Forum Index > Trip Reports > Wildhorse to Frosty Pass - 2018-02-12
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mbravenboer
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PostTue Feb 13, 2018 11:31 am 
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Monday promised to be extraordinary clear and with good avalanche conditions ( NWAC forecast for this day).

From other reports (thanks!) I learned that travel should be relatively easy, so I decided to do something that requires a long approach: Wildhorse to Frosty Pass. I have been up that drainage a few times, but didn't get to the pass or high elevation both times in winter (trip 2 and trip 1), except summer.

The idea this time was to do a lollipop around Pt 7161 (east of Frosty Pass), but that proved to be a bit too ambitious for winter (barely though, so maybe next time!). I got to around 6400ft at Frosty Pass. Views were excellent. It's a bit unfortunate that I didn't get to 7000ft, because that's where there were some gorgeous ice formations. One hour more time and slightly better conditions should make this possible.

Some details on conditions and other notes:

- The road is fairly easy to drive and mostly snow/ice free. The plowed spot at the church camp is a bit small currently. It fits no more than 2 cars. It's usually quiet there, but I suppose you could be unlucky. Thanks again to the people who manage Cascade Meadows Camp! (they should have a donate button on their website ...)

- I saw some snowshoe tracks on the road, but nothing after the trail starts. There were some recent ski tracks that went up the road towards Pt 7132. It's safe to assume there will be no tracks to follow up this drainage, so route finding is necessary.

- Except for some creeks, coverage is continuous from the church camp. In the forest there is probably no more than a foot though, so I'd expect it to melt out fairly early if we don't get more snow below 3000ft.

- Above 6000ft there is substantial fresh and wind transported snow. The wind slab got deep enough to be concerning for me (not an expert, but it was deep and noisy). Fortunately, I was also exhausted, so it was a good point to stop.

- I brought snowshoes, despite reports that they are really not necessary. I should have known better and leave them at home. I did use my Hillsound trail crampons and real crampons when snowballing got pretty bad later on the day with soft snow. The Hillsound trail crampons seem to be good for icy and compact snow, but not sun-effected snow.

- I contemplated going back via the valley bottom (which is pretty flat according to the map), but I was concerned about the feasibility and followed my tracks back instead. I should try this another time (if anybody has done this, I'd be interested to know). It should avoid a lot of tedious side-hilling.

Distance: 20.3 miles, 5000ft gain. I started hiking at 5:45am and was back at 7:15pm. The forest beyond the Whitepine/Wildhorse split is a bit tricky to navigate, so I wanted to do that with daylight. I turned around at 1:30pm for that.


At high elevation it was a bit more windy in the morning and you can see some snow being transported from Big Chiwaukum here
At high elevation it was a bit more windy in the morning and you can see some snow being transported from Big Chiwaukum here
Early morning view of Bulls Tooth
Early morning view of Bulls Tooth
Bulls Tooth
Bulls Tooth
Big Chiwaukum
Big Chiwaukum
Big Chiwaukum
Big Chiwaukum
Bulls Tooth
Bulls Tooth
Big Chiwaukum
Big Chiwaukum
Snowgrass
Snowgrass
Traversing below Snowgrass
Traversing below Snowgrass
View of the last section to Frosty Pass. I went up the gully to the left to gain elevation a little faster.
View of the last section to Frosty Pass. I went up the gully to the left to gain elevation a little faster.
Debris from some of the steeper rocks below Snowgrass
Debris from some of the steeper rocks below Snowgrass
The beginning of Wildhorse Creek
The beginning of Wildhorse Creek
Frosty Peak and Bulls Tooth
Frosty Peak and Bulls Tooth
View NW to the Monte Cristo group
View NW to the Monte Cristo group
View West towards Mac (the leftmost big mountain), Terrace, and Thor (just left of Frosty)
View West towards Mac (the leftmost big mountain), Terrace, and Thor (just left of Frosty)
Interesting basin north of Mary's Pass
Interesting basin north of Mary's Pass
Mary's Pass
Mary's Pass
Mt Rainier, with The Cradle left of Mt Rainier, and Granite right.
Mt Rainier, with The Cradle left of Mt Rainier, and Granite right.
Mt Daniel
Mt Daniel
Mt Rainier
Mt Rainier
Frosty Pass and Bulls Tooth
Frosty Pass and Bulls Tooth
Monte Cristo group
Monte Cristo group
Wide panorama from Frosty Peak to Big Jim. Mt Baker is visible just right of Big Jim
Wide panorama from Frosty Peak to Big Jim. Mt Baker is visible just right of Big Jim
Big Chiwaukum, Snowgrass and Pt 7161
Big Chiwaukum, Snowgrass and Pt 7161
Glacier Peak
Glacier Peak
Big Jim (left), Glacier Peak. Rock Mountain, Arrowhead in the foreground, and Howard
Big Jim (left), Glacier Peak. Rock Mountain, Arrowhead in the foreground, and Howard
Debris on the last section to Frosty Pass
Debris on the last section to Frosty Pass
Frosty Pass Track (Winter trip, not the trail) - 20.3 miles, 5000ft gain
Frosty Pass Track (Winter trip, not the trail) - 20.3 miles, 5000ft gain
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Matt
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PostTue Feb 13, 2018 11:45 am 
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Very nice getting in there this time of year.

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“As beacons mountains burned at evening.” J.R.R. Tolkien
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Bootpathguy
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PostTue Feb 13, 2018 12:09 pm 
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up.gif  up.gif

Pretty!

Thanks for the report. Gives me a clue on the conditions east of there. Hatchery Creek to Big Jim area. Might meander that area next Monday

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rwkhikes
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because it's there
PostTue Feb 13, 2018 1:30 pm 
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Great pics! Surprised me that snowshoes weren't needed the whole day.

Looking forward to the track/stats link.
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kitya
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PostTue Feb 13, 2018 2:21 pm 
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amazing!
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Damian
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PostTue Feb 13, 2018 2:25 pm 
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Stefan
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PostTue Feb 13, 2018 2:51 pm 
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Whoa.  That's a lot of distance for a day in the winter.

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Art is an adventure.
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ale_capone
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PostTue Feb 13, 2018 4:59 pm 
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Awesome!

Looks spectacular. That is quite a one day push. Great scenerey..

Ski tracks where from some friends of mine. They reported a good day out, but sub par skiing.
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wildernessed
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PostTue Feb 13, 2018 7:31 pm 
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Snowgrass
Snowgrass

That is awesome.  up.gif

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Living in the Anthropocene
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Nancyann
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PostTue Feb 13, 2018 8:02 pm 
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Nice! So many gorgeous pictures, thanks for sharing!
So, what have you been doing all winter to get in that good of shape, Martin?
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mbravenboer
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PostTue Feb 13, 2018 8:15 pm 
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Thanks all for the nice comments! Glad the reports are useful.

Bootpathguy wrote:
Gives me a clue on the conditions east of there. Hatchery Creek to Big Jim area. Might meander that area next Monday

Yeah, that's another one of my favorites! I considered it briefly for this hike, but I was concerned that the steep (and burned) initial climb would be too icy. There is some fresh snow coming this week, so maybe it will be nicer next week smile.gif.

rwkhikes wrote:
Great pics! Surprised me that snowshoes weren't needed the whole day.

Yeah, I think maybe above 6000ft they may have been useful in some areas, but below that it was absolutely unnecessary. I did posthole maybe a handful of times into some hole that maybe wouldn't have happened with snowshoes.

ale_capone wrote:
Ski tracks where from some friends of mine. They reported a good day out, but sub par skiing.

Ah! I was thinking of you when I saw the tracks. They looked skilled from my non-ski observation. I'm sure it must have been tough. Super icy (Eve reported similar conditions on Rock Mountain)

Nancyann wrote:
So, what have you been doing all winter to get in that good of shape, Martin?

Well, honestly I'm hurting quite a bit today wink.gif. I did it in my mountaineering boots and that was not such a great idea. These things hurt when walking so far. I always do a daily walk in Discovery Park, but had a weird 2 month cold during Dec/Jan, so couldn't do anything more ambitious. I'm hoping for more adventures from now smile.gif.
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RichP
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PostTue Feb 13, 2018 9:33 pm 
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Martin is back and in grand form. Glad you got to enjoy that great stretch of weather.

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ale_capone
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PostWed Feb 14, 2018 7:49 am 
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Thanks for the link. Eve's story is pretty funny.
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puzzlr
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PostWed Feb 14, 2018 8:50 pm 
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Those peaks look twice as daunting when covered in rime ice

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Mid Fork Rocks • flickr
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D. Inscho
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PostSun Feb 25, 2018 6:33 pm 
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A fine winter outing (drool) smile.gif

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The key to a successful trip is to do the planning during work hours.       --  John Muir
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