10 Seattle area climbers, most basic students in the Mountaineers.
After meeting at the Bench Lake trail head, we headed up the Snow Lake trail at approximately 7:30am. The weather was cool and overcast with slight misting, and the weather reports indicated that would be the case for the entire day. There was no snow on the trail, so we took it until the end of the maintained trail on the east side of Snow Lake. After a brief rest, we headed up the gully S of Snow Lake. About 1/4 mile of boulders and scree until we came onto a narrowing of the gully which was thankfully covered with snow. There was quite a bit of runoff under this snow, which made ascending a bit challenging - we kept punching through the snow as we got over running water. After clearing this gully, we continued up the basin to the gulley south east of Unicorn Peak. The snow was stable and made for good ascending. As we got to the top this gulley we took an immediate left to get onto to ridge heading to Unicorn. We essentially skirted this ridge to the summit block. About 300 yards prior to reaching the summit block we came to a steep snow crest which showed some instability. We crossed it carefully and uneventfully, arriving at the base of the summit block at 11:30am.
The climb up the summit block was extremely unremarkable. Approximately 40 feet, it was rated by one report as a 5.6. I'd call it more of a 5.4. There are two obvious anchors at the top - to the left is an old tree and the right a large slingable boulder (with existing slings and rings). We top roped climbers off of the boulder and set up a rappel rope off of the tree. It took us nearly 2.5 hours to get the 8 climbers on the top - mainly due to inefficient movement of climbers through the final climb. In retrospect I could have managed this a bit better. It was a bit windy, but we were more or less shielded except on the summit block itself.
Most folks glissaded all but the initial snow field. Other than that, it was uneventful. We returned to the cars by 5pm.
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