Ascent of Crystal Peak on 2016-07-26

Climber: Roger Gervin

Date:Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Crystal Peak
    Elevation:6595 ft / 2010 m

Ascent Trip Report

A fun thru-hike near the eastern boundary of Mt. Rainier National Park... tagging a "point" and two peaks along the way.

We started (3540') from the Crystal Lake Trailhead on the east side of Highway 410... an 18.7 mile drive from the Naches Tavern in Greenwater... where we found parking on both sides of the highway, but no visible trailhead sign... however, we did find the trailhead sign in the woods... only a stones throw from where we parked.

The trail doesn't waste any time in heading uphill... gaining 900 feet of elevation in 1.3 miles to a junction (~4600') with the Crystal Peak Trail... where the trail makes a 1.5 mile rising traverse along the west side of Crystal Peak as it goes underneath and beyond the summit... eventually reaching a switchback (~5800') that turned us back in the direction of the summit... leaving 800 feet of elevation gain in another mile to reach the summit (6595').

While the Crystal Peak Trail is a bit steeper than most, it has nicely graded switchbacks and is in excellent condition.

After a lengthy summit visit our party of six split into groups of 2 and 4... Snowdog, BarbE, rodman and I headed cross-country for Point 6706 and Chinook Peak while Nanda and Denali Girl stayed on the summit for another hour before returning to the car and driving up to Chinook Pass to meet the rest of us at the end of our thru-hike.

The cross-country travel from Crystal Peak to Point 6706 and Chinook Peak was fairly easy... following a good-to-faint path most of the time in mostly open terrain.

Point 6706 looked more gnarly the closer we got to it... and we did spend some time in finding the best route which didn't involve anything more than Class 2 climbing.

Leaving Point 6706 we stayed on easy terrain on the west side of the ridge... passed underneath a large rock buttress below the summit of Chinook Peak and worked our way over to Chinook's SE ridge... where we found a nice path that led us up to the summit (6904').

Leaving the summit of Chinook Peak we headed south in open terrain... as we gradually worked our way down to a meadow (~5500') that was a quarter-mile SW of Sheep Lake... where we quickly found the Pacific Crest Trail... which we followed for less than 1.5 miles to Chinook Pass and a reunion with Nanda and Denali Girl.

An 8 mile thru-hike... gaining 3965 feet of elevation.

Some other options for this hike/scramble:

1. Two cars would be ideal... leave one at the Crystal Lake Trailhead and start from Chinook Pass... finishing up the day's work with a downhill, 3.8 mile trail hike... closer to 2000 feet of elevation gain instead of 4000.

2. One car with two groups of hikers... drop off the cross-country group at Chinook Pass... return to the Crystal Peak Trailhead... hike the trail up to the Crystal Peak summit and meet the cross-country group coming down from Chinook Peak and Point 6706... then both groups hike the trail back to the car.

3. Stash a bike at Chinook Pass... return to the Crystal Peak Trailhead... at the end of the day ride the bike from Chinook Pass to the Crystal Peak Trailhead to get the car... however, IMO this 7.5 mile bike ride on Highway 410 would be more dangerous than bungee jumping from the roof of your house.

Photos, trailhead directions and downloadable GPS track of our trip to Crystal Peak, Poing 6706 and Chinook Peak.

Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Roger Gervin
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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