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Trip Report    

Basic Alpine Climb - Mount Cruiser/Southwest Corner

A great trip with great folk and a successful summit.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Good trail with some blow-downs to negotiate. Steep snow above Gladys Divide. 

 

  • Note: The following trip report is based on a participant's summary (Ben).
  • On Friday we hiked from Staircase to Gladys Divide. This took our group from 9 AM to 330 PM and is almost 10 miles and a 4,000 ft. elevation gain. There is no official Gladys Divide campsite so we went a little way beyond the 5,000 ft sign and camped over the pass. Some people decided to sleep on snow, but some found some “less rocky” terrain that worked ok.
  • We left at 5am for Mt. Cruiser. Needle Pass can be seen right before the sign for Gladys Divide. You will see a very characteristic “needle” while climbing the ice/snow chute. Early morning crust made crampons necessary.
  • At the top of the pass there is a rock scramble noted as class 3, but some parts were an exposed class 4 scramble. We did some more route finding going through the Castle Spires and “Sub-Peak Beta.” After going over Beta there is a gulley and dropped down to the base of Mt. Cruiser. We experienced some loose rock hazards here (and in other places). We mitigated these hazards by keeping close together. We crossed a small snow field to the base of Mt. Cruiser with a great view of Mildred Lakes.
  • The first class 4 pitch was a full 50 meters. The second pitch is actually pretty tricky and felt more than a simple 5.0. The description notes minimal pro placement; however, we were able to place enough pro to feel comfortable since we brought a variety of small cams and nuts. The second rappel station on the way down can be done more easily as a double rope rappel.
  • On the way back we did another rappel down the scramble to Needle Pass. This was a better option than down climbing and a station was already set up. From Needle Pass going down the afternoon snow was pretty difficult and I actually ended up sliding w/ arrest rather than plunge stepping. Others moved slowly sometimes facing into the snow while moving down.
  • We left camp a little around 5 or 6 PM. This meant that the hike back was quite long and we didn’t get out until around 10:30 PM.
  • While it was foggy on Friday, we had really nice weather on Saturday for climbing Mt. Cruiser.

 

Thanks to Chase for all his mentor support!

Bill Bandrowski, Mentored Lead

 

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