The Pinnacles

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The Pinnacles are quite apparent from many of the surrounding peaks.

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

I picked Dave up at 5:30 and after a 2:15 drive from Dave's house, we were on our feet a little after 8. The route starts up a closed and abandoned road going up Missouri Creek. Sun not yet up.

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The road curls around the toe of the ridge, eventually moving into sunshine. The flowers were amazing. All day.

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A little more road curl and we finally got a view of our main objective for the day. The summit is the second bump from the right.

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At the cabin, the road turns and crosses the creek. We instead started working our way up the valley off-trail.

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The bushwacking isn't bad, although the morning dew made it a little wet. And the springs in the brush down low. But as we approached the lakes, things were much drier. This was our first really good view of what lay ahead to gain the ridge. Steep.

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But first, the lake was lovely.

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So was the day. We took time out to shoot a few photos of the amazing flowers. And Ruby.

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The rest at the lake was welcome. But then it was time to start the up.

In addition to the lakes here, you can also see the two peaks we hoped to do later in the day.

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The hillside was about as steep as it looked from below. Click for the bigger version and you can see Ruby surveying her domain.

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I think it took us less than an hour to get to the saddle, where a huge view opened up. More photos.

I had read the guidebook, but could not identify any ledge system. Instead, we scrambled up through some goat beds and started looking through each possible gap in the rocks, working right to left.

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The gap just left of center brought us to a short wall with loose rock. The wall wasn't exposed to the huge drop on the north, so seemed reasonable...but Class 4. The summit is on the left; it looks lower because it's a little farther back.

Dave Beck photo

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A few very careful moves up the 15' wall brought me onto the summit area, with the summit a short, easy scramble away.

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Summit view with register. Trailhead
Summit view looking at our two additional proposed peaks. They look doable. Trailhead

It was blowing hard on top, which made it quite cold (in July!) and risky to try to wear your hat.

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Meanwhile, Dave was in the saddle below taking photos. Ruby was supervising.

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We opted to descend to the lakes before having lunch. Going down the gully took some care, but really wasn't too bad, other than making for very tired quads. This is shot from our lunch spot at the second lake. Trailhead

We didn't see any fish, but the second lake was full of large frogs.

I don't know if it was this lake or some other mud hole, but when Ruby joined us at our lunch spot, the bath I had given her the day before was completely undone; she stank!

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From our lunch spot, we could see an obvious and fairly direct route up Peak 9004. It was loose with poor footing, but got us to the top in about 45 minutes. Time for another break. And a Starbucks.

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And there's our third peak over there. Trailhead

This second summit gave us great views of our morning's effort. From here, you get a little better idea of the climb up the Pinnacles.

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Looking back at Peak 9004 from the first saddle in the ridge, it looks more impressive.

From that first saddle in the ridge, we did a traverse around the bump. It might have been easier (and more aesthetic) to go over the top. From the second saddle, it was a short and easy jaunt through some old burn to the top.

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Peak 8817 summit. It's a big, flat expanse...

 

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...with a great view of where we had been and our two previous peaks.

 

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We had several options for our descent back to the creek. We opted for the scenic ridge walk. From the end of this ridge, it's a very steep 2000' drop to the cabin. More aching quads.

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As we dropped off the ridge, our breeze went away and the temperature soared. When we finally arrived at the cabin again, Ruby was very glad to go for a swim.

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And all the way out to the car we marveled at the flowers.

Despite the horrendously bumpy upper section of Lick Creek Road, it was a nice drive home, with a round trip time of almost exactly 12 hours.

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Be sure to visit Dave's blog to see all his photos.

Dave Beck photo

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Map

 

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