Claimstake Mountain

November 21-22, 2015

2045m

Skagit Valley / Manning Park Area, BC

Claimstake Mountain is the peak immediately south of Silverdaisy Mountain on the boundary between Manning Park and Skagit Valley Recreational Area. Although its name being unofficial, this is a far more interesting summit than its neighbour and a full summit ridge traverse over those jagged pinnacles in winter condition is certainly not for the faint-of-heart. Alex and I managed to do so after finishing a quick ascent of Silverdaisy Mountain, and the plan was to camp somewhere near the summit of Claimstake thus to make an ascend of the (farthest) Hatchethead on Day 2.

Ascent route for Silverdaisy, Claimstake and Hatchethead

Ascent route for Silverdaisy, Claimstake and Hatchethead. GPX DL

The NE Ridge from Silverdaisy/Claimstake col appeared to have at least one steep section based on our earlier observation. Indeed, after ascending a section of moderately steep forested terrain we came to the base of that steep slope with no obvious bypass. The two choices were attacking it directly up, or doing a long traverse across it. Either option would be exposed to the terrain so didn’t matter that much. We ended up doing a combination of the two – ascending up initially but traversing across near the top. After that we still had to ascend a long section of steep and sparsely treed terrain before topping out on the summit ridge. The first highpoint was easily obtained.

Here's that steep slope we had to ascend

Here’s that steep slope we had to ascend

Alex leading the way. Went straight up initially

Alex leading the way. Went straight up initially

Then we did a long traverse higher up

Then we did a long traverse higher up

It's steep...

It’s steep…

Arriving at the first highpoint

Arriving at the first highpoint

Hozomeen Mountain

Hozomeen Mountain

Mt. Dewdney

Mt. Dewdney

Snass Mountain

Snass Mountain

Looking ahead towards the true summit. The N. Face is steep..

Looking ahead towards the true summit. The N. Face is steep..

The connecting ridge to the true summit appeared to be narrow, jagged and heavily corniced (just as expected), but by breaking it down into smaller sections it wasn’t too bad. The crux came near the first major highpoint that we opted to traverse below the ridge crest (very steep slope on some thin and convex terrain). Later on the return we opted to stay on the ridge crest overcoming two pinnacles which involved some moderately exposed scrambling but no complex slope traverse. Further along the ridge there were a couple more pinnacles that we all bypassed on the left (south) side and the difficulty gradually eased as we approaching the true summit.

Alex traversing underneath the next highpoint

Alex traversing underneath the next highpoint

On top of the next highpoint, looking back

On top of the next highpoint, looking back

Alex on the highpoint. Note the huge cornice...

Alex on the highpoint. Note the huge cornice…

Skier volunteer?!

Skier volunteer?!

Descending off the next highpoint. It's the typical terrain

Descending off the next highpoint. It’s the typical terrain

Looking ahead

Looking ahead

One of the many cornices

One of the many cornices

Ascending towards the true summit

Ascending towards the true summit

Summit Panorama from Claimstake Mountain. Click to view large size.

Summit Panorama from Claimstake Mountain. Click to view large size.

Looking down at one of the pinnacles on this summit

Looking down at one of the pinnacles on this summit

The summit is kinda exposed on one side...

The summit is kinda exposed on one side…

Looking back along the summit ridge

Looking back along the summit ridge

Shawatum Mountain

Shawatum Mountain

Our 3rd objective - Hatchethead Mountain is the low bump in foreground

Our 3rd objective – Hatchethead Mountain is the low bump in foreground

Mt. Outram and Mt. Dewdney on the skyline

Mt. Outram and Mt. Dewdney on the skyline

Silverdaisy Mountain is that broad forested summit

Silverdaisy Mountain is that broad forested summit

Could see Frosty Mountain

Could see Frosty Mountain

Me on the summit of Claimstake Mountain

Me on the summit of Claimstake Mountain

There was no ideal camping spot along the summit ridge traverse so that’s why we kept pushing further. Beyond the true summit we saw one flat section about 100 m down (towards Hatchethead), so with the time running out we settled on that. It was a great vantage point with the only downside being a bit windy. The camp set-up took a good hour or so (as usual for winter camping trip), and after that we got to see some exceptional sunset scenery.

Cornices were trying to break off...

Cornices were trying to break off…

Alex coming down the true summit

Alex coming down the true summit

Almost sunset time. Hozomeen and Shawatum on the skyline

Almost sunset time. Hozomeen and Shawatum on the skyline

Looking back towards the true summit

Looking back towards the true summit

Starting to see that red band on the horizon now.

Starting to see that red band on the horizon now.

Sunset over the shoulder of Mt. Brice

Sunset over the shoulder of Mt. Brice

Even the moon was visible

Even the moon was visible

Peaks near The Old Settlers (East Harrison Area)

Peaks near The Old Settlers (East Harrison Area)

Evening glow on Mt. Outram

Evening glow on Mt. Outram

Evening glow on Mt. Dewdney

Evening glow on Mt. Dewdney

And, on Hozomeen Mountain

And, on Hozomeen Mountain

On the right skyline we could see glow on the Coquihalla Group

On the right skyline we could see glow on the Coquihalla Group

Dusk over Silverdaisy Mountain

Dusk over Silverdaisy Mountain

One panorama view before sunset. Click to view large size.

One panorama view before sunset. Click to view large size.

One panorama view after sunset. Click to view large size.

One panorama view after sunset. Click to view large size.

We all got some 10+ hours sleep thank to the long night. The next morning we woke up at just before alpenglow time for some sunrise views. A thin layer of clouds had created some extra colours for us.

Gorgeous colours on the horizon

Gorgeous colours on the horizon

Shawatum Mountain

Shawatum Mountain

Can't get rid of the view of Hozomeen Mountain - one of the harder peaks in the North Cascades

Can’t get rid of the view of Hozomeen Mountain – one of the harder peaks in the North Cascades

Those jagged peaks by Inspiration - Fury area down south in Washington

Those jagged peaks by Inspiration – Fury area down south in Washington

Three Brothers Mountain and the morning sky

Three Brothers Mountain and the morning sky

Morning sky over Mt. Outram and Mt. Dewdney

Morning sky over Mt. Outram and Mt. Dewdney

Alpenglow on Mt. Spickard

Alpenglow on Mt. Spickard

And, alpenglow on Silvertip Mountain

And, alpenglow on Silvertip Mountain

The N. Face of Mt. Brice

The N. Face of Mt. Brice

Our camp...

Our camp…

Back to the tent we spent some time cooking breakfast, and then it’s time to get going again. The sky was partially cloudy now but Hatchethead Mountain didn’t looks anything harder than a long plod, so off we went.

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