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JonParker

[TR] Cruiser - Standard 08/05/2022

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Posted (edited)

Trip: Cruiser - Standard

Trip Date: 08/05/2022

Trip Report:

 

I rarely consider the Olympics but on Friday I was unable to find a partner and didn’t want to waste the good weather. I saw something about a “5.3” route on Cruiser so I decided it was time to check out some pillow basalt.

 

The miles flew by to this aptly named peak (21 miles round trip with a few side missions, more like 20 without). The trail is never steep. I jogged a few portions.

At the basin the steep snow finger was bulletproof and I didn’t want to put my light axe and strap on crampons to the test. I was afraid I might have to hang out until it softened but then I noticed I could skirt around the snow on the left along class 3 slabs all the way to the notch, bypassing all the snow. In my brief research of the route I came across a TR that mentioned scratching up the dirt gully when the snow melted out. This is completely unnecessary. Maybe in early season the snow could force you into a couple of tricky spots higher up on the slab, but I found easy and secure travel at the lower end up the slab, near the moat.

Continued N from the notch up and over beta. There was only really one steep loose gully to descend to reach Cruiser.

A few awkward exposed 4th moves above a cave led to a higher notch. I ascended right on the face to reach the base of the face/spine leading to the summit.

A couple reachy moves off the deck led to some fun stemming then easier moves to the anchor. A narrow ledge scramble leads to the summit.

Upon returning to the anchor I decided to do one rap (hard to read the route from above) back to the bottom of the face. I descended the other way here, going through a narrow class 2 chimney for variety and less exposure. I spiced it up on the way back up the steep loose gully when I noticed a 12 foot tall splitter fist/lie back just off the trail (5.7?).

I couldn’t resist the spire just S of the notch above the snow because it tapers to a summit just a few square feet wide. Looked like a fun perch. Lichen crinkled underneath me, but I didn’t come across anything too dubious. The summit horn is slung, but it seemed like exposed class 4, maybe 5.0 on the way up, so I just downclimbed.

A few hours had passed but the snow hadn’t seen much sun. I didn’t even bother trying it and descended the slab bypass, but when I stepped on flat snow at the bottom it was soft. So I probably could have saved some time taking the snow down.

Back at the lake I went for an icy swim and re-enacted King Kong with countless big obnoxious biting flies.

The trail isn’t too exciting below flap jack but gets fun again when it reaches N Fork Skokomish. Beautiful river and lots of huge old trees.

Gear Notes:
Approach shoes, 60m for rap

Axe and crampons not used

Approach Notes:
Mellow trail from Staircase to the basin west of sawtooth ridge

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Edited by JonParker
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BB7941F8-5A13-4D69-8728-EFF41F1E78EE.jpeg.df61469707fb6f1424f32b95308b580c.jpegWas just up on the other side this weekend on a fishing trip. 
 

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It’s 4.6 miles up to the upper Mildred Lake. It’s a pretty steep trail in parts. That is how pax and I approached when we climbed Cruiser. Never been up to Flap Jack lakes, so that must just be a more pleasant hike in or something?

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, JonParker said:

re-enacted King Kong with countless big obnoxious biting flies.

🤣

 

I think that rock you're holding looks like a dinosaur tooth.

Edited by Alisse
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14 hours ago, olyclimber said:

It’s 4.6 miles up to the upper Mildred Lake. It’s a pretty steep trail in parts. That is how pax and I approached when we climbed Cruiser. Never been up to Flap Jack lakes, so that must just be a more pleasant hike in or something?

Yeah, longer but very mellow 

 

11 hours ago, Alisse said:

🤣

 

I think that rock you're holding looks like a dinosaur tooth.

:) Strange rock abounds 

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Really love this area! Very stoked to read this TR.

I went up Cruiser a couple times in July, both times approaching via Flapjack (such a good place to camp! Would definitely recommend if you're not doing it in a day). There was more snow on my first summit (June16), which made the approach to gain the ridge through Needle Pass feel easy and secure. Ten days later, Needle Pass was a bit more exposed, so Sawtooth Pass (next to the Horn) felt like the more comfortable option to gain the ridge (it was also quicker; getting to Needle Pass required a little bushwhacking, but that's probably because it was early season and the trail wasn't defined). Both times I was amazed at the amazing opportunities along the ridge--I hope to see more reports on the sawtooths!

To share some stoke, here's a photo of Cruiser peeping out through the fog:Cruiser.jpg.98a50785e9740e36790d02029d818709.jpg

 

& an image of the Horn (someone really oughtta climb the beautiful NE line along the ridge....):62fa539dcc9b0_TheHorn.jpg.e518a61e7051e82b0a1762c9e677e948.jpg

 

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