The couloir is the crux of this route. Steep snow and a moat, or loose unprotectable fourth class rock are your options. Once on the ridge, the cimbing is moderate, and the views are outstanding. Well worth the trouble to get there. Downclimbed the entire route as well as the couloir. Climbed the East Ridge on 07-12-08. This is a much better route than the West Ridge. An easy approach, better climbing, and a straight forward descent make it a pleasurable outing.
The approach was a long tedious talus field. We did not have to cross a glacier except for a small ten foot section. We did not use our crampons. The technical parts of the route were fun but the descent was a nightmare. If I had it over, I would definitely pick a different climb because the good parts did not justify the long approach and dangerous descent. Climbed with fellow SPer Paul Ivaska.
With Ramoo, Spliff, and Melon. Yeehaw! I had lucid nightmares after this one. Wish I'd brought rock shoes...
What a fun ridge route. We simul-climbed most of the 4th class. The couloir was a little hairy so late in the season. 1 very experienced climber / guide in another party fell in the coluoir that day. All in all a great day and what a great peak with solid Cascade Granite.
Simu-climbed the route except short steep section protected by old piton.
After a good climb, up and over Sahale, we made camp and hoped for an early go at the west ridge. woke at 4am and were completly socked in. Tried again at 5am, 6am, with no chance of the weather clearing. Packed up camp and headed out to the car and a cold beer. Didnt even see the peak, next time...
As Haydar mentioned below, this was a long day climb. If you can simulclimb the route and pass other parties along the way, this is definitely doable in a day. Otherwise it would be more comfortable and enjoyable to do it from a camp in upper Boston Basin. The great rock and incredible views were offset only by the nagging stress about summitting in time to finish the descent before dark. It turns out that our decision to turn around at the false summit (several vertical feet and a half-pitch below the true summit) was a good one as the descent took almost as long as the ascent and we barely made it back to the basin before dark.
We decided to try this one as a Sunday day-climb, having climbed the Beckey route on Liberty Bell the day before. The weather was just too wonderful not to try for something slightly epic. After car-camping at the Eldorado trailhead, we arose at 3:30am, had our tea, and were up the road and on the trail for Boston Basin by 5am, on headlamp, of course.
The approach was uneventful and quite pretty, the climbing superb, the views astonishing, and the exposure appalling--perfect day in the hills! Due to concerns about time, we opted to bypass the final tower for the sake of speed and rapped down as soon as the obligatory summit photos were snapped.
Got a bit off route at the bottom of the 5th rap, and never really found the promised 3rd-class highway. Still, we made the final gully just as night was falling, and were on lamps for the snow section [nice late-season cramponing]. Nearly-full moon allowed for lampless out-hike until the forest was met, and we made the car by midnight.
Very repeatable route!
My hat is off to the regular cascade climbers. I found the approach trail the hardest part of the trip (made the mistake of carrying 4 days of supplies and a heavy pack). Definately much harder than the trails in the Sierras.
We had a nice clear day for our climb. Started out at 4am and couldn't manage to find the trail from the "lower high camp" up to the climb so we pretty much made our own. We managed to get back on track at the "upper high camp". Snow conditions were firm and the air was crisp. A large 15 foot gap had formed on the middle of the snow chute. This required us to exit the snow onto the rock with our crampons, work up some ledges (very nice ledges) and back onto the snow. A couple of weeks later this would have been tough.
We found the rock climbing very straight forward and quite easy. I don't know if we ever found a move that we felt was over 5.0. But it is possible that we traversed around any potential "cruxes". Got to the summit around 10:30. Unfortunately the descent took MUCH longer. We down climbed most of the route (quicker than rappelling) until we got to the top of the snow chute. The snow had softened up quite a bit and it was quite unnerving downclimbing the steep soft snow. I would recommend trying to rappel past this.
We returned (found the trail) to "lower high camp" around 6pm (14 hour day).
Nothing was real special about this climb, but the over all experience was quite rewarding.
Climbed the west ridge on Saturday with bluebird sky's and amazing views. Saw a large forest fire up towards the okanagon area. Witnessed a very large avvie coming down from Torment.
Very enjoyable combination of snow and rock. Descent down the ledges on the east ridge was probably the crux but preferable to the weakening and well used snow bridge.
Summited via the West Ridge on a beautiful day. Great route including 40-45 degree snow in the couloir and some awe-inspiring exposure. Incredible views of Sahale, Boston Peak and Eldorado.
Another cool climb done with the Young Mister Haberman, who had a vendetta against the marmot that tried to steal his trekking pole. Good step-kicking up couloir, then traversed ridge using running belays except for one fixed belay at a steeper step. Descent of couloir more of an ordeal due to low snow year and inaccessible anchors.
"For details and artistic embellishment, see the account on my website.
East Ridge (AKA NE Face) 1997 - bailed at the first gendarme rap into the gulley due to 8-10 inches snowfall the previous night on the route. Not familiar with route and had read of problems with descents.
East Ridge Direct 1998 - Hottest summer in decades in N. Cascades. Unnamed Glacier almost disappeared. Bailed at hard firn section of lower glacier where ranger told us there was nothing but rock. Declined to attempt to cut 600ft of steps or attempt the 4th class rib all the way to the ridge.
West Ridge 1999 - Reached south summit 8810ft in the fog. Started 3:30am kicking steps from 6400ft across the unnammed glacier, up the couloir to the ridge. Snow in the couloir was kind of rotten and ugly. Were joined on ridge by three other parties and passed by two of these enroute to the summit. Amazing views. Great rock (granite) and exposure, hanging belays, the works. Cold cold wind from the East (bad sign). Eight pitches on the ridge with the crux at an old bolt in a short 15-20 ft step maybe 5.6 (books reference 5.2-5.7). Made the West Summit in the fog, declined to go across notch to the true summit in order to be first down the ridge. Passed by another party descending from East Ridge while getting ready to go. Lightning and hail storm followed with all parties taking juice off the ridge (not fun). Visibility 10-50 ft. Hailstones less than 8 mm. Small spark-plug-like arcs across closed 'biner gates at various anchors. Wet and cold. Partner took a fall off the ridge "on rappel" and pendulumed / cartwheeled across the NW face bruised his ribs. I led the last pitch or two down and we all (4 parties) mucked / rapped our way 1/2 down the couloir and then downclimbed the rest with only one rope (ours) becoming permanently stuck in the process. Stumbled past the 'schrund and jogged back to camp, where I actually hugged Steve Reynolds. No kidding. 18 hours RT from 6400ft camp in Boston Basin. 9 hours on the 800ft vertical ridge - 4 up (too slow - lotz of traffic)and 5 down (too much fog and hail and lightning, etc.). The descent of the couloir was also quite vexing due to snow conditions.
I recommend the climb highly."
J Lee Davis
Spokane, WA USA
Web page: http://www.ieway.com/climbit/
Date(s) summited: 9/20/97 8/25/98 7/18/99