Permits: National Park Backcountry camping permit
Route Name: South Ridge via Luna Col
Snow Level: 5000 ft
Elevation Gain: 8600 ft
Total Miles: 35.00 mi
Gear: Ice axe, crampons, helmet
Weather: Sunny weather with some morning clouds.
One of the best ways to get to Luna Peak starts with a boat ride on Ross Lake to Big Beaver Campground. An alternate is to walk a 6 mile trail west of the lake. Thanks to Cameron we had a boat ride set for noon on Thursday. After a land line call from the east shore, a boat arrives yelling Bigge Big Beaver. That would be us. After a short ride we were on our way up the Big Beaver trail with plans for Luna Camp 10 miles in.
Our original plan to use Luna Camp as base camp for both Luna and Prophet was altered since we couldn’t get a Friday night spot there. Which meant that we needed to move camp on Friday up Access creek. The Big Beaver trail rolls along gently uphill with a couple creeks to ford and navigate. Luna Camp has a couple camping spots. We arrived at camp around 5:30 pm.
Friday morning we packed camp and headed for the Access creek basin. A mile from camp is a three stone cairn that marks the turn-off. A little bushwhacking is needed here to find the river, and a fallen tree to cross. Then a little more bushwhacking to find a climbers trail. This trail is hard to follow because it occasionally disappears, but if you can follow it, it will eventually lead to point at 3900 ft to cross Access Creek. After crossing the creek the forest opens up into a boulder field. We found a couple flat spots by the headwaters to set up camp. We had hoped to climb Luna on Friday and then move camp back to Luna Camp on Saturday and rest before climbing Prophet on Sunday. Since it took quite an adventure to get to Access Basin, we decided to rest and get an early start on Saurday.
Departed in the morning around 6:30 ish. Ascended a creek gully to the top tier of gullies. We took the second prominent gully from the left and ascended steep snow with crampons. At the top of the gully it was misty and we couldn’t see Luna Col. After ascending a bit, we got a view of it and did a high traverse toward it (on the way back we did a low traverse which was much more straightforward). Some snow and rock traverses later we arrived at Luna Col. Had a quick bite to eat and started ascending the south ridge to the summit. The route is straightforward with a scramble here and there to the false summit. An exposed scramble to the peak got us there at 12:30ish.
Luna peak does have a great view since the entire picket range is visible and upfront with ragged peaks rising up from the deep valleys below. After a short stay on the small summit, we scrambled back to the false summit for lunch. Descended down to the col and low traversed the route back to the gully and was back at camp arnd 5ish. We debated between staying another night at Access basin and packing camp and returning to Luna Camp. We decided to stay.
Sunday morning we packed and headed back to Luna Camp. Claire and I decided to relax at camp while Cameron decided to take on Prophet (see his trip report).
We walked out back to Big Beaver Trailhead on Monday and went for a swim in Ross Lake. Refreshing! Summer! The boat was prompt and we were back at the car.
Campsite - Luna Creek 3, Access Creek 4
Effort to reward ratio - 4
Exposure - 3.5
Gully - 2
Loose rock on scramble - 2