Ascent of Pinnacle Peak on 2014-12-14

Climber: Chad Straub

Others in Party:James Ronning

Colin Tasker

Annie Graeter
Rob Glassman
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Sunday, December 14, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Pinnacle Peak
    Elevation:6562 ft / 2000 m

Ascent Trip Report

We hoped to make an earlier start than last week to allow plenty of daylight for The Castle and maybe a few minor peaks, but alas, the gate at Longmire was to remain locked until 9 am. We left the Narada Falls lot 9:45 and climbed icy talus up to Stevens Canyon Road with a pair who said they were heading for Unicorn Peak. Tahoma was fully lit up by late morning sun when we reached Reflection Lakes and began up the trail. Near the saddle we crossed a few short-but-steep snowfields with substantial exposure. About a foot of workable snow obscured most of the trail on the shady side of the ridge.

As indicated by fast-moving clouds above, the wind was pretty intense at the saddle and for most of our stay on the sunny south face. Trekking poles were exchanged for ice axes as we began the mixed scramble above the saddle. Closer to the top most of the rock was poking out of the snow, but there was still enough ice for crampons to remain necessary. For the second time in as many weeks I was in position to view Mount Hood sitting in the distance between Adams and St Helens. I would say that our route was always within class 3 territory, however a fall could have potentially resulted in a 2000' tumble into the valley below.

Near the top we reached a small pillar at the edge of an overhang to the north, a potential BASE exit point? From there the going only got easier. The summit had plenty of room for the group, but heavy wind pushed us down a few feet to a sunny spot for lunch.
The Castle and Unicorn Peak emerged from the clouds as we ate. Time was getting short, so we canceled plans for the traverse to The Castle and began our descent, hoping to be able to hit Plumber Peak on the way out. We rappelled from near the pillar and made it back to the saddle with an hour and a half left until the park gate would be closed. As much as I would have loved to get in another summit, the wise choice was to play it safe. We followed Paradise Road back to the cars to avoid the still icy talus above Narada Falls.

5.5 miles
2200' gain
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2022 ft / 616 m
    Total Elevation Loss:2022 ft / 616 m
    Round-Trip Distance:5.5 mi / 8.9 km
    Grade/Class:Class 3
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Open Country, Snow on Ground, Exposed Scramble, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Rope, Ski Poles
    Weather:Cold, Very Windy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2022 ft / 616 m
    Distance:2.5 mi / 4 km
    Route:SW Ridge
    Start Trailhead:Narada Falls   4540 ft / 1383 m
    Time:3 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:2022 ft / 616 m
    Distance:3 mi / 4.8 km
    Route:SW Ridge
    End Trailhead:Narada Falls   4540 ft / 1383 m
    Time:3 Hours 
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Chad Straub
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
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.

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