Type: Trad, 3300 ft (1000 m), Grade II
FA: unknown
Page Views: 3,234 total · 36/month
Shared By: Brian McFarlane on Mar 10, 2015 · Updates
Admins: Jon Nelson, Micah Klesick, Z Winters

You & This Route

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For the approach to the beginning of this climb (where the flat spine finally steepens, c. 5,800 ft), see the West Ridge approaches on the Main Page. Give yourself 2-3 hours for the approach. It could be shorter or longer depending on conditions. Snow will slow you down.

From the small notch between flat spine and the steeper ridge, begin by first climbing the ledge (mostly Class 4 but with a few low 5th moves) for about 120 feet. Eventually, if you keep climbing, you'll run into a notch requiring a slabby downclimb to get in to. You can do this or take a dirt ledge on the north side to circumvent. The ledge may look like it has a bootpath along it. Climb slightly upward (Class 3 with ample trees for anchors) aiming for a depression in the face below a notch. Climb up the slabby depression (crux section, Class 4/5) then bear right to the notch.

Continue climbing along the south side now past the next gendarme (Class 3). You can vary your route either over the top of the crest or on the south side. The crest is flat for about 60 yards until the final scramble to the top (Class 3). Heather and rock outcrops make up this last bit.

You can rappel/downclimb most of the ridge to retrace your route to Cave Ridge thence to the Alpental parking lot. Or you can descend via the East Ridge. An East Ridge descent works best if you A) have two cars for the shuttle between start points, B) are willing to thumb a ride back to your car at Alpental, C) made the approach from the PCT parking lot via Commonwealth Creek, or D) are willing to walk the ~1 mile from the PCT parking lot to Alpental.

Also, you can descend directly down into Commonwealth Creek if the ground is snow-covered. Glissading will get you down quickly.


From Alpental parking lot: hike the Snoqualmie Mountain trail (unmarked, 50 feet south of Snow Lake TH) until it splits on Cave Ridge. Continue over Cave Ridge on the northwest notch, then follow climbers' paths under the ridgeline to the notch.

From PCT North parking lot: Hike the Commonwealth Creek Trail, or the PCT (which meets the CCT), north until past the creek crossing. Hike northwest into the basin and up to the notch.

As part of Snoqualmie traverse: Hike Snoqualmie from Cave Ridge, then follow the ridge northeast to the notch.


Lots of places to use a light rack for a running belay.

30m rope is sufficient
Small alpine rack (six or seven pieces total; there are lots of trees to sling)
3 runners with carabiners
Anchor runners/pieces
Helmet (optional due to shortness of technical portion of climb)
Rappel device
Rock shoes are not necessary