Ascent of Emerald Peak on 2016-06-27

Climber: Sean Albert

Date:Monday, June 27, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Emerald Peak
    Elevation:8422 ft / 2567 m

Ascent Trip Report

Friday afternoon Patty, Noel, Ava, and I headed for the Entiat River Road. I'd been trying to climb these four peaks for the last three years, but fires and fire closures have been in effect making some or all of the approaches and or peaks inaccessible (some of which are still "closed"). After years of calling the ranger station we were advised we could walk "next to" the closed road, so Saturday morning we drove as far as we could to the road closure, about one mile before the North Fork road. We started walking up the road (officially next to it) at 6:15 am past the two year old Ducan fire and I think some recent Wolverine burn. We turned right at the N. Fork road and walked up switchbacks (cutting some by going straight up cross country) 4 miles to the trail head. Once we hit the trail, which felt eerily abandoned, there were lots of signs posted from years past letting hikers know that this area was closed. There were some blow downs as we expected from a few years of neglect, but otherwise the trail felt like any trail early in the season. We found a place to camp about 12:30 at the best dry (snow-free) flattish area with running water we could find around 6600ft. SW of Cardinal. We set up camp, dumped our heavy stuff, and then departed for Cardinal at 2pm. Up the the long snowfield to the 8400 ft. saddle we turned SW and started to run the ridge towards the summit. We ran into some doggy 5th class, so we dropped back down and traversed across the SE side of the ridge to reach the summit. We reached the Cardinal summit at 4pm. Where was everyone? We had the place all to ourselves and didn't see signs of anyone for three days... In fact some peaks hadn't seen any ascents since 2014, obviously due to the closures. Coming down from the saddle we enjoyed the quick descent on snow, I can image this slope is pretty nasty once it has melted out.

Sunday the plan was to climb Pinnacle and then see how much time we had left to do Sask or Emerald. We left camp at 6am and made Saska pass at 7:30am. The West side of the ridge was completely burned all the way down to Snow Brushy creek from last season's Wolverine fire. This area is still closed and completely decimated! Much of the trail is gone and or unrecognizable. We made Borealis pass at 10:30am. The area below the pass felt very wild... We traversed the ridge from the pass heading North towards Pinnacle, sometimes on the West side when it got to steep. We climbed up the easy South face from the 7800 foot saddle to gain the Southwest ridge and reached the summit at 11:30am. We didn't stay long before heading back to Saska Pass. We were all pretty hot, tired, and covered in ash by this point. It takes longer to get over there then it looks like on the map... We found our way up Saska and made the summit at 4:40pm. We had a great view of Emerald from the Saska summit, it looked pretty steep from here! Particularly the final snowfield. We decided to call it a day and come back to climb Emerald in the morning before hiking out.

Monday morning we left camp at 6:15am and headed for the basin West of Emerald. Easy snow and some talus put us below the final snowfield under the summit of Emerald. We paused here, since it was so early in the day, the snow was a little to hard and a bit to steep (with a bad run out) for Ava. She'll need to come back for this one someday... So I waited with her while Noel and Patty went up to tag the summit. After they returned I made my way up at 9am. We hiked back to camp, packed up, and then headed for the car making it at 3:40pm. Stopped at South in Wenatchee on the way home for burritos! A little extra vertical and miles walked, but great to finally check these four peaks off the list! 14,000 ft. elevation gain.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1822 ft / 555 m
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1822 ft / 555 m
    Start Trailhead:6600 ft / 2011 m
Descent Statistics

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