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Trip Report    

Solid Gold + Stanley Burgner, Prusik Peak

Summer conditions this late in Fall made for a fun linkup of two classic routes on Prusik

  • Sat, Oct 1, 2022
  • Prusik Peak/West Ridge
  • Climbing
  • Successful
  • Road suitable for all vehicles
    • Parking lot was quite crowded already at 4:30 in the morning with thru-hikers
    • Still lots of water in the core
    • Despite bad air quality in Leavenworth, the core was relatively smoke free
    • There are intermediary rap stations from the top of Solid Gold so you don't have to summit
    • Rap tat from Prusik summit were in good condition. 5 raps down. 

    Trip Statistics:

    ~16 mi, ~7000 ft gain, 16 hrs C2C

    • 4:30: 5 hrs. to get to the base of Prusik from Colchuck Lake TH 
    • 11:30: 2hrs. Top out on Solid Gold
    • 1:30: Base of Stanley Burgner
    • 4:30: Back to base of Prusik
    • 8:30: ~4hrs. Back to TH

Fall this year has been great for rock climbing and outdoor activities in general, as long as you avoided the smoke. My dear Index has been smokey so Kat and I looked to take advantage of this unusually warm fall to do a single day climb of Solid Gold (5.10d 4 pitches). Since it was only 4 pitches and we could descend without topping out, we also brought gear to potentially do Stanley-Burgner(5.9+, 6 pitches) if we had time since that climb could also be done in 4 pitches and we were already way out in the core. 


morning glow on Dragontail

Due to a shorter day, we decided to start at 4:30am. The parking lot was already buzzing with groups of thru-hikers. We gradually passed each group on our way to Colchuck Lake and by the time we were up by Aasgard Pass, we were the first in the line! We got to enjoy the brilliant morning glow in peace and were also rewarded by a sight of two ptarmigans, who seemed to show no fear for humans. 


Fearless ptarmigan!


I had done Prusik in a day last year but approaching from the Snow Lakes trailhead. While that approach was 30 minutes faster, it definitely wasn't as beautiful as the Colchuck Lake approach. We made our way to the base of the West Ridge, where we stashed some gear and continued up at the base of Solid Gold.


Pitch one of Solid Gold. Fun finger cracks!

The weather was perfect. Not too cold for the rock to numb your hands but also not too warm to be sweating either. I thought I would be a bit too tired to climb 10+ trad but the physical crux of the first pitch was not too bad. We had some rope drag shenanigans on the second pitch due to how the rope passes the roof but otherwise we quickly enjoyed the 4 pitches. Personally I felt like the last pitch was hardest for me since it was a layback on a thin crack. 


The thin seam of  pitch 4 on Solid Gold

We topped out around 11 and took a short break at our stash. We definitely still had time for Stanley Burgner and since I had climbed it last year, I knew we could climb it pretty quickly. Doing it second time around, I tried to climb the pitches I didn't lead last year. We linked pitched 1 and 2 and then 3 and 4. Although Blake's topo said both pitches combined is 60m, we found ourselves simul climbing for about 20m. The squeeze through the chockstone was fun as always. 


chockstone squeeze on Stanley Burgner


The infamous flared chimney of Stanley Burgner

I led the chimney again and sadly it didn't feel any easier than when I did it last year. Also I wasn't sure if I was feeling the long day but the last pitch also felt a bit exhausting since it was so wide. It was great to be at the top of Prusik again and seeing my growth in both technical skills and endurance compared to last year. 


Summit views! 

The descent of Prusik took us through some nice larches. The hike back was nice as by then, most of the thru-hikers had passed by. Aasgard pass was, as always, annoying to go down but it's the price you pay for entry into the enchantments. 


Larches were nice and yellow on the north side of Prusik


Salamander (or newt?) spotting on the dusty trail at night

It was great to be able to climb two classics on Prusik in a day this late into the season. For me, it seemed like the perfect trip to end my summer alpine climbing season. The second day, Kat and I were both tired to do any approaches to the trad crags so we ended up bouldering for the first time at the Forestlands. That was quite fun to try something new while having a short approach.