Trip: Prusik - Stanley-Burgner
Trying to milk the most I can out of this season as I have some pretty major life changes on the horizon. My good buddy Oliver managed to score the same midweek days as me, so I wanted to do something extra-rad. Many ideas were floated, but eventually I became fixated on the Stanely/ Burgner route on Prusik.
With this route comes a crucial choice of strategy: car to car, or bivy somewhere along the way. Not feeling burly enough to hike 20 miles on top of climbing six pitches, I resorted to constantly checking recreation.gov to see if someone gave up their permit. Just as I was starting to lose hope and look at other options, a core enchantment permit appeared on the website. Stoked. It's on.
After work I drove to icicle creek and set my alarm for early. We left the Snow Creek TH at 6am, probably not early enough for an October ascent of Prusik in retrospect. We hiked to Vivian were we dropped our overnight gear, making it to the base of the route a little after 12.
Feeling anxious about the late hour, and the dark clouds forming over Dragontail, I led the first pitch to the tallest stand of trees. I then lead another, shorter pitch, up a finger crack and right across knobby slabs. An excellent, thought provoking pitch, that deposited us at the entrance of a steep gulley.
I might have messed up the beta a bit here (we used Steph Abegg's and had basically no issues) because I climbed a long pitch using all but five meters of my rope. This worked out at fine because I ended up right below the chockstone squeeze pitch.
I lead up the chockstone squeeze pitch (super fun!) and set up a belay below the flaring chimney. There a lot negative remarks out there about this pitch, 5.impossible, hardest 5.9 etc… but when I finally took the sharp end up, I was surprised how well it protected, and how secure it felt the entire time. I wormed my way up the chimney, trying not to climb too fast, but to take it slow and inch my way up. Eventually I pulled up onto a ledge and I set up a belay to bring Oliver up.
At this point we took a quick breather. It was probably around five andit looked like we would at least be hiking back to Vivian in the dark. We moved the belay to the base of the corner and I started leading up. This pitch is amazing. Wide in parts, but overall stellar climbing. Protects beautifully. The last move onto the summit is exhilarating!
We summited around 6:00pm. In June this would probably be OK, but in October we were definitely looking at least walking back to Vivian in the dark. We started rapelling the north side. I had not used this descent route before and found it sightly tricky. There are lots of rap station on the north side and some should be avoided. rap as far as you can with a 60m before stopping. DO NOT rappel off the slung block above a gulley that descends east. Your rope will get stuck, as ours did.
Eventually we made it to the ground. We hiked around to the South side to retrieve our approach shoes and bags, making one rappel near the base of the West ridge route.
We stumbled back into our camp around 10pm. After gorging ourselves on food, we settled into our tent and listened to the wind rip through the enchantment basin. Eventually the wind died down and rain fell. It felt great to be warm and comfortable in our tent while conditions deteriorated outside.
In the morning the rain let up for and we made breakfast, packed up and started hiking out. The rain came back in, and four hours later we arrived at the trail head completely soaked but happy. To celebrate we ate der burritos and drank many cups of coffee.
Larches, on point.
The infamous flaring chimney
4th Rappel just before our rope became stuck
Pro: small cams to 4. Doubles from .5-3. Steph Abegg beta!
Snow Creek in/out