Probably the second most climbed route on the peak, the Northwest Buttress Couloir is a far more interesting alternative to the much easier Colchuck Glacier Route.
The route is most often climbed in winter or early spring while the couloir is entirely filled with snow.
It is an easy 3 to 4 hour climb from a camp at Colchuck Lake, or can be accomplished in a long day from the trailhead.
The first ascent of this route was by Ray Lilleby and James Wickwire on 15 July 1962.
ApproachReach Colchuck Lake as per the main page. (About 4 miles of trail).
Colchuck Glacier is visible from the lake and easily reached over talus or snow depending on the season. (less than a quarter mile). The base of the North Buttress Couloir is obvious from and easily reached from the toe of the glacier.
A very straightforward route - from the base of the couloir, climb to its top.
In winter and early season, it is snow the entire way. Later in the summer, there can be Class 4 rock exposed.
The couloir tops out on the North Buttress Route which is Grade II, Class 3 & 4 if one climbs west of the crest as suggested by Beckey, but with some very nice easy class 5 climbing directly on the crest.
Most parties descend via the Colchuck Glacier Route.
See Images below for more climbing photos.
Essential GearIce ax, crampons, and rope.
Snow and rock protection depending on the season, the parties comfort level on steepish snow, and the parties intended route to the summit from the top of the couloir.