ULALACH MTN 5040+ feet Prominence of 440'
and CEDAR BASIN PEAKS
(USGS Whitehorse Mtn and Helena Ridge)
June 10, 1999
Party: JR, Dick Michelson
—Ulalach is the Chinook jargon name for onion. This peak is easily recognized from HW 530, just west of Darrington, as a rounded (onion-on-its-side) form up Squire Creek with an impressive, dark north face, right of Jumbo, left of Whitehorse. On closer inspection, this wall turns out to be exfoliating granite, peeling off in typical onion-skin fashion. The other two peaks we did are to its left. It caught my eye a couple of weeks before from across the Squire Creek valley on the way in to Bullon, looking a little like a mini Luna Peak with its chopped off summit. It has a respectable prominence of 440 feet.
Ulalach Mountain from NW
Aho Mtn on left
Dick Michelson and I drove the Squire Creek Road 5.6 miles to its end from Darrington and parked at 1800'. We tip-toed across the healthy creek draining Cedar Basin, and followed the Squire Pass trail about 10 minutes through alders growing up in a old clearcut to the Boulder River Wilderness boundary/sign/register box. After about three more minutes on the trail, we struck off left, uphill, x-c through fairly open woods to hit a wide tongue of snow (talus later in the year) at 2800' under the imposing north face of Ulalach, Peak 5040+.
This is a great early season route. We punched up the wide open snow slope, twisting our necks every so often to look up at a nearly vertical 800' granite wall to our right. The ridge-top cornices were a little worrisome, but previous debris had stopped short of our intended path.
We gained the 4600- low point E of Ulalach, then followed the ridge W to the summit. 3 hr 20 min up. This is a significant peak, with 440' of clean prominence, draining into both the Sauk-Skagit and the Stilliguamish Rivers. We enjoyed the fact that this summit had no evidence of previous ascent, probably because the route from the alternate approach from Squire Creek Pass looks to be a little tricky.
The views of the magnificent east wall of Three Fingers and the mysterious Squire Creek Wall were worth the price of admission. With the day still young, we eyed, then footed the two summits north and south of where the words “Cedar Basin” appear on the map (Peaks 5080+ and 5400+). We thought of these as Aho Mountain and Shallot Butte.
From both of these peaks, “Exfoliation Dome,” which has been called “the hardest point in Washington to climb by the easiest route,” was spotlit by a sunray. Joe Vance's “Voodoo” could be examined in its entirety, and no good route up it appeared obvious.
We looped out counter-clockwise on our exit down the ridge that led straight back to the car. Although it had some granddaddy old growth cedar and hemlock, it was messy enough to not recommend as a good uproute approach to this wonderful nook of North Cascades heaven.
***Updating history: On April 6, 2006, Harry Majors sent me irrefutable evidence that the real first ascent of Ulalach was made by Hermann F. Ulrichs probably about 1933 (possibly with Dan O'Brien). This was based on a photo in his collection by Ulrichs showing the ridge from Whitehorse to Salish peak that corresponds precisely with a modern photo from Ulalach.
“Hermann's photo of Three Fingers is identical in vantage point from that taken
by Paul [Klenke from Ulalach]. Ulrichs also took a photo depicting White Chuck
Mtn through/above the notch of Cedar Basin, again identical to Paul's photo.
Although it is not evident on the original print of Three Fingers, I also have the original negative of this photograph which Hermann gave me. Examining this negative under magnification (20x), a small blunt bump appears on the summit of South Three Fingers. I believe this to be the lookout house that was built there in 1932. (The original pre-blast summit would be sharper and narrower.) This would then date Hermann's ascent of Ulalach Peak as having occurred in or subsequent to the year 1932.”
Harry also stated that Louis C. Fletcher may have possibly made and even earlier ascent of Ulalach after doing surveying work from the top of Jumbo in 1898.
More on these FAs later...
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* 21Apr Bold Peak' (5040+)
* 19Jun Straight Ridge
* 30Aug High Delancy Peak 7422-6680 = 742
* 30Aug Flagg Mtn' (7360+)
* 2Sep Cool Mtn' (7738)
*25May Ugly Stepsister' (6136)
*25May Middle Sister Karen' (6280+)
* 7Jun Buk-Buk Spires (5500)
* 21Jun Phantom Pass Peak' (4754)
* 21Jun Blister Mountain' (5447)
* 1Aug Hyrax Peak' (8120+)
* 2Aug Big Snail' (7360+)
* 3Aug Whiteout Peak' (7649+)
* 4Aug Far Side Peak' (6840+)
* 6Aug Bearcat Peak (8035)
* 14Aug Cousins Peak' (6720+)
* 29Aug Kok-shut Peak'(5080+)
* 30Aug Snowslide Peak'(5000+)
* 30Aug Headwall Peak' (4988)
* 30Aug Anticlimax Point' (5080+)
Left of Colonial
August 14, 1992
Thanks to my cousins Nigel, Monte, Grady, Toby, and Tex Steere (L to R)
* 23Jul Sasha Peak' (6604)
* 22Aug Nap Knoll'(5423)
* 22Aug Mt Morpheus'(5432)
* 15Oct Pugsley Peak' (4960+)
* 15Oct Mile High Mtn' (5280+)
July 23, 1995
Thanks to Warren Guntheroth and Sasha
* 15Aug Pasture Peak' (5240)
* 12Jul Rover Peak' (6505)
* 4May Beefhide Butte' (8030)
* 13Jun Nameless Mtn' (6616)
* 13Jun Unspeakable' (6482)
* 13Jun Montana Sin Nombre' (6688)
* 13Jun Unnamed Mtn' (6438)
* 14Jun Little Sky' (5951)
* 28Jun Sam Hill' (4846)
*10Jun Ulalach Mtn'( 5040+) 4
*10Jun Aho Mtn' (5080+) 2
*10Jun Cedar Basin Butte' (5400+) 2
* 31Jul Panther Tail' (6865)
* 16Sep Out Box' (5600+)
*10Apr Choker Mtn” (4672) P400
*10Apr Lumbermill Mtn” (4750) P1100
* 12May Dead Duck Mtn' (4642)