Castle and the Pinnacle, Tatoosh Range - MRNP
(Pinnacle Glacier is the prominent snowfield between the summits)
- Rating: Grade I, Class 3
- Drive: It's about a 2.5 hour drive from Olympia to the Pinnacle Peak Trailhead at Reflections Lakes, MRNP. King County participants may want to meet at the trailhead about 9:30 AM
- Required gear:
- • Ice Axe
- • Medium weight boots
- • Gaiters
- • Helmet
- • Swami belt or waist harness
- • locking carabiner
- Carpool: Rendezvous at 7:00 AM. We will carpool to trailhead. We leave on time and do not wait. Please bring $15 -25 cash per person to reimburse drivers and pay for entrance fees.
- • $15 Entrance fee per vehicle
- No dogs allowed in National Park
Pinnacle Peak (6562') is the second highest peak of the Tatoosh Range along the Southern border of Mt Rainier National Park but it may be the most photographed and well known. The picture postcard view from Reflection Lakes has adorned more than one REI catalog cover.
This early season scramble is one of the most fun alpine routes in all the Cascades and Olympics. By taking the glacier route you create a classic alpine scramble including a snow climb, rock scramble, and an excellent glissade to cap off the afternoon. Lunch on the summit with spectacular views North to Mt Rainier and South to White Pass.
Fred Beckey rates the college route as Class 2 but the final 300' chute is near vertical and borderline Class 3 so I always place a hand line up that section which most people appreciate. You do not need to be an expert rock climber or mountaineer. Nevertheless, you should be comfortable in the vertical world of steep snow and rock.
Your attitude is more important than your skills. I often take novices up this route to "introduce" them to the sport of alpine mountaineering. It is a spectacular and fun climb.
Participants will need an ice axe and some self-arrest experience is preferred. Nevertheless, I will provide an "abbreviated" snow school at the base of the Pinnacle Glacier so participants can practice their hard snow, high-speed arrest before ascending the glacier. The Pinnacle Glacier is a great place to practice self-arrest. This is where the Tacoma Mountaineers do "hard snow" practice annually.
Participants will have the option to rope-up for the glacier climb if they are uncomfortable on the steep grade. Crampons and micro-spikes are forbidden. If crampons are needed we will not be doing the route. We'll be kicking steps up the glacier and micro-spikes make that difficult. Favorable weather is required for this route and will be rescheduled if mother nature does not cooperate.
Participants will be required to sign a liability waiver. Guests are not allowed on this event - you must be a member to join us.
Disclaimer: We will be in the wilderness. Serious injury or death can occur. We are not professional guides nor do we claim to be experts. It is not our responsibility to get you to the listed destination. We hike at our own pace. By attending this hike you are assuming responsibility for your own personal safety and we will not be held responsible.
We will begin ascending via the Pinnacle Peak Trail for a short distance and then head South overland to the base of the Pinnacle Glacier. After a short snow school we will climb the snowfield to the pass between Pinnacle and the Castle. From the pass we'll traverse West (Class 2) along the South side of the Pinnacle and join the standard route up the South face. The crux is a 300' chute (Class 3) just below the summit. We'll descend the same route including an awesome glissade down the Pinnacle Glacier. Time up: about 4 hours.