Paisano Pinnacle & Burgundy Spire - West Ridge to North Face, September 2011
(Based on Tom's NWHikers report here)
A couple of years back, I read an article written by prolific local climber Jim Brisbine which, among other topics, briefly mentioned a list of difficult peaks that the late Dallas Kloke had communicated to him. The Difficult 10 (as Mr. Brisbine would later coin it), is a list of major peaks in Washington whose summits are the hardest to reach by the easiest route. An intriguing list to the aspiring peakbagger, this one is particularly so because of the fact that its criteria is so subjective - a concept that is a bit foreign to number-crunching listbaggers. After all, just what exactly constitutes a “major peak”, and what do we consider “difficult”? It would take someone who had climbed most or all of the major peaks to be able to accurately verify that the peaks were, in fact, the most difficult in the state. Dallas Kloke - a highly respected, experienced, and accomplished local climber - had already done just that. Well then, in that case the Difficult 10 seemed like a unique and ambitious accomplishment to shoot for, and its appeal would surely be difficult to ignore.
Tenth on this list is Burgundy Spire - an outlier of the Silver Star massif situated among the Wine Spires, just S of Burgundy Col. This peak is an anomaly on the list in that it is the only peak with a crag-like approach and it’s also the only peak that requires 5.8 rock climbing to reach its summit. Nevertheless, Burgundy Spire is an important peak, and its inclusion on the Difficult 10 list is definitely justified. We wanted to add on Paisano Pinnacle to our agenda - supposedly the best long, moderate, alpine rock route at Washington Pass. It wound up being a full, but stellar day of climbing for Tom, Daniel, and I.