Route Climbed: Sulphide Glacier Date Climbed: June 1997
This was my fourth attempt on Shuksan. The first was in 1979 using the Fisher Chimneys route and attempting a round trip from the car. Don't ever try this--it is too far. We ran out of time. The next two attempts were the Sulphide Glacier from the car. Both were also aborted due to time. This is a very long approach with an elevation gain from the car of over 6,500 feet (1981 m). Finally in 1997 we got smart and packed up to Shannon Ridge for a closer start. It is still a very long climb, but doable. There had been 6-8 inches of fresh snowfall in the summit couloir shortly before our attempt. This new snow repeatedly caused mini-avalanches in the couloir. These were never powerful or deep, but were still quite spooky. Even the snow trail up to the couloir was quite loose and we often caused more snow to slide with our steps. Between the soft snow and the rock scramble near the top I was in no mood for photography on the summit. I must return again for that objective. It is a most fabulous perch on top of this peak. The views of the North Cascades are incredible. This is a very exciting mountain, and I highly recommend it. It is perfect for a spring ski climb as far as the base of the summit block in late May and June.
"After the first glass, you see things as you wish they were. After the second, you see things as they are not. Finally, you see things as they really are, which is the most horrible thing in the world."
--Oscar Wilde on Absinthe