2018/5/27 – Wallaby Peak / 小袋鼠峯

Coming for you
Coming for you

Photos from this trip can be found here.

After yesterday’s trip to McLeod Mountain, pup and I car camped at Washington Pass hairpin turn. I figured we’d get in another climb to make the long drive from home worthwhile. In the morning, we awoke to the sound of cars full of climbers ready to tackle Kangaroo Temple. A couple of skiers showed up a while later and headed up the couloir south of the Early Winters Spires.

From the car, we hiked southeast on firm snow in Early Winters Creek Basin. As terrain steepened and became somewhat icy at 6,200′, I realized I’d forgotten my crampons back at the car. But I was glad to find the microspikes tucked deep in the side pocket of my pack, so I put them on to get through this section.

Route scoping
Route scoping

Photos from this trip can be found here.

After about 200′ of moderate terrain in the upper basin, slopes took another steep turn in the last 300′ to Pass 6671. From the pass, right away I took notice of last year’s objective Marsupial Peak (Gilbert Mountain NW Peak), plus other ominous looking high points near the head of Twisp River in Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness.

Recent boot tracks in the snow let us quickly attain the southeast ridge without a hitch. Then we followed the ridge line until snow ended at 7,200′ before a notch where we got off the ridge and got onto the south face. We picked up the old boot tracks up the steep slopes to another notch right below the crux of the climb.

Crux
Crux

Photos from this trip can be found here.

I wished I hadn’t forgotten my crampons, as they would’ve come in really handy through the steep snow arête. Trying hard not to look down into the seemingly bottomless gully, I carefully got through this section with ice axe and microspikes. Pup on the other hand, effortlessly flew through this section and waited at the top.

Terrain got steeper beyond this point, so I was more than happy to get off the snow when I could and continued the climb on scree. Lots of loose rocks in the gully, glad I brought my helmet to keep from getting hit by the occasional rocks kicked down by the pup! Just below the summit block we were forced to get back on a short section of snow before scrambling up another 50′ of scree to the summit.

North ridge
North ridge

Photos from this trip can be found here.

I had been anticipating the view on top since we left the car, and it sure was gorgeous! To the north I could see as far as the top of Mount Baker and the Picket Range. South view into the Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness seemed boundless. Not to mention the dramatic, salivating views of Big Kangaroo, Silver Star Mountain, and Gilbert Mountain right next door. Two summit register entries from the day before looked to be this year’s first ascents.

On the way down at the crux, I faced in to gain better traction with the spikes. It seemed to have taken an eternity to get through. Once we got past this section, rest of the descent back to the pass became fairly quick. Snow had gotten slushy but not terrible, and snowshoes stayed on my pack during the entire trip.

Early Winters Spires and Liberty Bell Mountain
Early Winters Spires and Liberty Bell Mountain

Photos from this trip can be found here.

A ton more cars parked at the hairpin turn upon our return in the early afternoon. A couple of skiers I talked to had just finished the Blue Lake Basin ski tour. Apparently that basin was the happening place today.

Access: Washington Pass hairpin turn
Gear: helmet, microspikes, snowshoes pack but not used


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