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Ascent of Reynolds Peak on 2017-09-24

Climber: Connor McEntee

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Sunday, September 24, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Reynolds Peak
    Location:USA-Washington
    Elevation:8512 ft / 2594 m

Ascent Trip Report

Reynolds Peak is compelling, but the short approach up Reynolds Creek has little redeeming value. The "maintained" Reynolds Creek Trail hasn't seen any real maintenance in a few years. There is a fair bit of blowdown, which has been there long enough that the trail is starting to reroute around it. However, more annoyingly brush is significantly encroaching on the trail to the point that after the first mile I was pretty much always rubbing against brush. This is definitely a route to wear pants on.

After getting far enough up the valley, I had peek-a-boo views of the summit arm and could tell I was parallel to the south fork creek drainage. There did not appear to be any good way to get to Reynolds Creek, and I just forged ahead through some of the thickest bushwhacking of the day. Fortunately, on the other side, the undergrowth comparatively goes away. Contrary to Klenke's route description, I did not find the east side of the creek to be better even though I started on that side. It seemed to generally be steeper and more constrained by the topography, which reduced the available area over which to route find. Shortly after I crossed, I picked up a nice game trail that took me quite a way deeper into the drainage. I even started to think that the bushwhack would be fairly trivial.

I was wrong. The drainage gets progressively shallower further up and is more choked out with blowdown and brush. I frequently found myself walking lengthwise down logs to bridge over brush and debris. Eventually, the drainage opens up into a large basin. I opted for the direct approach to the summit, which was still heartbreakingly 3000 feet above me. This was definitely self-inflicted, but I encountered my densest bushwhacking of the day trying to get up through the cliffs. There are routes through the stands of trees, but you have to look for them. (I did end up making an almost brush-free descent to the basin on the way back.) Higher up the terrain is steep and a bit loose, and right before the summit block, there is a bunch of scree. I climbed the summit from the north side, which was closer and turned out to be a fun bit of scrambling. It's probably a little more difficult than the south side. There was some snow covering the highest north facing aspects. The only exposure was found in crossing a deep cut on snow-covered loose terrain that goes all the way down the to Eastern Cirque. It was only a few steps and could have easily been bypassed by climbing all the way up to the ridge first.

The summit is beautiful, and there was a surprisingly small amount of snow on all of the surrounding peaks. I signed the register and took off quickly as soon as it started to drizzle. If I had to do it again, I would opt for early season conditions to try and reduce the brush factor or come up a different route. It looks like south side trails largely avoid the bushwhack. That said the bushwhack is not that bad, but why not avoid it if possible.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:5568 ft / 1696 m
    Total Elevation Loss:5568 ft / 1696 m
    Round-Trip Distance:13.3 mi / 21.4 km
    Grade/Class:Class 3
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack, Snow on Ground, Scramble, Exposed Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Drizzle, Cold, Breezy, Overcast
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:5464 ft / 1665 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 5360 ft / 1634 m; Extra: 104 ft / 31m
    Loss on way in:104 ft / 31 m
    Distance:6.8 mi / 10.9 km
    Route:South Fork Reynolds Creek
    Start Trailhead:Reynolds Creek TH  3152 ft / 960 m
    Time:3 Hours 43 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:5464 ft / 1665 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 5360 ft / 1634 m; Extra: 104 ft / 31m
    Gain on way out:104 ft / 31 m
    Distance:6.5 mi / 10.5 km
    Route:South Fork Reynolds Creek
    End Trailhead:Reynolds Creek TH  3152 ft / 960 m
    Time:3 Hours 16 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Connor McEntee
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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. Peakbagger.com accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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