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Home Go Hiking Trip Reports Burch Mountain via Billy Goat Pass, McCall Gulch, Boundary Trail - Pasayten, Fawn Lake, Little Fool Hen Mountain, Corral Lake, Peepsight Lake
Amphitheater above Upper Cathedral Lake

Six days in the Pasayten starting at Billy Goat trailhead, visiting McCall Gulch, Cathedral Peak, numerous lakes (Fool Hen, Foxy, Peepsight, Fawn, Airview, Rock, Corral, Quartz) with a few ridgeline scrambles (Burch Mtn to Diamond Peak; Diamond Peak to Corral Lake; and McCall Gulch to Sand Ridge and Quartz Lake). Lots of beautiful, unburned areas, some good trails, and also lots of bushwhacking on overgrown and burned trails.

Route. Started at Billy Goat Trailhead and headed to Burch Mountain, then ridge walk along Fool Hen peaks to Fool Hen and Lake 7119 above Foxy Lakes. Up to Diamond Peak, then down to Larch Creek Trail and McCall Gulch, to Peeve Pass and Boundary Trail to Cathedral Peak. Lezamiz Trail and off trail to Airview Lake, then Peepsight Trail/route to Peepsight Lake, then off-trail to lake between Flaming and Newland Pks before heading down Newland Creek to Lake Creek Trail and Fawn Lake. Scrambled up to Diamond Peak and ridge scrambled to Corral Lake. Ridge walked Sand Ridge to Quartz Lake, then back to McCall and out Larch Creek Trail to trailhead.

Trail conditions. Larch Creek Trail was cleared that same week to junction with East Fork Pasayten, leaving just one awful section a couple of miles before Larch Pass. By now, the whole trail is probably cleared to McCall Gulch; thank you!!!

Boundary Trail from Quartz Lake to Cathedral is in decent shape, just occasional blowdown and bit brushy in and out of the Ashnola River. Peepsight Trail is neglected but decently cairned though I did lose it around Crazy Man Pass and in getting to the pass above Peepsight Lake. Lake Creek Trail is a total mess where I caught it a few miles south of Fawn Lake. Trail from Airview Lake to Andrews Pass is in bad shape but still visible here and there amidst lots of fire damage.

Off-trail conditions. Fool Hen ridge walk from Burch Mountain to Diamond Peak is okay, although definitely not the "trail" that is on the USGS map; and although there were some cairns here and there, I also couldn't find a real trail from Lake 7119 over to Diamond. Trail on USGS map from Diamond to Larch Creek Trail is abandoned, if it ever existed. Off-trail from Lezamiz to Airview Lake is okay, and found a trail (recent horse tracks even) I think to Cornwell Lake. Off-trail from Peepsight to Newland Creek/Lake Creek Trail works pretty well (though Lake Creek Trail is a disaster). 

Ridge walk from Diamond over to Corral Lake is doable with just the occasional bits of straightforward scrambling; about 2/3 of the way through, you come to an area that looks like you have to descend practically to Larch Creek and then back up, but if you go down to the saddle on the ridge there are a couple of gullies that you can scramble back up; I took the one maybe 50 feet down from the saddle and it worked great to get back on the ridge heading north. Sand Ridge from the pass above McCall Gulch to the Boundary Trail near Quartz Lake was a highlight.

Climbing. There is a lot out there on Cathedral Peak already, but just wanted to share two bits of info in case they are helpful for others. The "chasm" below the summit, as is well described, has two points to cross. The first crossing can be done on snow, but if the snow is a bit low (as it was for me) it is easy to drop into the chasm and scramble up and out, there's a convenient rock to get back up; then looks for cairns that lead away from the chasm and then back to the second crossing. For the second crossing, I didn't have to do any "leaps of faith" as described by some, I simply stepped down onto the obvious choke stone and scrambled up the other side - minimal, if any, exposure and just class 2-3, no leaping required. So I had more anxiety about this than needed from what I had read, but of course, this was just my experience, use good judgment for your own comfort level!

Lakes. Visited a lot of lakes on this trip. Lake 7119 was a gem, and Fool Hen Lake was in good shape, but Foxy Lakes and Fawn Lakes are rather burned. Peepsight Lake is lovely, and Airview Lake is in good shape (though the trail to Andrews Pass is bad). Quartz Lake is lovely even if it's mostly burned around it and Upper Cathedral Lake is beautiful as always. I especially loved the quasi-lake below Crazy Man Pass, a lovely place to camp.

I had planned more adventure, to go over to Tatoosh Buttes and back to the trailhead via the Pinnacles, but all of the off-trail, burned trail and ridge scrambling took extra time and energy, so will have to save that for a future trip. This was my first time in and around McCall Gulch, and that area is an absolute gem and has many basins that are completely burnfree - get there before the next wildfire!

Amphitheater from Cathedral Peak
Views from Sand Ridge
Quartz Lake

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