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Trip Report    

Mount Pilchuck/East Ridge

Mt Pilchuck, East Ridge. Trip Date: June 28, 2014. Departed TH at 8:15. Bad weather day: rain, rain showers, no views. Sections of Pinnacle Lake Trail very (deep) muddy, lake outflow crossing ok, traverse around lake took time (brush, treacherous snow, wet bolders). Gulley from lake (3800 ft) to pass (4800 ft): hard snow (icy in places) rom 4100 ft up, wet slippery grass and rocks at gulley rim. Reached pass at 12:00. Continued W along Bathtub lakes below ridge. Turned around at 13:30 (approx. 2/3 mile from summit) due to rather heavy rain shower, no views and difficulty expected on down-climbing gulley. Down gulley we went mostly on snow, but avoided the 2 rather steep sections by traversing to snow free rim, however, steep, wet talus/rock/grass slope was as slippery. Another heavy rain shower made things worse. Trip time 9 hrs.
I believe the students should get snow credit. They had to self-belay, also recover from fall by self-arrest in fairly difficult and adverse conditions. One student (with unsuitable mountain boots and Yak-Tracks) fell, slid and self-arrested 2x. We had to do descending traverses from snow to rim and back to snow, also down climb on steep, wet talus/rock/grass. This was one of the most T-difficult scrambles in my carrier; the rating is listed as T-3, on this day it was certainly a T-4, maybe T-5. The small party size (4+1) made it manageable.