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Trip Report    

Basic Alpine Climb - Unicorn & Castle Traverse

A traverse from Unicorn past Foss to The Castle. This trip did not include a climb of Unicorn itself.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • no issues.

This was a "plan B" from the original Big Snagtooth BA due to weather.  As there was a climb planned for Unicorn, we elected to do the traverse and just climb the Castle.

After leaving a car at Reflection lake, we headed to the Unicorn trailhead and started hiking at 8am.  The snow was in good shape and there was no need for snowshoes the entire day.  At the upper basin (after the first steep snow gully) we elected to hit the ridge between Unicorn and Foss higher than at the low saddle where you normally gain the ridge.  this was a mistake as the ridge could not be run to the summit of Foss and we had to immediately drop back down to where the low saddle traverse would have put us anyway.  We needed crampons to get off the ridge due to the very hard snow in the trees.  

A rising traverse put us 250-300' below the summit of  Foss but we elected to not go to the top.  However, this high traverse allowed us to sidehill on less steep angled snow AND put us well above the cliffs a lower traverse (on steeper snow) runs you above. We then descended to the tarn at the saddle between foss and castle and continued up to the base of the rock route on the Castle.  

The day had started out clear and sunny but had clouded up by mid morning and, as we started the rock climb, it begin to snow heavily.  Due to the easy nature of the rock we elected to complete the climb and rappel off so students got credit.  

The descent was a bee line for Reflection lakes since it was a snow highway and took less than 20 minute to get to the cars.