Started at Chatter Creek TH. Trail is in great shape, a little overgrown in a few spots, but still super easy to follow. Fall colors were spectacular! No golden larches yet. Also, NO BUGS! Cape Horn was very straightforward. The views remind me a lot of Colorado. Grindstone wasn't too bad, everything was just kinda loose. It was a weekday so only saw 3 other people in the area, just backpackers.
After failing on Lichtenberg the day before due to weather and a late start, was able to sneak Grindstone in on a blue sky day in late September. Lots of autumn colors in the basin below the ridge. The tricky part was after the ridge and the traverse around the first false summit in trying to figure out which peak to aim for. The route info on the page says to look left but you really don't want to look immediately left. As you traverse under the first gendarme, look at about your 10 o'clock position and aim for the rounded peak with the buttress below it. You'll hike through a bench with some small snow patches and then head up the easy ridge left just before that rounded sub-summit. Get to the top of that mellower ridge and then aim for the summit above the rounded one that then comes into view. There are about 3 or 4 false summits on the ridge before the actual summit. I did not encounter any Class 3 until the final 10 feet of the climb. Was all hiking and Class 2 before that. Amazing views from the glaciated Cascades and volcanoes over to the drier stuff in the Chiwaukums to the Pasaytens. Be prepared for a lot of elevation gain on this one though. I came in around 5000-5200 feet gain. About 5.5 hours up and 3.5 down.
Grindstone had more snow on it than expected so we went strait up the North ridge from a low point just SW of the pass at the top of the chatter creek trail. We took the ridge all the way to the summit, we should have descended after reaching the first peak though and followed a snow-free line of rocks instead which we did on the return.
4 peaks in 2 days. Camped near Lake Edna. Enjoyed all the peaks except the main summit of Snowgrass.
Something funky is going on with mosquitoes this year. They have been bad the last two trip but this time they were worse than I've ever seen in my life. I was able to kill 5 or 10 with one swat. They followed us everywhere, evem to the summit of Grindstone.
There were a lot of slabby slides going around. This was the trip that I invented the quote "How do you like your avalanches? I like them slabby!". Although honestly I prefer non, but do find them entertaining.
Absolutely amazing mountain. Just wish I went up a month later. The berries bushes and the larches are actually together here. SOme late September climber is going to hit the jackpot. At least I ate the yummy berries up there. Tough but highly recommended.