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Ascent of Little Chopaka Mountain on 2013-05-18

Climber: Craig Willis

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, May 18, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Little Chopaka Mountain
    Location:USA-Washington
    Elevation:3248 ft / 989 m

Ascent Trip Report

This is a supplemental to Ken Russell's recent TR. Within one minute of parking my car near the starting gully, a man in a large white truck pulled next to the car (almost as if to block it in). "What are you doing here?" the man asked me. I told him that I had been driving through the area and knew that there was some BLM land on the hills above, so I wanted to hike up and take some photos. He then informed me that he was the person who leases the private land around there, and was just curious as to why I (an unfamiliar person) was there. He then told me that hiking and photo-taking was totally fine with him. I told him that I was not hunting, and was not carrying any weapons. Pointing up, I also told him that I would not cross through a fence on the nearby hill, but he did not seem to care. It didn't matter, anyway, as the fence ended at a steep rocky hill which I was able to walk around.

As I neared the first ridgetop (NE ridge), there was a spot where I could see my car. A truck was parked behind my car, a man was looking at my car, and the truck looked dubiously like a Border Patrol vehicle. Fortunately, I knew that I had already gotten an impromptu "OK" to be there from the landowner, and I had left a large paper note on my steering wheel that said "WENT FOR A WALK. BE BACK SOON." The truck then left within a minute or so of me seeing it there; I suspect they saw my note and ran the license plate just to make certain the car was not reported stolen. There are parts of the route where the nearby Border Crossing can be seen to the northwest.

I followed a similar route as Ken Russell had only one month earlier. Start at the overgrown jeep track south of the gully (not north!) and when I encountered the fenceline I followed it up a short steep incline until it disappeared at a rocky slope. Then it was an easy-to-follow approach from there. This route for Little Chopaka is straightforward but LONG. Annoyingly long. But with all of the private land surrounding the area, it might be the safest way to go. I dressed light and only carried a Camelbak rather than a full-size pack... which allowed me to run/jog up and down many sections of the ridges. The openness of the terrain really helped, although the rockiness of the terrain was annoying. I bypassed some of my lower route on the way down, which saved some time but not much in terms of overall distance.

This peak got me VERY interested in its big brother peak, Chopaka Mountain. That peak looms LARGE to the west; it almost seems like the gateway to larger peaks in North-Central Washington. Chopaka Mountain is another Top 200 Prom peak, and it certainly moved up much higher on my "to do" list now that I have seen it up-close.

On the lighter side of the trip, I saw probably two dozen deer on the peak. I didn't see any documentation for them, so I suspect they are illegal deer immigrants from north of the border. ;-)
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:2468 ft / 750 m
    Elevation Loss:2468 ft / 750 m
    Distance:7.1 mi / 11.4 km
    Quality:4 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Open Country
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Windy, Low Clouds
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:2318 ft / 705 m
    Extra Loss:350 ft / 106 m
    Distance:3.7 mi / 5.9 km
    Route:Ridge Runs & Jeep Tracks
    Trailhead:Gully Near Road-Bend  1280 ft / 390 m
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:2118 ft / 644 m
    Extra Gain:150 ft / 45 m
    Distance:3.4 mi / 5.5 km
    Route:Ridge Runs & Jeep Tracks
    Trailhead:Gully Near Road-Bend  1280 ft / 390 m



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