Hey, you want to go get high? Then let's go get high on a box...
Hibox: where stoners go get stoned. Or maybe I'm thinking of Hibowl
To be sure, Hibox is the hi-apex of Box Ridge about six miles ENE of Snoqualmie Pass. Box Ridge begins rising from the west shore of Little Kachess Lake (the northern arm of Kachess Lake) and trends north then northwest for about seven miles, terminating at the saddle immediately east of Alta Mountain
. Other notable nearby summits are Three Queens
(6,687 ft) across Mineral Creek to the northeast, the Chimney
Group to the north, and Rampart Ridge to the west. The entire area is popular among day-hikers. Even Hibox, with its bootpath to the top, is popular (although not in wintry conditions). People probably see it in the distance (it is a prominent landmark) and say, "That peak looks like a cool climb."
Box Ridge is probably named after Box Canyon on the west. I wouldn't go so far as to say the crest has box-shaped summits or that you feel any more boxed in in the canyon than you would any other. Further, I doubt it's named after a guy named Box. Maybe it's so-named because it seems to box out incoming weather from the west. I've been in the area a few times and noticed how the high crest seems to act like an impervious divide for low clouds.
There are three notable points on Box Ridge: "Lobox Mountain" (Pk 6032), Hibox Mountain (6,547 ft), and "Nobox Mountain" (Pt. 6242). Nobox is something I just coined for this otherwise nameless point. "No" is partly an abbreviation for North since it is the northerly of the three (about halfway betwen Hibox and Alta) and partly a literal reference to the negative since the point does not qualify as a peak by my
standard (i.e, it has less than 400 feet of prominence). The ridge itself is moderately rugged with forested slopes separated by avalanche swathes. The alpine areas are rocky enough that one must be careful. Rock climbing potential exists but there are no long buttresses, therefore only one or two pitch routes are available. Hibox's summit tower has the best rock climbing potential on its south and southwest faces. There may also be some technical climbing in the NE cirque. The better option is to climb this peak for the alpine feel and the views and leave the rock climbing for other venues.
The bootpath climb on the SW side is fairly straightforward in summer conditions but there is some steep Class 3 rock to contend with at the top. In winter conditions, the climbing is harder (Class 4) and takes to the final SE arête. This is the route described here
There is another option to climb this peak from the east side from the Mineral Creek Trail but it will be harder, will start at a lower elevation, and require more route-finding. If you feel so bold to climb this side, then follow the Mineral Creek Route
on the Three Queens page
. Take the trail up Mineral Creek for about 3 miles to 3,600 ft (1.3 miles after the trail crosses to the east side of the creek). At this point you will be approximately due east of Hibox. Once you locate a suitable up-route to the crest, find a way to re-cross the creek (to its west side) and take to it. Good luck. Give yourself five hours going this way. It could take longer or shorter--especially depending on conditions.
The trailhead requires the stinkin' Trail Park Pass. Or park a quarter-mile away from it...or take your chances.
The summit also resides within the Alpine Lakes Wilderness (you cross into it just beyond the trailhead) so standard wilderness policy applies.
When To Climb
Hibox can be climbed year-round provided you can get to the (2,760-ft trailhead), which is unlikely but not impossible. In a low-snow year weekend joyriders (pick up truck yahoos) might attempt to blaze a track all the way there. To be certain of access, the best time to climb the peak would be from mid-Spring (late-April) to the first significant snows of fall (we climbed it in late November but this late-in-the-year access should be considered unusual. Consult your ranger for up-to-date information.
The Mineral Creek approach (Cooper River Road) is definitely not accessible in winter. Best to wait until late-Spring for that access. The best time to climb this route is probably in late-Spring when snow covers brush and makes for easier ascending up gullies and chutes (see this picture
This is really a day-climb. There is no great camping on the mountain itself. But if you're going to be in the area for more than a day to climb other nearby peaks, then good camping can be found on flat-topped Rampart Ridge--specifically in the vicinity of Lila, Rachel, or Rampart lakes. Other possibilities exist. Consult your map. There may also be restrictions to camping in this popular area. Consult your ranger.
Snoqualmie Pass road conditions
Views from the Mountain