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Trip Report    

Basic Alpine Climb - Pinnacle Peak & The Castle (winter)

A Beautiful short climb with views of Rainier, Helens, and Adams that includes snow (and road :)) travel and alpine rock towards the top. Great trip for putting the rock and snow skills we've learned from Basic class together!

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • The road up to our starting point (Narada Falls parking lot) was snow-free. For the most part, the snow was soft but deep enough that warranted snowshoes. About 40 ft before the summit was where the rock section started.

We started out at Narada Falls parking lot at about 9 AM with perfect weather--bluebird sky and slightly cool. We cut through steep snow to the upper road section. There was already a boot path up that we can easily follow. We walked on a bare road for about 2 miles (30 mins) to Reflection lake and turned right to hit the trail, which was where the snow started. Soon (at 4921 ft) we put on snowshoes since the snow was soft and we started to sink a bit. We walked up in relatively straight line towards the saddle between the Castle and Pinnacle peak  before we  headed SE towards the Castle at about 5600 ft. Once near the Castle, we traversed to the SE face of the peak, where we will start our alpine rock climb.

Reached there at around noon where we put down our pack, ate lunch, and put on our climbing gears. We left our pack at the base and walked up snow slope in our mountaineering boots to the base of the rock, which was probably about 40 ft below the top. Our leader started leading at about 12:20 pm to the ridge, where there was already webbings tied around the rock that we clipped in. The rest followed by prusikking up a fixed line. After that, we started traversed to the summit. This section is tamed enough that we decided to follow by just PA'ed into the rope. Turned out that the rope was not long enough to reach the summit, which felt like it was just 5 feet away but we decided that we can't go to sleep properly tonight if we didn't really tag it so we did a another 0.2 pitch towards the summit. Overall, it was probably approximately 1.2 pitches climb. The view was amazing btw. Rainier, Foss, Unicorn, Adams, Helens, Pinnacle.

We built a separate anchor to rappelled down at around 2:30 PM. At 3:30 PM, we put on your own Glissade pants choice (with the winner went to a Hawaiian-style shorts), strapped our packs on, traversed down a bit, and started to glissade away to TH we started across Reflection lake. The snow was soft, which was perfect for glissading. Popped out to the road at around 4:40 PM. We ended the trip PNW style, aka walking back in the rain, which started pouring soon after we hit the road. We did glissaded the last snow section before hitting the parking lot but it was steep and slightly sketchy so watched out for holes and water running underneath. Reached our cars at around 5 PM.

Total gain: 2053 ft. Total distance: 6.66 miles. Total time: 7:44 hours