We started from the trail head in the Mount Rainier National Park for Unicorn Peak around 7:30AM on Saturday. The weather was spectacular! In the upper right of the photo, the highest point, is Unicorn Peak.
Entering the large snow covered Talus field. You could see obvious signs of snow melt, water falls and rivers starting. There also seemed to be a significant amount of debris from either a avalanche or rock falls. Our target is that steep snow slope towards the middle right of the photo.
The quality of snow conditions on the slope made it easy to kick steps, but not good enough for crampons. I imagine in a few more weeks to a month it will all be melted off.
Just when you thought you were done climbing snow, there is still more to go! Relatively easy going. Just a slog. Our goal is the follow the snow field to the top and then traverse to the left.
After reaching the top of the snow field in the previous picture we needed to cross the gab between the snow field and the rock. There is about a 10 to 15ft fall between the two surfaces. I believe that in a few weeks you would likely need to down climb into the crack and then climbing back out.
Perspective of the gap distance and elevation gain so far.
Walking along the ridge line towards the summit of Unicorn Peak. I imagine in that without the snow this could be kind of sketchy.
Our climb leader did a trad lead up the 4th class route and then created a fixed line for the followers to prusik up. BE CAREFUL OF ROCKFALL! ALWAYS WEAR A HELMET! AVOID PATHS OF FALL!
The rappel station from the top of Unicorn Peak. We used a tree, some tat and rap rings to lower ourselves down. Be very mindful of the loose rock.
We rappelled off the tree to the right to avoid potential injuries on the melt out between the snow/rock gap.
From there we had several fun glacades down into the talus field. The trip took us a total of 8 hours to complete. ~6 miles and 2,300ft of elevation. The trip could have taken less time, but there were several inexperience groups and 2 people that needed rescue after they made some mistakes. Why would to free solo up a peak, with a harness on, with a set of nuts and cams, but not bring a rope with you?! And have no idea how to rappel?
Still an excellent day!