Stanley-Burgner (III 5.9+, six pitches)

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Wesley McCain climbs up the easier terrain on second pitch of Stanley-Burgner. Photo by Garrett Grove

Wesley McCain climbs up the easier terrain on second pitch of Stanley-Burgner. Photo by Garrett Grove

First climbed in 1968 by Ron Burgner and Fred Stanley — all free save two points of piton aid for Burgner (leading) — this south-facing, 600-foot route sits squarely inside the Stuart Range in Washington’s Central Cascades. Fred Beckey named the area between Icicle Creek and Ingalls Creek “Cashmere Crags,” and it has some of the range’s most classic alpinerock routes, only three hours from Seattle. Beckey’s 1962 ascent of Prusik Peak’s South Face (5.9) had impressed Stanley. Still, he says, it took him six years — “graduated from college, with a family, a full-time job, and supplementing that with weekend work” — for him and “Burgie” to add their own Prusik FA.

You’ll earn the Stanley-Burgner after a picturesque but grueling (12 miles, 6,000 feet of gain) approach, during which you’ll pass Mount Stuart and Dragontail and Colchuck peaks. Above the daunting 2,300-foot Aasgard Pass lie the alpine lakes and meadows of the Enchantments, home to Prusik Peak. Many link this climb with the mountain’s popular West Ridge (5.7) or south-face routes in a one-day push — either out of pride or obligation due to the hard-to-get permits required between June 15 and October 15.

Photo by Garrett Grove

Photo by Garrett Grove

p>You can spot much of the Stanley-Burgner from the ground; look for a long, continuous corner that ends on a ledge right of the overhanging southwest face. You can even spot the “chockstone squeeze” on pitch four. The route trends to the climber’s right, avoiding the southwest face.

Pitch one begins about 1,000 feet above Lake Viviane, near a 10-foot boulder. Here, tackle the left of two impending offwidths, a four- to five-inch climber-eater leading to belay trees. Pitch two ascends rightward through slabby knobs and blocks to a vertical gully/corner system, ending 40 feet short of the next two pitches’ major corner systems.

About 150 feet up this corner lurks the dreaded, grovelly burrow behind the chockstone (5.8). (“Ron led the pitch out from under and around the left side of the chockstone…” says Stanley. “I suspect very few have repeated [the pitch in this way].”) Above here, pitch four continues up a wide, flaring 5.9 crack with fixed gear.

The short fifth pitch traverses to the climber’s right, to the final, exposed corner and its flaring, four-inch-wide 5.9+ crack — the crux. On a clear day, the summit reveals a 360-degree panorama of the never-ending Cascade Range.

Photo by Garrett Grove

Photo by Garrett Grove

The Beta

  • Guidebooks:Cascade Alpine Guide, Volume I; Third Edition, by Fred Beckey, 2000 (mountaineersbooks.org); Selected Climbs in the Cascades, Volume I, by Jim Nelson and Peter Potterfield, 2003 (mountaineersbooks.org)

  • Guide Service: Northwest Mountain School (509) 548-5823, (mountainschool.com)

  • Equipment Shop: Leavenworth Mountain Shop (509) 548-7864

  • Season: May through October

  • Rack: Single alpine rack 3-4”; doubles in 2-4”; eight 24” slings; four 48” slings; four quickdraws; ice axe, for early-season Aasgard Pass

  • Descent: Three to four single-rope rappels on the northern side, until you hit a good ledge and can traverse west and down to terra firma.