Mount Phelps / McClain Peaks

For a long time, I have seen a peak in the distance from my travels in the Kirkland and Redmond area. I first miss-identified it as Mt. Persis and when I climbed that- it didn’t seem like the right mountain. But finally… I figured it out with the help of a phone app (peak finder) and also quite a bit of research. The oddity of this mountain is that it is falsely called McClain Peaks (if you believe the research online), this is a debated subject- so I will call it both McClain and Phelps. DSC09641edsml

The route begins from near the Nighthawk Mine (now caved in) after traveling about 20 miles on rough logging roads for the first 19 miles and the last bit on a mining road that is barely passable. I have already apologized to my car. IMG_20141118_124953_274ed

(taken with a bad phone camera, but the road continues to the left after the washout)

The hike itself is a scramble and has no real trail, the beginning has quite a few marked routes but they disappear as the climb continues. One can only assume that most people turn around before the top due to safety concerns and I fully understand. This is actually my second climb here in the past week- the first time, we turned around.

After a while in a previously clear cut forest, the trail enters older growth and gets a lot steeper. Route finding is incredibly hard once up here- even with the amazing blazes that someone placed up there. Part of the problem was that there are two routes to the top, one that is insane, and the other that is insaner. Today, I took the insane route as I figured out where I missed my turn. It lived up to its name. Rock hopping in boulder fields was a much nicer way of traveling (vs. the previous battles with huckleberry bushes).

This ended quick unfortunately and the climb to the top began again, through a large quantity of huckleberry bushes.

I took no photos of this as I was focused on not slipping.

After a lot of climbing, some ice navigation, and a bunch of sweating… I finally reached the top! Untitled_Panorama2ssml

I explored a little bit on the top and found a nice cave to hide in! Untitled_Panorama1sml

But as you can see, the sun was setting and I was not looking forward to descending in the dark (not that it would have been fun anyways).

I started the descent, and realized that I missed the trail and was heading towards a cliff and had to walk back. I summited this mountain two times in one day! I was incredibly happy that I had my GPS so that I could follow the same route that I took up as I kept on heading too far North or South to follow the ridge properly.

I was able to record my descent on video thankfully!

The descent was actually really challenging (a little bloody) and I was ready to return home once I was back at my car.

Happy to be done, wouldn’t necessarily recommend.


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