The perfect day was dawning as we stopped for coffee in Roslyn. Temps east of the crest were expected to hit the mid 90's. So we were glad to get an early start.
The journey began at 6:15 am from the Mineral Cr. trailhead. As is usual this time of year, the trail was heavily overgrown, and covered in dew. Swimming trunks are the perfect garmet for this kind of a day, as you get soaked. 5.5 miles in 2:45 achieves beautiful Park lakes. A short rest and water fill-up (no water source beyond on this route) an we're off. .5 miles up to the P.C.T., then 1.5 more to Alta pass, crossing west into the Gold Cr. drainage. This 5700', 4 mile traverse is truly spectacular, with Hukleberry Mtn. and Mt. Thompson to the west and Rainier (magnified today) to the south.
Traverse half-way across to just past the lowest point. The trail here goes through some small stands of trees. Just before the 3rd stand, look for a narrow gully above. This gully starts as 3-4 ft wide scree and deepens to 6-8 ft as you look up about 200'. The summit is 1400' above. After a Gu break, we started up at 11:30.
Work straight up in heather and scree for about 300' looking for a stand of trees that goes from center left. Work around the right side of this stand, and find a nice game trail that will lead up and left into the central gully. Now you can see the summit above! Go straight up the gully, then work right to reach the ridge between Chikamin and the Four Brothers. Above, the route is very clear, with only one easy 5' "move" to get over the final step. Then it was only a 30' walk arm in arm to the top. It was 1:10 pm.
What a beautiful summit. The only thing higher in view is Lemah, 1.5 miles NNW. The other 350 degree view is min. 500' below.
After an hour on top and a couple of victory phone calls, we headed back down to the safety of the P.C.T. by 3:15. The trek back to Park lakes was hot and exhausting, but another Gu, and the fresh taste of victory made the time pass quickly. The last suck of water came 100 yards from the lake. It was tempting to just cover myself with bug juice and spend the night there in the heather, but the thought of a beer at the Brick in Roslyn brought me to my senses and we struck off back down the trail reaching the parking lot at 8:00.
13:45, 9200' gained and lost in 18 miles! Not too bad for a couple of 48 year olds!