About 8h20 from Hannegan Pass TH via Easy Ridge and Perfect Pass. The bergschrund would have made getting to the summit from Challenger Arm tricky, but coming at it high worked fine. The summit pinnacle is 1-2 moves of 5.5. Returned via Whatcom and Whatcom Pass for 16h05 car-to-car. Trip report.
what a climb and what a mountain range!!! holy shit! beautiful! straight up.
Classic North Cascades experience, long hike and schwack coming in, then the reward of an easy yet enthralling glacier climb and one-pitch summit climb. Transition from the glacier to the rock was a little dicey, a suspended wedge of ice with deep moats on both of the steep sides, but luckily I had brought the ultimate weapon: A fearless and highly capable partner – sent him then followed. Summit tower was fun and easily protected, given the pitons already in place... anyone else can bring minimal gear for that part.
I finally found out what I was missing. The approach was long, but not as bad as I expected for the North Cascades. The views were outstanding...some of the best in Washington. We lucked out and summited before the weather changed and had perfect snow conditions. We did the Big Beaver approach. Great climb!
We went here. yaya.
I think this was the fourth time trying for summit and we did it! It was storming for the previous two nights, but finally cleared by 7:00AM. So off we went for an amazing climb rewarding us for perseverance. Bergschrund was covered, no problem.
Had the weather but huge bergschrund stopped us. I didn't like the exposure to get around it so we bailed. I'll be back. Perfect Pass is a great campsite.
Experienced some nice exposure weaving our way around the bergschrund as the snow bridge melted out unusually early. The summit climb is a walk in the park compared to the approach.
We climbed this peak late season and the shrund was totally gone so we travesed left and found a nice 50 degree snow climb around the shrund and up above it from there it was a easy low fifth class rock climb to the summit
The bergschrund was too big for us to cross near the summit and alternatives that were doable seemed more exposed that we wanted to attempt. Disappointing, but we'll be back!
Relatively standard 4-day ascent. Rained a little bit on summit day, luckily stopped for the final rock pitch.
4 day Challenger climb via Easy Ridge.
Day 1: TH to Easy Ridge
Hiked over Hannegan Pass into Chilliwack Valley. Trail to river crossing was right after large 15 ft tree stump. Trail continues on other side where old bridge pilings are, not where log crossing is. There is a pretty decent trail most of the way up to Easy Ridge, sometimes a bit overgrown.
Easy Ridge to Perfect Pass. Hiked over Easy Peak and Pt 6553 to Imperfect Impasse. After examining the obstacle, we decided to decend and cross below. Scrambled 3rd/4th class terrain up to the Pass.
Perfect Pass to Summit. Traversed Challenger Glacier; there were few crevasses open so far. We did have to cross a couple of small snowbridges, one of which was a bit sketchy on the way back. Ascended knifedge ridge to summit block (very cool!). We simulclimbed 3rd class ridge to short 5th class pitch to summit. Amazing views in all directions. Descended to Perfect Pass, broke down camp, crossed under Impasse and camped just below Easy Ridge.
Hiked from Easy Ridge to TH. Long hike out, but worth every step.
The quintesential Cascades climb. Took three days round trip, with a side climb up Whatcom Peak. Approached from Easy Ridge over the Challenger Glacier. The summit block had ten feet of 5.7 climbing with fixed pitons, but a selection of medium sized cams were useful.
stopped short of summit tower
We entered via ross lake- eiley/wiley and exited via easy ridge/ hannegan
I didn't summit. I climbed to within 25 feet before being stopped by an overwhelming feeling of uncertainty regarding the 5.7 move on the last 40 foot rock pitch. Having made the summit block however, I can give a good account of the climb for others who might be interested...
1. The 14 mile hike up the Big Beaver from Ross Lake takes about 5 hours not counting breaks if you are carrying big packs.
2. Day two is a combination of bushwhack through steep slide-alder and hornet nests up to the shoulder of Challenger Ridge and four hours of traversing tallus amphitheaters. The bushwhack took us just under three hours (going up) but only just over 1 hour coming back, so you can imagine how steep it is and how important a good line is. The tallus, rock, heather and steep ups and downs of the so-called ridge were (for me) the most exhausting part of the whole climb, especially after the hours of bushwhacking. The camp at the end of day two was amazing and had perhaps the best view in the state of Washington. It raw, awesome (in the literal sense of the word) and sublime. Unfortunately it was 500 feet above Challenger Glacier at the top of a tallus couloir...
3. The third day started by dropping 500 feet onto the glacier, roping up, putting on crampons and crossing a flat but broad expanse of crevasses. Several hundred yards of easy route finding later had us on the steeper but less crevassed slopes of Challenger. From here it was a straightforward glacier climb to the summit block. The rock was not great but two very old pitons (perhaps left by Beckey himself) were in cracks that made the lead climbing a bit easier. The crux was a slight bulge with a crack that everyone but myself was able to muscle or finesse over. The summit itself, so I was told, was an airy slab with shocking views of the entire North Cascades. I didn't feel comfortable with the exposure (though it was not even as airy as the Gspaltenhorn) and don't regret backing off the last 25 feet.
After the summit, we reversed our route to the glacier, scrambled up the tallus couloir to our amazing camp, packed our gear and backtracked past the lakes along the ridge that runs high above Luna Creek. Eventually we got to a point high above Big Beaver Creek and the downhill bushwhack began. Back at the Big Beaver Campground for our third night, we were swarmed by mosquitoes and bees but otherwise were happy to have had an epic day.
4. Day four was the 14 mile hike out (4 hours 51 minutes not counting breaks) to Ross Lake where we were met by a boat (prearranged) that shuttled us 7 miles to Ross Dam. From there it is just a one mile uphill hike to the car parked on Highway 20 and the drive home.