Chehalis Range, August 2006
Duped by the weather forecast, Martin and I arranged a Friday off from work and were brimming with excitement for the chance to spend three days climbing in the Chehalis Range. Described in McLane's Alpine Select as "...one of the finest moderate alpine routes in British Columbia", the Viennese - Clark Traverse is a climb not to be missed. As with trailheads and logging roads in our local Cascade Mountains, access to the Chehalis Range has become more difficult thanks to a number of major washouts in recent years. Yet despite this, the alternative approach via the West Harrison and Mystery Creek roads was reasonably passable in a Honda CRV.
We parked on the side of the road a couple kilometers north of Chehalis Lake and hiked about four clicks of road and through at least two massive washouts to reach the trailhead. We reached Lower Statlu Lake a casual half-hour from the trailhead. Underestimating the approach from the lower lake to Upper Statlu Lake, Martin and I suffered a steep and interminable three hour grunt to reach our lakeside camp only minutes before dark. No sooner did I drop my pack, an eerie fog seemingly materialized from out of thin air above the lake. A harbinger of what was to come no doubt. While we enjoyed a pleasant evening by a crackling fire, morning saw our camp completely socked-in and the tent completely soaked thanks to the heavy mist. We got a late start hoping the fog would burn off, but with no change in the weather at 5500-ft by noon that day, not even a consolation prize of just climbing the East Ridge of Viennese was ours to be had. We pulled the plug, returned to camp, packed up and high-tailed it back to Seattle. Better luck next time! Click here for photos.