Ascent of Ch-paa-qn Peak on 2011-07-09

Climber: Edward Earl

Date:Saturday, July 9, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Hi-Clearance Vehicle
Peak:Ch-paa-qn Peak
    Elevation:7996 ft / 2437 m

Ascent Trip Report

From I-90 about 20 miles W of Missoula, I took exit 82 and turned N. Zero your odometer under the bridge. At 1.4 miles I made a shallow R turn onto Remount Rd where a FS sign says 2½ miles to Ninemile RS. At 3.6 miles the pavement ends. At 4.0 miles I went straight across Ninemile Rd. Immediately thereafter is the historic Ninemile RS, which I passed on the R. At 4.8 miles I went L at a fork, following a sign to Edith Pk Rd, where the R branch was gated. At 4.9 miles I went R at a fork where a FS sign said the L branch went to Grand Menard. At 5.2 miles I stayed straight where a side road forks R. At 5.4 miles I stayed straight at a sign that said, "Entering travel restriction area - Mostorized travel restricted to designated routes only." At 5.6 miles I went R at a shallow fork, following a sign that indicated Edith Pk Rd and Reservation Divide TH. At 6.9 miles I turned R at a T-intersection, following a sign indicating Butler Creek Rd and Edith Pk Rd. A sign just after this turn indicates road 476-1. After this point the road became steeper, narrower, and rougher, and while a passenger sedan could probably make it, high clearance would be preferred. At 7.4 miles is a sign indicating Edith Pk Rd with with a L arrow. A sharp R switchback follows soon thereafter. At 8.8 miles, I went R at a fork, following a sign indicating Edith Pk Rd. At 12.2 miles I went straight ahead, still following road 476. At 13.5 miles I encountered a large mud puddle which I decided not to try to drive through, since it was less than ½ mile to the trailhead.

I hiked the remaining distance to the trailhead, which sits at 6200' on a saddle on the mountain's main ridge. I then continued on the trail, which heads NW (on the L side of the road). The trail climbs gently through the forest. As I gained elevation, patches of snow began to appear. Around 7000', the snow coverage became mostly continuous. Just as it became difficult to follow the trail any more, I encountered a young couple, also intending to climb Ch-paa-qn Pk, with the same problem. We teamed up and soon found the trail where the forest began to thin out, so that increasing sun had melted more snow. Soon the trail became easy to follow again as it traversed the S face of Ch-paa-qn Pk. After about a mile, we encountered a 4-way intersection, where a R turn took us straight up the SW ridge of the peak. The trail faded among talus at tree line after gaining 400' elevation. A large cairn at this point facilitated finding the trail on the way down. The final 500' was talus above tree line.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1836 ft / 559 m
    Round-Trip Distance:7 mi / 11.3 km
    Trailhead:Reservation Divide TH  6160 ft / 1877 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Open Country, Snow on Ground
Ascent Statistics
    Time:2 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Time:2 Hours 

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