Mount Phelps

We parked on Road 113 where a 4WD road forks off to Blackhawk Mine (the mine is marked on USGS). Just before the 4WD road to the mine ends a light bootpath heads to the right into a clearcut. In the clearcut the path heads NNW at first then trends N, it splits and rejoins itself many times, and is heavily marked by cairns and flagging. The path eventually leads to a forest. The path ascends a short distance into the forest, then traverses west to the start of a ridgelet that runs south of Mount Phelps (the ridgelet is just west of the "4200" on USGS). At the ridgelet the trail forks, we followed the fork that leads west to the 4,200'+ col between Mount Phelps and Little Phelps. The trail peters out before reaching the col. At the col we followed the ridge toward the summit, dropping to the N side of the ridge for a while. Shortly before the summit the ridge meets a section of small cliff bands above a small section of young hemlock. We ascended a ramp running to the east above the hemlocks, and then threaded our way to the summit. Fun.

The summit has a wonderful alpine feel and would probably have lots of views in clear weather. The summit register only contained two entries for this year.

On the descent we returned to the thicket of hemlocks below the cliff bands and contoured south and east below the cliffs. We reached a large talus field that runs down between the summit and a dramatic-looking subpeak of Phelps. We descended the talus field a couple hundred vertical feet, then traversed SE to meet the top of ridglet (the one west of "4200"), then descended the ridgelet to where the bootpath forks.

We saw a black bear on the North Fork Road on the drive home.

Copyright © 2004 Gabriel Deal.