Big Phelps: a nice summit
On 10/1/2010 I climbed Mount Phelps (Big Phelps, listed as Mclain Peak on the USGS, but referenced as Mount Phelps by Becky). Since the new bridge on the North Fork of the Snoqualmie River Road at Sunday Creek (2009), there has been some further road work on the upper sections of the road. It is now possible to drive to the location of washout #3 as labeled on the topo map include in the main entry for Mount Phelps. (About 1/4 of the way up the Blackhawk Mine turnoff road.) This makes it possible to summit Mount Phelps via the SW Ridge in about 3 hours from the car at a moderate pace and including some dithering time for route-finding.
The climber's trail through the clear-cut/regrowth area above the Blackhawk Mine is a time saver. The lower half of the climber's trail is fairly beat down and can be followed with a few difficulties. The upper half is marked by rocks on tree stumps. Where the trail enters the taller uncut forest (at 3600 feet) you will probably lose it. If you have a GPS, you may want to mark this location to make it easier to find the climber's trail on the way back down.
The rising traverse across to the Little Phelps/Big Phelps saddle on the SW ridge goes through uncut timber and then across a few talus slopes from rockfall off the S face of Phelps. It may be tempting to climb these talus slopes, but doing so will make access to the SW ridge difficult because of the steep S face of the ridge higher up.
From the saddle, the very bottom section of the SW ridge was bushy, but it quickly gives way to pleasant ridge hiking on pine needles under large trees.
A fairly neat summit with steep cliffs on most aspects except for the SW ridge, which was class 2 (somewhat airy in few places). Summit register had 2 entries for 2010, 1 for 2009, and 9 for 2008 (beore the road washed out?).
No comments posted yet.