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Ascent of Snowfield Peak on 2020-07-19

Climber: Payal Kiyawat

Date:Sunday, July 19, 2020
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Snowfield Peak
    Location:USA-Washington
    Elevation:8347 ft / 2544 m

Ascent Trip Report

Approach:
Hiked to pyramid lake 2,600’. At lake kept right. Continued up a steep climbers trail, scrambling through vegetation. This remains steep almost until 4200’. After some relief of flat areas it becomes steep again between 4800’ and 5400’. We encountered patches of snow at around 5,200’. First camp area at 5,400’ is still in snow. We followed boot tracks on the right of the little pointed peak structure in front of us, leading us to a traverse directly below Pyramid Peak. Pyramid Peak remains on the right and the valley to the left. Traverse was easy at this time of the year, snow was soft enough and boot path was available. Continued traverse (above waterfall) until we reached a lake. This is the lower portion of Colonial Glacier. The rocky area to the left (at 5,900’) is the second camp area. This is snow free. A tarn is available for water. You would definitely want to filter this water as there are many snow worms and bugs. Camp was windy.

Ascent:
From 5,900 we took the route on to Colonial glacier. Starting at camp we scrambled down to the lake, traversed around it (can be done from either side) and got on to Colonial glacier. The glacier is still very intact. Steps were already kicked in, keeping to climber’s left along the glacier we reached Colonial-Neve col (couple of camp spots available here). Descended to the other side, traversed left keeping on the edge of the glacier until we reached a ridge leading to the direction of the summit.

This is where we roped up. The route from there was straightforward. Taking the obvious path of mellow glacier ridges towards the summit (head to the right of the summit), stepping over crevasses. There were many small crevasses, barely open, firm snow around it.

Reaching the ridge on the right of the summit, we unroped and followed a climbers trail to the base of summit block. From there scrambled to the top. There are cairns along the way to help remain on Class 3, but can easily change to Class 4 or lower 5 if a cairn is missed. Beware, some of the big comfortable holds and stepping blocks are loose and can easily roll off on to the climbers directly below.

Descent:
Instead of descending the ascent route, we followed the obvious gully down the summit. At the base we climbed up a tiny gully that reaches the notch of the NW gully. Then descended the NW gully back to the climbers trail on the ridge. Once on the glacier we took the same route back to Colonial-Neve glacier, camp, trailhead.

Timing:
Trailhead to 5,900’ Camp: 6.5 hours
Camp to Summit: 4 hrs 45 mins
Summit to Camp: 2 hrs 15 mins
Camp to Trailhead: 5 hrs

Water:
Between Pyramid Lake and Colonial Glacier there are couple of small ponds of stagnant water. Probably best to avoid that water.
At the base of colonial glacier is the lake and the small tarn at that camp.

Gear:
Glacier equipment
Ice ax
Helmet
Crampons (used only on Neve glacier, could have done without)
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Scramble, Exposed Scramble, Glacier Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Headlamp, Ski Poles
    Nights Spent:1 nights away from roads



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