Plans and Actualities
Our original intent was to climb both Solid Gold (5.10d) and the Stanley-Burgner route on Prusik Peak. This did not happen, mostly because we arrived too late in the lower enchantments to do a climb that day, which we have decided to blame on there being a great deal more snow than we expected. When we found an acceptable bivy spot around mid-afternoon the prospect of having time to dry our shoes in the sun was too good to pass-up, and we enjoyed a pleasant couple hours reclining on a granite slab above Lake Viviane and admiring the scenery.
My opinion of the pitch breakdown -
1. - 5.8 handcrack, not off-width; takes a prominent crack up the buttress to the left of the Beckey-Davis Chimney, second half is low-5th through the trees; belayed at the highest tree.
2. - 5.9 face/steming; 5.9 crux comes just below the belay and involved stemming around a bulge, lower part of the pitch is 5.8 at most.
3. - 5.9 steming/thin-crack; short cruxy sections lead to an altogether too small hole behind a chock-stone.
4. - 5.10b chimney; short finger crack followed by easier ground before an awful flaring squeeze chimney, exit involves delicate move onto left-hand knob and then a thought-provoking mantle.
5. - 5.10a corner; from right-hand side of giant ledge go straight up, through what would be a proud off-width if it was not clogged with chockstones of questionable quality, protection is difficult until the crux, about three fourths of the way up, when you are forced to go out left on the face, strenuous mix of lie-back and hand-crack leads to the summit.
On the Peakness of the Prusik
There has been some dispute over whether Prusik Peak should be considered a true peak - as in, a summit of note. Its excessively photogenic needle-like profile when seen from the Enchantments is certainly an illusion of foreshortening and perspective, when seen from other angles the "peak" appears either as a minor highpoint on the Temple Massif, or is unidentifiable. It should be remembered that "Prusik Peak" is not a formal title, but rather a whim of Fred Beckey after he and some others made the first ascent by prusiking up a rope they had thrown. The defining feature of the peak is its south face, the white granite found therein being among the best in the state of Washington, and this feature does not extend to the north face, which is much more similar to the rest of the Temple. In short therefore, what we are referring to when we say "Prusik Peak," might be better termed "Prusik Face."
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