Forum Index > Trip Reports > Chapel Peak and Church Creek Trail 871, ONF 29 May 2016
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meck
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PostSun May 29, 2016 10:55 pm 
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Church Creek trail with a side trip up Chapel Peak, 29 May 2016
Olympic National Forest, South-Eastern Olympics

In trying to visit every ONF/ONP trail, I'm finally working my way to the S and SW areas, so I visited the Church Creek trail on this Sunday, and on my way back decided to try for Chapel Peak.

The Church Creek trail is in generally good condition on the S. Fk. Skok side, but a bit brushy with some gigantic blow down on the Satsop River drainage side.  The trail starts (on the east side) at around 1900', reaches the pass around 3150', then descends down to Satsop Lake at ~2300'.

Church Creek East Trail Head
Church Creek East Trail Head
Beautiful green along the trail up
Beautiful green along the trail up
Trails meets up with decomissioned FS road
Trails meets up with decomissioned FS road
Trail along the road
Trail along the road
water-logged avalanche lilies(?)
water-logged avalanche lilies(?)
Ginormous trees near the pass
Ginormous trees near the pass
An obstructed glimpse of Chapel Peak
An obstructed glimpse of Chapel Peak
A tree with a mouth!
A tree with a mouth!
It could eat my entire trekking pole!!
It could eat my entire trekking pole!!
A Cedar showing some leg...
A Cedar showing some leg...
More huge old growth trees
More huge old growth trees
Awesome canopy
Awesome canopy
Satsop Lake
Satsop Lake
Looking up at Chapel Peak
Looking up at Chapel Peak
Zoom in on the summit of Chapel Peak from the lake
Zoom in on the summit of Chapel Peak from the lake
Satsop Lake from the south end
Satsop Lake from the south end
Waterfall visible from the trail along the Wynoochee side
Waterfall visible from the trail along the Wynoochee side

On my back to the east, I decided to try and climb Chapel Peak.  I'd searched for TRs/route descriptions before heading out for this hike, but had not found anything.  From google maps it looked like I would have to approach from the north (conveniently from the pass!) heading south up the wooded slopes.  However it was not clear how bad the summit ridges might be (gullies, unclimbable  basalt blocks etc.).

I left the trail about 100 feet west from the pass and headed due south, up into the drainage that forms some swampy areas.

Once I reached a small clearing I began heading S-SW (~200 degree compass bearing) up through the steep wooded slopes via the path-of-least-resistance.  This was not much fun, brush bashing through newly leafing out Devil's Club and berry plants, but thankfully was only for 650' gain or so.  I wish I'd brought some surveyor's tape.  I reached a NW ridge and then proceeded along it, mainly on the north side, bypassing one large basalt block.  In several locations I had to climb up large "knife steps" using alder or hemlock for grips because both sides of the ridge were essentially vertical (step like basalt covered in moss for at least 15-40 feet down).  I almost turned around in two spots.  The GPS coords where I reached the ridge are (10T UTM) 0462213 5253665, then proceed SE.

Big stump in clearing before heading up the "brush-bash"
Big stump in clearing before heading up the "brush-bash"
Up through the steep wooded hillside
Up through the steep wooded hillside
...continuing up over fresh and rotten blow-down
...continuing up over fresh and rotten blow-down
Basalt cliff, head to the right
Basalt cliff, head to the right
After reaching the ridge, contour below this block
After reaching the ridge, contour below this block
Crawl up various steps using veggie belays
Crawl up various steps using veggie belays
The final "step" requires crawling up and over some hemlock and alder on a knife ridge
The final "step" requires crawling up and over some hemlock and alder on a knife ridge

Once the summit was in sight through the trees I crossed a steep forested SW face (mainly thin soil and trees on top of rounded pillow basalt base) reaching the south ridge, and then followed that the final 100' (40' vertical) or so up to the summit.

Proceed to the SE ridge via this steep duff covered basalt slope
Proceed to the SE ridge via this steep duff covered basalt slope
Almost at the summit
Almost at the summit

The summit does not look like it has been touched in many years.  I could find no summit register, or even scuff marks on the moss covering most of the rock.  The elevation was somewhere between 3950' and 4000' (my GPS said 4000' but it seems to read about 40' high on all summits as compared to map listed elevations, my altimeter indicated somewhere in the neighborhood of 3950').  GPS coords for the summit (10T UTM) 0462305 5253592.

The mossy-rock summit of Chapel Peak
The mossy-rock summit of Chapel Peak
Micro-fern like plants
Micro-fern like plants
Summit flowers
Summit flowers
More summit flowers
More summit flowers
View NW from the summit
4 labels
View NW from the summit
View NNE from the summit
4 labels
View NNE from the summit
View East from the summit
2 labels
View East from the summit
Anderson Butte to the SW
1 label
Anderson Butte to the SW
Mt Church from Chapel Peak summit
Mt Church from Chapel Peak summit
Capitol Peak from Chapel Peak summit
Capitol Peak from Chapel Peak summit
Satsop Lake meadow down below
Satsop Lake meadow down below
Pine Creek drainage to the south of Chapel Peak
Pine Creek drainage to the south of Chapel Peak
Wonder Mtn from Chapel Peak
Wonder Mtn from Chapel Peak
Three Peaks from Chapel Peak
Three Peaks from Chapel Peak
Mt Hoquiam(?) from Chapel Peak
Mt Hoquiam(?) from Chapel Peak
Discovery Peak from Chapel Peak (thanks BFJ and Humpnoochee Girl for the ID!)
Discovery Peak from Chapel Peak (thanks BFJ and Humpnoochee Girl for the ID!)
Gibson Peak and Colonel Bob(?) from Chapel Peak summit
Gibson Peak and Colonel Bob(?) from Chapel Peak summit

I ate lunch, took lots of photos and then headed back down.  I reached the trail about one hour after leaving the summit, and was back to my vehicle about 45 minutes later.

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Phil
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PostSun May 29, 2016 11:20 pm 
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Well done, meck!
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RodF
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PostMon May 30, 2016 12:26 am 
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Thanks for sharing the unique views from this little visited spot, meck!

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"of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt" - John Muir
"the wild is not the opposite of cultivated.  It is the opposite of the captivated” - Vandana Shiva
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Barefoot Jake
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PostMon May 30, 2016 1:33 pm 
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Very nice. Thanks for naming all the peaks.  I did a small edit to your Disco Peak.

Thanks again!

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Ravenridge
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PostMon May 30, 2016 1:57 pm 
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This looks like Mount Hoquiam.
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HumpnoocheeGirl
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PostMon May 30, 2016 2:03 pm 
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Outstanding!!  This one is so difficult to access. I know a young feller that tried accessing it from an old spur on the south side. He abandoned that attempt. Kudos up.gif

And Discovery Peak is actually the next photo after you named it.
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HumpnoocheeGirl
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PostMon May 30, 2016 2:10 pm 
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Ravenridge wrote:

This looks like Mount Hoquiam.


This is Discovery Peak😃
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meck
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PostMon May 30, 2016 6:08 pm 
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Thank you all for reading, and thanks for the Disco/Hoquiam Peak name adjustment (when looking at the two or three Topo map Quads, I was not quite sure whether Hoquiam would be visible), I'll edit the original post.

Here are two pics (from today) looking back at Chapel Peak from Wonder Mtn.

Looking west from Wonder Mtn meadow
2 labels
Looking west from Wonder Mtn meadow
zoomed view of Chapel Peak from Wonder Mtn.
zoomed view of Chapel Peak from Wonder Mtn.

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HumpnoocheeGirl
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PostMon May 30, 2016 6:15 pm 
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That is awesome!
I was going to ask if you thought a southern approach would be more feasable to a Chapel?
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meck
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PostMon May 30, 2016 6:32 pm 
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@ HumpnoocheeGirl - As for approaching Chapel from the south, when I looked down into the Pine Lake drainage, the S/SE faces of Chapel looked really cliffy (it appeared to be almost a vertical drop for 50-100+ feet from the southern edges of the summit, but I could not peer over that far...).  When I cross the steep wooded basalt slope from the west ridge to the south ridge, it looked like it might be possible to ascend from the SW face... but the terrain/thin dirt covering looked like it could make for very poor traction, if you started sliding it might be really difficult to stop.  If I visit Pine Lake anytime soon I'll try to get some pictures of the upper drainage/S face of Chapel.

Another view south (Pine Creek drainage to the left)
Another view south (Pine Creek drainage to the left)
Heading back down over the steep "duff" covered pillow basalt slope
Heading back down over the steep "duff" covered pillow basalt slope

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puzzlr
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PostMon Dec 23, 2019 5:38 pm 
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meck wrote:
It could eat my entire trekking pole!!
It could eat my entire trekking pole!!

Fun picture and caption. Thanks for the report.

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Mid Fork Rocksflickr
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Chapel Peak and Church Creek Trail 871, ONF 29 May 2016
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