General Stats of the tripPratt Mountain Winter Trip
3500 feet elevation gain
Participants: Anna, Ben, Gimpilator, Magellan, EastKing
After all the weather disasters that have happened so far in Winter 08’-09’ we finally have a clear day will decent temperatures to go out and enjoy the weather. Pratt Mountain has been on my list for a while and I and haven’t tagged a new summit in over a month. Well with the weather the way it was and the fact that the avalanche conditions have lowered dramatically in the past week, I knew that now than ever it was time to climb.
All of us met at the trailhead at 8 am and were on the trail soon after. The first part up Pratt Mountain was a pretty standard route up the basic Pratt Lake trailhead. The trail mostly snowcovered except for the occasional small bare ground was the typical trail hike. It was well used so snowshoes were not necessary. There were a couple of interesting stream crossings, but nothing too challenging. The most challenging stream crossing was just before Olallie Lake. That particular stream crossing could be bypassed by head up to the mouth of the lake, which had a far easier stream crossing. Once pass this section we took a break and enjoyed the views of West Granite.
After the break the fun began with us putting on our snowshoes and head up the very steep slope to attain the ridge of Pratt Mountain. Footing going up can be difficult but this section was not the crux of the trip. It was slow going here but with Gimpilator leading us up we made up safety. Once attaining the ridge we then stayed on the ridge. The crux of the trip was here where we had to bypass a rock sticking out on a semi-knife edge ridge. To go around it we had to on a very steep wooded slope. Though it was wooded one mistake here would have clearly lead to injury.
We maneuvered this obstacle successfully and continued to the summit. It was there that we really appreciated the 45 degree temperatures because the windy were howling up to 60 miles per hour. We stay slightly of the ridge when possible and pressed on to the summit. Despite the absolutely amazing wind we got to the summit easily and stayed on the true summit for five minutes. The views were amazing as we could see the I-90 corridor, Kaleetan Peak, Mount Rainier and nearby Defiance. Most of all we had the peak to ourselves. The wind though made sure we didn’t stay any longer.
After spending 30 more minutes just 50 feet from the true summit eating lunch we decided to head down. For the most part this was uneventful. How the crux was much nastier going down. I broke out the axe on this section and had really focus in on the steps. The big steep slope down to Olallie Lake actually wasn’t too bad thanks to the snow softening up enough for us to posthole down the steep slope. Had the snow been firm or icy, this section would have been much more dicey. I was never more happy to be doing postholing. After the steep section the rest of the trail was very uneventful.
A special thanks and a thumbs up to all that came on the trip. It was one of the best winter trips I have done in a long time. Pratt Mountain is very worthwhile in wintertime and it provide a number of good challenges. Outside of the severe wind on the summit, the weather was great. I will remember this special trip for a long time.