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Trip Report    

Basic Rock Climb - Mount Cruiser/Southwest Corner

Successful early season overnight climb of Mount Cruiser.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Note that the road was opened by the park service only for Memorial Day weekend and has otherwise been closed for construction.  Check ahead of time with NPS about the road access to the trailhead.

    Hit snow on the trail about 500ft gain from Gladys Divide.   No running water, but there was a stream about .25 miles back from camp and lots of snow to melt water.

    Easy snow from pass to Needle.  Beta is snow free.    

    Gullys are a mix of snow, rock and moats but was navigable.

    Climbing route is snow free.  A bit of snow covering the start of the 4th class gully that just means you start a little higher.   There was a snow patch at the top of the cannon hole but nothing in the hole.

    Don't bother taking much gear.   I placed a .5 and a couple micro cams along the route.  You might find spots for other small stuff depending on the line.  A #3 does fit into a big crack up on the summit, but there is also a hanger with a quick link on it (kind of rusty bolt though).   Also a spot for a #2 on the top of the false summit.

    It says "5.0" and while it was easy climbing it was small hand and footholds with little pro options other than microcams and run out.   So just consider yourself soloing it most of the way.   Bomber 2 bolt anchor at the ledge about 70ft up.  There was a hanger on a rusty old bolt halfway up but I was too far right and just kept going up trending back left.

     

Note that the road was opened by the park service only for Memorial Day weekend and has otherwise been closed for construction.  Check ahead of time with NPS about the road access to the trailhead.

Also, some beta such as on Summit Post says NWFS pass is needed.  If you park at the trailhead you need an Olympic Park pass (can pay cash or credit card in the envelopes) if the booth is closed. Could also park on the road outside the park booth and walk in.  NFWS pass may be needed at that point?

Weather was wonky everywhere this weekend. Olympics had a potential window for Sun/Mon so we changed our plans 4 times before deciding on a 2-day Cruiser trip.

Plan was to hike in Sun and camp at Gladys Divide (note a camping permit is needed for either Flapjack Lake or Gladys Divide, they are in the same zone).  So we got  permit by phone from the Hoodsport WIC on Friday.

5hrs from trailhead to Gladys Divide and pitched camp around 1pm.  A couple coast guard guys came down from Beta right about then, they had bailed out after one of them got sketched out from the scramble of Beta but they said the weather in all directions looked great.  Originally there were slight chances of thunder starting around then.  So since weather was shifting and Monday was looking potentially worse we geared up last minute and decided to make a run for the climb right then at 2pm figuring we would be coming back to camp around dark.

Only took us 1:45 from camp to the base of the 4th class scramble up Cruiser.    The 2 gullys were a mix of snow, rock and moats but were navigable.

From there another 2 hours for the first of us to climb the 4th class pitch, up the 3rd class through the cannon hole and then climb the standard route to the summit.  That put us there around 6pm.  Probably around 8:00 to 8:30 before we had all 4 people back down at the base of the climb and ready to head back.

Another 3 hours to get back to the camp at 11:30pm.  With the sun going down we were going back up the 2nd gully  in the dark then taking it much slower down the 3rd class scramble of Beta.  

Did a double rope rap from the tree anchor on Beta which got us a bit down the snow slope.   Snow conditions were easy enough to run down the entire slope to camp.

Around 19 hours actual moving time car-to-car for the climb with 4 people with overnight packs.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98mVMh3ak1Q

There is a lot of exposed 3rd-4th class scrambling on this climb. I wouldn't personally take new basic students out on their first climb on this one. They should have some scrambling experience under their belt first.  For rock leads everyone I've talked with who's led it says its got a high pucker factor due to the exposure, small holds and minimal pro.  But the rock is pretty solid and while the handholds and footholds are small there are plenty of them. I wouldn't recommend this for a first time trad lead if you see the rating of "5.0" and think it'll be "easy".

 

 

 

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