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Mount Hinman

 
Mount Hinman

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Washington, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 47.56633°N / 121.20804°W

Object Title: Mount Hinman

County: King/Kittitas

Activities: Mountaineering, Scrambling

Season: Summer, Fall

Elevation: 7492 ft / 2284 m

 

Page By: Snidely Whiplash

Created/Edited: Apr 23, 2009 / Jan 3, 2014

Object ID: 508469

Hits: 10084 

Page Score: 80.66%  - 13 Votes 

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Overview

 
Sunset at Chain Lakes Basin
Sunset from Chain Lakes
 
Camp at Chain Lakes Basin
Chain Lakes Basin
 
Looking towards Summit Chief
Chain Lakes and Summit Chief
 
Talus Fields Approaching Chain Lakes Basin
Talus above Williams Lake
Mt. Hinman, along with Mt Daniel, is the second glaciated giant of King County, Washington. Its modest elevation belies the fact that its slopes hold three substantial (and rapidly retreating) glaciers. The preponderance of glacial ice here at such a low elevation is probably due to the high, dome-like structure of the peak which allows a very large accumulation of snowfall. Like its cousin, Mt. Daniel, the glaciers here are in head-long retreat. The USGS quad of 1925 shows no lakes with long glaciers. At the present time, there are lakes at the termini of each glacier that are at least 1/4 mile long, if not longer.

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.

Getting There

 
Looking down the Southeast Ridge of Hinman
Above Hinman Glacier
 
Mt. Daniel from the Hinman Glacier
Mount Daniel-Pea Soup Lake
 
Southeast Ridge of Hinman
Summit Ridge
 
Chimney Rock from La Bohn Gap
Chimney Rock
There are two distinct approaches for this climb. From the South, one can drive I-90 to Exit 34, driving past Ken's truck stop and continuing north until merging with the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Road. BE WARNED! This road is notorious as perhaps the worst road in all of the Cascades. It is filled with enormous craters, and even though as of 2007, the road is closed above Dingford Creek (13.5 miles), it would take the average driver 1 hour to drive this distance. Furthermore, the locals sporadically like to use unattended vehicles on this road for target practice, sometimes with semi-automatic weapons fire. Translation: Don't take a nice car up this road. Finally, it appears that the Forest Service will not repair the washout above Dingford Creek, and the permanent new road end will remain there at an elevation 1400 feet. To reach the old road end, a spur trail of 5.8 miles arrives at the old trailhead at an elevation of 2200 feet.

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.

Red Tape

 
Approaching Summit of Hinman
Near Summit
 
Looking down Hinman Glacier
Hinman Glacier
Both the Necklace Valley and the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Valley lie within the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. A Northwest Trail Park Pass ($5/day, $30/year) is required to park. Wilderness permits are required but available on a self-service basis at the trailhead. An interagency pass, good at all Forest Service trailheads and National Parks, is available for $80/year.

Wilderness permits are required for travel into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Permits are available at the trailheads on a self-serve basis.

Camping

There 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.

External Links

 
Mount Hinman
TOPO! Software Image
 
The Hinman Glacier
Hinman Glacier
For an approach from either I-90 or Highway 2, check the Washington State Department of Transportation set of webcams for the latest conditions at this site:


Washington State Highway Webcams

Information on US Forest Service road conditions and closures can be found here:

US Forest Service Information




Images