Peak(s):  Whitecross Mtn - 13,542 feet
Date Posted:  05/30/2022
Date Climbed:   05/29/2022
Author:  WildWanderer
 From Cooper Creek   

Whitecross Mountain – 13,542


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RT Length: 7.45 miles

Elevation Gain: 3288’


Once again, just like with Sundog, I was staying near the Cooper Creek trailhead, to both give me added miles and also more peace and quiet. I waved to my neighbors camping across the way, but they didn’t seem up for conversation. No worries: I put together a trip report and made it an early night. I was on the trail at 4:30am.


I made it to the Redcloud/Sunshine trailhead before 5am, and once again, it was bustling with hikers getting ready for their day. Surprisingly, none of them made their way over to Handies Peak. I turned right, and took the Grizzly Gulch trail up into the basin.


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There was an information board, a bridge to cross, and a register to sign.


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If you’re reading this, I’m assuming you’ve already hiked Handies Peak and know the approach. If not, it’s an easy, well maintained, class 1 trail to the basin.


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At around 11860’ of elevation, I turned and left the trail. It was just over a runnel crossing, and before a section of willows. I headed northwest, up to the ridge of Whitecross.


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Here’s my overall route. Please note, the actual summit is hidden.


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And some step-by-step photos. Initially, I skirted the willows to the right


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Then I found a large boulder, and skirted it to the left. (It was the only boulder in a sea of tundra, and difficult to miss).


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In times without snow, I’d just aim for the ridge. However, there was a cornice lining the ridge, so I stayed under the snow. This worked well.


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The tundra was steep. On the way down I’d use microspikes for tractions, but none was needed on the way up. I kept aiming for the rock outcropping, careful to skirt the messy areas.


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Once again, in a year without snow, it would be prudent to take the dotted line. Today, I took the solid line up a side gully.


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I was aiming for these three spires


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The gully was a mix of tundra and scree


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When I got to the top I turned left, and realized this had been a false summit. The true summit is just a little bit to the northwest.


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I cursed myself for leaving my ice axe in the car. I put on my microspikes, lowered my trekking pole to the size of an ice axe, and hoped the snow was solid. It was! I was able to easily make my way across. Here’s my route:


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I was lucky the snow was in perfect conditions: A fall wouldn’t have been fun.


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Once past this area, it was a quick walk to the summit


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I summited Whitecross at 7:15am


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Whitecross:

From the summit you could see Handies Peak, and the ridge. It was starting to snow lightly, and remembering the last time I was in the area, and got caught I several storms while climbing Handies Peak, I decided to head back.


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Here’s my route off the summit


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The area with snow was sketchier on the way down than it had been on the way up, as there was a bit of downclimbing and a trust move involved. Luckily, the snow was the perfect consistency. My main concern would have been to have fallen through/postholed, but that didn’t happen this early in the morning.


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And now to head back down the gully


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I kept my microspikes on for this part, and all the way until I made it back to the trail. It was pretty straightforward. Here’s my route:


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When I made it to the trail I took off my microspikes as it started to snow a little harder. I followed the trail back to the trailhead


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I made it back to the trailhead, and followed the road back to my truck.


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I made it back to my camping spot at 9am, making this a 7.45 mile hike with 3288’ of elevation gain in 4.5 hours.


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On to the next trailhead!




Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
two lunches
User
awesome
06/01/2022 09:09
looks like a nice weekend!



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