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[TR] Mount Constance (7756) - SOUTH CHUTE - STANDARD 07/31/2021


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Trip: Mount Constance (7756) - SOUTH CHUTE - STANDARD

Trip Date: 07/31/2021

Trip Report:

Mount Constance (7756') – Lake Constance Approach Trip Report – July 31-Aug 1, 2021 (Sat, Sun).

I climbed Mount Constance (7756') over the weekend.  I started the climb from the Dosewallips River Trailhead (Rd. 2610) outside Brinnon, WA.

 I attempted this climb a month ago and did not do enough research.  I ended up trying to climb Warrior Peak thinking that it was Constance and having to turn around after running out of time.  The West side of Warrior Peak is not fun, shitty rock and steep.  

The weather was looking somewhat iffy with the potential for thunderstorms predicted with a weather window for summit day.  The other potential climbs all had worse looking weather so Constance got the green light.  I planned for a 2 day climb.

Saturday:  I caught the 9:35am ferry at Edmonds over to Kingston.  I made it to the trailhead at 11:30am.  On last month’s attempt I decided not to bring a bike for the first 5 miles to the Lake Constance Trail, resulting in 2+ hours of boring road hiking.  This trip I brought the bike for the first and last 5 miles of the trip, huge difference.  The bike ride took 45 minutes to the Lake Trail, saving me about 1.5 hours and the extra wear on my feet.  Great start so far.  Lake Constance Trail is a workout.  It climbs 3300’ in 2.2 miles and has a couple Class 3 sections on the trail itself.  I was shocked how much the water situation changed since my last trip up the trail at the end of June.  June was a raging torrent of water coming down Constance Creek, July the same creek was bone dry where the trail meets up with it.  The first water available on the lake trail is about 2600’.  It was cloudy with a little bit of light rain here and there, I made it to the lake at 4:45pm.  I decided to proceed up to the base of the thumb to setup camp, right at the turn to go up the South Chute of Mount Constance.  Last month this area was 70% snow covered with plenty of running water.  By the end of July the snow is less than half with minimal water options.   The only water available was coming from the section of the mountain just before the Thumb.  One good flowing creek and one minor flow coming down a rock face.  I set up camp below a running water source at 5200’ in a nice flat camp area that was under snow the last time through.   I counted about 6 good spots for a tent of bivy in the area.  I got as much water as I could before going to sleep to be ready to go in the morning. 

Sunday:  I woke at 4:00am planning to be on the trail by first light.  It started to rain.  Shit.  I was thinking I might be 0 for 2 on this peak when the rain started to let up and the clouds started to clear out.   The weather was starting to look nice so I headed for the summit at 7:15am.  I headed up the South Chute.  The talus was loose so I tried to stay as close as possible to the sides of the cliffs where I had better traction.  8:45am I reached the top of the South Chute.  The gully up to the E-W Notch was more of the same down low so I climbed onto rock on the left side as soon as possible arriving at the Notch at 9:45am.  The snow finger on the other side of the Notch has melted out enough that it can be avoided.  10:45am I made it across the Finger Traverse.   The snow finger dropping down after the Finger Traverse has melted out substantially.  I cut across diagonally to the shelf heading to the summit avoiding the snow.  I arrived at the summit at 11:45am.  The views were pretty limited due to all the smoke in the sky but I didn’t care, the climb was fun and worth the trip by itself.  Summit register was in good shape and fairly new (placed July 2020).  I headed back down the way I had come up.  The loose talus that sucked on the way up was really nice on the way down, a love hate relationship.  I arrived back at camp at 2:45pm.  Packed up camp and was on my way down by 4:00pm.  I was very happy to have the bike waiting for me at the end of the lake trail.  The last 5 miles went quick and I was back at the trailhead at 7:45pm.  I was able to catch the 9:40pm Kingston ferry back to Edmonds. 

This is a challenging climb with plenty of loose rock and navigation required.  Great climb! 


Some Tips and Notes:

  • 1.       The only running water above the lake is from the creeks flowing down the side of the mountain before reaching the Thumb.  There was no running                     water on the route on summit day.
  • 2.       Some have said that bringing a bike is not worth the hassle.  I would disagree.  I would definitely bring a bike, it makes quick work of the boring ass 5                 mile road hike in and out.   
  • 3.       I brought Crampons and an Ice Axe and didn’t need either one.  The snow has melted out enough that it can be avoided for the most part. 
  • 4.       There are good camp options above the lake, before the Thumb, with running water above.
  • 5.       I came across a trail runner on the way to the summit, he was doing the climb in one long day going light and fast.  He was figuring about 12 hours.      


Travel Time for reference:

Saturday:  Car to Camp – 5.5 hours. 

Sunday:  Camp to Summit, back to Camp, back to Car – 12.5 hours


Gear used:   1 Trekking Pole, Helmet  - brought Crampons and an Ice Axe and didn’t need either one.



Waterfall along Lake Constance Trail, one picture from Late June the other from Late July.  Amazing how fast the water dries up.


Trail sample going to Lake Constance.


Heading up to the Thumb camp.


Nice camp at the base of the Thumb (5200').


South Chute from camp.


Big Ass Spider on the way up South Chute.


Looking down South Chute to Camp and water sources.


Gully to E-W Notch.


E-W Notch - narrow, loose and steep going over.


Looking back across Finger Traverse.


Trail Runner coming across Finger Traverse.


Ledges leading to summit (back right peak).


Ledges to Summit.


Looking back over route traveled.


Summit of Mount Constance.


Nice Summit Register!  I didn't leave my address, but I did leave my blood type and a stool sample.


Summit view looking back over route traveled.  Great Climb!



Gear Notes:
Gear used:   1 Trekking Pole, Helmet  - brought Crampons and an Ice Axe and didn’t need either one.

Approach Notes:
Start: Dosewallips River Trailhead (Rd. 2610) outside Brinnon, WA. Lake Constance Approach up South Chute to Standard Route.
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On 8/3/2021 at 8:19 PM, Kuato said:

Big Ass Spider on the way up South Chute.

That is the biggest Ass Spider I’ve ever seen! I feel bad for the person who has that thing crawl up their posterior! 😏🤣

seriously though, nice TR, great beta, and lovely photos. 
do you think that summit pyramid rock is solid enough for a technical pitch or two?

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The summit pyramid rock looked like it was waiting to fall off for the most part.  Lots of cracked loose looking rock.  There was a crack that looked like it could hold some protection going up one side if someone felt inclined to give it a shot.  

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