Cache Creek/Peak 6762

July 22, 2006

Starting at the Hortense Lake trailhead, we walked south into the Mount Washington Wilderness on the Dry Creek trail. A recent burn and no trail maintenance has left many blown down trees across the trail. The first mile of trail passes through a badly burned forest, where none of the large trees survived. A light rain was falling as we hiked, but it was never enough to get us wet, or enough to wet the trail dust. At Cache Creek, we left the main trail and followed a faint, unmaintained trail along the north bank of Cache Creek to the base of Mount Washington’s northeast face. I made the poor choice of following closely by creek bank, through a tangle of stunted firs and lodgepole pines. The creek drainage leads to a cirque at the base of the craggy north ridge of Mount Washington and a blade of rock known on the topo maps as Peak 6762', and fondly referred to in older Obsidian trip reports as Unnecessary Peak. The intended goal of our trip was to explore a possible climbing route to the summit of Unnecessary Peak. Easy class III scrambling up slabs and snow patches just east of the summit brought us to a saddle on the ridge just below the summit. The headwall is a low angle slab that looks less than a rope length from the ridge to the summit, but it was steep, exposed, and rotten enough that we decided to not try for the summit without a rope and some anchor hardware. By mid afternoon the clouds had cleared the sun was out as we descended down lower angled slopes a short distance east from the summit of Unnecesary Peak. We followed a small creek into the main Cache Creek drainage and then followed Cache Creek back to the Dry Creek trail. A note to future users of this unmaintained climbers trail: stay out of the creek bottom as the trail nears the base of the mountain, use the more open meadows on the hillside just north of the creek. Please contact me if you have climbing info for Unnecessary Peak, BH.

Members: Brian Hoyland (leader), Scot Hunt and Doug Nelson.

The Upper Cache Creek basin on the east side of Mount Washington, Peak 6762' is on the left and Mount Washington’s summit at 7794' is the highest peak in the center of the photo. Peak 6762' has been referred to in older Obsidians Club trip reports as “Unnecessary Peak”, though I cannot find any information about previous climbs to this summit. Our class III scramble rout up Peak 6762' followed the left side of the gully and the snow patches on the far left edge of the photo. Our descent route was to the east down the summit ridge and out of sight in this photo off the left edge, where we followed lower angle slopes down through stunted fir trees into the Cache Creek drainage.

The upper headwall slab and summit of Peak 6762' from the east, with Mount Washington’s summit pyramid in the background. The base of this low angle slab was our high point on this exploratory hike. It appeared us that we should come back next time with a rope, some slings, and some anchor hardware to make this final exposed pitch up to the summit. This face is very low angle, and has many features to use as holds, but most of them are downward sloping underclings, and we were not sure of how well this face will protect with trad gear placement. It appeared to us be less than a single ropelength to the summit from the ridge, but two ropes would likely be needed for a rappel from near the summit. Fixed anchors are unknown at this point, and I’ve not been able to any information about previous climbs to this summit. I’m certain that other climbers have bagged this peak, but I can’t find any info about their climbs.

There appears to be a brushy ledge just below the summit that might provide a suitable rappel point for descending. It looks like we could get a few trad gear placements for protection on the slab and the big flakes in the dark rock in the cener of the photo. The trees above look puny, and may not provide much security. To the left and right edges of this photo are steep gullies, and plenty of exposure. A rappel from the summit would need to come back to near where this photo was taken.

Scot and Doug at our high point for the day. I’m thinking there’s a nice climb up the obvious flake in the middle of the face up moving to climber’s left towards the left arete, then follow the left arete to the summit.

The northeast face of Mount Washington and the crags along the north ridge. The summit is the highest peak on the left.

One of the many spectacular boulders at the head of the Cache Creak drainage. A pair of climbing shoes and a chalk bag would be all you need for a great day of bouldering in this remote alpine basin.

—photos by Brian Hoyland

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