I watched the trout swimming and became locked on one that looked particularly tasty. I thought about this beautiful creature skinned, gutted, and cooking over an open flame. Sometimes dayhikes are a drag when you want to linger. I turned my attention to the ridge that would get me to White Chief peak and plotted my route up the boulder field around the snow.
The climb to the ridge was class 2 tedious boulder hopping. It seemed like every other boulder shifted under my weight. I achieved the ridge and sidehilled around to the slope of White Chief peak. In a matter of minutes I was on top enjoying the views.
White Chief peak is a good spot to sit and appreciate Mineral King from, but the beauty of the peak itself is lacking...quite. The day was hazy from a fire burning in the Golden Trout Wilderness. After absorbing some radiation from our star I was ready to head back down. I picked a route down to White Chief lake from the peak. The route was more class 2 shifting boulder surfing, not fun ;-( I walked around the lake to the outlet and followed it down more class 2 talus. The outlet took the path of least resistance downhill which made for pretty photos.
I eventually ran into White Chief trail "which would complete my loop" and was happy to be off shifting rock. I hiked quickly back to the car passing folks whos heavy breath and sweat made me happy I was hiking downhill. I pounded a cold soda at the car and tore outta the parking lot at whopping 15mph.
My guesstimates for the day are 9-10 miles and 4000-4500 elevation gain. It was a good warm up for someone who has not tagged a peak in 2 years.