If you don't know anything about Chikamin Peak, look north up the Gold Creek valley the next time you drive by Hyak on I90. Its distinctive summit is easily recognized when climbing other peaks in the Snoqualmie pass area and beyond. That line of sight allows you to call home and tell your significant other that the ascent took longer than expected, and not to expect you for dinner.
After reading a few trip reports, it looked like the Mineral Creek - Glacier Lake route
might be the best choice. The downside is you have to lose 600' descending down to the lake, and you definitely feel that on the way back. If you find the right gully, the more direct route from the PCT is probably shorter and faster. I read accounts of people ascending using the Glacier Lk route, and then having a difficult time descending using the "shortcut" directly down to the PCT from the summit.
Thompson, Lema, Stuart Panorama
Three Queens, Kendall Panorama
Panorama of Glacier Lk, Chikamin and Box Ridges. July 23, 2005
Getting ThereFollow the Three Queens Mineral Creek driving directions.
We camped in the parking lot at the Mineral Creek Trailhead, and started at 6:00. We crossed the creek, and made our way up the Mineral Creek Bushwhack--errr.... trail. Actually, the first mile is great, and then much of the remaining 3-4 miles to Park Lakes is overgrown. There are sections where you can't see your feet, and the heavy dew had us all soaked.
We stopped to pump water and change socks at Park Lakes. Mental note, remember to wear gators on brushy, dewey trails. The mosquitos were swarming, but we were starting to get some views and the sun was shining, so life was good.
You turn left on the Pacific Crest Trail, heading toward Snoqualmie Pass. After a little over 1/2 mile, you head straight/right onto a waytrail toward the Chikamin Ridge saddle left of Pt 5402. If you go left, you will stay on the PCT and end up on the west side of Chikamin Ridge. This would provide access to the other "Chikamin SW Slope Central Gully" route.
Peter with Three Queens in the background
In a few minutes you reach the saddle, and have some excellent views north.
Looking north from Chikamin Ridge saddle
Follow the waytrail toward Glacier Lake and lose about 600'. You can see why the scramble route goes counter-clockwise around the lake.
Chickamin Peak above Glacier Lake
Ascend the rock field toward the higher unnamed lake. There is one distinctive rock near the beginning, and you can go left or right around it. You can see this rock field above the right side of Glacier Lk in the panorama shot above.
Scrambling over rocks just above Glacier Lk
After pumping some more water, we ascended moderate slopes on rock and slabs, reaching the ridge west of the Four Brothers saddle. Keep right near the summit, and look for the class three chimney that leads to summit. We only encountered a couple of snow patches, which must be rare for July, and reached the summit in about seven hrs.
Overall, it's a great scramble, although it makes for a long day. 17-18 mi, 6000', 13 hrs car-to-car.
We wore helmets above the unnamed lake, and an axe could be helpful for the final pitches on the ridge.
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