Ascent of Clark Mountain on 2017-09-03

Climber: Daniel Mick

Others in Party:Chris Corless
Linda Musil
Matt Bell
Shem Harding
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Sunday, September 3, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Clark Mountain
    Elevation:8602 ft / 2621 m

Ascent Trip Report

Google takes you right there. The last 2 miles of the road to the TH has been washed out for several years, but there was a construction crew there finishing the road a few days after our climb.

Thankfully only 2 extra miles each way on the road - the ranger I called said it was 4-5 each way!

We departed the TH/cars at 0930. The road hike was dusty but it was still cool and shady. The White River trail is wide and shaded through the trees though a bit brushy at some creek crossings. The actual trail doesn't quite match the topo line at the river crossing and junction with #1562 uphill but just follow the main path and you're fine. Trail shoes are highly recommended since the first 4 miles don't gain any elevation, then you gain 4000 feet in 5 miles over many switchbacks to Boulder Pass, though it is great trail with well designed switchbacks. I unfortunately had to turn back two team members who were severely lagging at the creek crossing. Though disappointed, they were also thankful for being put out of their misery. The trail gets a bit brushy in places ~3800' to ~4800' as it follows the creek through the upper valley but overall is very wide and clear. The cirque at ~5000 and the junction with trail #1556 is a beautiful alpine meadow with some campsites in the trees.

We camped in a distinct depression at 6200' with a large rock island. The ground was still damp even so late in the season but we found enough spots for tents. I would recommend continuing over the pass to the flats on the North side of the ridge/our return route on the GPS. This makes for a much easier alpine start even though it adds 100'. We headed NW in the morning and quickly encountered a 4th class scree slope to descend which is not clear from the topo or satellite images. The traverse and ridge ascent are equal in choice. Earlier season climbs may have a much easier choice with lots of snow still. We were pushing the end of the possible glacier route season and there was little to no snow at lower elevations even in the Northern bowl.

We departed camp at 0530. At the ridge there is persistent snow and we roped up. Clark/Walrus is an impressive hanging glacier! The major crevasses are consistent across seasons, confirmed by a couple decades of satellite images on Google Earth. I was worried about not getting through so late in the season, and there was one thin strip mid-glacier between major crevasses, but it all ended up very simple. At the saddle you drop down a bit to the ridge and then over the other side. We traversed the snowfield, followed a snow finger up, and chose a 3rd class area to scramble to the ridge. Once on the ridge it's easy 2nd class to the summit. We summitted ~0945. There are a couple established bootpaths a bit further West which are visible on satellite one of which we followed down. We unfortunately has to decide against tagging Luahna because of time, so I'll have to return for it. With better planning we could have brought our gear with us and camped in a saddle, or descended on the West side to White River for the next evening.

So with lots of extra time in the afternoon we descended all the way back down to White River to camp for the evening. My feet were brutalized from not having used my boots much this season so I was thankful for the head start. The next morning we hiked out and enjoyed a fantastic lunch at the Squirrel Tree Restaurant in Coles Corner!

1/1 ACCESS - good roads, close to Hwy 2
2/2 REMOTENESS (Popularity, Sight/Sound) - White River is supposedly super popular but we only met a few other people anywhere; definitely remote on the ridge
1/1 CONDITION - wide well-established trail all the way to the saddle
3/3 VARIETY (Flora and Fauna, Geological, Terrain) - a little bit of everything!
3/3 VIEWS - awesome views of Glacier and the surrounding North Cascades
TOTAL 10/10
(does not include difficulty since hikers may prefer opposite extremes)

Ultimate OR & WA Lists: CoHP, CoPP, Top e100, Top p100

Ultimate US List: HP, PP, Iso, 2ndLap
Click on photo for original larger-size version.
Clark Mt. Walrus Glacier route (2017-09-03). Photo by Daniel Mick.
Click here for larger-size photo.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:6602 ft / 2012 m
    Round-Trip Distance:33 mi / 53.1 km
    Route:Clark/Walrus Glacier
    Trailhead:Grasshopper Meadows  2000 ft / 609 m
    Quality:10 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Snow on Ground, Scramble, Glacier Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Rope, Ski Poles, Tent Camp
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Time:1 Days 12 Hours 
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Daniel Mick
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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