Southwest Route

Page Type
Washington, United States, North America
Route Type:
Path then scramble
Time Required:
Half a day
Class 3 in summer, Class 4 in winter

Route Quality: 3 Votes

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Southwest Route
Created On: Dec 4, 2004
Last Edited On: Dec 7, 2008

Road & Trail Approach

From eastbound I-90 take Exit 62 (Crystal Springs Crampground and FR-49). This exit is 10 miles east of Snoqualmie Pass. From westbound I-90 take Exit 63 and go north on Cabin Creek Road along west side of Amabilis Mountain. Cabin Creek Road meets up with FR-49 in 1.5 miles and saves about 1.3 miles of driving compared to Exit 62.

From the FR-49/Cabin Creek Road junction, continue NNE for 2 miles to the shore of Kachess Lake. At a T-junction at 3.4 miles go left (NW) and continue less than half-a-mile to a road fork (c. 2,450 ft). Go right at the fork. This is the road up Box Canyon (FR-4930). At some point a nice view of the south side of Hibox will appear straight ahead. Go 3.5 miles up this road to the trailhead at the end of the road (2,760 ft). The total distance from freeway is about 9 miles.

The Rachel Lake Trail starts across the road (north of the parking area) and goes north up the east fork of Box Canyon Creek. DO NOT TAKE the trail that continues west along the road up the west fork of Box Canyon Creek. In 1.7 miles the trail will come to a avalanche clearing at a creek crossing (c. 3,400 ft). A nice view of the slopes of Hibox will appear here. The bootpath route to the summit area starts on the other side of the clearing and makes for the low-angle cliffs at center-slope.

Continue across the clearing for a few hundred yards to the forest on the other side. About 150 feet into the woods search for the Hibox bootpath on the right. It's about 50 feet beyond a collection of large sawn logs. The distance to here from the trailhead is about 2.3 miles and takes less than an hour to get to.

Bootpath to Summit Area

The bootpath is fairly easy to negotiate. There are some brushy, tree-encroached sections and a couple watery streamcourse scrambles but it is no harder than Class 2. However, some steep forest is encountered.

The trail will eventually come out of the woods and ascends rightward to the first set of low-angle cliffs. The path arcs leftward around the first outcrop and goes up a depression (possibly wet) then comes to a sub-alpine band at a minor promontory at 5,000 ft. At this point the bootpath goes up through the semi-open timber for several hundred yards until the second set of low-angle cliffs is reached. These are bypassed by way of a gully on the right. There may be small cairns to guide the way.

Once above the second cliffs, continue steeply upward to the summit crags. Skirt the right (south) side of the crags to get to the gullies on that side. The first gully is an amphitheater of Class 4/5 rock with technical climbing potential. Scramblers and hikers should avoid this. Keep going eastward. A second gully is reached about 100 feet from the first.

Final Climb to Summit

In summer there is probably a bootpath partially up the second (easternmost) gully. I'm guessing the path eventually gives way to an all-rock Class 3 scramble on the final SE arête (see the fourth picture on this page).

For Tony Tsuboi and me in wintry conditions (late-November) we encountered steep Class3/4 snow and rock scrambling all the way up the SE arête. Ice axes mandatory. In icier conditions it would have been impossible without crampons and probably technical gear.

The summit rocks are to the left at the head of the second gully. There may be a register but we didn't see it on account of snow.

Time = 3-4 hours from car; Distance = approx. 3.5 miles; Gain = 3,800 ft.

Essential Gear

Summer conditions: none other than ordinary hiking gear (clothing, etc.).
Winter conditions: warmer clothing, ice axe, possibly crampons, possibly snowshoes, 30m rope, some slings, a few pieces of pro, ability to climb a steep snow and rock arête. A helmet may not be necessary but is a good option.

Southwest Route

14 Images 1 Climber's Log Entries 0 Comments 0 Additions & Corrections


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