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zimmertr
TJ Zimmerman



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zimmertr
TJ Zimmerman
PostFri Sep 16, 2022 1:48 pm 
Hi all, trying to put together a big day in the Chiwaukum mountains this weekend and I have a couple questions.
  1. I've seen a couple photos showing larches turning in the north cascades around 6,000'. Any idea if they're turning in the Chiwaukum area yet? I'm hopeful since we may hit 8,000'.
  2. I've read there's a route up from Lake Sylvester to Grindstone. Is this mostly a talus climb? Is it best to gain the ridge south of Sylvester ASAP and run that to Grindstone or just head straight up the SW Face? Should we just go in via Chatter Creek and opt-in to Grindstone off the trail instead?
  3. What is the best way to get from Snowgrass to Big Chiwaukum? There is some activity on the Strava heatmap along that ridge but photos make it look intense. Is it necessary to turn around at Snowgrass and ascend to Big Chiwaukum from Lower Grace Lake instead?
  4. Is it better to ascend McWaukum Pass from the North Fork Chiwaukum Trail or head East to Chiwaukum Lake and then reclaim the ridge at North Chiwaukum above the Scottish Lakes?
  5. I see Forest Road 6935 gets within a couple miles of the Scottish Lakes. Is this still driveable? Or is it necessary to use the Lake Ethal/White Pine Creek Trailheads?
  6. I see some heavily burned-in Strava activity along the ridge to North Chiwaukum from the White Pine Creek Trail as well as some prominent switchbacks to the ridge above Lake Ethal from Forest Road 6950/White Road Road. I assume the switchbackey track, at least, is a worn boot path? How about the ridge to the west of it? Has anyone used these routes before? Are they mostly used for ski touring? Sekrit mountain bike trails, perhaps?

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fourteen410
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fourteen410
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PostFri Sep 16, 2022 3:02 pm 
4. FS 6935 (and 6930 for that matter) are closed to public vehicle traffic. If I recall correctly you can still bike/hike. I believe the only way to get on a shuttle is to actually stay at the high camp. Otherwise you'll be parking across from the Nason Rest Area. ETA: I suspect you already know this but 2 is still closed W of skykomish. So if you're coming from the west, 90/97 is the name of the game.

zimmertr
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zimmertr
TJ Zimmerman



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zimmertr
TJ Zimmerman
PostFri Sep 16, 2022 3:16 pm 
fourteen410 wrote:
4. FS 6935 (and 6930 for that matter) are closed to public vehicle traffic.
Thank you!
Looks like these are our exit options then. Probably best to stick to the Lake Ethel trail to save on scwacking/mystery trails. Especially if we run out of daylight by time we get there. Hard to want to opt into those extra miles though paranoid.gif N. Chiwaukum West Exit Distance: 2.36 Gain: 53 Loss: 4,345 N Chiwaukum East Exit Distance: 4.45 Gain: 171 Loss: 4,903 N. Chiwaukum Ethel Exit Distance: 5.61 Gain: 75 Loss: 4,827

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Bramble_Scramble
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PostFri Sep 16, 2022 3:33 pm 
We tried heading east until we hit the south ridge of Grindstone last year. Pretty craptastic in some spots. It looked like it was probably doable but there were a lot of big loose rocks and with the weather we called it quits. We thought it might be easier heading up to the west ridge at 7200 ft but didn't attempt it. There was another group that must have looped out through Chatter Creek but we couldn't see which way they headed up do to fog.
View from the south ridge
View from the south ridge

zimmertr
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zimmertr
TJ Zimmerman



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zimmertr
TJ Zimmerman
PostFri Sep 16, 2022 4:21 pm 
zimmertr wrote:
What is the best way to get from Snowgrass to Big Chiwaukum? There is some activity on the Strava heatmap along that ridge but photos make it look intense. Is it necessary to turn around at Snowgrass and ascend to Big Chiwaukum from Lower Grace Lake instead?
Seems like it's better to use the East side near Lake Charles instead.

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Lightning_bug
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PostFri Sep 16, 2022 9:24 pm 
It's a relatively easy climb up to Grindstone from Sylvester. Some talus, light schwacking, but honestly not too bad. If you'd like tracks, feel free to pm me! Was just up there a month or so ago. I think the route up Grindstone from Chatter Creek is much longer, albeit on a slightly nicer trail.
On the way down to the lake after the climb

zimmertr
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zimmertr
TJ Zimmerman



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zimmertr
TJ Zimmerman
PostSat Sep 17, 2022 11:23 am 
Unfortunately my partner wasn't able to join me for this this weekend. But if anyone would like to do it with me next Saturday feel free to send me a PM. The basic route should be about 20 miles with 8,500' of gain and loss. Plus some more if we opt into any of the summits. Mostly off trail but it's a pretty common route and shouldn't have any sections with more than class 3 travel. Some slightly exposed ledges above Lake Charles at the worst. Would consider making it an overnight trip if that's your preference.

Flickr | Strava

mosey
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Get Out and Go
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Get Out and Go
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PostSat Sep 17, 2022 3:18 pm 
Here's a bit of information and maps from some who are well-informed, Chester Marler, author of East of the Divide and Zeke, who managed Scottish Lakes High Camp. https://wenatcheeoutdoors.org/2016/06/16/chiwaukum-hiking-traverse/

"These are the places you will find me hiding'...These are the places I will always go." (Down in the Valley by The Head and The Heart) "Sometimes you're happy. Sometimes you cry. Half of me is ocean. Half of me is sky." (Thanks, Tom Petty)

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Bramble_Scramble
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PostSat Sep 17, 2022 3:27 pm 
Get Out and Go wrote:
Here's a bit of information and maps from some who are well-informed, Chester Marler author of East of the Divide and Zeke, who managed Scottish Lakes High Camp. https://wenatcheeoutdoors.org/2016/06/16/chiwaukum-hiking-traverse/
Thanks for that link, looks like a fun route! I've been interested in the Deadhorse Pass route as a much shorter way to get to Cup and Larch for larches. East of the Divide is a really neat book that I probably should read again soon.

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zimmertr
TJ Zimmerman



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zimmertr
TJ Zimmerman
PostSat Sep 17, 2022 3:45 pm 
Bramble_Scramble wrote:
looks like a fun route
I'm ready when you are 🐐

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zimmertr
TJ Zimmerman



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zimmertr
TJ Zimmerman
PostSat Sep 17, 2022 3:46 pm 
Get Out and Go wrote:
author of East of the Divide
Funny I've never heard of this one. Just bought it, thank you!

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Bramble_Scramble
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PostSat Sep 17, 2022 9:14 pm 
zimmertr wrote:
I'm ready when you are 🐐
If only I didn't work weekends! We seem to do/want to do a lot of the same trips.

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RumiDude
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RumiDude
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PostSun Sep 18, 2022 11:27 am 
Twenty years ago this was my playground, but I have mostly forgotten many of the particular details of my wanderings up there, i.e. I conflate most of the details. I worked four tens and so every two weeks I got six days off in a row, which allowed me plenty of time to explore the entire area over a period of about five years. The nice thing back then was I rarely encountered other people up there. If you like solitude, then that is a plus if that still holds true. Most people went to areas deemed more spectacular and easier to access. Hunters used it in the fall, so I did see them up there. I made use of maps, mostly USGS quads which I had waterproofed myself and written extensive notes on. I "discovered" new offtrail routes. Maps, compass, ruler/straight edge, and altimeter were the main tools I used to keep from getting lost. I have a tube of my rolled up quads somewhere in storage, but since I almost never hike in the Cascades now I haven't looked for them in over a decade. If I dig them out I will likely offer them for free to anyone interested. It would be interesting to see how relevant my notes are for travel now. Rumi

"This is my Indian summer ... I'm far more dangerous now, because I don't care at all."

zimmertr
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zimmertr
TJ Zimmerman



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zimmertr
TJ Zimmerman
PostSun Sep 18, 2022 1:34 pm 
RumiDude wrote:
I worked four tens and so every two weeks I got six days off in a row
Sounds like the dream!
RumiDude wrote:
he nice thing back then was I rarely encountered other people up there. If you like solitude, then that is a plus if that still holds true.
Like everyone else I hate going to a place and sharing it with dozens of people. But I definitely don't mind seeing others and making friends on the trail. I tagged Frigid Peak and Lake Ida last year on a big 12 hour day and only saw two other people the whole time. And it was when I was jogging out Chatter Creek an hour or two after dark. I guess I'm more interested in the Chiwaukum because the alpine is pretty accessible and I remember the fall colors being very impressive.

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wyattmullen
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wyattmullen
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PostMon Sep 19, 2022 12:04 am 
I traversed from Snowgrass to Big Chiwaukum back in July dropping off of the North Ridge of Snowgrass and passing Upper Grace Lake. It definitely goes, and was kind of a fun scramble, but it's quite loose (helmets definitely recommended if you're in a group). If you stay close to that north ridge on the way up (or down) you should manage to keep it mostly class 2/3 although it's hard to avoid at least a couple class 4 moves.

zimmertr
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