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West Ridge (Standard) Route
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West Ridge (Standard) Route

 
West Ridge (Standard) Route

Page Type: Route

Location: Washington, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 48.34360°N / 121.1986°W

Object Title: West Ridge (Standard) Route

Route Type: Mountaineering

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall

Time Required: Half a day

Rock Difficulty: Class 3

Difficulty: Class 3+ looseness

Number of Pitches: 3

Grade: III

Route Quality: 
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Page By: Klenke

Created/Edited: Sep 7, 2007 / Sep 10, 2007

Object ID: 333955

Hits: 2097 

Page Score: 76.66%  - 7 Votes 

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Overview

This route goes at Class 3 but it’s a difficult Class 3. Were it not for the loose rock, it would almost be fun. But expect loose rock and expect to trundle a few even if you don’t want to. Groups of more than one should exercise extreme caution.

The route is somewhat circuitous. It starts on the northwest side, jumps onto the West Ridge, climbs it for a 100 feet, crosses right onto the south side, then finishes in a gully in the southwest-facing crease.

Climbing Up to the Snowfield

From the basin at 5200 ft southwest of the summit (or from wherever you are), climb up vegetated slopes in a northeastward direction. At about 5900 ft angle a little to the left to avoid a water chute and a minor rock outcrop. Pass the outcrop on the left. Take ball bearing talus or heather up to 7000 ft at the base of the apron of snow (the snowfield). Cross right under the snowfield (or across its base in early season) to access the rock rib at far right.

The Rest of the Climb

The rock rib at the right (south) side of the snowfield is not the West Ridge proper but a spur of the West Ridge. The two are separated by a small gully. Lower down the gully is heathery. Higher up it is slabby Class 3.

Scramble up the gully 100 vertical feet (Beckey says 200 feet but this is too far) and find a narrow, grassy ramp leading right up to the West Ridge proper. The ramp is Class 3 (one delicate move).

Once on the ridge you can see most of the remainder of the route. You can see the gully you need to climb in to, the one Beckey warns as having a whole lot of loose rock in it. This is not an understatement.

Beckey says to make a rising traverse to get into the gully. It’s more like a level traverse, but whatever. The traverse goes across a low-angle face (South Face of the West Ridge) for about 100 feet (Class 3) and ends at a wide seam. Higher up this seam transforms into the main gully above.

Climb up the seam and into the gully. The beginning is Class 2. Everything in the gully is Class 3 with short moves of Class 4 sprinkled here and there.

The gully splits into at least three upper gullies. Take the left-most gully (it is the easiest option, certainly on descent). This gully ends at the top of the Northwest Face. Here another 10-foot climb up a Class 3 crease gains the final, flat ridge, which is scrambled to the summit now 50 feet away.

The summit rock is a rather precarious perch. One person at a time, please, and no horsing around.

Time (basin to summit) = 2.0-3.0 hours (2200 feet of gain)

Descent

For the descent, reverse your route. It will take just as long to downclimb the rock due to the looseness of the rock and friability of the holds. Be careful.

Note that I saw not one rappel sling on the mountain.

Essential Gear

The 10 Essentials +
Helmet (if not climbing solo)
Ice axe in early season (you won’t need it in late season)
Crampons in early season (you won’t need them in late season unless you use them to hike across the steep, vegetated slopes)
Trekking poles for balance!

Images

Misch - SW FaceBuckindy Group fr southMisch - NW FaceMisch - West RidgeMisch - accessing the ridgeMisch - snow apron & minor ribMisch from SW
Misch fr SW basin IIMisch - slope to snow apronMisch fr SW basin I