Mount Mystery from Deception Pass.jpg

Trip Report    

Intermediate Alpine Climb - Deception, Mystery, Fricaba & Hal Foss

Climbs of Mount Deception and Mount Mystery in early June 2018. Steep snow on both climbs using multiple pickets for running belay. Cornice to get over on Mount Deception. Base for both climbs was Royal Lake.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • These climbs were done in early season conditions.  Camped in snow at Royal Lake.  Composting toilet was accessible at Royal Lake camp.  Mostly snow covered at camp - starting to melt out.  Solid snow and intact snow bridges over the streams around Royal Lake and the tarn at the base of Mount Deception.  Crampons essential.  Used glacier ropes and set many pickets on both routes.  Good steps could be kicked into steep slopes - up to 60 degrees; mostly 35-55 degrees.orig (9).jpg

Olympic National Park setting.  Day 1 hike in to Royal Lake - 7.9 miles.  Trail clear of snow for first 6.5 miles.   Quite a bit of snow from there up.  Camped in snow at Royal Lake (early June).  Weather moderate - lows in the 20's and 30's; highs in the 30's and 40's.  No appreciable precipitation occurred.  

Day 2 climbed from Royal Lake to Mount Deception.  About 1 mile to the tarn in the upper Royal Basin.  Used crampons after about 3/4 of a mile in firm snow.  Climbed unroped for first 1000' or so.  Roped up and set pickets for running belay for the steep snow section to the first pass above the Deception Glacier.  Unroped here.  Attempted to scramble along this ridge toward the summit but stopped due to sketchiness.  Descended scree to the Deception Glacier and climbed steep snow to the cornice climber's left of Gilhooley Tower.  Got over the cornice and set and anchor with two pickets and ice axe and lowered rope for remaining climbers to use a prusik assist to get over.  From the cornice, climbed over scree and some short stretches of steep snow to the summit.  About 6 hours up from camp; an hour less if you believe the Olympic Mountains Climbing Guide and go directly up route 3.

Day 3 climbed over Deception Pass and across Deception Basin toward Mount Mystery.  Climbed unroped generally climber's left of the main Mystery Glacier (inactive) and on to the glacier several hundred feet below the saddle east of the summit.   Climbed unroped for the next 400' or so.  Then roped up and set pickets for running belay up the steep snow.  Remained roped and scrambled to climber's right thru rotten rock and scree to a bench area below the summit.  Switched to a rock climbing setup with a second rope and set some pro to the longish plateau just prior to the summit and anchored it.  Remaining party used this rope as a hand line to scramble up to this shelf.  Unroped here and scrambled the remaining few feet to the true summit.  Some would likely be comfortable scrambling the sections we set the hand line up for.

Roped up and down climbed the steep snow sections on both peaks using pickets as running belay.  I know some have climbed these peaks completely unroped.  I would not recommend it due to the consequence of falling into rock or a sizable mote if unable to self-arrest.

We did not climb Mount Fricaba or Hal Foss on this trip due to time constraints.