Climb - Pinnacle Peak via Pinnacle Glacier

  • June 29, 2013 · 7:00 AM
  • This location is shown only to members

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.

 

Route Description

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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  • Mike G.

    Great day at Rainier National Park. Jon, thanks for putting it all together.

    1 · June 30, 2013

  • Jay

    Great Hike Jon, thanks for leading yes looking forward to your next hike.

    1 · June 29, 2013

  • Wensheng L.

    Thanks Jon for the amazing adventure!! Great teamwork and leadership!

    1 · June 29, 2013

  • Jon E

    Great weather, good company. Thanks all for attending. look forward to our next adventure. I'll post photos in a couple of days.

    1 · June 29, 2013

  • Mike G.

    Just a note to confirm that Mike G and Mike E. are meeting the group at the trailhead. See you Saturday!

    June 28, 2013

  • Cyrus B.

    Shawna, just noticed you live on the East side; so do I.
    We could coordinate and carpool even the ride to P & R in Tacoma; what do you think?

    June 27, 2013

    • Cyrus B.

      Eastgate Park & Ride is fine. 6;15 AM OK? We are supposed to be at Tacoma P & R latest at 7:30 AM

      June 28, 2013

    • shawna

      Ok sounds good. Ill be on the east side under the overpass, black hatchback

      June 28, 2013

  • Jay

    I have never used this Tacoma Dome p&r, but looking it up it is a two large multi level structures and the one that is located at 610 Puyallup Ave is the North structure. So I think we should all meet at the first level as soon as you enter the structure. I have a Dark Green Ford Escape for reference.

    June 27, 2013

    • John S.

      I drive a blue FJ Crusier. I see ya there...

      June 27, 2013

    • Wensheng L.

      I will plan on meeting you guys at Tacoma P&R at 7:30 as well!

      June 27, 2013

  • Jon E

    It seems like you all are figuring carpools out. Just want to be clear that you should plan on entering MRNP at the SW Entrance known as Longmire. Town of Ashford is right outside the Park Boundary. From Tacoma head East (Hwy 512) to Hwy 7 or 161 South. At Elbe get off Hwy 7 and follow 706 East to Park Entrance. This is the only way to access Paradise area in winter months. Entering the Park from the North on 410 is a bad idea IMHO. I'm not even sure the Stevens Canyon Rd is open yet so check with the Park if you are thinking of taking that route. It's longer than it looks on the map. It's a beautiful drive through the Park but very long and convoluted. We are leaving from Olympia at 7 AM so Friday evening will be the last chance to communicate with me if needed. Looking forward to a safe and fun climb with new friends on Saturday.

    June 27, 2013

  • Cyrus B.

    BTW; is the Tacoma Dome Park & Ride at 1319 E 72nd St., Tacoma?
    (I'm still new in this town and need to use GPS to go around)

    June 27, 2013

    • Jay

      The Tacoma Dome p&r is located at 610 Puyallup Ave.

      June 27, 2013

  • Cyrus B.

    John, I'll meet you at Tacoma Dome P & R at 7:30 AM;
    I think whoever else would like to carpool should do the same; this way we'll have a count of passengers right there and then, and we'll be in a better shape to figure out the rest (who carpools with whom, etc.); sounds fair?

    June 27, 2013

    • shawna

      I'll be at the p & r at 730

      June 27, 2013

    • John S.

      Ok, look forward to meetin and climbin with ya all.

      June 27, 2013

  • John S.

    I have a park pass and FJ Cruiser.

    June 14, 2013

    • John S.

      Ok, the Tacoma Dome - 610 Puyallup Ave sounds great, we all could meet at about 7:30 at the p&r.

      June 25, 2013

    • John S.

      Is the Tacoma Dome car pool still happinin?

      June 27, 2013

  • Barbara L

    I have a park pass but need to ride out with someone. I live in Belltown. Anyone leaving from DT?

    June 25, 2013

    • shawna

      You want to carpool? I'm coming from the east side but can meet you somewhere

      June 27, 2013

  • Mike G.

    Looking forward to climbing Saturday. Mike Erstad and I are talking about driving together. Plan to see you at the trailhead.

    June 25, 2013

    • Wensheng L.

      Mike, can I carpool with you guys? I live in Kent and can meet anywhere between Seattle and Tacoma.

      June 25, 2013

    • Mike G.

      Have a couple of other things to do at Rainier this weekend. May go Friday night or stay later Saturday. Probably best if you catch a ride with others.

      June 26, 2013

  • John S.

    Yes, lets car pool. Ill get back to you.

    June 25, 2013

  • Jon E

    Weather forecast looks good! The snow is rather soft and deep on the Pinnacle glacier so it will be no problem ascending that route.

    I hope you folks can self-organize carpools to Reflection Lakes Parking Lot @ MRNP. We'll meet between 9:30 - 10 AM at trailhead. In other words, I plan to arrive at 9:30 AM but will wait until 10 AM before leaving the TH. Sorry, I don't have a cell phone. My apologies to those waiting. The group is rather large already (6 more coming from Olympia) so I cannot add more participants at this time. I may offer this climb again in July for those that cannot get in on the June ascent.

    Looking forward to it. Should be a really fun day!

    June 24, 2013

  • Chrisf

    Have other plans for the 29th, but enjoy the climb!

    June 16, 2013

  • Cyrus B.

    As far as I'm concerned, I remain in as it's well worth waiting another week to climb with you Jon; thx. for letting us know well in advance.

    June 16, 2013

  • Jon E

    My apologies. I have to reschedule this event for the following Saturday. Those signed-up already will stay unless you need to cancel of course. Again, my apologies.

    June 15, 2013

  • Wensheng L.

    I have a 03 Subaru Forester. It's not in good shape however. Took it to a repair shop a few weeks ago and I was advised not to use it for long distance drives.

    June 14, 2013

  • Jay

    Ford Escape

    June 14, 2013

  • Cyrus B.

    Whoever decides to do the driving, there should be a $15 contribution towards the gas money, and splitting the entrance fee to the park. (as Jon suggested).
    the idea should also be to pick the larger vehicle available among us , for there will be quite some gears to take along.
    I drive a Toyota RAV 4; what do you guys drive?

    June 14, 2013

  • Wensheng L.

    Anyone is driving from Seattle and has extra space in his or her car? I'm hoping to get a ride. I live in Kent and can meet at the Kent Des Moines Park&Ride right off I-5 (23405 Military Road South, Kent, WA) or somewhere near Seattle.

    June 13, 2013

  • John S.

    Sounds good to me.

    June 13, 2013

  • Cyrus B.

    I suggest we, i.e. who prefers to carpool and is coming from the Seattle area, meet at a popular location enroute or a couple of locations for that matter, locations with parking facilities (e.g. Park and Ride).
    This way, we wouldn't do more driving than needed.
    (Advance coordination and deciding who drives provided)

    June 13, 2013

  • Mike G.

    Would carpool but looks like I will be staying overnight at Rainier for an event on Sunday too.

    June 13, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry have to miss this one

    June 12, 2013

  • Wensheng L.

    Sounds like a fun climb! Anybody is leaving Seattle area? I live near Kent.

    June 12, 2013

  • Cyrus B.

    Now we're three.. we'll coordinate where and what time to meet once we're complete and ready to handle the details.

    June 12, 2013

  • shawna

    Yah I'm on the list! Can carpool from the east side

    June 12, 2013

  • shawna

    I'm on the east side but not sure if I'm allowed to come yet :)

    June 12, 2013

  • Jay

    I live on the East side also, Bothell, and wouldn't mind carpooling as a rider to Olympia or to the trailhead. I would prefer not have to drive all the way to the park and the trailhead.

    June 11, 2013

    • Cyrus B.

      Great; that makes so far two of us.

      June 12, 2013

    • John S.

      I Live in Tacoma and would like to work out some sort of carpool arrangement.

      June 12, 2013

  • Cyrus B.

    I think it's great to have someone guide us and to be our leader who has done this particular alpine travel.
    Without having known and met you yet Jon, my salute to you!
    Apropo, carpooling: I'm coming from the eastside of Seattle, and just the ride to Olympia being long (87 MIles), and possibly tedious, I wouldn't mind to share this ride to our group meeting in Olympia;
    Anyone interested, pls. send me a note so that we could coordinate. thx.

    June 11, 2013

    • Jon E

      You are most welcome to meet us in Olympia @ 7 AM and convoy from there but it is way out of your way and adds many miles to your overall journey. From the North I recommend going thru Puyallup and taking Hwy 161 South to Hwy 7 and on to Ashford, WA right outside the Park Boundary and Longmire Entrance Station.

      June 11, 2013

  • Namhee P

    Are harness and carabiners still required if we don't plan to rope up? Also, what about helmet? I typically just wait very patiently to make sure no one is above me for the rock part instead of wearing helmet.

    June 10, 2013

    • Namhee P

      Whoa, I missed required rope entirely. I'll go ahead and free up my spot, as I don't have this equipment.

      June 11, 2013

    • Jon E

      No worries. Sorry for the confusion. This is a technical climb. Kind of a "low-end" or "easy" climb but a climb nonetheless.

      June 11, 2013

  • Cyrus B.

    Having followed the conversation so far, I understand that although the participants have been exposed apparently to various conditions of the mountains to some extent, I think it would be a good idea to have a brief session on ax technique, such as self-arrest, along the route which would help to polish off the rusty skill of some of us (including myself). It's much appreciated and according to Jon, it would be a good opportunity to practice on this perfect face of the mountain.

    June 10, 2013

    • Jon E

      I'm hoping we can spend about 30 minutes reviewing arrest so folks feel comfortable ascending the glacier. It's not all that steep. A good alpine skier could easily ski this slope. In fact, it's been my experience that alpine skiers rarely have much fear ascending and descending steep snow slopes in the mountaineering context. FYI - although it's called a "glacier" this area is no longer a glacier at all. It's just a snowfield without any crevasses so there's no necessity to rope-up unless we have participants who feel shaky on the steep snow angle in which case we'll pair them up with stronger climbers.

      June 11, 2013

  • Jon E

    I am hoping you folks can self-organize your carpools to meet the Olympia contingent at the trailhead. We will meet at the Pinnacle Peak Trailhead directly across the street from the parking area at Reflection Lakes. Let's try to meet between 9:30 and 10 AM. We are leaving Olympia at 7 AM. Not sure how long the drive will be from up North.

    June 11, 2013

  • shawna

    What are the chances of getting added if we're on the waitlist?

    1 · June 11, 2013

  • Jon E

    I may increase the attendee limit if there's interest. I've cross-posted to Olympia Meetup with little interest. Weather permitting this will be a really fun and exciting day!

    June 8, 2013

  • Mike G.

    Sounds very good.

    June 7, 2013

  • Jay

    You got me with that picture. I have done class 3 climbs in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, but it has been awhile.

    June 7, 2013

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