USGS Mount Stickney
FALLACY PEAK 4800+/4895'
Prominence of 280, possibly 375 feet
March 13, 2005
Party: John Roper, Paul Klenke, Fay Pullen
from SW near Prospect Peak, across North Fork of S Fk Sultan River
Red dot marks where we got on West Ridge from the other (north) side
The rib extending down from the summit is about 1200-vertical feet
On all of the Mount Stickney quad, only three officially-named peaks appear on the map: Red Mountain, Mount Stickney, and Prospect Peak. Jeff Howbert and others have identified 11 additional peaks with >400 feet of prominence on this quad, including the well-known but unofficially-named Frostbite, Static, and Bushwhack Peaks. There's at least one more.
From across the valley on “Nine Lives Peak” the week before, it was clear that the “looks” of one particular peak revealed a fallacy in this prominence-only method of peak selection. Fallacy Peak 4800+ (downgraded from 4895 feet on the 15-minute USGS Mount Index) standing just SW of Boulder Lake deserved a look, even though it had only 280 feet of prominence on the 7.5-minute Stickney map (or up to 375 feet of prominence if you use the old elevation number). The south side of this summit, a series of nice granite ribs and faces, will someday become a rock-climber's mecca, and will probably have a trail leading to its base extending up from the path now into the adjacent Static Point wall. Darin Berdinka and Gene Pires put up a couple of new lines on an eastern pinnacle here in 2004, calling it “Tang Tower,” and Darin speculated that Dave Tower and Chris Greyell were in the area 20 years ago, calling these walls “Boulder Crags.”
Here's a shot by John Scurlock that Darin posted of their routes on Tang (that's gnat, spelled backwards). They thought of Fallacy Peak (higher summit in center) as Pootie. Phallusy is not a play off that.
Paul Klenke had previously identified another possible goal in the same neighborhood and saw from Nine Lives that this summit was worthy, so he was anxious to investigate it with me, and Fay Pullen answered an email invite with, “You bet I'm interested.”
On a perfect day, we drove the Sultan Basin Road up over Olney Pass (again), contouring around the very thirsty-looking upper reaches of Spada Lake to the Boulder Lake trailhead 1640 feet. It was a 3.8-mile, 2050-foot gain hike to Boulder Lake 3706' which was starting to thaw out along the edges. The conditions were more like early July than the end of winter. The DNR has put in a little campground here, complete with sheltered privy.
Boulder Lake and Bold Peak
Here we considered our route choices. I'd taken a shot of the NE face of Fallacy on 4/21/91 (below) in a year with considerably more snow than 2005. It revealed a slanting snow route just about to the top from this direction, but on 3/13/05 the gully was totally bare, though on this day it was cool enough to make the duff hard in places.
Fallacy Peak, NE Face, April 21, 1991
We decided to clamber up the quite open North ridge of Fallacy, then opted to traverse right at 4200 feet to access the West ridge, hoping that if we came out E of a little tower on this ridge we'd be OK.
Upon gaining the crest, we were blown away by the fabulous onion-skinned granite slopes on the south face of our peak.
West Tower of Fallacy
We'd come out E of the problematic W tower, which definitely would have been a stopper, but still the skinny upper W ridge above us offered some interesting challenges, but never more than brief class 4 moves. We stayed on the narrow crest for one pitch, then dropped right to contour over the onion skin to avoid a vertical pinnacle on the crest. Once past this, we ascended stabby sticks and sticky slabs back to the ridge, and on to the top.
Just in case this was to be a first ascent, we encouraged Fay to lead us up the last few steps, since she'd never had a FA to her credit. Alas, the summit had a small cairn, but annoyingly, no register, no history. The cairn had been there long enough to have killed the lichen under the rock pile. 5.8 hours up.
Paul Klenke and Fay Pullen on Fallacy Peak.
Bold Peak is the bullet-shaped peak near Paul's elbow. Frostbite Peak is the sharp nail. Spire Mountain is above Fay's head.
Bushwhack Peak from the summit of Fallacy
We basked in the sun, eating lunch, and shooting shots of this largely ignored piece of rough Washington wilderness.
On the descent we took what was now obvious to us as the easiest way up this peak, the NE gully next to the N ridge (the one full of snow in April 1991). Evergreen bushes made for good handholds up high, but then we opted to rap one rocky section to avoid some minor downclimb worries. Rejoining our up-route on the N ridge, we dropped quickly back to Boulder Lake, and down the trail to the car. 2.6 hours return.