Trip Report    

Basic Rock Climb - Mount Cruiser/Southwest Corner

Great climb with some of everything - class 3 and 4 scrambling; steep roped snow travel; short rock climb. Do this in 3 days (not 2 - unless you really, really want a long day)!

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Early season. Snow level at 3800' but found a dry area at Flapjack Lakes for camp. Mixed snow with some risk of breaking thru snow bridges to Gladys Divide. Water plentiful in this section. Weather beautiful, temperature comfortable and clear. A few clouds rolled in around 4PM but were not of concern.

    Steep snowfield to Needle Pass and base of Beta. Did this with crampons, unroped.



    Class 3 scramble up/down Beta on rock with little difficulty. No rope used.

    Snow/steep snow travel and scrambling down Beta and across snowfield to the base of Cruiser. Moats and punch-thru snow the major concern here. Roped and crampons here.


    Class 4 scramble thru the Cannon Hole to the base of the class 5 rock climb to the anchor. Minor rockfall concern and the moat at the base of the chute to the Cannon Hole the major obstacles here. Shortened rope here; set some pro early. Decided we really did not need to set any in this section.


    Rock climb to the bolted anchor uneventful. Boulder sling-able with cordelette for anchor at the base. Rebuilt the anchor just below the summit (first rappel station) as the cords were weathered well beyond safe use there. Added two locking carabiners and pre-equalized cordelette anchor with powerpoint and used the two existing rappel rings here. (Recommend taking some D-rings to improve this anchor in place of the carabiners, which will rust over time.) Set handline from here to the last 1/4" bolt just below the summit proper. This could be done without protection as it is a class 3 scramble to the summit, but there is very real consequence. We chose to belay the third climber thru to the summit; set the handline; bring others up to summit and reverse process to the main bolted anchor 30' below the summit. Lead climber plus 1 used rock shoes for the class 5 to the summit; 1 climbed in mountaineering boots. 


    Added new webbing to the existing slung boulder anchor at the second rappel (two rappel rings here). 

    Third rappel anchor at the bottom of the cannon hole chute had two rappel rings and two additional webbing loops and was in good shape as of June 2021.

Parked at Staircase Ranger Station, ONP. Park permit required. Camping permit required for Flapjack Lakes. Would not need permit to camp at Gladys Divide.

We started at 0615 and were back at camp at 2015. Hiked out same day 2115-0115 (not recommended).


Party of 3 with several changes into/out of crampons and roped travel on steep snow with some moat and punch-thru concern. Steep snow finger between Beta and Cruiser was of biggest concern due to the moat nearby. 

We remained roped for the scramble up thru the Cannon Hole to the base of the 5th class section, but decided this was not necessary after doing it.

4-6 cams .3 to .75 and a few nuts all that is required for the 5th class part of the climb. We had party of 3. Used 60M single climbing rope. Kiwi coils for the snow sections; dropped a few coils for the scramble (determined not to be required later); had lead climber tie into the center of the rope for the climb to the anchor in the summit area and belay the 2 other climbers separately on half the rope. Third climber swung thru and set the rope as a hand-line to the last bolt about 10 meters from the summit proper. 

Rebuilt the anchor at 2 solid bolts near the summit replacing worn cord. As mentioned, recommend replacing the locking carabiners with D-rings when you go. Recommend be prepared with anchor material for the rappels. We replaced one; improved one and used one as is. 


Used running belay with pickets and a belay from a small tree up the steep snow finger on return up Beta. This was probably the highest risk of the trip due to the thinning snow and possibility of breaking thru to a hole/moat (early June). (This was not as steep as it looks in the photo, but steep enough to pay attention to.)

Scramble back down Beta uneventful class 3. Seemed easier on the way down!

Crampons and down-climbing followed by plunge stepping down from Needle Pass. Boots from flat area below Needle Pass to camp.

Biggest take-aways were to be prepared to rebuild anchors, especially early season after a winter's weathering and to take 3-days with a night in camp after the climb. Trip out was not bad but why do it in the dark after a long day?

Enjoy the climb. Truly a gem, and little visited.