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nolanr

Unicorn Peak

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I've climbed Unicorn in July, kicking steps in snow on the approach, 4th class or low 5th class scramble on the final summit tower. I'm wondering what it's like in winter. Anyone done it? I've been up Pinnacle and Plummer Peak in winter before, so I'm familiar with the Tatoosh Range during winter conditions. I'm looking at doing it with a couple other guys in 2 weekends. Any beta appreciated.

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I've climbed it once in early spring/late winter. We were in for the weekend and camped just below the east side of the Castle. We went up to the Castle saddle and traversed the ridge east toward the unnamed point and then south down the ridge toward Unicorn. Near the low point we dropped onto the slope and traversed over until we could start up toward the col west of the summit. The slope up to the col was steep and it was a slog in the fresh powder. It was easy ground from there to the summit pinnacle. I soloed up in a little gully on the south-southwest side, probably 4th class, then belayed my partner up. We were able to make the rap with a 37 meter rope.

We skied most the way back to the north-south ridge, and the turns from the col were some of the best I've had in the Cascades. The ridge is longer than it looks. It took us most of an entire day to get there and back from near Castle. The slopes would be a death-trap in bad avy conditions.

-CC

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This project got cancelled/postponed several times, so I finally went out to do it by myself. It might have been okay if not for the 12+ inches of fresh powder dumped on the area Thurs. and Fri. I wore myself out breaking trail from the west edge of Reflection Lake to the Bench Lake area. I figured I wasn't going to make the climb on Saturday, but trudged the rest of the way to the Snow Lake basin just to take a peek. Kind of scary. Lots of fresh, loose snow on steep slopes. More than I wanted to tangle with, I'll save it for later in the year. I did catch some nice alpenglow on Unicorn and the ridge beside the Stevens Canyon road from my campsite, which made my effort worth while.

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4-14-01: Well, it's not winter anymore, but the early April snow made it seem that way.

Had to start from Narada Falls - the road is plowed but gated. Broke trail all the way in from the road, sinking in a ton even on snowshoes. The basins were full and soft, great for skiing (if only we'd brought them). The upper basin had some windslabs, so we hugged the icy east side of the gully leading to the notch between Unicorn and the west peak. The summit block had some ice and snow, but the southerly aspect made it cleaner, and a nice change from slogging on 'shoes.

The new snow made it the hardest 2500' of snowshoeing that I've ever done...

HK

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