2012/10/7 – The Cradle / 搖籃山

Kodak moment on The Cradle

Photos from this trip can be found here.

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

Paddy-Go-Easy Pass Trailhead sign on the right side of the road could be easily missed if not looking carefully. The well-maintained trail to the pass could be dusty at times. View from the pass was already breathtaking, with The Cradle in full display before you. The portion of the trail down the east side wasn’t as well-maintained. It got a bit brushy half a mile before the French Creek Trail junction.

We headed south on French Creek Trail for a short distance before crossing French Creek. Carefully following the trail and negotiating down trees, we eventually broke out of the forest onto open terrain. We continued going uphill and negotiated slide alder in lower elevations before getting onto steep terrain beyond the alder. Crux was getting through the scree from 6,000′ to the south ridge at 6,800′. We either stayed on scree or used trees and grass patches on either side to propel oursleves forward.

Once on the crest, we had a couple of options to get around the east ridge of the south peak. We could either descend the other side onto the steep east slopes and aim for the east ridge, or we could gain elevation initially by scrambling a couple hundred feet up the south ridge. We went with the latter option and closely hugged the ridge to avoid losing elevation.

We climbed over the east ridge via the 6,900′ saddle and got onto the east slope. The unmistakable double-peak summit was now directly overhead to the west. Aiming for the saddle between the two summits, we scramble up with some class 3 moves. The two peaks were of the same elevation with the north peak being a class 4+ climb.

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

Access: Paddy-Go-Easy Pass Trailhead
Gear: helmet

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