Tj, Scotty (bothers) and I left Bellingham before 7 am and made it to the trailhead by 11 after a stop at the Marblemount Ranger Station. The trail was very brushy and made traveling unpleasant, especially with a long picket on my pack. The trail is fairly steep and brushy over the first half but opens up once you cross the moraine. We crossed a low-flowing creek coming off the glacier and headed up toward forbidden and the designated camping areas. Once we arrived at the sites we took our packs off and set up a slack line between some large boulders. The ground underneath us was uneven and rocky - combined with my lack of slacklining skill and the ground, i didn't last long.
We continued up a bit higher after removing the slack line and found some nice bivy sites below the glacier. We repeated could hear deep rumbling noises and soon saw what the source was. Large chunks of snow were sliding and breaking off of the glacier above us, however our site was well protected from any such snow attack.
We went to sleep with clear skies and great views of Johanesburg mountain.
Day 2 - Summit attempt and Hiking out
We woke up at 3 am and were blessed with clear skies and clouds filling in all of cascade pass. It was the night before a meteor shower but the starts were still performing for us. We were moving by 4:30 and crossed the glacier heading for the couloir.
Upon arriving at the couloir we discovered a massive moat separating us from it. After looking at it for some time we thought we might climb up on the left side and rappel down onto it from above. After fumbling with this for 30 minutes we decided to drop down to climb up the gulley to the left of couloir. We dropped our glacier gear and began climbing up. TJ free climbed the first section then set an anchor and belayed scotty and I up to him.
From there we slowly free-climbed up the gulley. Scotty and I are still novices with exposure so the going was indeed slow.
We got to the top of the gulley and discovered the couloir was most likely impassible had we been able to rap down onto it, good thing we bailed on that idea. We dropped a bit more gear and entered into the notch on the west ridge. We began negotiating along the ridge.
After crossing a knife-edge section we arrived at a small platform big enough for the three of us. TJ began setting up an anchor for the next pitch and scotty and I sat by. I stayed at the platform as the exposure was finally getting to me for lack of time spent in these types of situations. Scotty and TJ moved up 1.5 pitches to the crux move.
It was here that the bros turned around as scotty was finally becoming uneasy as well. Scotty and TJ moved back to me and we all climbed down to the notch. We moved down the gulley until the final section where we found two bolts to finish off our route with a rappel.
We got back to the camp and started moving down off the mountain by 6 pm. We did not make it out until about 11pm and back to bham by 1am. Long day
Scotty and I have never had this much exposure experience before, but we both enjoyed it upon reflection. Fear was certainly present during the adventure but we both did well and kept calm and stable throughout the climb.
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