August 14-16, 2009

The Citadel (7120’)
Cathedral Rock (6724’)

——————– Summary ——————–

Starting Point: Cle Elum River & Squaw Lake & Cathedral Pass & Peggy’s Pond & Circle Lake  (hike)

Campsite: Circle Lake

Summit: The Citadel  (climb via Northeast Slope—North Ridge)

Summit: Cathedral Rock  (climb via South Face—Southwest Gully—West Face)

——————– Full Report ——————–

Here are some photos from an “architectural crag” weekend in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness with Beth, Fay, John M, and Eileen. This trip was mostly just made up as we went along, but it turned out to be pure alpine joy from start to finish.

On Saturday, we backpacked over Cathedral Pass and beyond Peggy’s Pond to reach Circle Lake. After establishing camp near the outlet of this beautiful lake, we tossed together summit packs for a late-afternoon bid on The Citadel—an appropriately named rock bastion perched high above a cluster of attractive lakes. Our ascent from camp to the Citadel’s rocky base turned out to be nothing more than a pleasant alpine stroll.

From this point, we scrambled up the short north ridge (Class 3.5) and rightward along the narrow summit crest on well-broken rock. A small ammo can held a summit register that went back several decades. We spent an hour on top, soaking up the salad days of August as best we could. Low clouds enveloped the Cascade crest, but it was clear to the east. Our descent involved one rappel down the north ridge, then a quick scurry back to camp.

On Sunday, we awoke to clear, blue skies. John had left early to climb Mt Daniel; the rest of us headed back over to climb Cathedral Rock, which had been on Eileen’s bucket list for about 20 years.

Starting from Cathedral Pass, we followed the varied and interesting Southwest Route up a series of faces, ridges, and gullies. The crux was a 100-foot pitch of Class 4+ rock on the west face, which Beth eagerly led, followed by a Class 2-3 ridge scramble to the summit boulder. Here, the summit insects (some sort of winged annoyance) prevented a long stay.

We made two rappels down the crux face, then scrambled back to Cathedral Pass. John was waiting at the trailhead when we arrived in mid-afternoon.