2012/10/7 – The Cradle / 搖籃山

Be prepared to drive 11 bumpy miles on one of the worst service roads in the Cascades.

The Paddy-Go-Easy Pass Trailhead sign is on the right side of the road but it can be easily missed if not paying attention. The well-maintained trail all the way to the pass can be dusty at times. The view from the pass is already breathtaking, with The Cradle standing in full display before you. The portion of the trail running down the east side isn’t as well-maintained and it gets a bit brushy about half a mile before the French Creek trail junction.

Head south at the trail junction and cross French Creek soon after. Carefully follow the trail and negotiate blowdowns, then break out of the tree line into the open meadow. Start heading up the slope and find your way through the slide alder in the lower elevation, then onto the steep, grass slope beyond the alder. The crux in climbing up the slope is the scree portion about 800 feet below the 6,800’ crest. Either carefully get up in scree or use the trees and grass patches on either side to propel yourself upward.

Once on the crest, a couple of options to get around the east ridge. Either drop down the other side to attain the steep east slope and aim for the east ridge, or gain elevation initially by scrambling up the south ridge a few hundred feet. I picked the latter option and kept as close to the ridge as possible to avoid losing more elevation than I wanted to.

Find your way over the east ridge and into the northeast slope. Once there, the unmistakable double-peak summit is directly above. Aim for the east spur off the south peak and scramble up to it with class 3 moves. The two peaks are said to be the same elevation and the north peak looks to be a class 4 climb.

Views on the summit were great, the view to the north was hazy due to wildfire smoke. A couple of small wildfires to the west.

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