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[TR] Whitechuck Mountain- North Ridge, scramble route 8/22/2006

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Climb: Whitechuck Mountain-North Ridge, scramble route


Date of Climb: 8/22/2006


Trip Report:

It had been many years since I last wandered up the exposed terraces and benches of loose rock on Whitechuck Mountain, and a friend from out of town wanted some cascadian adventure. This has been at least the 5th time on this route, and certainly not the last time, as it is one of my favorite late season climbs. Blueberries, Huckleberries, expansive views, crumbly loose rock, and goat fur strewn throughout the heather covered benches are just some of the reasons I love this climb.


The last time I visited this place I had to bushwack up that creek near FSR 2436. My sources at the Darrington Ranger Station said that the road to that approach is closed due to a washout, and suggested a fishermans trail off of the 2035 road. I looked at a map and thought we would give it a try. Not knowing what the definition of a fishermans trail really meant, I prepared for the worse. Map, compass, altimeter, and off we went.


The road up there was in great shape, easy to follow, and plenty of parking and turn around space (I hate turning my rig around when the muffler is hanging over 1000' of air).


The road ends in a clearcut. Who would've known that there was a very obvious trail at the end of this clearcut (where the best berries were located). This was a delightful surprise. It turns out that the trail is in fantastic shape all the way to the boulder/talus field below the approach gully. Expansive and beautiful views all the way there. No water though. Apparently three liters was not enough for myself, Jill, and our two dogs. Needless to say, we were feeling a bit crispy when we returned to the car.


Up the gully, picking our way along the heather benches, until we found the goat trail and the goat-erected cairns. Around 2pm we reached the summit and were treated to some more magnificient views of the Whitechuck, Sauk, and Suiattle river valleys. Glacier peak decided to remain hidden behind the afternoon clouds, but Sloan, Pugh, the Monte Cristo peaks, Mount Baker, etc. remained cooperative for the photo opportunities.


Digging in the register we saw that the last time I had been up there was October 2001!!! How time flies. I could have sworn I had been there just a couple of years ago!


The journey back to the car was thirsty, but uneventful. A warm diet mountain dew awaited us in the car...apparently we weren't THAT thirsty.


Total trip took 5.5 hours, car to car. The approach from the 2035 road is superior to the old approach I used to use. Less elevation gain, well maintained fisherman's trail (where do they fish? Thornton?), and plenty of snacks growing alongside the trail.


Best of all, this was my friend Jill's first alpine experience, and she thoroughly enjoyed it. This is a great climb for an introduction to the cascade alpine experience...just enough to get someone hooked before they have to endure the devils club, nettles, rain, snow, and swamps that we have all learned to love in the North Cascades.





Gear Notes:

Could have used more water.



Approach Notes:

45mins from car to gully.

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