Ascent of Mount Phelps on 2016-04-16

Climber: Evan Battaglia

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, April 16, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Phelps
    Elevation:5535 ft / 1687 m

Ascent Trip Report

Managed to drive my passenger car all the way to the trailhead near Blackhawk Mine. I'm used to beating up my car though; the last mile or so on the N Fork Road before the turnoff to the smaller Blackhawk Mine road had some rough stuff, as well as the old washout/waterfall on the Blackhawk Mine road.

0930 Leave Trailhead. Flagged route is a little overgrown, and progress is slow given the steepness. I usually don't like such tiny, somewhat hard to follow trails, but didn't mind given that the distance to the peak is so little and the trail goes straight up -- I knew I had plenty of time.
~1015 Reach "rock outcropping"; begin snow, started making more of a traverse istead of straight up, and stopped following flagging. I ended up going above other GPS tracks on this site so decided to not go over to the saddle. Headed further northwesterly and reached the ridge further up. Followed the ridge more or less to the summit
Snow conditions were fairly good, often a little soft so it took a lot of energy and slow progress, sinking, etc. Towards the top they were a little harder but I could kick steps fairly easily, and despite the quite steep slope, I didn't bother putting on crampons. A couple times, looking down, I did kind of wish I had an ice axe instead of just one ski pole (I recently lost my ice axe, somehow, and need to get a new one...) But it worked out OK.
~1200 Summit. Strangely, the waypoint I had for the summit (from one of the GPS tracks here) took me 200 feet NW of the the area that was obviously the true summit. I walked over there anyway. Didn't find a register, presumably buried under all the snow. Great views of Adams, Rainier, lots of Snoqualmie Peaks I couldn't manage to name, Glacier, Sloan, Pugh, Shuksan, Baker, North & South Twin (I think), Olympics (Constance, Brothers, etc.), and the Bellevue and Seattle skylines.
~1300 Leave summit. I put my crampons on to give me a little more confidence. I was doing great on time so went down to the saddle, intending to bag Little Phelps, which I previously hadn't even considered. However I was feeling some pain in my knee to decided to play it safe. Traversed over from the saddle on increasing soft snow (in snow conditions like these, if
just doing Phelps, there's no reason to go over to the saddle), at one point nearly falling through a few feet.
~1420 Trailhead.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:2935 ft / 895 m
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Snow on Ground
    Gear Used:
Crampons, Ski Poles
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:2935 ft / 895 m
    Trailhead:2600 ft / 792 m
Descent Statistics

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