Whitehorse Mountain - Northwest Shoulder, November 2000
Inspired by Whitehorse Mountain's towering position overlooking the town of Darrington and motivated by the unusually clear weather that November, Chris and I embarked on our first "early winter" climb. With unnecessarily heavy packs, we soon reached snow and followed an obvious boot track that lead us up over the trees and along a traverse under some cliffs. We reached a point where the tracks forked. A quick recon of both tracks yielded (1.) impassable cliff and (2.) uphill tracks that simply stop. Realizing that we were going to have to rely on something other than simply following a boot path, Chris and I made the obvious decision and started climbing up through the knee-deep powder. I was having difficulty reconciling the route with the description in the Beckey guide and encountered increasingly deep and steep snow as we made our way up a narrowing gully. We were nearing the top of the ridge, pulling ourselves up the steep powder using any branch or tree available when to my relief I noticed some orange flagging tied to a branch. Lone Tree Pass I presume! Chris and I hiked along the ridge a short distance before stopping to bivy for the night.
We were only briefly disturbed by WSU's crushing defeat by the UW as heard on the shortwave radio that night and quicky drowned our sorrows in the whiskey that I so generously schlepped all the way up to camp. Our subsequent conversation spanned various topics but inevitably settled on some little known trivia about Whitehorse Mountain. For several months in 1998, a Bulgarian fugitive eluded the law on the north-side of the mountain. He occasionally broke into nearby cabins to steal canned food, and, though he never hurt anyone the townspeople eventually had had enough and demanded that he be apprehended. He lost a foot to a vicious police dog in the process, and consequently won a lawsuit for his suffering. A bizarre tale indeed! (more...)
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