Distance: 4.78 mi.
Elevation Gain: 3164 ft.
We reached the trailhead at 10 AM and got started southward on some rolling uphills and downhills toward the base of the peak. The gully from Snow Lake to the upper basin of Unicorn had some avy debris at the bottom which was a little nervewracking, but the snowpack was solid and we had some bomber boot tracks to follow up the gully. We did mini switchbacks up the gully and reached the flat area above at 11:30 AM. The cornices that seem to loom over the gully while we were working our way up were actually very far away, with a wide flat area as a buffer between us and them.
We went leftward (south-southeast) toward the west side of the peak and then climbed another steep slope west of the summit, then turned sharp left (northeast) at the ridge. There were a couple of small crevasses to avoid but we didn’t rope up. We followed the ridge northeast, then made another left (north) on the east side of the ridge to cross a steep snow slope toward the summit block. Ice axes were completely necessary here. At the summit block we found the source of those amazing boot tracks – a group of ten or so Mountaineers were using the two more popular routes on the south face of the rock to climb the short pitch to the summit. We curved just a bit to the southeast side of the summit block and did essentially a 4th class scramble to the summit. Craig lead on a rope but didn’t end up using any pro. Vanessa followed on belay from above and we reached the top around 1:30 PM. Then we hung out to admire the 360 degree views while the Mountaineers group rappelled down from the only rappel station.
We didn’t get to rappel off until 2:30 PM. The clouds started rolling in on our descent, so after carefully avoiding the two small crevasses on Unicorn Glacier, we glissaded down the steep snow slope west of the summit and then down the gully below the basin and made our way out quickly. We were back at the car by 5 PM.
(Download the free Gaia GPS app on your phone to view tracks and then get a Gaia GPS membership if you want offline access. Discount below!)
Recommend Brew: Rogue 6 Hop IPA
- ATC device
- Avalanche beacon/shovel/probe
- Glacier glasses
- Locking carabiners
- Mountaineering boots
- Steel crampons
- Steel ice axe
- Trad gear
- Trekking poles