Ascent of Pinnacle Peak on 2001-12-30

Climber: Greg Slayden

Others in Party:Glenn Morrison
Date:Sunday, December 30, 2001
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Pinnacle Peak
    Elevation:6562 ft / 2000 m

Ascent Trip Report

Instead on doing the usual Camp Muir ski tour on this cold, clear mid-winter day, Glenn and I decided to explore the Tatoosh Range instead. We parked at the Narada Falls lot and got our gear together in the frigid morning, helped by using the rustic warming hut nearby. We then skinned up the steep, open slope looming above, heading for the closed and snow-covered Paradise Road. We switchbacked up this slope, weaving into the trees on the left side of the slope, to avoid possible avalanche slopes. But the conditions seemed quite stable.

Once up on the Paradise Road we skied along easily south and then east, through beautiful snowy forest scenery near Reflection Lakes. At a random spot we turned right into the trees and meandered uphill towards the Castle-Pinnacle col, following intermittent ski tracks through varied terrain of bowls and ravines. The snow was a bit thick, of course, but not too bad.

We broke out of the trees and then skied up the gentle open slopes to the Castle-Pinnacle col. We thought it would be nice to climb Pinnacle Peak, even though that had not really been our plan--we did bring ice axes but no crampons. We skied a short ways over the col and traversed west, on to the backside of Pinnacle, and then stashed our skis and started climbing a steep gully of steep snow overlaid on rotten, loose rock. We kicked steps up the snow and scrambled on rock when necessary, hard when wearing clunky ski boots.

We reached the summit after our short but tricky climb, and basked in the awe-inspiring view of Mount Rainier in our faces on this clear blue-sky day. But it was already getting late due to the sunset at 4 PM this time of year. We carefully downclimbed our route, facing in to the mountain, and skied back to the col, and then down to the Paradise Road. The downhill run was short on powder and thrills but went OK as we struggled a bit to find the best route down through the forest.

After some wearying cross-country skating on the Paradise Road we made some crusty turns down the steep, chewed-up Narada Falls slope face, and we were back at the car around sunset, happy to have made a rare winter ascent of a actual Washington peak.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1982 ft / 604 m
    Trailhead:Narada Falls  4580 ft / 1395 m
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Snow on Ground, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Skis, Ski Poles
    Weather:Cold, Breezy, Clear
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Greg Slayden
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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