White Chuck Mountain (Northwest Route) is a Class III scramble that requires basic gear, route finding skills, and extreme caution to negotiate successfully and safely. Those who make the hour-long trek down a gravel road, deal with a bit of overgrowth and route finding, and brave the scree and chossy rock will be significantly rewarded with phenomenal views of Thornton Lake and nearby peaks Pugh, Sloan and Glacier.
While the trailhead is unmarked, a boot path starting directly in front of parking is easy to follow and will take you through some dense overgrowth as you make your way to the North-West ridge. Route finding and navigational skills play a key part in your speed to the basin, as there are more than a few turn-offs and game trails that can lead a scrambler or hiker astray if they are not cognizant of their route. The overgrowth eventually opens up to some small meadow areas as you begin to traverse into the forested ridgeline. The forest covering opens up every so often giving glimpses of nearby Peaks and White Chuck Mountain itself. The ridgeline will lead you to a false summit of White Chuck, and you'll make your way around to the right of it to greet the basin and along scree field down towards the gully. It is here almost a mile in where the majority of the elevation gain kicks in. You'll hike up another scree field to the base of the gully, and begin slowly making your way up the gully. From here you'll traverse out right across the chossy slabs to reach the defined boot paths on the other side. It is here on the slab which is downwards facing, that provide the main challenge of White Chuck as "stability" tends to be desirable yet hard to find in these sections.
While the slabs are not overly difficult and approximately class III scrambling, they are extremely slick when wet and a fall or slide down them would have decidedly serious consequences. After the traverse, you meet up with climbers trail and in combination with the rock cairns will find your way heading right towards the "notch" where you will descend 15-20 ft carefully into the saddle. It's here that prominence of White Chuck can be observed with the steep drop-offs on both sides, Thornton Lake below and the true summit up above. A final push up somewhat exposed slabs and booth paths will grant you the summit along with the summit registry in a Brass "Mountaineers" capsule.
Of note, the descent in many cases is just as hard and precarious, and not recommended during the evening as making out stable sections of rock to place weight on becomes a challenge in the failing light. For those that have stepped out of their comfort zone to make this summit, you will be greeted with quite the reward.