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Ascent of Malachite Peak on 2015-05-09

Climber: Ryan Kusche

Date:Saturday, May 9, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Malachite Peak
    Location:USA-Washington
    Elevation:6261 ft / 1908 m

Ascent Trip Report

Picked Malachite as a challenging scramble and was rewarded after some hard work.

Took the trail past beautiful Trout Lake. Then up 2000 ft to Lake Malachite. Good views of Malachite Falls and Bald Eagle Peak. Crossed paths with more than a few on this popular Alpine Lakes Wilderness access point. Good amount of snow on the ridge behind the lake considering the awful year for snow pack. From the Malachite drainage I turned north and quickly lost any trail signs. I got onto an awkward wooded and slope - staying at ~4200 ft and keeping an eye out for two small talus fields would be advisable. I found an overgrown stream to get me in the right direction which soon brought me into soft snow breaking into an avalanche basin and larger mixed talus slope. Continued to follow small drainage when I should have thought about using the talus up to the cliff on the left and cutting through the larger tree stand. A little more snow when out of the vegetation above -5200 ft. The slope can feel pretty steep continuing up the false summit but views increase with every step.

I took the natural notch on the rock outcrop slightly to the left at 5800'. Above this you are presented with the actual summit block. In my search for an approach I ran into another group of more experienced climbers already in search of the summit. We traversed the steep heather slopes NNW under steep rock to a saddle where the rest of their party had stopped. Their party leader, Matt, had already found a decent way to gain the summit so I joined their efforts. Had to circle clockwise onto a snowy ledge then over to a rock rib that presented us with a low 5th class move with quite a bit of exposure.

The summit views were amazing and clear. Great perspective of inner Cascades especially SE towards Daniel/Hinman and Summit Chief, Lemah, etc. A whole lot of snow was still present to the north. After talking with some of the group they welcomed me to tag along on their return route after I expressed displeasure with my bushwhacking experiences earlier in the day. This enabled me to make a loop which I love (thanks to a generous lift back to my car) and gain some insight into a few different minds that quite clearly had an amazing amount of mixed mountaineering experience. All while traveling back through a gorgeous shadowy snowfield.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:5621 ft / 1712 m
    Total Elevation Loss:3488 ft / 1062 m
    Round-Trip Distance:9.3 mi / 15 km
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack, Snow on Ground, Scramble, Exposed Scramble, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Ski Poles
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:4821 ft / 1469 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 4621 ft / 1409 m; Extra: 200 ft / 60m
    Loss on way in:200 ft / 60 m
    Distance:5.1 mi / 8.2 km
    Start Trailhead:1640 ft / 499 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:3288 ft / 1002 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 2488 ft / 758 m; Extra: 800 ft / 243m
    Gain on way out:800 ft / 243 m
    Distance:4.2 mi / 6.8 km
    End Trailhead:3773 ft / 1150 m



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