Are you nuts? Prusik Peak in a day.

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Trip Report
Washington, United States, North America
Date Climbed/Hiked:
Sep 14, 2013
Hiking, Trad Climbing
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Are you nuts? Prusik Peak in a day.
Created On: Dec 12, 2013
Last Edited On: Jan 29, 2015

Trip Report

Alpine Lakes Wilderness
"Are you nuts? Still in the ICC mode i see.  Well, i do have interest in prusik but not the death march."  That was a friend's text message reply when I asked him if he wanted to join me for a mid-September Prusik Peak climb. Nestled in the heart of the Central Cascades Prusik Peak is an iconic granite spire popular with climbers.  I was planning on climbing Prusik via the West Ridge, a classic climb described as "…a route of purity on marvelous granite" by Fred Becky (who made the first ascent of the West Ridge in 1957).  Of the multiple routes to the summit of Prusik the West Ridge is the easiest. The catch is that Prusik Peak is located in the heart of the Enchantment Lakes region, lying at almost the exact mid-point of the two approach routes to the base of the peak—approximately ten miles one-way in either direction.  There's the rub.

Most people who climb Prusik have secured one of the scarce camping permits and spend the night. One of the top hiking destinations in Washington, the Enchantments are located in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness outside the town of Leavenworth, only a couple hours drive from Seattle.  To prevent the Enchantments from being loved to death the Forest Service carefully rations camping permits. Registration opened in February, so by our September climb the permits were all long-since spoken for.  Since camping was not an option that meant in addition to the climb we would have to thru-hike the Enchantments, over twenty miles of hiking, all in a single day.

Colchuck Lake, Dragontail Peak, and Aasgard Pass
Colchuck Lake
In September Washington State was having a great run of late-summer weather and Prusik had been on my "to-climb" list for a long time so I was determined to climb it regardless of a camping permit. That left me with the issue of who to climb with.  Hmmm…I thought whom do I know who lives for death marches (so to speak)?  Of course, Jason! He's the one person I know who would be interested in climbing Prusik in a day.  Jason is a hard-core hiker who loves fast hiking big trails.  As it turned out the most difficult thing about convincing Jason to climb Prusik wasn't that it was too hard, but rather that it was too easy.  Jason had already one-day hiked the Enchantments four times and has since graduated to bigger challenges like thru-hiking across the Cascade Mountains.  Although Jason was bored with the Enchantments thru-hike I was able to persuade him to go—he was ready for a Prusik rematch.  He had attempted it once before, but it was early season and he had been turned back by bad weather.

Aasgard Pass and Dragontail Peak.
Aasgard Pass
The Enchantments thru-hike trail is horseshoe shaped and most people set-up a car shuttle.  Our plan for the thru-hike was to hike from West to East.  In the hiking guidebook 100 Classic Hikes in Washington the authors had some strong opinions about the best Enchantments thru-hike direction (East to West in their estimation) and tut-tutted with disapproval our chosen route:
A concluding personal opinion: In recent years the Aasgard Fraud has been perpetrated.  The innocent are suckered in by being told that climbing from Colchuck Lake to Aasgard Pass is "the easy way to the Enchantments."  False.  The fad followers, the in-crowd wannabes, deem the Snow Creek approach demeaning, want to the classy and sassy way, the rout of the big kids.  A wilderness-mature adult ascends ritually and respectfully from the picturesque lower basin to the austere upper basin and at last to the cold snows and stern stones of Aasgard.  To start with the ice cream and work through the meatballs and potatoes to the soup is not esthetic.  Coming to the Enchantments by way of Aasgard is in very bad taste.
Summit of Aasgard Pass
Witches Tower and Dragontail Peak from summit of Aasgard Pass
Well there's no accounting for taste.  That was first published in 1998 and clearly the culture has continued to degrade so that by 2013 the standard route for thru-hikers is to start at the Stuart Lake trailhead to hike up Aasgard Pass and hike out via Snow Lake, exiting at the Snow Lake trailhead parking lot.  Since we were only taking one vehicle we could not car-shuttle so my original plan (which would have met with the 100 Hikes authors' approval) was to stash mountain bikes at the Stuart Lake trailhead and drive back to the Snow Lake trailhead.  From there we would do the whole thru-hike back to the bikes and then ride back to the car.  Jason, with his Enchantments experience talked me out of this complicated plan.  Jason advised that since we were going to the Enchantments during peak season there would be plenty of other thru-hikers setting up car shuttles so we could just hitchhike to the Stuart Lake trailhead.

The last time I was in the Enchantments was the fall of 2008.  I was with a large group and we set-up a car shuttle.  We were thru-hiking the Enchantments West-to-East then too, but we had camping permits for two nights so we traveled at a leisurely pace.  The Enchantments are justifiably famous as one of the most beautiful places in Washington State. During that first trip through I was in a constant state of alpine-induced euphoria, completely blown away by the scenery. Flanked by jagged mountain peaks the Enchantments are a chain of high alpine lakes that stretch from West to East starting at the barren moonscapes of Aasgard Pass and descending gradually down to the larch tree ringed shores of Lake Viviane in the shadow of Prusik Peak.  Along the trail we passed dozens of lakes and ponds, huge slabs of glacier-polished granite, snowfields, waterfalls, gnarled trees sculpted by fierce mountain storms, picturesque alpine meadows, fields of heather, larches turned golden by fall, and lots of snowy white mountain goats. It was during that trip that I first glimpsed Prusik Peak.  That striking cathedral-like spire of white granite made an impression on me and I used it as the setting for a short story I wrote [see Links section below] about a young climber soloing Prusik's challenging south face. I vowed that someday I would return and climb it.  At the time I lacked the skills so Prusik is one of the peaks that inspired me to take more climbing classes.

Upper Enchantments
The Upper Enchantments as seen from Aasgard Pass.
During that same 2008 Enchantments trip we occasionally passed one-day thru-hikers.  At the time I thought they were totally nuts, but fast forward five years and now I was planning on thru-hiking the Enchantments in one day in addition to climbing Prusik Peak.  As my friend observed I was "Still in ICC mode…"  The ICC he was referring to is the Boeing Alpine Society's Intermediate Climbing Class—BOEALPS ICC for short.  In 2012 I was an instructor in the BOEAPS Basic Climbing Class, but in 2013 I returned to BOEALPS as a student in the ICC.  I wanted to improve my technical climbing skills so I could do things like climb Prusik Peak. The BCC introduces students to the fundamentals of mountaineering, while the ICC is an alpine climbing class that prepares students to climb technical rock and ice routes.  It also significantly ups the intensity of the climbs compared to the BCC.  Summit days for some of my ICC alpine climbs went as long as twenty-two hours of non-stop hiking and climbing.  In spite of that I counted myself as one of the lucky one.  Some of the other students in my class experienced summit days that exceeded twenty-four hours.  Based on trip reports I read on-line I estimated that my Prusik-In-A-Day climb could take anywhere from fourteen to twenty hours.  The ICC stretched the boundaries of what I thought I was capable of, so twenty hours sounded within my abilities.  Of course to any reasonable person who hasn't been through the ICC wringer that sounds like a "death march".

Upper Enchantments
Upper Enchantments
My original plan was to sleep at the trailhead Friday night, but Jason had tickets to a Sounders soccer game so we ended up leaving Seattle very early Saturday morning instead.  Apparently it was a good game (I heard all about it on the drive over), the Sounders beat the number one ranked Real Salt Lake, but I when my alarm went off at 3:30am Saturday morning I can tell you I was not the world's biggest Sounders fan.  

After a brief pit stop in Leavenworth for coffee we headed to Icicle Creak Road and the Snow Lake Trailhead parking lot.  Dawn had broken by the time we arrived, so we were running a little late by my estimation.  Sunrise was at 6:40am and I had hoped we would start hiking in the pre-dawn twilight.  Sunset was at 7:15pm so we only had twelve-and-a-half hours of daylight and we needed every hour of sunshine so we could finish the boulder strewn descent from the Enchantments before nightfall.

Jason was right about hitchhiking, we got a ride so quickly I didn't even have time to finish my coffee and had to abandon it on the bumper of Jason's truck.  A group of young hikers were setting up a car shuttle for their own Enchantments thru-hike and agreed to give us a lift to the trailhead.  There were four of us stuffed in the back of a Subaru Outback.  It was not a comfortable ride, I was sitting on the car door armrest as we drove up a bumpy dirt road, but I didn't care so long as we got to the trailhead.

Approaching the Lower Enchantments
Approaching the Lower Enchantments
Arriving at the trailhead at 7:30am we thanked the hikers for the lift and hit the trail, there was no time to waste.  We were starting about an hour later that I would have liked.  At least the weather would not be an issue for us, it was the last weekend of summer and the forecast was for clear blue skies and temperatures approaching 100° in Leavenworth.  One hundred degrees would be too hot for an enjoyable climb, but the Enchantment Lakes lie at an elevation of approximately seven thousand feet so one hundred degrees in Leavenworth would translate to just about absolutely perfect temperatures in the high-sixties for our climb.

Mountain Goats in the Enchantments
Mountain Goats
The first important milestone on the trail is reaching Colchuck lake which lies at the base of Aasgard Pass.  We were making good time, but on the trail up to Colchuck lake we got briefly off route and just my luck I stepped on a hornets nest.  I did not know what was happening until I inexplicably felt agonizing pain from my legs.  I was wearing shorts and looked down in horror to see both of my legs covered with angry hornets.  You know in the cartoons when someone is being chased by an angry swarm of bees and they are running and flailing their arms like a madman.  It was exactly like that.  Once I was finally free of the hornets I counted at least eight stings on my legs.  They ached like hell, but there wasn't any time to worry about that we still had long way to go and we hadn't even started the hike up Aasgard Pass yet.

Right before heading up Aasgard Pass we stopped to fill our water bottles from an ice-cold snowmelt stream that crossed the trial.  Jason carried two bicycle style water bottles, which worked better than my single Nalgene bottle since he could drink water on the fly, thus saving time over having to unscrew a Nalgene and stop to drink.  We were using Aquamira to chemically purify our drinking water so a Nalgene bottle that could interface with a water filter or could withstand the heat of boiled water wasn't necessary.  The route follows lakes and streams most of the way so there was no need to carry more than a liter of water.

Enchantments Mountain Goat
Mountain Goat
I tried to pack as lightly as possible because of the distance and speed we were going to be hiking.  With a full water bottle my pack weighed in at just under twenty-six pounds (I wasn't carrying the rope).  Even with a light pack I still had no hope of keeping up with Jason who is a fast hiker.  He is not a dick so he never said anything, but for the whole twenty miles he was usually way a head of me on the trail or stopped waiting for me to catch up.  Jason was already carrying the rope and on the way up Aasgard Pass he offered to carry the rack too, but I declined. I had to maintain a shred of my dignity.

The hike up Aasgard Pass is a slog, you gain 2200 feet of elevation in the space of just ¾ of a mile.  The crest of Aasgard Pass lies at 7800 feet—only two hundred feet lower than the summit of Prusik Peak.  I spoke to some hikers on the trail who had been there in the spring when the pass was still covered in snow and said they needed ice axes.  Once you get to the top of Aasgard you are rewarded with terrific views, both looking back West towards Colchuck Lake and East as you get your first glimpse of the Upper Enchantments.  It's a landscape of desolate beauty looking like it just emerged from the end of an ice age and the glaciers have only recently receded.  It's the sort of scene that you could easily picture herds of Wooly Mammoths thundering across while hotly pursued by stone spear wielding cavemen.

Enchantment Map
The Starks' Enchantments
If you look at a map of the Enchantments one of the things you will notice is that there is a strong streak of the fantastic in the names of the dozens of lakes and ponds that dot the high alpine basins.  Someone was in a very fanciful mood when they were naming the features of the Enchantments, which I can understand.  I've seen the late-afternoon light glinting off the lakes of the Lower Enchantments and it was mythically beautiful.  According to the guidebook 100 Hikes in Washington's Alpine Lakes the area was explored in the 1950s by a couple, Bill and Peg Stark:
…who over many years drew on various mythologies to name other features.  A lake and its sword like rock peninsula became Lake Viviane and Excalibur Rock.  Other lakes and tarns they called Rune, Talisman, Valkyrie, Leprechaun, Naiad, Lorelei, Dryad, Pixie, Gnome, Brisingamen, Brynhild, Reginleif, Sprite, and Titania.  And there is Troll Sink (a pond), Valhalla Cirque, Tanglewood, and many more.
Getting closer to Prusik Peak
Getting closer
The scenery was great and you could spend a lot of time taking photographs, but we were burning daylight and needed to move quickly so the best I could do was to snap quick photos on the fly.  We swiftly crossed the Upper Enchantments.  It was not long before we caught our first glimpse of Prusik Peak.  The classic view of Prusik is from up close.  From that perspective it appears to be a stand-alone peak.  However, Prusik Peak looks very different depending on which combination of distance and angle you view it from.  From the Upper Enchantments Prusik looks a lot less dramatic and it's very obvious that it's just the western end of Temple Ridge.

As you descend from the Upper to the Lower Enchantments the scenery become more inviting.  Patches of greenery appear and the first groves of larch trees dot the landscape.  You also run into the first of many mountain goats.  One of the things you learn hiking the Enchantments is that mountain goats are not an endangered species.  By my count we passed at least a dozen lounging by the side of the trail.  The goats like to hang out near humans in the Enchantments so they can drink our pee.  It sounds disgusting, but they do it because the need the salt in our urine.  There are signs at the trailhead asking people to pee on rocks and not plants because the goats will dig up the ground to get at the salts, destroying the fragile alpine plant life in the process.

Rune Lake
Rune Lake
There's no shortage of rock in the Enchantments.  One of the signature features of the Enchantments are the great slabs of polished white granite that cover the landscape.  In the guidebook Selected Climbs in the Cascades Prusik Peak is celebrated for featuring "Rock of such quality that it has become the standard by which other Cascade climbs boasting good rock are compared."  Typically the rock in the Cascades is only fair to middling quality.  I had been climbing on mediocre rock all summer so part of the appeal of Prusik was to experience what good rock feels like.

Turn-off to Prusik Pass
Prusik Pass trail
In the Lower Enchantments on our way to Prusik Pass we ran into a group of guys with fishing rods.  I asked them about it and they said the Enchantment lakes are full of trout.  They named at least three varieties (I forget the types).  You don't have to catch and release either, the trout are an introduced species overpopulating the lakes, so you're helping the environment by fishing.  I remember seeing guys back in 2008 fly fishing in Leprechaun Lake.  It was near sunset and they were fly casting in the late afternoon glow.  It looked like a scene right out of the movie A River Runs Through It.  I'd like to return next fall with a fishing rod (and a camping permit). A goal for next year will be to work fishing into some of my climbing trips.  I know of at least three climbs where this will work: Mount Olympus, Mount Constance, and Prusik.

At Rune Lake (aka Perfection Lake) we turned off the main trail to head up to Prusik Pass.  We are now close to Prusik Peak and it had assumed its famous appearance as a jagged granite needle.  From the top of Prusik Pass we traversed the ridge to the base of Prusik Peak.  On the web site I found a route description from some guys who also climbed Prusik in a day.  They included a route topo sketch.  The topo was helpful, but there was the strange mushroom shape at the start of the route.  I puzzled over that for a long time while planning the trip, but at the base of Prusik I discovered that it was a balanced rock looking like one of those European megalithic shelters.  We stashed our packs there and started the route.  It was Jason's first multi-pitch climb and my first year of leading trad.  Prior to taking the Boealps ICC my rock climbing was limited to single pitch top roped climbs and gym climbing.  I had never led or even followed, but by the end of the class I was leading 5.8 trad.

Prusik Peak from Prusik Pass
Prusik Peak from Prusik Pass
As seen from Prusik Pass the West Ridge looks like a very intimidating climb, but the closer you get to it the easier (the West Ridge at least) looks.  We were able to scramble the first third and we simul-climbed much of the rest.  Most of the route you stay a little below the ridge on the North side.  There were really only three short sections we had to pitch-out.  A lot of the route descriptions consider the unprotectable 5.7 slab about half of the way up the crux move.  I didn't think it was that bad.  You do have to take a deep breath and go for it, but it's very short, like ten feet, and there are some bomber handholds at the top of the slab.  I thought the final pitch to the summit was harder—the 5.6 layback flake and the 5.8 squeeze chimney were more challenging than the runout slab.  At the start of the climb I could hear people ahead of us on the route but I didn't realize it was people I knew, BOEALPSers Leigh and Laura.  They were there with a larger group who were camping, who we also managed to miss.  We started our climb at 1:30pm and Leigh and Laura were on the summit at 2:30pm so we just missed each other by a few hours.

Fred Beckey and friends achieved the first summit of Prusik in 1948, traversing from the East to West along Temple Ridge.  In his 1969 memoir Challenge of the North Cascades he described how the then unnamed peak was christened:
For 180 feet the spectacular route led up cracks to the ridge; some of this involved direct aid with pitons.  In a few awkward traverses and one short aid overhang we reached the base of the summit horn, here some 40 overhanging feet above.  We appraised several possibilities, and finally decided the quickest way would be to lasso the horn from an adjacent block.  Art climbed 20 feet, and with the spare 3/8-inch nylon began making looping throws.  Eventually he succeeded.  Now it was my turn: I tied three slings to the fixed rope with prusik knots and began to raise myself, lifting one sling at a time.  Getting over the last few feet was the worst part, for my weight made the loop slip around the overhanging anchor block.  "Prusik Peak", one of us volunteered.  The name stuck.
The summit of Prusik Peak was a lot bigger and flatter than I was expecting.  You could fit a dozen people up there.  Popping out of the squeeze chimney I was stoked to realize I was on the summit.  The sweeping views of the Enchantments and Alpine Lakes Wilderness were fantastic.  I snapped a couple summit photos, but didn't have much time for celebrating.  It was five pm and we still had a long day still ahead of us before we got back to the car.  On the summit we met Vern and Tom who had just climbed Prusik via the difficult Stanley/Burgner South Face route.  Meeting them I felt a lot less badass for climbing the West Ridge in a day.  Those guys were also climbing Prusik in a day and they were climbing a much harder route with a lot more pitches.  They were not thru-hiking, as they started at the Stuart Lake Trailhead and were going to head back out the same way.

Prusik Peak West Ridge
Start of West Ridge
Prusik Peak West Ridge Friction Slab
Friction slab
Prusik Peak West Ridge Looking Down
Looking down West Ridge
Prusik Peak Summit
Peak Views
Prusik Peak Summit Photo
Summit Photo

Tom made the excellent suggestion that we combine ropes for a double rope rappel.  The extra length of the rappels gained by tying our two ropes together meant we could rappel down the north face in three rappels instead of the five it would have taken us with a single rope.  The double rope rappel saved us a lot of valuable time.  There is a bolt at the summit and the guidebooks suggest rappelling from there, but it looked old and flimsy—I did not want to rappel off it.  There was a rappel station at the top of the chimney and that is where we started our descent.  I brought some extra sling because I was expecting to sacrifice a lot of my slings setting up our rappel anchors, but Prusik is a popular climb and there were so many slings (a lot of them recent) on all of the rappel stations that I ended up not using any of mine.  That said I'm still glad I brought the extra slings.  You never know what the tat is going to look like until you get there and I heard that occasionally rangers would remove all the old slings because they consider them litter.

Enchantments from Prusik Peak
The Lower Enchantments from Prusik Peak

Saying farewell to Tom and Vern we grabbed our gear from underneath the balanced rock and headed out. On our way out we passed the small pond known as Gnome Tarn that sits at the base of Prusik.  This is the classic view, the one that ends up on calendars and magazines.  The sun was low in the sky bathing everything in amber light, it was what photographers call the "golden hour" and I badly wanted to stop and take photos, but there was no time so I had to content myself with snapping a few quick parting shots. After about a mile brought, just east of Lake Viviane is where the steep boulder-strewn descent to Snow Lake begins.  Sunset was at 7:15pm and we really wanted to reach Snow Lake before dark.  It was almost 7pm when we started the descent and we picked our way down in the failing light.  We did not make it to the lake before dark descended, but at least we were past the boulder fields and on trail.  With headlights on we started the long slog out to the trailhead.

Double rope rappel from Prusik Summit
Double rope rappel
Old tat on Prusik Peak
Old tat
Rappelling Prusik s North Face
North Face Rappel

Once you reach Snow Lake the hike out is long and boring.  The trail is good and descends gradually with but it's also monotonous.  The best part of the day was behind us and now we had four hours of trudging ahead of us before we could call it a day.  The hike out to the car is often the worst part of any climb.  You have achieved everything you set out to do and now you just want to go home, but you are still miles away from your car.  This is where Prusik-in-a-day turned into a death march.  Prior to the ICC my longest summit days had been sixteen hours, but the ICC with its twenty-two hour summit days pushed back the boundaries of what I thought I was physically capable of.  I was staggering down the trail like a zombie, but I knew I could keep going.  Of course Jason was ahead of me not tired at all, looking like he was just taking a casual stroll in the woods.

Prusik Peak from Gnome Tarn
Prusik Peak from Gnome Tarn
On the hike out I had plenty of time with my thoughts, recalling other punishing one-day endurance suffer-fests I have subjected myself to.  In the summer of 2002 I signed up for the Seattle-to-Portland bicycle ride.  The spring of that same year I was a student in the Boealps Basic Climbing Class.  My experiences in the BCC and other mountaineering trips gave me the fortitude I would need on the ride to Portland.  The STP was hard, I rode the whole two hundred miles in one day, but mountaineering and especially the post-summit hikes out had taught me that I can always tough it out and keep going.  If you are fit enough, the rest is all about mental endurance. The other factor that kept me going on the STP was the knowledge that I had to get to Portland by a certain time or miss the bus back to Seattle.  I made it to Portland with only a ½ hour to spare.  That's what I call the "Cortez burning his ships" school of motivation—you have no choice but to keep going.  In mountaineering terms it is what you would call a "committing" climb.  That is, once you start it you have no options except to finish it. Whether choosing to do a "committing" climb means you should be wearing a climbing harness or a straight jacket is open to interpretation.

Snow Lake from Viviane Lake
Descent to Snow Lake
Near the end the Snow Lake trail is cruel.  There's a point you reach where Icicle Creek Road is in sight.  You can see the headlights of passing cars and you think you're home free and almost to the car but in fact you are still about forty-five minutes to an hour away from the parking lot.  Finally we made it.  It was a little after midnight and we had been going non-stop for just under seventeen hours.  I was totally destroyed: my feet ached, my heels were covered with blisters, my calves were swollen from at least eight hornet stings, and I was nearly delirious with exhaustion.  That said, it was hardly the worst day ever, it was balmy warm and the sky was clear and full of stars. We had bivy gear in the car, but Jason was still good to drive so we headed back to Seattle.  I drifted in and out of consciousness on the drive home.  Jason picked me up at 4 AM Saturday morning and dropped me off at 3 AM Sunday morning for a total of twenty-three hours door-to-door.  It really was Prusik Peak in a day.

Timeline & Map

Prusik Peak GPS Track
Prusik Peak Route Map
(in feet)
7:30 a.m. Stuart Lake Trailhead 3400 Start thru-hike
8:30 a.m. Hornets! 4775 Stepped on hornets nest
9:15 a.m. Arrive Colchuck Lake 5584
9:48 a.m. Start Aasgard Pass 5707 Water stop
11:10 a.m. Summit Aasgard Pass 7811
12:12 p.m. Rune (Perfection) Lake 7065 Water stop
12:34 p.m. Prusik Pass 7458
1:30 p.m. Start Prusik Peak West Ridge 7631 Stashed backpack under t-stone
5:00 p.m. Summit Prusik Peak 8000  
6:05 p.m. Back to packs 7630  
6:37 p.m. Leprechaun Lake 6884 Water stop
7:02 p.m. Lake Viviane 6786 Begin descent to Snow Lake
7:56 p.m. Upper Snow Lake 5480 Sunset 7:15 p.m.
8:30 p.m. Snow Lake Dam 5491 Crossing between Upper and Lower Snow Lakes
9:12 p.m. Nada Lake 4968 Water stop
11:20 p.m. See road 2341 Still an hour away from end
12:08 a.m. Snow Lake Trailhead 1377 End thru-hike


Gear for Prusik Peak in a day
All the gear I used for climbing Prusik Peak

I carried an alpine rack for the West Ridge of Prusik.  This included a small set of cams to 3inches, a half set of nuts, and a set of tricams.  The tricams were a brand new I was really happy with them.  They are very lightweight and they fill a very useful niche between nuts and cams.  The kind of crack with a curve inside that will not take a nut or cam well is often perfect for a tricam.

  • Metolius Master Cams
    • #00 Gray
    • #1 Blue
    • #2 Yellow
    • #3 Orange
  • DMM Dragon Cams
    • #3 Red
    • #5 Blue
  • C.A.M.P. Tricams
    • 0.5” Pink
    • 1.0” Red
    • 1.5” Brown
    • 2.0” Blue
  • Black Diamond Stoppers
    • #4 Purple
    • #6 Green
    • #8 Yellow
    • #10 Purple
    • #13 Red
  • Wild Country Superlight Rock
    • #4 Gold
  • Slings
    • 4 sewn singles
    • 2 webbing singles
    • 2 sewn doubles
    • 2 webbing doubles
  • Miscellaneous
    • Cordalette with 3 wire gate carabiners & 1 locking carabiner
    • Rescue pulley

Sink the Pink!

Dyneema Tricam Set
With apologies to AC/DC. When shopping for tricams a sales guy told me that there is a lot of debate about the pros & cons of tricams on Internet forums.  A criticism is that they can be hard to remove after being placed. On Prusik I found all the tricam sizes useful, but among tricam supporters on the Internet the pink tricam (½ inch size) is considered the most useful.  Doing my own research I stumbled across a Pink tricam true believer who even penned an ode to the pastel colored pro.

Ode to a Pink Tricam

Oh Pink's the one I love to place
when I'm alone way up in space
on some exposed and airy face.
They sink where other gear won't go.
When all you've got is manky pro,
This tricam saves your butt from woe.

But it's often hard to get them out;
They make your second moan and shout
And wave his nut tool 'round about

But that's why you're the one on lead
Your problems are a different breed
As long as someone does the deed...

"Oh quit your whimpering," you rumble,
"And get it out or there'll be trouble"
"Get to work now, on the double!"

Although it sometimes takes a while,
They do come out with vim and guile,
(or chiselling and curses vile.)

Pink will do what all the rest.
Won't do when they're put to the test.
Oh pink tricams are just the best!

-- Charles "Pinky" Danforth


Alpine Echo 2013
The Boealps newsletter with my short story The Gourmet. All the 2013 Alpine Echos have been collected into a single file. The Gourmet was featured in the October 2013 issue and starts on page 348.

Prusik Peak - Stanley/Burgner 9/14/2013
Tom Sjolseth's trip report on Cascade Climbers

Mountain Lessons: West Ridge of Prusik Peak in a Day
Trip report with climbing topo

Leavenworth Sunrise and Sunset times

Enchantment Area Wilderness Permits

Seattle-to-Portland Bike Ride


Spring, Ira; Spring, Vicky; Manning, Harvey. 100 Hikes in Washington’s Alpine Lakes. 3rd ed. Seattle: The Mountaineers, 2000. Second printing 2001. Pgs. 70-73 & 76-79.

Spring, Ira; Spring, Vicky; Manning, Harvey. 100 Classic Hikes in Washington. Revised ed. Seattle: The Mountaineers, 1998. Revised Ed. 2006.

Nelson, Jim; Potterfield, Peter.  Selected Climbs in the Cascades, Volume 1.  2nd ed.  Seattle: The Mountaineers Books, 2003. Pgs. 121-126.

Smoot, Jeff.  Climbing Washington’s Mountains.  Guilford, Connecticut: The Globe Pequot Press, 2002.  Pgs. 201-205.
Route description includes good sketch of West Ridge route.

Beckey, Fred.  Cascade Alpine Guide, Volume 1, Columbia River to Stevens Pass : Climbing and High Routes.  3rd ed.  Seattle : Mountaineers Books, 2000.  Pgs. 259-263.
Route description includes good sketch of West Ridge route.

Beckey, Fred.  Challenge of the North Cascades.  Seattle : The Mountaineers, 1969.

The Enchantments, WA – No 209S. Map, 1: 44500. Seattle: Green Trails Inc., 1989. Reissued 1997.


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Viewing: 1-10 of 10
Bob Sihler

Bob Sihler - Dec 13, 2013 4:26 pm - Voted 10/10


I notice you've been putting a lot of work into building this trip report, and it's looking great. Unfortunately, someone has posted literally over 40 trip reports in the past few days, and your trip report is already buried among the new submissions, and I'm afraid it may not get the notice and appreciation it deserves.

When you're all done, you might consider saving it and then copying and pasting from the editing page as a new submission. I'd be happy to help you with that process since you're pretty new to the site and since, as one of the site admins, I know the tools and tricks pretty well.

Anyway, I hope you might find this helpful, and keep up the great wok!


LukeJennings - Dec 21, 2013 4:11 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Suggestion

@Bob thanks the feedback and suggestions. I didn't re-post it because by the time I was finished I was ready to be done with it, as fun as it was to write. My target audience, in addition to friends and family, is anyone who is thinking about climbing the West Ridge in a day so hopefully they will find it by searching for Prusik. When I was planning this trip there was no single source of information that answered all my questions about climbing Prusik in a day, so one of my goals was to aggregate all the information I discovered during my own research to make it easier for others planning their own West Ridge climb.

Bob Sihler

Bob Sihler - Dec 24, 2013 1:11 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: Suggestion

Fair enough. I had recommended that it least be featured on the front page, and I'm glad to see that happened. You put a lot of work in and deserve some recognition for it.


ExcitableBoy - Dec 14, 2013 11:33 am - Hasn't voted

Very nice

Nice trip report with lots of useful information and photos. I have done Prusik Peak approaching from both Snow Lakes and Stuart Lake trail heads. Can't say one is better than the other, just different.


PeteThompson - Dec 15, 2013 2:18 pm - Voted 10/10

Very good

A fine rock peak, a beautiful area and a nice route. A good effort to do it in a day.


WyomingSummits - Dec 23, 2013 10:38 am - Hasn't voted

Death march

Your friend thinks 10 miles each way is a death march? Tell him to avoid Wyoming in general. ;) Great report!

Matt Lemke

Matt Lemke - Dec 23, 2013 3:07 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: Death march

LOL true story! Gannett is like a 45 mile round trip climb and people try to do it in a day every summer


dunsum - Dec 23, 2013 12:05 pm - Voted 10/10

Nice trip report

Love the ode to the tri-cam!!!

I carry #1 - 4 with me on virtually everything I climb.

Matt Lemke

Matt Lemke - Dec 23, 2013 3:09 pm - Voted 10/10

Awesome report!

I remember that week last September...just an awesome week all around


mvs - Dec 24, 2013 4:26 pm - Hasn't voted

totally makes sense

I love this kind of "day trip," I like it. The only thing I disagree with in your wonderful report is the UNJUSTIFIED PROMULGATION of TRI-CAMS as useful, timely, efficient PROTECTION! Just spend an extra 100 dollars for a couple of link-cams and avoid the walk out in the dark. :D

ps - merry christmas!

Viewing: 1-10 of 10

Are you nuts? Prusik Peak in a day.

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