news tonight. I had to laugh as I watched a man filming the bear from quite close. Looking at his wife's concern from 25 yards behind him was quite memorable.

Approx 10 miles 2500' 5:30 car to car

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