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Ascent of Big Chiwaukum on 2010-08-14

Climber: Ken Jones

Others in Party:Chuck Powrie
Jay Bruce
Date:Saturday, August 14, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Big Chiwaukum
    Location:USA-Washington
    Elevation:8081 ft / 2463 m

Ascent Trip Report

Backpacked with late (and hot) start from White Pine TH. There is a signed, numbered trail (not on any of my maps) to Lake Grace, but it starts west of Snowgrass Mtn (and not farther north, as I'd hoped). got to camp around dark; nice site (breezy) between the two lakes.

Saturday morning crossed outlet stream of Lake Grace and walked north to ridge, then turned east. Although it looks unlikely in spots, this goes all the way to the main N-S ridge at class 1 to 2. We went to the main crest, but did not like the "gendarme" so we dropped back to the west maybe 100 feet below the crest. We traversed north, staying west of and below the crest, crossing gullies but nothing as bad as it looks. Just before the summit block we crossed a slab with decent footholds and a good "railing" of handholds that led to an entry into the chute/gully that drops from the notch just south of the summit block (by the way, the summit block is the northerly of the three high points visible on the approach and is the "gnarliest" of the three).

Chuck took the rope into the chute and climbed to near its head where he was able to anchor it. We used prusiks on a single line to drop perhaps 100 feet down the chute from the slab to an obvious exit to the north. This led to a ledge to the left (west) around a corner (with a cairn) and then to class 2 to low 3 work to the summit. We used the rope only in the chute, and there primarily because of portable handholds and footholds. Technically, it isn't likely roped climbing for most people. Helmets and one-at-a-time movement are strongly called for.

Due to some route-finding issues, a tangled rope, and a warm weekend we returned to camp late enough that we decided to spend another afternoon and evening, and hike out in the cool of Sunday morning.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:6081 ft / 1852 m
    Extra Gain:400 ft / 121 m
    Trailhead:White Pine Cr TH  2800 ft / 853 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Open Country, Scramble, Exposed Scramble
    Gear Used:
Rope, Ski Poles, Tent Camp
    Nights Spent:2 nights away from roads



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