Fadgen's Adventures

Fadgen's Adventures
Green Creek Lake

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Castle Peak - July 24-26


Dylan and I had been talking about climbing Castle Peak in the White Cloud Mountains for a few months and with the remaining summer schedule filling up I quickly decided that this was to be the weekend. Our plan was to spend a few days hiking around the peak while staying at a couple of different mountain lakes. I had read a trip report of a similar trip and with topo maps we headed out early Friday morning.

Friday's hike consisted of heading up from the 4th of July Lake trail head and crossing over a pass into Antz Basin and up to the Born Lakes. Once at Born Lakes we then slogged over a 10,000 foot scree pass overlooking Four Lakes Basin.
From here we dropped down to Four Lakes Basin and on down to Quiet Lake for the first night. It's a beautiful lake that is seldom visited, with an awesome view of the north face of Castle Peak. This side of the mountain is way beyond our skills to climb, our plan is the south face.
So we spent an uneventful evening trying to fish amongst all the mosquitoes. Dylan ended up catching a large rainbow trout on his second cast. We had him for an appetizer and didn't catch a single fish all weekend after that.


The next morning we packed up and were off to Chamberlain Basin. We left Quiet Lake at 9300 feet and dropped down to another lake at 8200 feet before picking up the main trail. From here it was a steady climb up over Castle Divide at 10,000 feet. Once on the divide it was only a couple more miles to reach Lake 9197 in Chamberlain Basin, our home for the night.

Sunday morning we woke at 7:00AM so we could get an early start up Castle Peak before it got too warm. Dylan fixed up his special crepe breakfast with homemade strawberry jam (Tam makes the best!) and we were off by 8:00AM. From reading other trip reports the climb up Castle requires taking a large gully that slopes to the west (the large gully going from right to left in the top photo). This gully takes you up to the ridge and then it's a short scramble to the summit. This all sounds very easy, the problem was that there was snow in the upper end of the gully requiring us to do a little route finding on the way up. After about three hours, and one bad decision where we had to reverse direction and take an alternate route, we made the summit at 11,815 feet.
From this vantage point, the highest in the White Clouds, you are supposed to be able to see over 20 lakes. We didn't count but there were definitely many to be seen.

The scramble down was a fun time as you can see, but we made it down without any problems.




Once we got down off the mountain and back to camp we packed up to leave. The plan was to head out to Washington Lake and spend Sunday night there. This would allow a short 2-3 mile out out to the trail head in the morning. I talked Dylan into heading all the way back to the car, stop in Stanley and get a pizza at Sawtooth Luce's, and to get home to spend the night in our beds. He agreed, but toward the end of the 8 mile hike out in the heat, I could hear him muttering to himself about someone's stupid idea. That is until he dug into the pizza...

All in all we figured we must have hiked 20 miles in the three days.

1 comment:

Kathy Chilton said...

This is beautiful! Really makes me miss the West coast!

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A team of adventurers consisting of John, Tamara, Taylor, Dylan, and Shadow Fadgen