Forum Index > Trip Reports > Neiderprum trail to High Pass 17 oct 2020
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kitya
Fortune Cookie



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Fortune Cookie
PostSat Oct 17, 2020 10:51 pm 
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Most people know this trail as the route to So-bahli-ahli Mountain summit. So-bahli-ahli mountain is that dominating peak near Darrington. Most reports I have seen for the summit are from around May time and I can see why - there is A LOT of brush on this trail.

The road to the deactivated bridge is bumpy and muddy, but very short. Me and Cookie started a bit late, but this rainy day there were no other cars. We walked through very wet forest on the road for about a mile and found the trailhead, with the sign and even the register. The sign said trail is not maintained for stock. Well, for an official forest service trail this trail is quite a bit more of a route than a trail. After first few switchbacks it ditches the idea of switchbacks completely and just goes up. Definitely one of the steepest and brushiest trails I know.

Lone tree pass is a bit of misnomer as there are quite a few trees there.


After lone tree pass the trail goes down and starts a long sidehilling traverse towards high pass. A week ago this area received nice dumping of snow, but than the rain fell on top of it and melted most of the snow. This created an interesting effect, where all the grass became flat over the slope and very wet. It was super slippery.


Eventually we got to high pass. From there it is only 0.4 miles left to the summit, but I could make out crevasses on the glacier and with thin wet layer of slippery snow on it and no visibility I decided it was not wise to continue past high pass. I am chicken this way. Cookie wanted to continue, but I carry all the food, so I convinced her going back down is a better choice.

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Brushbuffalo
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PostMon Oct 19, 2020 6:29 am 
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Good outing!

kitya wrote:
for an official forest service trail this trail is quite a bit more of a route than a trail.

Decades ago ( up until the '80s) Whitehorse was a fairly popular climb and the trail was pretty good. Not surprising that it has become less popular, as steep as it is.


kitya wrote:
It was super slippery.

Cookie has built-in crampons.

kitya wrote:
decided it was not wise to continue past high pass. I am chicken this way.

Not chicken, but wise. You would have almost certainly been stopped just short of the summit, which is guarded late season by a difficult and intimidating moat. eek.gif

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Passing rocks and trees like they were standing still
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NBL
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PostMon Oct 19, 2020 8:53 am 
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Wow! This climb is high on my list and I know it's a tough one. I bet I would have turned around at the same place if not before. I always thought this was one to tackle in the spring with perfect conditions.
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mtn.climber
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PostMon Oct 19, 2020 9:13 am 
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Rarely see a trip report from Whitehorse this late in the season.  It's a great spring climb!

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Cyclopath
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PostMon Oct 19, 2020 9:16 am 
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You really get around, kitya!   smile.gif

I've been part way up this trail on a not very nice day, a friend and I needed to get out of town and stretch our legs.  We explored a side trail too.  But we didn't see any of the gorgeous scenery you got to enjoy.  I might have to go back.  Thanks for some inspiration.

Whitehorse is dramatically beautiful and so well situated.  I'm surprised this trail doesn't get more attention.
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kitya
Fortune Cookie



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Fortune Cookie
PostMon Oct 19, 2020 9:22 am 
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Brushbuffalo wrote:
Decades ago ( up until the '80s) Whitehorse was a fairly popular climb and the trail was pretty good. Not surprising that it has become less popular, as steep as it is.

This whole around Darrington/Boulder river area seems under appreciated and I don't really know why. It extremely beautiful area, close to the center of north cascades, but shorter drive from large population centers than even many I-90 hikes. Yet all the main trails are plagues by lack of maintenance and randomly closed/washed out/never repaired bumpy forest roads. Not just So-bahli-ahli/Whitehorse. So are Ska-dul-gwas/Higgins, Quest-Alb/Three Fingers, Quae-hae-eths/Round mountain. Even squire creek road is forever washed out and the potholes on French creek road are just horrendous. Seems this are lacks investment from forest service. I read the town of Darrington gets government subsidies to keep the wood mill running, but would it be a lot better for Darrington to reinvent itself as a tourist destination similar to Leavenworth? The location is certainly better!

Brushbuffalo wrote:
Not chicken, but wise. You would have almost certainly been stopped just short of the summit, which is guarded late season by a difficult and intimidating moat. eek.gif

Yeah, I suspected this! I really didn't come with much intention of getting all the way to the summit. I'm not a peakbagger! Just the journey is enough for me and Cookie. It is still really beautiful and quite a nice trip, even if only to see the glacier up close. I'm not too sad about not making it. Me and Cookie didn't get to touch the summit, but we got to see lots of banana slugs, many mushrooms and some pikas on the way and that wouldn't have happened in spring.

NBL wrote:
Wow! This climb is high on my list and I know it's a tough one. I bet I would have turned around at the same place if not before. I always thought this was one to tackle in the spring with perfect conditions.

Me and Cookie might try to come back in Spring! But in Spring I would want to be 100% sure the snow is very stable, most of the route goes via avalanche gullies. I would still be concerned about the glacier too. It is hard to see on my photos because of white out conditions, but I could definitely see there are large crevasses in it. The should be filled in in Spring, but hard to know for sure. Even small glaciers can be dangerous. It would be better to rope up on it, but even though I do have a rope connecting me and Cookie, I doubt Cookie can pull me out. So even in Spring I would be very careful and very ready to turn around, if I don't feel it is safe. It is not an easy hike.

mtn.climber wrote:
Rarely see a trip report from Whitehorse this late in the season.  It's a great spring climb!

I noticed that too smile.gif But it is also beautiful in autumn (and year round).
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kitya
Fortune Cookie



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Fortune Cookie
PostMon Oct 19, 2020 9:46 am 
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Cyclopath wrote:
Whitehorse is dramatically beautiful and so well situated.  I'm surprised this trail doesn't get more attention.

Indeed! It looks so dramatic it should be a national park or something! Yet I was driving for years through Darrington for other more popular hikes into North Cascades and for many years I didn't even know the name or that any trail towards it exists. Even driving to the trailhead looks like I'm getting into someone's backyard.
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fyodorova
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PostMon Oct 19, 2020 11:55 am 
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kitya wrote:
I read the town of Darrington gets government subsidies to keep the wood mill running, but would it be a lot better for Darrington to reinvent itself as a tourist destination similar to Leavenworth? The location is certainly better!

Every time my husband and I drive through Darrington, I mention that they should set up a remote work hub there for Seattle-area tech workers. It would be awesome to live and work under the shadow of Whitehorse.
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kitya
Fortune Cookie



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Fortune Cookie
PostMon Oct 19, 2020 3:08 pm 
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fyodorova wrote:
Every time my husband and I drive through Darrington, I mention that they should set up a remote work hub there for Seattle-area tech workers. It would be awesome to live and work under the shadow of Whitehorse.

Ha smile.gif))

Are you proposing to gentrify Darrington?

As somewhat technically Seattle-area tech worker, who lives 18 miles from Seattle (in Duvall, WA) I would be very suspicious of our amazing telecommunication providers of providing any decently working internet service in Darrington, 56 miles in Seattle. Hey, even 18 miles from Seattle internet barely works well enough and definitely not reliably enough to work-from-home. So I wouldn't want to move to Darrington, even if it was an option. But it is a super beautiful and peaceful place to visit and I would be happy to patronize local businesses there! As long as these businesses are not a gun store and a pawn shop like it is now.
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Kim Brown
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PostMon Oct 19, 2020 3:17 pm 
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Darrington HAS invested in recreation, much of it after the Oso slide. North Mountain Lookout is being built for rental (but vandals keep ruining the progress), North Mountain bike trails opened just last summer, the USFS cracked a deal for locals to fix and maintain the road to Circle Peak. The Glacier Peak Institute ( for kids) was formed after the Oso Slide, there's a robust Darrington Outdoor Club (kids). Eightmile Road is continually repaired as us Peek a  Boo. Squire Cr trail was rebuilt, but that creek crossing us a deal breaker much if the time. Not sure it is bridge-able ( doesn't look like it) but it would be good to get that trail rebuilt someday! Old Sauk rebuild is nice, as us White Chuck Bench.

French Cr road was worked on this yearer as was the Suiattke (just in time for the fire ).

Except for Kennedy Hot Springs, which road and trail and hot springs is gone, it has always been a bit of an outlier place. Higgins access isn't the fault of the USFS, and plans for a rebuild of Rounds fell apart because they couldn't get a reliable volunteer partner and since then, the 2003 flood damage overwhelmed the district.

The district does not have a check book, so it's up to us to demand more money for our forests.

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" I'm really happy about this! … I have very strong good and horrible memories up there."  – oldgranola, NWH’s outdoors advocate.
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kitya
Fortune Cookie



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Fortune Cookie
PostMon Oct 19, 2020 3:50 pm 
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Kim Brown wrote:
Darrington HAS invested in recreation, much of it after the Oso slide. North Mountain Lookout is being built for rental (but vandals keep ruining the progress), North Mountain bike trails opened just last summer, the USFS cracked a deal for locals to fix and maintain the road to Circle Peak. The Glacier Peak Institute ( for kids) was formed after the Oso Slide, there's a robust Darrington Outdoor Club (kids). Eightmile Road is continually repaired as us Peek a  Boo. Squire Cr trail was rebuilt, but that creek crossing us a deal breaker much if the time. Not sure it is bridge-able ( doesn't look like it) but it would be good to get that trail rebuilt someday! Old Sauk rebuild is nice, as us White Chuck Bench.

French Cr road was worked on this yearer as was the Suiattke (just in time for the fire ).

Except for Kennedy Hot Springs, which road and trail and hot springs is gone, it has always been a bit of an outlier place. Higgins access isn't the fault of the USFS, and plans for a rebuild of Rounds fell apart because they couldn't get a reliable volunteer partner and since then, the 2003 flood damage overwhelmed the district.

The district does not have a check book, so it's up to us to demand more money for our forests.

Kim, I'm glad to hear there are investments in recreation around Darrington! Great!

I know about the flood damage and as I don't check every trail/road every year, I can easily get somewhat wrong perspective - somehow I have almost never seen a fully working/not washed out forest road in the district. The only time I had been on French creek road was many years prior and it was barely passable. Same with Circle peak access - I hiked it before I even knew about new road being build. The times I have been to Ulalach and to Squire creek trail the roads were still washed out and trail also disappearing in places. I know higgins access is another story, but the trail is still there and owned by USFS, but last time I was there it was not maintained and very overgrown. When I went to Round mountain i had to start from a sad shooting pit and no trail (I know there is another summer trail there now). Anyway, maybe I'm just so unlucky, but comparing to trails from hwy 20 or I-90 or near Leavenworth it seems like Darrington trails and forest roads see a lot less investment (and also a lot less people), while having better scenery and better weather! I am not at all trying to say this means Darrington ranger district is bad, on the other hand I'm trying to say it needs more money to do more work! I'm all for more investment into more recreation trails around Darrington!
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Kim Brown
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PostMon Oct 19, 2020 4:07 pm 
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I would like to see more for that area too. But then again, I don't. wink.gif

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" I'm really happy about this! … I have very strong good and horrible memories up there."  – oldgranola, NWH’s outdoors advocate.
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Kascadia
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PostMon Oct 19, 2020 4:25 pm 
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Whitehorse still sees plenty of traffic in the spring.  It's been an embarrassing number of years, but having climbed it in 3 successive years in April (2) and February (1), I think you would like it a lot better with snow cover.  The brush up to LTP is covered, and the traverse after you drop off the ridge going over to HP is also covered. Beautiful fall pics and Cookie still got her snow roll!

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Man, stretch thy reason hither, so thou mayest comprehend these things. Johannes Kepler
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kitya
Fortune Cookie



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Fortune Cookie
PostMon Oct 19, 2020 4:56 pm 
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Kim Brown wrote:
I would like to see more for that area too. But then again, I don't. wink.gif

There is a lot of middle ground between overuse like Enchantments and well maintained trails that have good access and still provide solitude. The land is wide. In fact it helps reduce overuse damage to Colchuck lake too, if people visit more other places, instead of everyone concentrating on just a few lakes. Anyway, it is what it is!

Kascadia wrote:
Whitehorse still sees plenty of traffic in the spring.  It's been an embarrassing number of years, but having climbed it in 3 successive years in April (2) and February (1), I think you would like it a lot better with snow cover.  The brush up to LTP is covered, and the traverse after you drop off the ridge going over to HP is also covered. Beautiful fall pics and Cookie still got her snow roll!

Good for you! I hope to visit it in spring sometime too! I'm sure it is very enjoyable in solid snow. But yes, Cookie still got her snow roll. She always does! We never ever had a weekend without snow at all yet!
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