Forum Index > Trip Reports > Church Mountain Backdoor Attempt 08/01/22
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Am0ngTh3Pin3s
Hannah



Joined: 02 Oct 2021
Posts: 9 | TRs | Pics
Location: Seattle, WA
Am0ngTh3Pin3s
Hannah
PostFri Aug 05, 2022 11:09 am 
After making the decision that we wanted to head up to Mount Baker area this past Monday, my husband and I browsed CalTopo a bit. We saw the trail that heads up to Church lake and thought that we would attempt to reach Church Mountain by doing a ridge walk past Bearpaw Mountain.

We packed up all the necessities and headed out. We stopped in Glacier on the way to grab some snacks/lunch to bring with us on our hike. We reached the turnoff for NF-31, just past the Douglas Fir campground. The road is nice and paved for a while, but after the paved section, it is not a nice road. This road was worse than the road to Skyline Divide, which in my opinion is pretty impressive. It felt more like we were driving through a dried-up river bed than a road for most of it. I would definitely say it is for high clearance vehicles only. Not to mention it's not very wide, so when we met up with a car on their way down, letting them around was quite tricky.

When we (finally) reached the trailhead, there was only one other car up there but a load of bugs in the parking lot.  We decided to get moving ASAP to avoid the fly bites.

The trail to Church Lake is very steep and rocky but passes through more Heather than I've ever seen in one place.


Getting to Church Lake is a pretty quick trip, and the lake itself is really beautiful. Unfortunately, we didn't stay there long because the mosquitoes and black flies were relentless. We admired the lake for a moment and then pressed on to our destination.


The trail continues around the left side of the lake and continues to ascend once you get around it.
Here is where we encountered the first patch of snow on the trail, but it was easy to cross.


We continued up the ridge and we were able to see Bearpaw Lake to the East. Still, we kept on climbing, following the footpath that cuts in and out of the trees up the ridge. As we climbed, we found some larger snowfields that posed no issue as we crossed them.


We thought we had made it to the easy part and that the ridge would be a nice, flat walk. However, we reached about 6,000 feet and could no longer see the trail. We reached a point just past Whistler Creek where we decided to turn around. We didn't bring helmets or ice axes; the trail seemed too treacherous from that point on to continue. If anyone has taken this route before, I would love to know which way you went for next time!!

After our decision to abandon our destination, we sat and had lunch on the ridge, admiring the panoramic views of the Cascades, Mount Baker and Shuksan fighting for our attention. Even though we didn't get where we planned, it was still a lovely day up there! Low 80's with a nice breeze the entire time, which was quite refreshing after the heat wave in Seattle.


LukeHelgeson, RichP, Nancyann, runup, olderthanIusedtobe, Bramble_Scramble, awilsondc, Ian Saylor
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awilsondc
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awilsondc
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PostFri Aug 05, 2022 1:54 pm 
Cool idea for a fun explorative route, and smart to stop when it didn't seem safe to continue.  I love that first lake picture!  Looking forward to see where you go next.

Am0ngTh3Pin3s
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Am0ngTh3Pin3s
Hannah



Joined: 02 Oct 2021
Posts: 9 | TRs | Pics
Location: Seattle, WA
Am0ngTh3Pin3s
Hannah
PostFri Aug 05, 2022 3:02 pm 
Haven't decided on a hike to do this upcoming Monday...any suggestions? Next week we're heading out to Foss Lakes smile.gif

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Celticclimber
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PostFri Aug 05, 2022 4:28 pm 
I tried to make it to Church Pk via Damnfino Lk. Some 15yrs ago.
After alot of cross country work, I had to call it off, as well.

With spring being so late. The bitey ones are out longer.
Waiting a bit longer for them to die off might not be a bad idea  agree.gif

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Live every day like you will die to-marrow.
For some day that will be true.

Am0ngTh3Pin3s
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KascadeFlat
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KascadeFlat
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PostFri Aug 05, 2022 4:32 pm 
Some of my favorite trips started by looking at a topo map and wondering if we could connect two dots. This area on the backside of church is definitely an underrated gem. Nice work!

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For a good time call: 1-800-SLD-ALDR.

Am0ngTh3Pin3s
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