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Summit Chief TR


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Spent the last couple of fine days out just East of the crest on an annual backpack with a couple of old high-school buddies. Climbed Summmit Chief in the process. It's a very prominent peak in the area, though I don't seem to hear much about it.


Picked 'em up at the airport and headed straight for the hills. After a stop in Factoria for [big Drink] and [HORSECOCK] , we made it to Cooper Lake in a little more than a shortcase.


Crack o' noon-thirty we headed out to a little lake called Escondido (one dictionary translates this as "lurker"). Beckey says it's the closest way to Summit Chief from the road. The trail was dusty with lots of horseshit, but the lake was OK.


Next day was some spectacular shit. Once we 'schwacked out the the Escondido hole we got on some excellent airy ridge running, with great views all around. There's been a fire there some years back and the stark burnt snags rising out the turning foliage was kinda cool. Out across the traverse, Summit Chief was pretty imposing, and it never appeared to get much closer.


The easiest way up appears to be over some big snowfields, but without crampons, axe or boots, I skirted the snow on the left on some really fun, solid and featured rock. Many hundreds of feet of great scrambling. A couple of towers needed to be downclimbed (and one needed to be retreated from and skirted) which got pretty nervy but overall big - for the quality of the rock and exhillarating scrambling.


Two of us summitted maybe a few minutes past our second or third turnaround time. We left the third somewhere down low on the ridge. But we were pretty sure he was still alive. As every trip report and summit register entry says, "great views, wonderful day to be in the mountains, blah blah blah".


Many more miles of downclimbing, and ridge-running in the crisp fall air. Hang out at the tarns. Then, finally an unpleasant vertical 'schwack down to the lake. We staggered out of the bush with the party intact in the failing dusk.


The next day we found a trail that would have eliminated the bushwhacking.

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  • 19 years later...

Did the Chuck Spiekerman Memorial Ascent of Summit Chief yesterday with another buddy of Chuck's, and followed (sort of) his beta here -- in that we went in and out via Escondido Ridge and mostly made sure to find the trail along the ridge. :D  We did make the ascent more interesting by selecting the wrong notch and climbing a false summit first before traversing to the correct one.

Tons of people camped at the first of the Vista Tarns right off the PCT but not a soul at the second which was maybe 5 minutes more walking.  So nice.

Good day out and it was only 12 hours tarn-to-summit-to-trailhead but those last two mosquito-infested miles to the trailhead were INTERMINABLE.  Fortunately fish n chips at The Brick dulled the memory.

2 cool tree.JPG

4 Summit Chief Mtn.JPG

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