Trip Report    

Intermediate Alpine Climb - Prusik Peak/West Ridge

Successful early season Prusik Peak climb

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Route was mostly snow and ice free where it needed to be for climbing.  The hard part was the approach which was a brutal 10 hour snowshoe slog from Snow Lake trailhead to Vivian Lake.

Snow started about 1.5 miles in from Snow Lake trailhead, on and off snow for a couple miles then completely snow covered. Slow going on the way in (10 hours to get from trailhead to Vivian Lake) snowshoeing with heavy packs. Fair amount of avi debris on the way in the valley, the slopes going up from Snow Lake were okay for avi conditions but a fair amount of postholing. Camped at Vivian Lake. Prusik Peak itself was almost completely snow free until the rappels.

50lb packs hauled 10 miles and 5600ft gain Snow Lake trailhead to Vivian Lake. 7300ft gain total for the whole trip and 21 miles. 12 hours camp to camp to climb and 7 hour snowshoe/posthole slog out. Pulled 4 ticks off the packs, rope and gear cleaning up the gear probably picked up from the Nada Lake lunch stop.

Given how much snow was covering North facing slopes in the area we were expecting to not be able to climb it and had a backup plan to just go over to Cannon. But reaching the base there was very little snow coverage on the rocks and only a bit of ice in one of the cracks on the first pitch so we kept going, crossing our fingers as we went up that the traverse pitch would be snow free and we lucked out that it was. No snow or ice in any of the cracks and ledges almost completely snow free. Sun warmed up the granite (probably in the 50s), blue sky day and no wind.

Didn't see another soul in the Enchantments for the 3 days we were there. Apparently everyone else was climbing Mount Hood.

A fair amount of sugar snow on the slopes during the rappels but didn't affect the rappels. Took two double rope rappels and a single. Traverse back to the balanced rock was a mix of unconsolidated steep soft snow and some sections of hardpack/ice. Needed ice axe/boots/crampons to get back to the base. Fantastic early season conditions once you get past the approach.