After discovering the open gate for the mining/forestry road at Cayuse Flats earlier in the week and with some warm September weather about to come to an end I wanted to head back that way to visit Hatchethead - an officially named mountain that sometimes gets mistaken for the unofficially named Claimstake Peak.
Eastpoint Peak TR from earlier in the week.
Driving out to Manning Park from Langley I turn off Highway 3 and approach the bridge/gate. It was closed and I thought I'd be doing another plan B like the day before (Baker area trip) but there's no lock so I opened it, drove through, closed it and continued up the road for about 10km going past the junction I took for Eastpoint access and getting to near the Silverdaisy Pass but the last couple hundred metres of road were a bit rough so I backed up and then parked in an open area where there is the framework of a Nissen styled hut.
Parking at 1740m elevation is nice.
Within 5 minutes I'm at Silverdaisy Pass where the old road/Silverdaisy Trail from Sumallo Grove joins up. Right goes to that peak but I go left and follow a trail that leads towards Claimstake Peak. Well defined for a while it thins out a bit further up but by then the route is straightforward to reach the summit ridge.
Summit ridge of Claimstake. High point is around to the right.
This was the trickiest part of the day as the ridge is chossy at times but soon I'm atop the summit (2045m) which features many types of insects. There are plenty of wasps (which were hassling the flying ants) but they left me alone. Throughout most of the trip there was a background buzz and I can only guess that as the wasps are not defending their nests they have no issue with me walking amongst them.
From here I get a good view of the ridge that connects Claimstake to Hatchethead and it looks pretty joyous from where I'm standing. A large burn came up the south slopes many years ago and there is a very defined and open ridge crest that looks to go all the way.
Wide open ridge walking towards Hatchethead. Outram rear right.
Some steep slopes in a couple of spots but this was some great ridge walking. Good views, nice late summer colours, standing and fallen burnt snags, blueberries still on the low vines and the sun providing plenty of warmth. I was happy.
The steep northern face of Mount Brice on the other side of the Twenty Six Mile Creek Valley.
The burnt snags I found to be very photogenic. The fallen ones could be a bit of a tripping hazard if one's eyes were too busy looking at the views.
Looking back up the ridge. Hozomeen in the background.
Silvertip dominates the view as to the west.
Colours along the ridge with Hozomeen and Shawatum to the south.
Approaching the low sections of the ridge with a view towards the peak and it looks wide open to get there.
An (another) idea of the very walkable and scenic terrain to travel.
The 2 low spots along the ridge did feature some young trees and bush but were easily negotiated. I caught the edge of my boot on a broken branch of a fallen snag and fell heavily but luckily didn't land on anything hard or pointy.
Starting to rise again I bypassed the southern end of the summit plateau and went through some more young trees to gain it around the mid point. There I had a good view down the Skagit River Valley and at an edge things abruptly dropped off and there was signs of erosion and land slip.
Looking down the Skagit River Valley.
Backtracking slightly I went through some more mild bush then emerged at the broad summit area and reached the cairn located atop a slab of rock. Dumping my pack I then wandered around for a while taking pictures.
The steep drop off I originally got to is upper left. The rock tower type feature seen lower down at right are "The Moles".
1. Plenty of fallen snags on the summit area too. Silvertip, Brown and Marmot in the distance.
2. Looking up the Silverdaisy Creek Valley with Silverdaisy at left and Claimstake at right. Silverdaisy Pass the low spot between the two with Eastpoint Peak just rear left of Claimstake.
3. Northern view towards the Dewdney and Snass areas.
Summit (1960m) shot.
To return I stayed high on the summit plateau where I could get a good view of the route I took to get here. It also gave me a good aspect of the heavily forested slopes that led down into the Silverdaisy Valley and looking at the topo I was thinking that might work as a route back.
Claimstake from near the summit. Forested slopes below looked interesting.
I looped around the plateau then got back onto the ridge system where I followed it down towards the lower points. One section I passed onroute to the ridge featured a bunch of cut tree stumps but otherwise apart from the summit cairn there wasn't any other signs of human presence.
Around here I got the urge to go left and down.
There's a stark contrast between the south side of the ridge and the north side that drops down into the Silverdaisy Valley. The north side is thick with trees and some bush but travel was quick as I did a slight descending traverse with the intent to cross Silverdaisy Creek then ascend to reach the mining road/Silverdaisy Trail and follow that up to the pass.
A few sections got steep but there was always a way to keep moving. I lost more elevation than I planned, crossed a couple of boulder fields and at one point got entangled in a grove of young cedars and bush that really slowed things down and was a bit of an ordeal.
Pushing out of that I just went straight down for a while then crossed a small stream to then side-hill for a bit before another small drop that got me to Silverdaisy Creek where there were a few pieces of flagging and some wooden stakes marking claims or something. Past that it was a bit bushy then open forest as I went upwards to reach the old road. Once on that it was just a matter of following it to the pass then down for a few minutes and I'm drinking beer.
Eastpoint Peak from the pass area. Approach to that earlier in the week was from far right.
A pretty easy going trip especially with access the way it is right now. I don't know if the gate status is going to stay this way or how the road will hold up in the future, but right now 4 peaks in this area are all ripe for the picking. 2wd first 5km, rough 2wd (with some clearance) to near 10km.
Old mining hut platforms just down the road from where I parked.
Map of route.