Chinook Mountain

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A four-peak day in the Frank Church Wilderness culminates at the summit of Chinook Mountain.

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Jeff and I met in Cascade, leaving his car parked on the shoulder of Warm Lake Highway as I've done many time before (Note: On our return, the sheriff had pasted a "Warning: Tow-away" sticker on the window....).

Then we proceeded to Landmark, and onward. I had driven the Burnt Log Road before when Dave and I did Big Baldy. So I didn't even look at the map, just turning at the sign indicating 'Burnt Log Trail'. Ooops. Wrong road. It seemed familiar, but not quite like I remembered. The GPS said the trailhead was only a couple miles away. Well, that GPS was correct, but the road I took was parallel to the correct road, but without any connection. So we scrubbed about an hour on a super-dusty road.

But eventually we did find the correct trailhead. FS448 is a little rough, but nothing you couldn't do in your Subaru.

Trailhead

The trail to Pistol Lake is quite nice, and showed evidence of recent foot traffic. It's maybe a 30-minute hike to this view.

But instead of continuing on the trail down to the lake, our route turned hard right and followed the Pistol Ridge trail. This is also a nice trail, but seldom used, and with some deadfall.

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Looking back from near our first peak. For us, this was about 90 minutes.

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Hazy. But cool. So overall, a pretty nice day. Just sad that the views were cut short, because this ridge has an excellent position. We should have been able to see the Sawtooths from here (not).

Trailhead

And there's where we were headed. This lake is unnamed, and about 600 feet below our ridge. Seems like it would make for a nice backpack trip, with guaranteed solitude.

Onward! More peaks to do.

Trailhead
From our third peak, this is the view of Chinook. We did a quick time and leg check, and decided to proceed. Trailhead

Nearing the summit.

Chinook had a cairn and a benchmark, the only signs of man we had seen since leaving the trail for Peak 2.

Trailhead

Off in the distance, there's Big Baldy with its lookout.

Off to the left, the Kiwah fire is burning. We couldn't see any source smoke, but as you can see it was plenty smoky.

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Another look back.

Okay, we're 7 miles in. Time to head home. On the way back, we tried to contour around a couple summits to save on the up/down (see our tracks on the map below). We agreed that those traverses didn't save us all that much time or energy.

The pano below is from after we had 'turned the corner'. You can see Lake Mountain on the extreme left, and our four peaks on the right.

Trailhead
Trailhead

Map

Note: At this time of year anyway, there are NO water sources on this hike. Plan accordingly.

 

Trailhead

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