The Pacific Creek gulch on the approach to Crystal, Pacific and Atlantic from Mayflower Gulch.
This is a good winter route for Crystal and can easily be combined with an ascent of Pacific's
north ridge or as an extra-credit out-and-back on the fabulous Pacific to Atlantic
The approach is from the Mayflower Gulch TH to the south-west of Crystal Peak. See the Getting There section on Pacific's
Crystal's southwest ridge from near the Crystal-Pacific saddle. Shows conditions from late May, 2004.
From the Mayflower Gulch TH, hike up the valley about a mile before taking a left up the Pacific Creek drainage. In the winter, you may wish to cross the creek early on a concrete structure and head up the faint trail on the north side of the valley to avoid the willow traps and deep snows. The same holds true in the summer months as well, though for different reasons.
Climb the narrow valley to the cirque between Pacific, Atlantic, and Mayflower Hill. Head north past the massive west face of Pacific. Crystal will be visible ahead of you. When you see fit, ascend a short, steep slope to the Pacific-Crystal saddle and continue north on the easy ridge. It's about 1 mile from the saddle to the summit and you'll cross a false summit (13,500') along the way.
From the summit, it's easy to explore out to Peak 10 or Point 13,615' for commanding views of the Crystal Lakes drainage. Return to Mayflower Gulch the way you came or, if weather and fitness dictate, continue over Pacific and Atlantic and descend Atlantic's surprisingly challenging west ridge.
This is a pretty casual venture in summer months. Winter will require snowshoes for travel across the deep flats below Pacific and in the Mayflower Gulch drainage. Ice axes and crampons may be useful into June for travel along the ridges.
If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.