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Trip Report    

Basic Alpine Climb - Lundin Peak/West Ridge

Fantastic ridge climb with a lot of room for variation for both the approach and climb.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • As expected no snow or available water anywhere on the approach or climb.  Sweet wild blueberries were abundant on the descent route, however.  There are established rap anchors at the top of the short 5th class pitch and the top of the steeper pitch lower down, but nothing else we saw.  Some flying ants on the summit, but not nearly as bad as Kaleetan which I'd scrambled recently.

We took the "alternate" Cave Ridge approach but even then there's a lot of room for variation, as evidenced by the fact that four of us had downloaded GPS tracks and all four routes were different.  Going up we stayed on the Snoqualmie Mountain trail until above 5400 feet and then set off cross country over some very high quality boulder fields, gaining the ridge maybe halfway between Snoqualmie and Lundin, which meant we had to descend a bit.  Since it was everyone's first time and since this is supposed to be a rock climb, we roped up for the entire ridge (where it becomes narrow and exposed) although coming down we scrambled most of it.  I found use for all my cams 0.3 to 1" and bigger cams can be used as well; also plenty of opportunity to sling horns and so forth.  Generally I placed little to no pro to keep rope drag down.  You'd probably want to rope up at least for the first steep section (shown in the photo) and the short 5th class pitch.

Coming down we used a handline from the summit, rapped the 5th class section, used a handline again for the lower steep section, and used two cordelettes to protect one tricky move, but otherwise scrambled the rest.  With a party of 6 about 3 hours to climb the ridge belaying everything, and 2 hours to get everyone back.

We tried following a different GPS track going down but got stuck in trees at one point and so backtracked and switched to a third track which worked out.  This seemed to be more the standard route but was on steep heather slopes with loose scree and dirt and much less pleasant than the stable boulders we'd taken on the way up.  There's so much variation on how you can go and so much interesting terrain that I recommend not worrying too much about beta and just exploring yourself to find the route that seems best.

It was a hot day and I recommended everyone bring at least 3 liters of water (I brought 3.5 and don't usually drink much).  We all ran out before getting back to the main trail but everyone made it down fine.  Maybe 5+ liters would be recommended in such conditions.  We got lucky in that although we could see smoke from all three of the big nearby forest fires, the winds kept it away and the air was quite clear with great views.

A long day at 13:15 but enjoyable with a great group.  For my taste this is one of my favorite climbs and well worth going back and trying different variations each time.

 

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