Forum Index > Trip Reports > French Tongue, French Chin, French Cabin Mountain West - 09-11-2021
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Mark Hadland
#thehad



Joined: 30 Jun 2018
Posts: 50 | TRs | Pics
Location: Seattle
Mark Hadland
#thehad
PostSun Sep 12, 2021 7:43 pm 
French Tongue, French Chin, French Cabin Mountain 09-11-2021
https://hikingwithhadland.com/2021/09/12/french-tongue-french-chin-french-cabin-mountain-09-11-2021/

French Tongue
French Tongue

Benson and I had some unfinished climbing business in the French Cabin Creek area from our October 2020 trip up Kachess Ridge. We had attempted French Tongue, but the area was wet from recent rain. We climbed up to the base of the Tongue, up a steep, grassy slope, super slippery from the rain and lose scree. We tested the friction of the rock and determined that an attempt would surely be fatal, so passed and continued our climb and successful summit of Kachess Ridge that day.

Ready for my redo!
Ready for my redo!

This was my fourth trip up to the Kachess Ridge and French Cabin Creek area. We were intent on climbing French Tongue, French Chin and its multiple high points, and French Cabin Mountain West a Home Court 100.


French Tongue

Benson contemplating French Chin and French Tongue
Benson contemplating French Chin and French Tongue

French Tongue is an impressive and imposing rock formation
View from below
View from below
French Chin and French Tongue are like giant stone guardians to a Lost Valley
French Chin and French Tongue are like giant stone guardians to a Lost Valley




Our approach to this hike takes us on FS 4824-115, a rough windy road that gains 2500 feet above Lake Kachess. This approach cuts off over 2500 feet of gain from the southern trailhead and lets us have more time for scrambling up high and exploring the Silver Creek, Kachess Ridge, and French Cabin Creek areas. We quickly approach the gateway to Silver Creek, guarded by two towering stone sentinels, French Chin and French Tongue. These towers dominate the skyline and frame a most amazing setting.

We knew the route well and quickly made our way to the base of French Tongue. This is one imposing rock, and we had one good trip report, that also outlined the scramble route thanks to contributor gimpilator (thanks Adam!). This peak is not frequently climbed, and per peakbagger.com, there are less than 20 documented ascents since 1972. I am sure there are many more, but this gives one an idea of how infrequently this area and specifically this peak is visited relative to other peaks.

Le French Tongue
Le French Tongue
Ascending from the trail
Ascending from the trail
Climbing the base
Climbing the base
Gully to the base of the block
Gully to the base of the block
Base of the climb. Breathe in, breathe out.
Base of the climb. Breathe in, breathe out.
Benson on the summit
Benson on the summit
#thehad enjoying the summit views. Super stoke!
#thehad enjoying the summit views. Super stoke!

Benson climbing and on the summit. Super views.
Benson climbing and on the summit. Super views.

Close up of Benson and I making our way to the summit. Photo Credit: Julie James.
Close up of Benson and I making our way to the summit. Photo Credit: Julie James.

Benson and I climbing the block. Photo Credit: Julie James.
Benson and I climbing the block. Photo Credit: Julie James.

After a couple of minutes at the summit, we contemplated our descent. The way up was exposed and had that 10 foot section of steep moss-covered rock that was somewhat wet, and could be the challenging and dangerous section to descend.

Down off the summit block
Down off the summit block

We made it off French Tongue without incident and I let out a loud victory cry. It felt great to complete this seldom climbed hard scramble, especially as we had a non-start attempt last year and some trepidation at what we would encounter as we started our day. With our most difficult climbing of the day complete, we set our sights for our next objective.

French Chin

View of French Chin, our next objective.
View of French Chin, our next objective.

French Chin like its neighbors appears unclimbable from the approach trail, but reveals a more gentle summit scramble from the Southern flanks. Benson and I dropped off the base of French Tongue, to the saddle and made a direct beeline for French Chin.


French Chin approach

Descending French Tongue
Descending French Tongue
French Chin
French Chin
French Cabin Mountain
French Cabin Mountain
French Tongue
French Tongue
View back of French Tongue and Kachess Ridge
View back of French Tongue and Kachess Ridge
Bushy tree at French Chin Summit
Bushy tree at French Chin Summit
Benson walking up
Benson walking up
Mantling up
Mantling up
Summit view of Mount Stuart
Summit view of Mount Stuart
But wait, there is more  a Double Chin?
But wait, there is more a Double Chin?

We made quick time up to the summit of French Chin, which had a lone, large bushy tree near the summit. From the summit we could see additional points of prominence to the east to climb. We quickly dropped to a gully and ascended a very brushy gully to the summit of the 2nd Chin. The true summit of the 2nd point was about 10 feet away on a 12-inch rib of rock with a large hold midway. There was a sheer drop off several hundred feet to each side. The rib was clearly attainable, but I knocked on the rock to see if it was stable and hold my weight it responded with a rather hollow ring and looking at the drop, assessing the risk without even a handline, let alone protection or a proper belay, we decided that seeing our families later in the day was more important than touching that slightly higher point just feet away.

Even more to climb
Even more to climb
Summit
Summit

With two Chins in the bag, we set our sights for French Cabin Mountain West, a Home Court 100 peak. We set a path straight ahead up the west ridge, keeping to the right of the rocky ridge visible in the photo above, planning to ascent the grassy slopes and navigating around the cliffs. As we traversed cross country, we opted to drop to the trail as the progress would be faster and we believed that we could ascend the South Ridge faster than a less known route.

Views of French Tongue and French Chin behind us
Views of French Tongue and French Chin behind us
Two down...
Two down...
Tongue and Chins
Tongue and Chins
French Double Chin
French Double Chin
Tongue and Chin
Tongue and Chin

French Cabin Mountain West

French Cabin Mountain West
French Cabin Mountain West

We made quick time up the trail, skirting the rocky South Ridge, and gained the upper grassy slopes to the summit.

Benson approaching the summit of French Cabin Mountain
Benson approaching the summit of French Cabin Mountain

We had great 360 degree views of the area to the East we could see the windmill farms near the Columbia River. Mount Rainier, Goat Rocks, and Mount Adams to the South, The expanse of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness to the West, and Mount Stuart and the Enchantments Range to the North.

ALW
ALW
ALW and Red Mountain
ALW and Red Mountain
Mount Stuart
Mount Stuart
Mount Rainier
Mount Rainier
Much of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness in view
Much of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness in view
Pano of Alpine Lakes Wilderness to the Enchantments
Pano of Alpine Lakes Wilderness to the Enchantments

We had a stretch goal of climbing French Kiss today, however, the route to the ridge and summit would take some time, and we would need to retrace all the distance. With early evening obligations, we decided that we had a great outing and made our way back to the car.

Upper slopes of French Cabin Mountain
Upper slopes of French Cabin Mountain
French Tongue from Silver Creek
French Tongue from Silver Creek
Parting view of French Chin
Parting view of French Chin
Final views of our summit peaks
Final views of our summit peaks
All three peaks in view  French Cabin Mountain, French Chin, French Tongue
All three peaks in view French Cabin Mountain, French Chin, French Tongue

https://www.alltrails.com/explore/recording/french-cabin-mountain-0a5c79b



As always, thank you for reading HikingWithHadland.

neek, Gimpilator, Tom, BensonM, RichP
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Midnight Slogger
'Schwack Job



Joined: 04 Aug 2017
Posts: 92 | TRs | Pics
Location: Greater Cascadia
Midnight Slogger
'Schwack Job
PostMon Sep 13, 2021 6:47 pm 
Love the Double Chin beta! Thanks for posting the adventurous reports.

BensonM
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Gimpilator
Member
Member


Joined: 12 Oct 2006
Posts: 1524 | TRs | Pics
Location: Edmonds, WA
Gimpilator
Member
PostTue Sep 14, 2021 10:25 am 
Mark Hadland wrote:
We knew the route well and quickly made our way to the base of French Tongue. This is one imposing rock, and we had one good trip report, that also outlined the scramble route thanks to contributor gimpilator (thanks Adam!).

Great report.   up.gif   And you're very welcome!  Always makes my day to hear the old beta is getting used.   biggrin.gif

--------------
Summitpost |
YouTube | Peakbagger

BensonM
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Mark Hadland
#thehad



Joined: 30 Jun 2018
Posts: 50 | TRs | Pics
Location: Seattle
Mark Hadland
#thehad
PostTue Sep 14, 2021 11:02 am 
We had the route you prepared on paper last year and this year I took a screenshot and saved it to the phone.  Was very useful.  Always interesting to see how these routes and weaknesses appear up close.  Planning to get all the high points on the southern part of the areas we missed.  Not quite like your slam!

cheers

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