Welcome to SP!  -
Areas & RangesMountains & RocksRoutesImagesArticlesTrip ReportsGearOtherPeoplePlans & PartnersWhat's NewForum

Most Dangerous Climbing Routes in Washington State

Regional discussion and conditions reports for Washington and Oregon. Please post partners requests and trip plans in the Pacific Northwest Climbing Partners section.
 

Most Dangerous Climbing Routes in Washington State

Postby Murph1 » Fri Feb 28, 2014 12:20 am

Remember that climbing route that left you afterwards saying to yourself, "Lucky to walk away from that one. The Climbing Gods were with me!" Since there was a "Most Difficult Mountains to Climb List" I thought it might be interesting to compile from my readings, experiences of other climbers, and personal experiences a list of the potentially most dangerous routes in Washington. Here are the criteria I came up with:
l. Length of Climb and Seriousness of Commitment (Difficulty of Retreat)
2. Physical Dangers of the Route:Rock Fall,Ice Fall, Avalanches, Crevasses,Rock Friability
3. Potential Weather Dangers: Lightning, Rapid Storm Development
4.High Altitude
5.Remoteness of Route
6.Technical Difficulty of Route, and lack of ability to find reliable protection on it.
7.Necessity of having complete mountaineering skill on rock, ice, and snow
8.Requirement of individual fitness for speed of completion and doing technical
climbing
You will see that my top ten picks has a large number of routes on Mt Rainier. It is the Monarch of the Northwest.
Here are my picks:
l. Willis Wall West Rib - Mt. Rainier
2. liberty Wall Direct - Mt Rainier
3. North Mowich Headwall - Mt. Rainier
4 Northeast Face - Mt. Johannesburg Mountain
5.North Face - Southwest Peak of Bonanza Peak
6.Degennhardt Glacier - Mt Degenhardt, Southern Picket Range
7.Victory Ridge - Mt Adams
8.Curtis Ridge - Mt Rainier
9.North Face -Inspiration Peak, Southern Picket Range
10.Hanging Glacier Ice Cliff - Mt Shuksan
There are three other routes on Rainier, two on Mt Johannesburg, one on Mt Index, Mox Peaks, Mt. Maude, Bear Mt., and Mt Stuart which I would consider as possibles on this list What are your picks for the top ten most potentially dangerous routes?
Murph1

 
Posts: 190
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2007 3:24 am
Location: Clovis, California, United States
Thanked: 5 times in 4 posts

Re: Most Dangerous Climbing Routes in Washington State

Postby mountainsandsound » Fri Feb 28, 2014 10:09 pm

If I wanted death routes I'd head to the east side of Mt Adams. I think some of them have seen very few (or no?) repeats since their first ascents.
User Avatar
mountainsandsound

 
Posts: 178
Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2011 3:46 am
Location: Washington, United States
Thanked: 30 times in 24 posts

Re: Most Dangerous Climbing Routes in Washington State

Postby Jesus Malverde » Fri Feb 28, 2014 11:12 pm

Interesting list, nice work :)
that Curtis Ridge is sure a sweet line..ditto for the NE face on Johannesburg
splitting hairs?
Thermogenesis, Willis Wall
User Avatar
Jesus Malverde

 
Posts: 209
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2001 1:17 pm
Location: Battle Mountain, Nevada, United States
Thanked: 67 times in 45 posts

Re: Most Dangerous Climbing Routes in Washington State

Postby ExcitableBoy » Mon Mar 03, 2014 8:35 pm

Generally a good list with some caveats: While J'Berg is generally a dangerous peak, I would not necessarily call out the NE Face as being particularly dangerous. Same with Mowich Headwall om Rainier. And although I nearly died on the Girth Pillar on Stuart, I don't think Stuart in general is very dangerous by any of your criteria. Price Glacier is a route I feel lucky to have survived and I had nightmares for weeks after North Peak of Index.
User Avatar
ExcitableBoy

 
Posts: 2878
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 9:33 am
Location: Issaquah, Washington
Thanked: 422 times in 306 posts

Re: Most Dangerous Climbing Routes in Washington State

Postby Matt Lemke » Mon Mar 03, 2014 8:41 pm

The North peak of Index? I thought it goes at 5.6...did you have something happen on that climb EB?
I remember reading a TR about a party who was 5 minutes away from dying in an avalanche on that peak but I've heard it's a fairly safe and simple climb in summer. I am assuming a list of such routes are compiled assuming optimal conditions?

Also, it should also be assumed that only routes that have been done can make this list right? I am sure there are hundreds of potential lines in the North Cascades that haven't been climbed that could be on this list.

I wonder if Lincoln Peak should be on this list...the only real route does have serious objective dangers and is only in climbable condition a very short time in spring.
User Avatar
Matt Lemke

 
Posts: 517
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2010 8:34 am
Location: Red Lodge, Montana, United States
Thanked: 90 times in 71 posts

Re: Most Dangerous Climbing Routes in Washington State

Postby ExcitableBoy » Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:19 pm

Matt Lemke wrote:The North peak of Index? I thought it goes at 5.6...did you have something happen on that climb EB?
.


My partner almost died on rappel. He was hanging on a tree reaching for the ropes just barely out of reach. The tree pulled and he pitch foreward snatching the ropes on his way towards plunging to his death.
User Avatar
ExcitableBoy

 
Posts: 2878
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 9:33 am
Location: Issaquah, Washington
Thanked: 422 times in 306 posts

Re: Most Dangerous Climbing Routes in Washington State

Postby Matt Lemke » Mon Mar 03, 2014 11:18 pm

Holy Shit thats horrible...fortunate he was able to grab them. Are the anchors/pro options on that route of poor quality?
User Avatar
Matt Lemke

 
Posts: 517
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2010 8:34 am
Location: Red Lodge, Montana, United States
Thanked: 90 times in 71 posts

Re: Most Dangerous Climbing Routes in Washington State

Postby WyomingSummits » Tue Mar 04, 2014 5:26 am

ExcitableBoy wrote:
Matt Lemke wrote:The North peak of Index? I thought it goes at 5.6...did you have something happen on that climb EB?
.


My partner almost died on rappel. He was hanging on a tree reaching for the ropes just barely out of reach. The tree pulled and he pitch foreward snatching the ropes on his way towards plunging to his death.


Glad he was able to catch the ropes. No offense, but doing something careless doesn't necessarily qualify that route as dangerous. I had a buddy get heat exhaustion on a 5.7(Greenwall) on Seneca Rocks in WV. We were on the 2nd rap down and I turned around to see him getting ready to weight the rope......only he was only on one rope of a double rope rap. I reached out and grabbed his harness and yanked him back. But none of that qualifies it as a dangerous route.
User Avatar
WyomingSummits

 
Posts: 393
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:03 am
Location: Wyoming, United States
Thanked: 61 times in 43 posts

Re: Most Dangerous Climbing Routes in Washington State

Postby ExcitableBoy » Tue Mar 04, 2014 5:48 pm

WyomingSummits wrote:
Glad he was able to catch the ropes. No offense, but doing something careless doesn't necessarily qualify that route as dangerous.

No offense taken, but the entire character of the climb- dirty, loose, unappealing climbing left a really bad taste in my mouth. Also, while I admit there was loose rock, indifferent pro, and exposed, difficult climbing on Curtis Ridge I would not characterize it as particularly dangerous although it meets all of the OPs criteria.
User Avatar
ExcitableBoy

 
Posts: 2878
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 9:33 am
Location: Issaquah, Washington
Thanked: 422 times in 306 posts

Re: Most Dangerous Climbing Routes in Washington State

Postby Murph1 » Wed Mar 05, 2014 4:13 am

When thinking about Index I specifically had in mind the Traverse Route over all three summits. Mt. Stuarts Glacier Couloir Route crossed my mine because of avalanche conditions early, rockfall late in season, and lightning possibilities all summer. Mt Adams east side is terrifying all the way from the Castle on the Southeast to Lyman Glacier in the Northeast. Having been to 11,000' on Curtis Ridge scouting Willis Wall Routes way back in the 60's I would say any route on that face of Rainier qualifies for my top 1en list. I have never seen so much rock and ice fall anywhere else I have climbed in the Western U.S. and BC. Conditions for "the wall" have to be absolutely perfect and the party climbing it in fantastic condition with outstanding mountaineering skills over mixed terrain.
I admire those that had what it takes to climb there.
Still waiting for someone to come up with a modified list!
Murph1

 
Posts: 190
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2007 3:24 am
Location: Clovis, California, United States
Thanked: 5 times in 4 posts

Re: Most Dangerous Climbing Routes in Washington State

Postby Matt Lemke » Wed Mar 05, 2014 4:43 am

Murph,
I agree with you about the routes on Rainier and on the east side of Adams. I disagree with you about Jburg though. Perhaps Lincoln Peak or Assasin Spire should be on there but since I have yet to climb any of those routes I can't say just yet.
User Avatar
Matt Lemke

 
Posts: 517
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2010 8:34 am
Location: Red Lodge, Montana, United States
Thanked: 90 times in 71 posts

Re: Most Dangerous Climbing Routes in Washington State

Postby ExcitableBoy » Wed Mar 05, 2014 3:50 pm

Murph1 wrote:Mt. Stuarts Glacier Couloir Route crossed my mine because of avalanche conditions early, rockfall late in season, and lightning possibilities all summer.

WEll, now that you mention it, the first time I attempted SGC over Memorial Day WE ~1993, we bivid in the moraine, hiked to the base of the route and I said 'Seems a bit warm out, don't you think?' My partner agreed and we turned around to walk away when the ENTIRE couloir slid - ice, snow, boulders. Pretty much an unsurvivable avalanche. And I recall when young Colin and Aidan Haley climbed SGC late season rock fall chopped their rope in the couloir.

Overall, a pretty solid list. I might add that Bertulis route on Nooksack Tower. The guys who did the second ascent had quite the story.
User Avatar
ExcitableBoy

 
Posts: 2878
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 9:33 am
Location: Issaquah, Washington
Thanked: 422 times in 306 posts

Re: Most Dangerous Climbing Routes in Washington State

Postby ExcitableBoy » Wed Mar 05, 2014 3:58 pm

Oh, add the Pete Doorish - Bryan Burdo route on Mt Si.
User Avatar
ExcitableBoy

 
Posts: 2878
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 9:33 am
Location: Issaquah, Washington
Thanked: 422 times in 306 posts

Re: Most Dangerous Climbing Routes in Washington State

Postby Murph1 » Fri Mar 07, 2014 7:11 am

The mention of Mt. Si brings a smile to my face since Little Si was where I learned many of my mountaineering skills with the Tacoma Mountaineers way back in 1955, probably long before most of the Summit Posters were born. :) The routes being completed today all over the World would never have been dreamed of in the 1950's to the 1980's when I was in my prime as a climber. The development of equipment, and training techniques have revolutionized the sport of mountaineering over the 1800's to the present. I watched the evolution of crampons from ten points to twelve, manila ropes to kermantle dry ropes, iron pitons to cams and nuts, and iron ice pitons to ice screws of modern alloys. Parkas and pants have gone from 60-40 cotton cloth to light weight Gore tex. These inovations and others have made dangerous routes that were considered impossible when I started climbing, possible now.
I sometimes wonder if younger climbers realize what fantastic achievements were made by some of the climbers from the 1930's, 40's 50's and 60's with equipment and techniques which wouldn't even be considered by climbers today. Smythe, Mallory, Irving, and Norton from the 1930's put up routes in the Himilayas at 25,000' to 28,000' wearing wool tweed pants, triconi nailed boots which were uninsolated, and moreno wool sweaters with a down coat for their summit ascents. These men made up with toughness of spirit what we do now with superior equipment and techniques.
Murph1

 
Posts: 190
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2007 3:24 am
Location: Clovis, California, United States
Thanked: 5 times in 4 posts

Re: Most Dangerous Climbing Routes in Washington State

Postby ExcitableBoy » Fri Mar 07, 2014 4:13 pm

Good post Murph1. My personal belief is that 1938 is the pinnacle of climbing achievement - The North Face of the Eiger was climbed and Fritz Weissner very nearly summitted K2. Climbers have not gotten tougher since, but gear, clothing, and training technniques have come a long way making possible harder routes. Here in Washington State routes like Liberty Ridge and Ptarmigan Ridge on Rainier are still considered to be big ticks and both were climbed in the 1930's with a single alpenstock and hob nailed boots.
User Avatar
ExcitableBoy

 
Posts: 2878
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 9:33 am
Location: Issaquah, Washington
Thanked: 422 times in 306 posts

The following user would like to thank ExcitableBoy for this post
Fletch, Jesus Malverde

Next

Return to Pacific Northwest (WA, OR)

 


  • Related topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests

© 2006-2013 SummitPost.org. All Rights Reserved.