Ascent of Emerald Peak on 2018-09-17

Climber: Jake Robinson

Date:Monday, September 17, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Emerald Peak
    Elevation:8422 ft / 2567 m

Ascent Trip Report

Trace and I climbed Cardinal, Emerald, Saska, and Pinnacle in a 3 day trip.

Day 1: Emerald

We got a late start from the North Fork Entiat TH and hiked in the ~10 miles to the basin between Cardinal and Emerald. Beautiful place. The original plan was to tag Cardinal first but the route looked coated in new snow. We decided to give it some time to melt out and do Emerald first. We made camp in a goregeous meadow at 6900' in the basin SW of Emerald, nice flat area with a great water source. After some lazing around we hiked up easy open terrain roughly aiming towards the W ridge of Emerald. Some snow covered class 3 and scree got us to the summit. Overall, a very pleasant and fun peak. We had great views off to the Chelan Sawtooths, and thankfully there was no smoke visible from the Crescent Mtn fire. We returned to camp and hunkered down for a very cold night.

Day 2: Pinnacle and Saska

The cold morning kept us tentbound until 9 AM. We weren't worried about the late start, Pinnacle and Saska is a pretty short day. We hiked up over Saska Pass and lost the trail in the burn pretty soon after we began descending into Snow Brushy Creek. From here we just aimed straight for Pinnacle. I was worried travel through the burn would be annoying, but really it was quite easy - minimal deadfall and pretty good footing. We crossed the creek at 6000' and hiked straight up the drainage climbers right of pt. 6767' (easy travel). In the basin beneath Borealis Pass, we headed right and climbed a short scree slope to gain the flat terrain S of the summit of Pinnacle. From there it was an easy scree hike to the summit. The relief off the sheer E face is really impressive! Overall Pinnacle was another fun peak, though I could see the travel in the burn getting unbearably hot in midsummer.

We reversed the route to Saska Pass, then left the trail at the first switchback W of the pass (7400'). We sidehilled to the large gully S of the peak and picked our way up some seriously unpleasant class 2/3 terrain to the summit. The route we took was kind of hazardous - I would recommend bringing a good route description for this peak (we did not). Saska is kind of a choss pile especially compared to the other peaks in the area. We returned to camp, then moved camp to a meadow at 6600' WSW of Cardinal. It was another cold night.

Day 3: Cardinal

Trace wasn't feeling too well in the morning so I went solo for Cardinal. I hiked up easy larch terrain to the basin WNW of the peak then hiked up scree to the top of the gully that terminates just N of the summit. From there I followed the NE ridge to the summit, staying mostly on the E side to keep it class 3. Still about 6" of snow on the upper mountain. There was no register that I could find. I returned to camp about 2 hours after I'd left, then we hiked out to the car and headed to Wenatchee to resupply before climbing South Spectacle Butte the following day.

Overall these peaks are all really fun (except Saska), easy, and very doable as a 3-day trip. Also, that basin between Cardinal and Emerald is absolutely gorgeous. Great trip!
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