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[TR] Three Queens - SE Shoulder 10/21/2018

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Trip: Three Queens - SE Shoulder

Trip Date: 10/21/2018

Trip Report:


I decided I needed some choss time before it was buried in the pow that IS coming soon, so yesterday, Zorina and I climbed the east peak of the Three Queens formation. It's southeast of Chikamin (somehow I feel that the three people who read this TR already know that...), and it was lovely!!! Tank top dry rock scrambling in late October, blue skies and sunshine in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness!! And only one person seen the entire time (a hiker whose turn-around time was 9:30?).

We got a good alpine start at a bit past 9 AM and set off on a good pace on the Mineral Creek Trail. We had about three trip reports plus Beckey's description. We'd read about a "social trail" (leading to a brief brush battle) but the beginning of the brief battle was actually marked with a cairn, just about thirty seconds after we could see the talus field and we started looking for it. Sweet!


Photo by Zorina

Slide alder, etc. was short-lived.


Photo by Zorina

 We agreed on the notch we were aiming for. That's always good.


The talus field was a talus field. I set off a crazy avalanche of rocks, which was exciting. We got up onto a vegetated rib thing when we could, and that was fairly pleasant. What is this plant? It looks like manzanilla, but I don't think I've seen manzanilla around here...


The fun scrambling began and we started following the "no kicking rocks onto your partner" rule.


The key class 3 vegetated ledge was obvious and before we knew it, we were on the ridge and then on top!! That was quicker and more straightforward than we'd anticipated, we agreed. Maybe we should have more confidence about this kind of thing.


Beckey says "5 hours from trail" and Klenke (Summitpost) says "5 hours from trailhead"...either way, we were on top in 4:15 and were happy to beat the Beckey time :-)


Rainier, Glacier, barely MSH, Hibox, Alta, Thompson, Huckleberry, Kaleetan, Chair, Chikamin, the Lemahs, Chimney Rock, Summit Chief...Stuart! So beautiful... And the long couloir between Lemah and Chimney Rock?! Crazy! I am trying to find more information on it. Beckey describes one northern remanant of the Lemah Glacier as a "narrow 0.6-km ice couloir in the upper Leah Creek depression, beneath the 6,480-ft gap." Interesting! Has anyone skiied this?


The way down was luckily uneventful, helped by a vivid imagination: snow over talus and skis on our feet... 

After thinking about getting rich off fool's gold, we picked the wrong talus finger to follow down (dang) and had to go back up and around. 10 minute delay?

Back through the bushes, back onto the trail, no need for headlamp, and back to the car a few minutes past 6 pm. 

As we entered Roslyn, Zorina checked the traffic on I90 and saw that there was a 2-HOUR DELAY. Whaaat?! Crazy. So we went to this awesome place called Basecamp, which I feel like I should have known about before. Coffee, beer, food, books, maps, local art stuff. Great place to pass the time! We enjoyed looking through the newspaper's  police beat:


We walked around Roslyn and then finally Google said there was only a 20 minute delay, so we left and got back to Seattle around midnight.


Gear Notes:

Approach Notes:
Over, through, up, through, around, along, up, along, up

Edited by Alisse
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10 hours ago, Rad said:

Lovely. Tank top schwacking. Hopefully no prickers :)


No prickers 😀

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25 minutes ago, jakedouglas said:

Very cool perspective from this location.

There are a couple TAY TRs of the enormous gully coming off of Lemah. Looks like a wild place.



I guess I should have asked the question how often does this gets skied, not if it has been :-) Thanks for the links!

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A couple friends of mine skies over that way and down the valley north of summit chief this spring.  I still need to do a TR about going in to the north face of little summit chief based on his pics.  Thanks for sharing some good fall scrambling!

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That is a great view!!  I'll have to add it to the list....Lemah is a good one if you are looking for another in that area (though not a day trip).

Kind of looks like a small Pacific Madrone, but Wiki has Manzanita extending from CA to BC

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if only 10" or so tall, it is likely pinemat manzanita. smoke it if you got it.

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