Trip: Lundin Peak - East Ridge variation

Date: 3/25/2017

Trip Report:
[This climb was one of the technical climbs as part of the Basic Climbing Class 2017 organized by Adventure Explorers (AEX).]

While planning for this trip, we were trying to pick a technical peak since some folks in our group needed some exposure to it. Lundin peak was eventually chosen when we found a East ridge variation in Fred Beckey's guide but we wanted to play it by ear since the avy danger in Snoqualmie was moderate to considerable. Leaving Seattle, we got to Alpental at 7 AM. The weather was rather depressing with light snow showers.

Geared up with a couple of ropes, avy gear, and a handful of pickets, we left the lot at 7.10 AM. Some of us were carrying snowshoes and whipped them out to make it easier. We didn't follow the standard East ridge approach (Commonwealth Basin trail -> RMT -> Red Mtn. saddle). Instead, we followed the Commonwealth Basin trail for about a mile and forked off to the left from there. There were some other climbing parties on their way to Red Mountain and Guye peak. After a quick snack break, we left the trail at 8.40 AM and, being a large group with some inexperienced people when it came to kick-steps, we got to the bottom of the avy gully (4600') at 12.15 PM.

getting to the avy gully in ideal weather

As stated before, the standard approach entails taking RMT all the way to the saddle. Since avy conditions looked stable and we were still in the treeline, we basically gave it a straight shot to the summit up the gully. For some, the climb to the notch (5840') was the steepest snow climb they had done so far and hence, it was slow going. We topped out at the notch before the main summit at 2.45 PM. A few of us took the ropes up the steep slope to the summit block to set up the handline for the others. While we harnessed up and set up the belay anchor (a deadman in the icy ledge), people started making their way up to the block.

headed up to the main summit block

Since the climb to the summit was mostly hardened snow along the corniced ridge and slick rock below, all of us cramponed up. The weather suddenly worsened with high winds and the lead climber had trouble navigating past the 'step'. Moreover he punched through a cornice when he was probing with his ice axe on his way up to the 'step'.

As it was already pretty late, we decided to call it a day and slowly made our way down back to the notch at 4.45 PM. Glissading down the avy gully, we were back on the Commonwealth Basin trail at 7.40 PM. With our headlamps showing the way, we made it back to the parking lot at 8.30 PM.

All in all, we were a little disappointed that we were unable to do the critical technical section of the climb. But I guess, the mountain will always be there.

For the GPX, Lundin Peak PeakBagger TR.
For some more visuals of the climb and the route, flickr/Lundin Peak 2017.

Gear Notes:
2x 60m rope, 5 pickets, avy gear, snowshoes, crampons

Approach Notes:
Lots of powder. Get ready to posthole.

Edited by Dhruv Garg (04/10/17 03:49 PM)