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JasonG

[TR] Big Chiwakum and Snowgrass - via Grace Lakes 07/06/2019

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Trip: Big Chiwakum and Snowgrass - via Grace Lakes

Trip Date: 07/06/2019

Trip Report:

The weather of the early summer was often not exactly bomber.   Which means it was perfect for the scrambly peaks that are on the B (or Smoot) list.  On this particular Independence Day weekend that meant Big Chiwakum and Snowgrass.  We opted for a two day trip, camping at lower Grace Lakes.  We were surprised to run into a pair of USFS backcountry rangers out of Leavenworth who were also camping up there.  Given the mayhem of late in the Enchantments, it would seem that they were on an R&R assignment.  One of them reported that the peak count at the Colchuck TH last summer was 800+ with over 400+ counted at Colchuck lake itself!  Damn.  We felt fortunate to share the lakes with three other parties (which still seemed like a lot for this obscure locale).

But nobody was gunning for Big Chiwakum nor Snowgrass, despite the very non-alpine start  @Trent and I got after accidentally consuming 750ml of whiskey the night before.  These things happen in the alpine.  Nevertheless, we pressed on, climbing the surprisingly engaging north side of Snowgrass in the mists, only to pop out in the sun on top. Well, how about that?  Next, we backed down into the mists once again, and swung over to Big Chiwakum for the double Smoot. All that was left was a long slog back to the car, swatting bugs and planning our next adventure.  The A plan, of course.  There would always be Smoots for when the weather failed.

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Gear Notes:
Helmet, axe, crampons

Approach Notes:
Decent trail to the lakes from Whitepine/Wildhorse creeks. Good camps at the lower lakes. We went to ridge north of lakes then up to upper terrace where upper Grace Lake is. From upper Grace Lake you can link both peaks easily. Best in early season when the North side of Snowgrass holds snow. Pretty steep in places, to about 40-45 degrees
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Nice!  My son and I bagged Big Jim a few weeks ago C2C, roundtripping it up side from Badlands and down to Augusta (17 mi, 6K gain, 12 hours).  We were eyeballing Chiwaukum and Snowgrass as a future visit!

 

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Smoot'n! Gotta love it! (Or not).

Thanks again for the trip planning and whiskey Jason!

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