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Citadel Peak

Looking past the eastern cliffs of Citadel towards Golden Mountain (L) and an outlier of Nub Peak at distant right.

Summit Elevation (m): 2610
Trip Date: Friday, June 29, 2018
Elevation Gain (m): 1550
Round Trip Time (hr): 11
Total Trip Distance (km): 33
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2 – you fall, you sprain your wrist
Difficulty Notes: While the summer ascent is fairly short and easy from Citadel Pass, the winter ascent includes serious avalanche risks. Learn how to manage these risks and perform avalanche burial rescues before attempting this trip. 
Technical Rating: SC5; YDS (Hiking)
GPS Track: Download
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I repeated Citadel Peak again on a much less wintry, but also much cloudier day on June 29, 2018 as part of a three peak extravaganza with Phil Richards that included Fatigue, Citadel and Golden Mountain. After a cloudy but pleasant ascent of Fatigue Mountain, Phil Richards and I found ourselves with plenty of daylight left (days are long in June) and enough energy and decent weather to tackle the much smaller Citadel Peak. We knew from Fatigue that we’d likely get a good dose of cloudy views from the summit, but we were currently experiencing some rare sunshine and didn’t want to squander the opportunity! Considering the fact that any peak today was a bonus with the weather conditions, we were quickly converting a “meh” day into a very successful one. From Citadel Pass the route is obvious. Just head up to breaks in the obvious cliffs on the east face of Citadel and scramble through them to the summit. On ascent we did a very short moderate scramble while on descent we went a bit further south and it was no more than steep, off trail hiking.

Looking past the eastern cliffs of Citadel towards Golden Mountain (L) and an outlier of Nub Peak at distant right.
Looking past the eastern cliffs of Citadel towards Golden Mountain (L) and an outlier of Nub Peak at distant right.
Phil breaks through the easy cliffs - note that if you aren't on the easiest line, there are difficult options through here.
Phil breaks through the easy cliffs – note that if you aren’t on the easiest line, there are difficult options through here.

Above the cliff band there was still about 100m vertical to the summit on very steep vegetated slopes. This slope, although easy enough, would be very slick with rain and presents an obvious avalanche hazard with snow. Views from the surprisingly rounded and spacious summit were some of the best we’d get all weekend thanks to the diminutive stature of the peak and our lucky timing. Just as we made the top, the clouds cleared and gave us some beautiful views in all directions. About 10 minutes later we spotted a storm heading directly at us and started to bolt back down the east face!

Golden Mountain at far left and Nestor Peak left of Simpson Ridge. Mount Shanks at right of center distance with Quartz Hill and Little Fatigue at right.
Golden Mountain at far left and Nestor Peak left of Simpson Ridge at left of center. Mount Shanks at right of center distance with The Monarch, Quartz Hill and Little Fatigue at right.
Fantastic views down the south ridge of Citadel, deep into the Simpson River Valley at right with Policeman's Meadows brilliant green at center.
Fantastic views down the south ridge of Citadel, deep into the Simpson River Valley at right with Policeman’s Meadows brilliant green at center. Peaks include Nasswald (L), Golden, Nestor and Simpson Ridge across the deep Simpson River valley.
Citadel Lake sneaks into view as I walk towards the north end of the summit block. There's also a fast moving storm approaching at left here - time to bail!
Citadel Lake sneaks into view as I walk towards the north end of the summit block. There’s also a fast moving storm approaching at left here – time to bail!

As the weather chased us down the east face of Citadel, I noticed an attractive looking break in the cliffs a bit further south from our ascent line. We plunge stepped quickly and easily down this steep break on a mix of scree and dirt which was delightful.

Golden Mountain and Mount Nasswald loom over an unnamed tarn at the head of Citadel Pass. Considering how prominently these peaks area and how accessible, it's amazing how rarely they're ascended.
Golden Mountain and Mount Nasswald loom over an unnamed tarn at the head of Citadel Pass. Considering how prominently these peaks area and how accessible, it’s amazing how rarely they’re ascended.
Citadel Peak seen from near Fatigue Mountain.
Citadel Peak seen from near Fatigue Mountain.

From the bottom of the break we side-hilled back to our heavy packs near Citadel Pass and continued on towards our planned bivy site somewhere near Fatigue Pass.

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