Thomas Mountain 09-08-2023

Cover Photo – Mount Stuart and the Enchantments

View of Kachees Beacon – the adjacent rocky ridge with West French Cabin Mountain in the far background and Lake Kachees to the left

In my efforts to get into shape for climbing Mount Stuart this upcoming weekend, I set my sights on a loop around Kachees Ridge, an area I have visited a few times, mainly in the North of the basin, climbing the French Cabin Peaks. French Cabin West is in the distance in the above photo – one of the main peaks and another Home Court 100 Peak I climbed two years ago with Benson Miller. I planned an ambitious route that included Thomas Mountain as the main objective, another Home Court 100 Peak, and neighboring peaks of Baldy and Domerie, with an extra push to the North to bad French Cabin South, North, French Kiss, and Kachees Beacon. Today, however, I would only bag Thomas Mountain due in part to there being no water sources on this route, a bear cub sighting, and a late start that would put me in an alpine finish, which I usually don’t mind, but the combination of lack of water, a bear cub, and a 20-mile hike the next day, I was happy to simply bad Thomas Mountain for this outing.

My planned route was 16+ miles with 6000 feet of gain. Today, I hiked 8+ miles and 3500+ feet of gain.

The trailhead, Silver Creek (no water coming down from my route 😢), and early views of Kachees Beacon as I gained altitude on the trail.

The trail immediately went up with a series of short switchbacks. Fortunately, most of the trail was shaded, and the temperature was manageable today. I made good time up today, averaging just over 30 minutes a mile with decent vertical. A good rule of thumb is 1 hour for every 1000 feet of vertical for most mountaineering objectives, so a hike should have much better times. After several weeks of putting in some hard miles and elevation gain, I finally felt fit and strong today, rebuilding my fitness level. My average pace today was 38 compared to Earl Peak which was 51 and Mount Dickerman at 43!

Kachees Beacon with French Cabin West Peak in the background. I have climbed that peak and intended to make a loop today, passing by it.

I made my way about halfway up a series of switchbacks until I reached a broad plateau with a great vista of Kachess Lake and Kachess Beacon. Past the plateau, the trail then ascended straight up a ridge to Para Point, which marked the eastern ridge of the French Cabon Creek area. As I ascended, I could see Mount Baldy in the distance. I was about 80% to Para Point when I encountered another hiker. She said she saw a bearcub up ahead and decided to come down. I was close to the ridge and then the summit of Thomas, and I don’t like to rehike peaks, so I pushed on and hoped I would not encounter the cub or Mama Bear!

Mount Stuart and the Enchantments with the Teanaway in the foreground.

I could see the Enchantment Peaks in the Distance with Mount Stuart – my objective for the following weekend! Views of the ridge below.

Thomas Mountain Ahead
Summit Selfie!

I bagged the summit and made my way back to Para Point, intending to push on to Mount Baldy.

Mount Baldy

I started for Mount Baldy, but after a few hundred meters, I decided to turn around and descend. There were no water sources on this trail, and I was running low. Also, I did not see the bearcub, nor Mama Bear and felt they could have gone in the direction of Mount Baldy. Plus I had a late start and had a 90-minute drive back to Seattle.

Views on the way down.

Kachees Beacon – a future hike.

Back at the trailhead and Silver Creek. Finally, some water. Another Home Court 100 is in the books – my 25th! As always thanks for #HikingWithHadland, @hikingwithhadland, #hikingwiththehad

3D Flythrough

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