Chemeketan Club Climb
PEAK: Chikamin Peak
ELEVATION: 7,000’ (2134m)
DATE: September 2-4th 2022
LEADER: Chris Salaz & Gabe Starr
ELEVATION GAIN: ~5,800’
TOTAL DISTANCE: ~14 Miles
Chikamin Peak is the first Cascade mountain north of Mount Rainier to reach over 7000 feet in elevation. It is also the highest peak of what many regard as the Snoqualmie Pass Peaks (those peaks easily accessible from Snoqualmie Pass in a day). The view of Chikamin Peak is quite impressive while driving on I-90 east of Snoqualmie Pass and looking north up Gold Creek Valley. From this vantage point, Chikamin appears as a rock horn sitting on top of a ridge whose southern face is a near-vertical wall. Appearances are deceiving. The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) crosses this face, which consists of numerous gullies which can be used to gain access to Chikamin's summit.
Accordingly, Chikamin Peak can be accessed from a variety of approaches. The shortest approach and the only route feasible as a day trip is by way of Mineral Creek Park (about 7 miles each way), although this is a very rough trail and will feel much longer. Chikamin can alternatively be reached via the PCT from Snoqualmie Pass and via the Cooper River trail from the east. Both of these latter approaches are about 14 miles each way, however, and are impractical as a day trip.
This will be some of the finest country you will ever encounter. Chikamin is in the heart of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, and is surrounded by some of the most beautiful lakes and rugged peaks anywhere in the Northwest. This mountain, whether done as an overnighter, or in a day, is a real gem. From its summit, you will have great views of Thompson, Lemah, Hinman, Daniel, and other great peaks of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness area.
- from Summit Post
Hike a good trail at first, making a difficult stream crossing in about 2 miles. Once past the creek crossing, the trail becomes rocky and rough, and you will never really be able to see your boots due to all of the thick undergrowth which surrounds both sides of the trail. At 4 miles, finally break into the forest and leave the rough trail behind. At 5 miles, reach Upper Park Lake, elevation 4700 feet.
From Upper Park Lake, continue on the Mineral Creek Park trail to a junction with the PCT in about 1/2 mile. Turn left (south) at the junction, and reach Chikamin Pass in another 1/2 mile.
Just about 1/4 mile before reaching Chikamin Pass, you will pass an unmarked but very well defined trail heading off to your right. If you follow this trail, it will take you cross-country to Glacier Lake, one of the truly spectacular settings in all of the Cascades. The view of Chikamin from Glacier Lake is amazing. Hike along the right side (due to the cliffs of Chikamin Ridge, it will be impossible to hike up the left side) of the lake up a draw to the top of the cliffs surrounding Glacier Lake. At this point, it is imperative to turn left (west) over broken talus and slabs and traverse to the top of Chikamin Ridge. If you make the mistake of continuing up the draw, you will be prevented from reaching Chikamin by a huge cliff.
Once on top of Chikamin Ridge, it is an easy Class 2 scramble up a broad gully to the summit horn, where a narrower gully and a short Class 3 scramble will take you to the summit.
Difficulty: Class 2-3. Distance: 14 miles. Elevation Gain: About 5800 feet
GETTING TO THE TRAILHEAD
We will depart from the Airport Rd Park n Ride in Salem very early Friday Morning to make the 308 mile drive to the Trail Head.
Day 1: Drive to Mineral Creek TH. Hike into glacier lake and camp.
Day 2: Wake up early, leave for the summit, retrace our steps back to camp to rest for a 2nd night at glacier lake.
Day 3: We’ll pack up our gear early and hike the 7 miles back to the TH to get a head start on the long drive home. Optional celebratory meal in Roslyn.
EMERGENCY AND IN-TOWN CONTACTS
Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office (Search & Rescue): 509.962.7525
Cle Elum Ranger District Office: 509.674.4411
REQUIRED EQUIPMENT AND CLOTHING
Food & Water
puffy jacket (down or synthetic)
base layer (wool or synthetic)
nylon/polyester shorts (optional)
socks, thick wool
Water filter (Shared)
CHEMEKETAN CLIMB REGULATIONS
1. The climber agrees to pay for the climber's own medical and/or rescue expenses, whether or not authorized by the climber in the event of accident or illness.
2. Guests must provide to the trip leader a signed RELEASE FROM LIABILITY AND ASSUMPTION OF RISK, available at the meeting location.
3. The climb leader reserves the right to refuse to allow anyone to participate in the climb if the leader believes that the person is not adequately prepared for the climb.
Summit Post Page: http://www.summitpost.org/chikamin-peak/151849
Mountaineers Page: https://www.mountaineers.org/explore/routes-places/chikamin-peak
Chris Salaz 503-871-0288
Gabe Starr 503-5083709
Summit Post Link: https://www.summitpost.org/chikamin-peak/151849
Difficulty: Class 3 scramble
Driving Distance RT: 616 miles