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KaskadskyjKozak

[TR] Big Chiwaukum and Snowgrass Mountain - Standards 07/04/2020

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Trip: Big Chiwaukum and Snowgrass Mountain - Standards

Trip Date: 07/04/2020

Trip Report:

With some forecasts looking meh on the observed Friday holiday my son and I opted for a more certain forecast in the Chiwaukums and a 2-day trip.   Smoots are always a great Plan B.  

We car camped at the White Pine TH Friday night and headed up at dawn.  We cut off the trail in the meadows below Big C at the standard spot just past the stream and headed up to about 6000'.  We then sussed out the lowest feasible spot to get around the spur ridge (6400') and contoured over and around to lower Lake Grace.

At this point Big C's summit was socked in and Snowgrass was going in and out of clouds.  We set up camp and deliberated on options but as things started to clear on both summit tops went for the closer Big C.   It took about 2:20 to summit from camp.  Route-finding was relatively straightforward with cairns marking the "key ledge".  It was clear but windy.  Great views.

Campsite:

5f04974fe1acc_LakeGracecamp.thumb.jpg.b1500935adf90aead6a1d2f5a85c12b5.jpg

Lake Grace from ridge leading to Big C's summit

5f049752d9cf5_LakeGracefromcol.jpg.033fa6353772c4328667bfe1e1b8c64a.jpg

Key Ledge:

5f0498563e1d5_KeyLedge.thumb.JPG.c61bba296db445fb67f4132ecf8b9fd5.JPG

Snowgrass from Big C.  Snowfield looks steep!

5f04974022b8e_BigCSummitshot.jpg.d4ee1d996e0e5ac371a5c2d7ba50fe65.jpg

We got down early for dinner and had plenty of down time.   The next morning we got up at dawn.   It was a cold night and the snow patches around camp were rock hard.  We opted to contour around towards Frosty Pass (but not *to* it) and pick up the S ridge route rather than try the steep NE face route which had a bad rounout.  Later we met a climber on the summit of Snowgrass who had also passed on that option and scrambled the rocks adjacent to the snow instead.

We followed the S ridge directly up Snowgrass towards what looked like the summit but ended up at a flat spot before a notch with an exposed section to get to a false summit.  From here it was not clear how to get around some rocky spots on the ridge.  After about 30 min of looking around (and even contemplating going back the way we came to drop down on the easier snow field on the S face, we found a short, loose, exposed downclimb to a ledge system that skirted the snow and worked towards the summit block.  All in all this prolonged our day, but we still got back to the cars by 6:30 that evening.

Snow field leading to the S ridge of Snowgrass.

5f0497614ad76_SnowgrassBasinapproach.thumb.jpg.a148dd3cd8d6ac55b4acf489ea530042.jpg

Flat S ridge below the false summit area:

5f04979c2c6a4_Snowgrassplateau.thumb.jpg.4e4aff15908e1ed26512e087aa065990.jpg

False summit:

5f04976e84fc2_SnowgrassFalseSummit.thumb.JPG.3d5ad4656f3dce94a66f8d675fe5427f.JPG

Big C and Lake Grace:

5f04973cb5108_BigCfromSnowgrass.thumb.jpg.9ed68f82eb23b2edb933fa763c3d841b.jpg

Smoot summit stoke:

5f0497a75d866_Snowgrassstoke.thumb.jpg.51d5aea8afefb696afd97a87ae95f5f9.jpg

Gear Notes:
Ice axe, crampons

Approach Notes:
Snow-free until 6000'

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, KaskadskyjKozak said:

Snowgrass from Big C.  Snowfield looks steep!

Smoot has a dotted line in his book suggesting one could do a direct traverse from Big C to Snowgrass by climbing the snowfield, and I've considered trying it  but haven't seen many pics online that made it seem doable.   Looks like it'd be crazy steep no matter what season, like the north side of Sperry.

Edited by jared_j

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1 minute ago, jared_j said:

Smoot has a dotted line in his book suggesting one could do a direct traverse from Big C to Snowgrass by climbing the snowfield, and I've considered trying a direct traverse (but haven't seen many pics online).   Looks like it'd be crazy steep no matter what season, like the north side of Sperry.

According to this TR, in a similar time of year and with a similar looking amount of snow on the face it is 40-45 degrees in places:

 

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I skied down that snowfield in very wind-blasted snow conditions. Steep but not insane!

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11 minutes ago, Kameron said:

I skied down that snowfield

Love it!   :lmao:

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18 hours ago, JasonG said:

Yep, it's steep but it goes!

we almost went for it on Saturday but did Big C instead.  The snow was super hard and icy Sunday morning, so I have no regrets.  Not worth a risk of a fall when a reasonable alternative exists :)

 

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Makes sense.  We had soft snow which made it much more reasonable.  And I wasn't with my son and dog!

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That was a fantastic TR over on TAY @Kameron!  I didn't know that they upgraded the board.  Looks a lot better!

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It seems to be getting a nice revival of activity @JasonG. Of course, spring & early summer is peak TAY season!

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I was the climber that you meet on the summit of Snowgrass.  We chit chatted about your climb up Monte Cristo with the river of water flowing up your sleeve.  The NE Ridge route next to the steep ass snow on the NE Face route is pretty nice.  Mostly class 3 with some 4 toward the top, some loose rock but overall very enjoyable.  Leading up to that the ridge is easy traveling.  The runout on that NE Face route would be bad news if one was to slip.  

5f5db8c211e22_NERidgeSnowgrass.thumb.jpg.82b7d9ee9d81c209a81f5e8e686b6e16.jpg

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On 9/12/2020 at 11:17 PM, Kuato said:

I was the climber that you meet on the summit of Snowgrass.  We chit chatted about your climb up Monte Cristo with the river of water flowing up your sleeve.  The NE Ridge route next to the steep ass snow on the NE Face route is pretty nice.  Mostly class 3 with some 4 toward the top, some loose rock but overall very enjoyable.  Leading up to that the ridge is easy traveling.  The runout on that NE Face route would be bad news if one was to slip.  

5f5db8c211e22_NERidgeSnowgrass.thumb.jpg.82b7d9ee9d81c209a81f5e8e686b6e16.jpg

Hey cool!  It was nice to meet you.  The photo you posted actually makes neither the snow nor the ridge look bad at all!

 

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