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Sheep Lake,Chinook Peak,Pacific Crest #2000

Sep 29, 1999

by Carl F. Prenner last modified Sep 10, 2008 02:41 PM
Type of Outing
Day hike

The night before hiking we stayed at Ohanapecosh Campground. It looked like a disaster area. Huge trees toppled, branches and small limbs scattered all over the camp area. Ranger said 80 mph winds hit them the previous Friday in short time, with one toilet roof partially caved in, several tents and RV's hit, and three people injured from falling trees. Ended up sheltering some campers temporarily during the storm in the main ranger work station. The crisp, sunny morning greeted us as we strode along the 2 miles to Sheep Lake on the gentle grade from the Chinook Pass PCT trailhead (5,432'). No snow or bugs encountered. Considering the hordes of people the lake probably gets in the summer, it looked well managed and clean this day. No one else there. From a trail report in a hiking magazine, a climb of ""Chinook Peak"", 6,904 ft. and not named on the map, seemed to be a relatively easy walk-up from the lake (5,800'). Proceeding to the basin north of the lake, we followed heather and other low plant stretches above cliffy areas just north of the lake by veering westward (left) on an ascending traverse for perhaps 1/2 mile to 6,100'. We always stayed below the peak's buttresses and outlier spurs on faint trails at best. Soon after, we found steeper tracks leading to a small rock notch above a gully, which in 75' topped out on the ridge(c.6,450') to the peak. There is no defined ridge trail to the summit until the last 75'. Heading up and to the right a little ends up on the main summit. There are a couple other lower minor peaks to the left which appear to be higher and tempt travel in their direction. If they interest you, you could follow a catwalk from the main summit over to them. The views of Mt.Rainier and all the east side peaks were impressive. Also, from the summit you can check out your car in the parking lot a couple hours away. If you are inclined to pass on Sheep Lake, we believe it's possible to start for the ridge perhaps a 1/4 mile before the lake and intersect the traverse to the ridge with less repeat mileage.

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