Pearl Peak


An unsuccessful climb of Pearl Peak gets us primed for more snow adventures..

Note: click images to see a larger version in a new window

We got 6" of snow at the house yesterday, the first real and lasting dump of winter. So of course, I had to get out and see the woods in their new raiment.


Being the optimistic sort we are, John and I started off in less-than-stellar weather.

May Marina Cam

Here are our peaks for the day. There are a variety of possible approaches.

Photo is looking east down Cougar Creek on a brighter, sunnier September climb of Black Tip.

Big rock
And here's Pearl ffrom the trail up to 20 Mile Lakes basin last November. Big rock

Although we had 6" at our house, we live in a snow zone and often get more than the surrounding areas. So I thought (wished) that there would be less up the road. So I optimistically thought that we could get near the Crestline trailhead at 7200'. After all, the ground had been bare at 6400' last week when we climbed Payette Point.

As it turned out, there was over 8" of fresh on Warren Wagon Road and I had to put it in 4-wheel drive just to get to the Crestline turnoff. And I was a bit nervous about trying to turn around.

So that's Warren Wagon Road in the background. Snowshoes on. Sign says 7 miles to the trailhead.

Big rock

We started up the road, but the road is really flat with tons of wide switchbacks. We decided to save time by shortcutting.

At times we covered good ground.

Saddle in ridge

At others not so much. Where's SuperDave when you need him?

So we decided maybe we should get back onto the least that way, we'd have a packed trail to descend. But when we got to the creek, it was impassable- deep, fast, twisty, and no logs that were big enough (or low enough to not look terrifying). Well, keep heading uphill.


Saddle in ridge

As we climbed higher, the creek got smaller. Eventually we found a constriction with reliable-looking logs. The road was nearby, so after we reached it, we celebrated with a snack.

Looking down the ridge

Although our earlier bushwhacking experience was still fresh in our minds, we did it again. The road simply gained elevation too slowly and switchbacked too much. The second bout was much more successful.


When we got to the trailhead (the trailhead!), it was cold and windy. We found a protected spot and finally stopped for a late lunch.

Then it was more bushwhacking to gain the ridge that would lead us to our peak. Here John, on the ridge, contemplates our position: 2 o'clock and 800 feet to go. 5 hours to get here. 4 hours of daylight left. And tired.

So we wisely called it a day.


We mostly followed the road back down, but took a few more strategic shortcuts that worked out pretty well.

On the way down, the clouds lifted a bit so we could finally see Blacktip.


Here's a map of our route, had we been able to finish it.

On the way home, we talked eagerly of the skiing to come, and how we were already getting in shape.... we think.


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