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[TR] Chickamin Peak- PCT scramble - day trip 7/18/2004


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Climb: Chickamin Peak-PCT scramble - day trip


Date of Climb: 7/18/2004


Trip Report:

Took a break from climbing this weekend in order to make my annual pilgrimage to the top of Chickamin, a very pretty summit and a fabulous day hike that offers local access to one of the most spectacular sections of the PCT. The first six or seven miles of the 13-mile approach are a bit tedious and familiar ground to any climber who's succumbed to the lure of Mount Thomson's charms. Around Joe Lake, however, the views really open up and the hiking becomes pure pleasure as the rigors of the trail vanish in an orgy of visual splendor. A bonus: although the second half of this approach can be quite dry in late season, right now the size and distribution of snow remnants is optimal. In fact, all I took along for hydration was the plastic bottle from my bike--just kept topping it off with snow for a day-long supply of ice water!

The routes up "Chickie" are plentiful, and, once your approach dues have been paid, feel free to let your imagination run wild. Since I usually do this one alone, I prefer the route described by Becky, whereby Chickamin is bypassed along the PCT to the point where the ridge forms a saddle just below the start of the Four Brothers formation. At this point, head up to the saddle a few hundred feet above, negotiating easy rock ledges and steep heather. Once the saddle is reached, take in stupendous views of the Lemah Group, Three Queens, Spectacle and Chickamin Lakes, Hibox, Alta and innumerable distant peaks.

The way from here is obvious: a broad, airy ridge leads to a nice summit block that can be scrambled any number of ways, including some low fifth-class options.


[...in the attached pic, Chickamin appears as the pointy thing on the right]


Gear Notes:

Mini pack, light boots or cross trainers, mp3 player [a MUST!], asbestos feet.


Approach Notes:


Total miles: 26-27.

Departed Snoqualmie Pass PCT trailhead at 09:30am, retuned at 07:30pm. --actually made it back to Bellevue well before dark--these early-season days are gr8!



Edited by zoroastr
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I am told there is a historical piece of graffiti on a rock at the saddle. Apparently it's a signature of one of the Denny family, not Arthur himself but his son. Did you see anything?


Regarding the approach: there is a trail up Gold Creek to Joe Lake which is shorter, though it is pretty rudimentary in places. I went up this way a couple of summers ago, ran short of time and didn't make the saddle, didn't want to retrace my steps down Gold Creek so I took the PCT back instead: ran out of water and was half dead in the August heat by the time I got to the road. I had to beg the guy at the Chevron for a cup of water before dragging myself the 5 miles from the pass back to my car. Not recommended.

Edited by Norman_Clyde
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...hmmm...didn't notice the inscription, but i'm definitely intrigued.

Regarding the Gold Creek option, I've always found that trail to be a bit 'shwacky due to lack of maintenance, but it's definiitely flatter and quicker. Part of my Chickamin adventure is the deliberate effort to get alot of miles in, so I stick to the PCT approach--a no brainer, but a great zone-out hike if you're packing a nice stereo..:)


BTW: if anyone has a spare minute and one of those topo programs that spews out mileage and altitude stats, maybe you could give me the numbers on the Chickie trek...i'd be grateful.



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