Home > Trip Reports > November 10, 2002, Pinnacle Saddle MRNP

November 10, 2002, Pinnacle Saddle MRNP

WA Cascades West Slopes South (Mt Rainier)
Posted by JoshK on 11/12/02 12:17am
Hi all, I just discovered your web site and this is my first post.

On Sunday my friend Dave and I headed into MRNP in search of some turns. Dave was on tele, I was on alpine touring gear. We headed up the stevens canyon road after finding the gate open (more on this later). We drove as far as we could and stopped at a pullout about 1 1/2 miles or so before the pinnacle saddle trailhead. There was ~ 1 foot of snow on the road here. We skinned up the road until the trailhead, then skinned the entire trail up to the saddle. From the saddle we traversed under pinnacle peak to the col between pinnacle peak and the castle.

From the col, dropping over onto the north side puts you onto the pinnacle "glacier", which is really just a small snowfield. We skiied from the col down about 600 vertical feet. We then skinned back up to the col and did it again. After that we skiied back down the other side of the col and down the trail and the road.

We only had to pull the skis off once, for about 15 feet, just to get over the windblown and steep col. It was great for such a low snowpack!

On our way out, about 5 minutes before the car a ranger in a 4x4 drove up. She let us know that the stevens canyon road was, in fact, closed and that somebody had broken into the gate the night before. Thanks to our ignorance we got to enjoy an awesome day of skiing and, as you might expect, saw not a trace of another person all day before the ranger.
Sounds like you had a good day.

Was the underbrush covered enough not to give you any surprise snags on the ski out?

Sounds like you made a good call, Josh.
Might even be better next weekend.  Might be a good time to nail Plummer and go right on down the Pinnacle col if there's enough snow and it's stable.

mad_dog, since we stayed on the trail for the decent most of the way, we had no problems with underbrush. The trail, while not huge, was definitely wide enough to ski easily and was good fun. Skiing off the trail lower down would have definitely presented underbrush problems.

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2002-11-12 08:17:19