Mt. Hinman is truly a beautiful climbing objective. It is, however, remote by any approach route. Count on a three-day excursion by either approach, especially with the closure of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Road above Dingford Creek. From the south, one can travel up the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Valley, past the Dutch Miller Gap peaks, past Williams Lake, and up the long, white talus fields into Chain Lakes Basin. This is truly a beautiful camping spot. The other approach is from US Highway 2 in the north, up the Necklace Valley. Either way, be prepared for some really nasty mosquitos, but also for some wonderfully isolated climbing. The remoteness will ensure that Hinman is climbed by only a couple of dozen parties a year.
From Dingford Creek, it is a 13.3 mile hike up to Chain Lakes Basin at 5500 feet, which makes an outstanding base camp. Not only is it spectacular, but you will have great proximity to the summit. The basin is filled entirely with white granodiorite and a host of tiny lakelets, which reflect the moonlight and gives the basin an eery, luminescent aura at night. You won't need your headlamp to go potty at night.
For reaching the summit of Hinman, climb 1/2 mile due east to reach the summit of La Bohn Gap, elevation 6000 feet. The gap is a beautiful mixture of grassy heather slopes and rock. Once reaching the Gap, turn due north and find a climber's boot track which is surprisingly well-defined and climber-friendly, switchbacking up steep heather slopes to gain access to Hinman's Southeast Ridge. You are now contouring at the head of Hinman Glacier, elevation 7000 feet. From here, the climb to the summit is an exercise in traversing the heads of two glaciers, past a long, sharp ridge, to reach the summit at the eastern most mound of rocks. The long ridge seems every bit as high as the "summit," and it would be interesting to know which is truly higher. There should be no need for a rope, even though you are traversing glaciers, as you are skirting the very tops of them. An ice ax is advisable, but one could probably get away from using a helmet or crampons. There is minimal rockfall danger here.
An alternative approach can be up the Necklace Valley. Drive US Highway 2 East of Skykomish 1.8 miles. Turn right at the Foss River Road #68 for 3.6 miles to thee Tonga Ridge junction, and continue to the East Fork Foss River trail at 4.2 miles (elevation 1600 feet). Hike past numerous beautiful lakes to reach La Bohn Gap in 10 miles.
Wilderness permits are required for travel into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Permits are available at the trailheads on a self-serve basis.
CampingThere are countless places to camp on this trip. As you hike up the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Valley, Pedro Camp (at 6 miles from road-end) is the first established area, but great sites abound at Williams Lake and higher up at Chain Lakes Basin. From Necklace Valley, there is great camping at the several lakes in that valley. Jade Lake, which is directly below La Bohn Gap, is probably the best base camp from this direction.
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