Peak(s):  "Citadel, The"  -  13,294 feet
Pettingell Pk  -  13,553 feet
Date Posted:  08/17/2014
Date Climbed:   08/09/2014
Author:  Brian C
Additional Members:   paulthib, efrieden
 The Citadel to Pettingell Peak  

The Citadel via East Ridge (3rd class)
Pettingell Peak via Citadel Traverse (3rd class w/rappel)

August 9, 2014

Partners: Emily & Paul

Looking for something fun to do that wasn't too far from home, I coordinated with some friendly members to hike the Citadel then over to Pettingell Peak. This route supposedly contained some good 3rd class terrain, options for 4th class as well as a rappel down a 5th class step so it sounded like a great way to spend the day.

The forecast called for some definite storms in the early afternoon, so we arrived at the trailhead about half-past 5. The hike up Herman Gulch went smoothly and we soon were leaving the main trail right at Herman Lake. We followed the contour line as closely as possible, trying to not to lose any unnecessary elevation as we made over toward the obvious trail up to the Bethel/Citadel saddle. A few small sections of boggy ground and willows gave some opportunity for wet feet, but we manged without too much trouble and soon were standing at the saddle in a bitter wind.

We followed the ridgeline up toward the Citadel, bypassing a small tower on the left. We opted to avoid the standard gully to the left and chose to scramble up harder terrain directly up to the Citadel's first summit. Other than the initial slope, the rock was generally good and we made good progress. The scramble over to the second summit was not a problem, although I suspected that it would have been easier to skirt around instead of climbing straight up. A small block makes the highest point and it was quite exposed trying to stand up on it against the blustery wind.

The building clouds kept us moving and we heading out toward Pettengell. Overall, the scrambling was much easier than we expected and after a short while we soon were standing at a bit of webbing marking the rappel point. Whoever had come before us had set a high anchor, and we scrambled further down to reach a lower anchor that consisted of a slung block/tunnel. The webbing looked good, but I backed it up anyway and soon sat at the bottom of the notch. Both Paul and Emily cruised through the rappel and we stashed our gear and motored onward. The final trek over to Pettingell went smoothly and we were surprised to see several people on it's summit. We lounged for a long time up top, but the weather drove us down. Decent scree made our progress fly by and the slopes down to the lake were very pleasant. Fortunately, the rain waited (other than a short hail) until we made it to the car and the lot was packed with cars. Overall, the scrambling had been much less challenging than I had expected and was much shorter as well. Regardless, it had been a fun day with great partners and a worthwhile way to spend a day in the hills.

***Note about the rappel. I had seen mixed reviews on the length of rope needed to get all the way down. Some trip reports mentioned using a 30M rope, one mentioned a 40M rope and others mentioned a 60M. I had originally brought a 30M, but after seeing a report where they had carried a 40M and clearly stated that it was not long enough, I opted to carry a 60M instead. Unfortunately, I did not measure the rope after making the rappel, but there was still a considerable amount of extra rope at the bottom of the notch. I would guess a 30M would be very, very close to making it, but the last few feet to the notch would be the most challenging to downclimb which could put a scrambler in a tough spot. Potentially by extending the anchor considerablly, a safe landing might be helped in a addition to a short rope.

More photos can be seen here...

 Comments or Questions

Nice loop
08/18/2014 13:51
Good stuff, Brian. I was wondering about that traverse. Not as scrambly as I thought. Thanks for the report.


love that area
08/19/2014 16:46
thx for the TR Brian. I need to get up there and do it this direction.

Nice info and pictures
04/14/2017 11:07
Thanks for the report. Very interesting. I won't be doing this anytime soon so thanks

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