Birch Mountain 4146m, 10-26/27-02 with Paul M. NW Slope. Camped at 1500 meters near Lone Pine, Fri. night. Started 10:15 am Saturday at 2020 meters with 32 lb. pack (Paul had 42 lb). Arrived Birch Lake 3 pm, 3292 meters. Camped about 60 meters north from the lake outlet. Snowed about 1/2 inch Sat. night. We left camp 6:45 am Sun. with slippery footing (especially on glacier ice). Went along the east side of the moraine south of Birch lake for half a mile to a big chute heading ESE toward the summit, but I preferred to go up the ridge just to the right (west) of the chute to avoid steep hard ice at the bottom and uncertain looking route up the chute. Half-way up, we got into a shallow chute to the right. Paul disliked this route because it was all boulders and talus w/o scree or sand. Snow made our footing uncertain. We summited about noon. Cold but calm air on the summit was nice, as were views of The Thumb, Palisades, Split Mtn., Mt. Bolton Brown, etc., with clouds intermittently blocking some of the view. I would have enjoyed it more if I wasn''t so tired, my camera was working right, and there were less clouds. Slow going down, too. We descended by chute immediately west of the peak - a little east of where we went up. I didn''t like this route at the top or bottom as it was steep loose scree at the top and sloping glacier ice to cross at the bottom. Paul went easily straight down well ahead of me and crossed the ice slowly, while I lagged behind and traversed left a little, to avoid some steep scree and the glacier ice. The occasional scree that was not too steep here was nicer than descending over 100% talus. We broke camp in mid afternoon and hiked the last 2 miles in the dark, by headlight. We didn''t come close to any trees the whole way up or down. A fire had burned everthing from where we parked, all the way up to 3000+ meters, except around a couple of springs. The trail was extremely sandy/dusty - easy on the feet going down.