Ascent of Cardinal Peak on 2012-09-08

Climber: Eric Noel

Others in Party:Ken Jones -- Trip Report or GPS Track
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, September 8, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Cardinal Peak
    Elevation:8590 ft / 2618 m

Ascent Trip Report

Standard approach and route, you can find the details in various places. We drove over at early o'clock on Friday and drove the long mostly paved road to the TH. Hiked up the forest on the North Fork Entiat trail with lots of minor ups and downs. Lots of water even in September. Trail is well maintained but between the horses and our dry summer the trail was one long line of dust. I should have brought Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath to read. Or to use to wipe the dust off. We hiked up the 10 miles or so to camp. We went to get a little bit further N to camp but when there we couldn't find water so wound up backtracking to S of where the W ridge comes down. Good water but mediocre site in a meadow.

In the morning we hiked open non-brushy forest through boulders and up to a boulder basin. Going left will allow you the fastest travel on more grass and fewer boulders though we went through the middle on the ascent. It all works, but slow. Then we were at the base of the gully at 7400'. We headed up on decent talus and then it steepened and become loose. Sliding time. Two steps up, one step down. After a while I exited left by a person sized evergreen and got onto some darker stable but more scrambley rock. I liked this better than the loose shit. Went up this a bit and it was now clear that the saddle at the top of the gully was further back. Bummer. Went up the more stable rock but angled back to the right to get to the saddle. Loose shit but eventually we topped out. From the saddle follow an obvious ramp/gully that is sort of co-linear with direction of the gully you just traveled. More looseness but otherwise fine. You hit the ridge here and turn a corner back to the right towards the summit. Traverse easy rocky stuff until you see a little bit sketchy thin slab traverse. Instread drop down a short steep gully for 15 feet with a final step that is long. Then angle left and up on rocks/slabs until you get to another spot where the continuing traverse gets sketchy due to a bulging rock. Drop down under that rock and go up a narrow gully chute that is the crux. Not hard, just class 3, but a tight fit especially with a pack. At the top, continue traversing left until you're past the summit on the S. Then head back up an obvious walk up path to the summit. The register was found and the summit easy but the other summit looks very nearly as high and trickier to tag. We stuck with the main summit which Ken sight leveled to probably be higher.

We reversed the route and went down. Just those few minor scrambly moves that are awkward maybe class 3 but not bad. The rest is mostly walking. And then a lot of loose ass rock to descend. Tedious, but doable. We hiked down and then around the right side of boulders on the ascent and then found our water course and followed this down in a more efficient manner. Ken may post a GPS track. We packed up and headed out and it was long but not too much to say about that. More dust and long trail. Pretty area though the forest section approach is a bit long. And dusty. Back to the car and just in time as there were pervasive lightning storms in the mtns on the drive home. Not a particularly tough climb but not fun either. Loose gully would be much better with snow but snow might be problem on the scramble. Ken was kind enough to drive the car home as I was quite the sleepy cat.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:5450 ft / 1660 m
    Total Elevation Loss:5450 ft / 1660 m
    Round-Trip Distance:21 mi / 33.8 km
    Grade/Class:Class 3
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Open Country, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Tent Camp
    Nights Spent:1 nights away from roads
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:5050 ft / 1539 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 4650 ft / 1418 m; Extra: 400 ft / 121m
    Loss on way in:400 ft / 121 m
    Distance:11 mi / 17.7 km
    Route:North Fork Entiat/Loose Gully
    Start Trailhead:FS 5606  3940 ft / 1200 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:5050 ft / 1539 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 4650 ft / 1418 m; Extra: 400 ft / 121m
    Gain on way out:400 ft / 121 m
    Distance:10 mi / 16.1 km
    Route:North Fork Entiat/Loose Gully
    End Trailhead:FS 5606  3940 ft / 1200 m

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