Edward Peak by Three Musketeers Ridge in The Enchantments / 愛德華峯

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Edward Peak by Three Musketeers Ridge stands in the northeast corner of The Enchantments. To its immediate south spans the unique, vast Edward Mesa. Plus, the notable Temple is just a stone’s throw away.

Edward Peak south face
Edward Peak south face

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Edward Peak in a Nutshell

Access: Rat Creek
Round Trip: 7.6 miles
Elevation Range: 1680′-7280′
Gear: helmet, snowshoes, rock & rope
Route Info: Jim Nelson, Tom Sjolseth
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: no pets

Core Enchantments Zone Northeast

Edward Peak, aka “The Mole,” towers above Rat Creek and Hook Creek basins. It’s also in an area I refer to as the Siberia of The Enchantments. But it’s perfect for keeping away from the hustle and bustle of the lake basins.

The lack of a beaten path makes this place desirable. So it meant that we most likely wouldn’t see people, if at that. But most, if not all of them, would prefer spending time in the lake basins anyway.

Icicle Creek in the AM
Icicle Creek in the AM

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Rat Creek Route

I came back two weeks after climbing Three Musketeers Ridge. This time, I enlisted Anne to join me on the rock climb. But we opted to go in via Rat Creek. So we could avoid crowds on the Snow Lakes Trail.

I couldn’t find any data on this route, so I wasn’t sure if it was doable. I had read a couple of reports on Hook Creek. But from Edward Mesa, the steep, icy slope below the notch looked less than enticing.

All roads lead to Edward Peak
All roads lead to Edward Peak

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Private Land by Icicle Creek

The first part of the trip had us go through private property. So instead of making a left at the fork toward Yellowjacket Tower, we turned right. Then we walked another half a mile to the road’s end.

Going through the residential area with “private property” signs all over was unsettling. But after passing the last house, we were back in the national forest. Then we continued on a trail until it faded.

A ton of these
A ton of these

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Lower Rat Creek

Soon, we went cross-country through the light brush. The first thousand vertical feet took a while because it was more distance than altitude. Meanwhile, we avoided the thickets by hugging the steep slopes.

At the first clearing above the trees was a broad talus field. It was tedious to cross because we kept stepping through the snow. Later we traversed the second rock field and forked up toward Edward Peak.

Lower Rat Creek Basin
Lower Rat Creek Basin

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Final Approach to Edward Peak

Continuous snow showed up past 4000′ with improved conditions. So I used snowshoes for the next 2200′. But Anne didn’t bring hers, yet she managed to stay afloat with just crampons.

Terrain steepened past 5000′. Then, just below the dry rocks at 6400′, the incline was greater. Later we moved into the narrow, chossy gully with a chockstone over the notch to 6800′. There we started rock climbing via the south face.

Chockstone below Edward Peak
Chockstone below Edward Peak

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First and Second Pitches on Edward Peak

The first pitch involved a very short 5.7 lie-back crack. It wasn’t so much lying back as it was partial stemming and friction. But it went smoothly. Shortly, I reached the small tree adorned with old webbing and brought Anne up.

I shortened the second pitch by mistake because I didn’t go far enough west to the corner. So I joined the second half segment with the third pitch. There were plenty of cracks to place protection.

Leading out the first pitch
Leading out the first pitch

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Third Pitch on Edward Peak

Since I had cut the corner, I reached the flake just moments later. Then I very awkwardly squeezed behind it to the other side. The larger cams worked well in wider gaps here. Then I moved down the narrow chimney using friction.

Because of the zigzagging I needed to do, it created a ton of rope drag. So I had a terrible time pulling on the rope as I moved in and out of the rocks. Then right below the third anchor was a wall with a small crack and crappy holds.

Squeezing my way over the flake
Squeezing my way over the flake

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Above the Crux

Climbing up to the anchor took acrobatic moves. But I smeared and stemmed my way up to the belay station. Glad my arm was only sore overnight after the second vaccination. Otherwise, leading through here would be pretty uncomfortable.

Bringing Anne up to the anchor took some time also. The height of the boulders was an issue for her. I’m 5 foot 9, and I could barely reach some of the decent holds. It was like Alice in Wonderland, where everything was enormous.

Bringing Ann out from behind the flake
Bringing Ann out from behind the flake

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The Final Strech

We decided to scramble the fourth pitch to save time. The rocks were also excellent for us to go through this part faster than using a rope. Before long, we were standing below the summit rocks.

Most alpine climbs consist of a walk-up bit near the summit. But Edward Peak wouldn’t let us have it easy. The 5.0 rating persisted even near the top. Most parties would likely use a rope through the exposure.

The final 5.0 freestyle
The final 5.0 freestyle

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Edward Peak Summit

Whew, at last! Despite the exhaustion, the granite rocks were quite enjoyable. It was roomy on top, with enough room for half a dozen folks to sit comfortably. Oh, and what a beautiful day!

Views were similar to Three Musketeers Ridge. The Temple, Little Annapurna, Enchantment Peak, Cannon Mountain, and Cashmere Mountain were all visible. Though, I didn’t expect to see Jack Ridge and Eightmile Mountain from here.

Southwestern panoramic view
Southwestern panoramic view

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Outro

We rappelled off the north side on bolted anchors. But with a 60m rope, we needed to drop two and a half rope lengths to reach the notch. Then we made our way down the rocky gully and redid all the type 2 fun stuff.

At one point, we tried coming off an enormous buttress, though unsuccessfully. Later we stumbled our way through the brush back to the trail. As we quietly walked through the neighborhood in the dark, we had hoped not to trigger any motion-sensing lights.

Finding our way home
Finding our way home

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