Lots of snow at 5,700 ft. Had to camp on the snow which we were not expecting. Weather took a turn for the worst with light winds, lots of cold rain, and low visibility. Got up the next day to more of the same, wet everything, and a terrible forecast. Everyone on the route bailed.
Sulphide Glacier. Climbed from camp in 50 mph winds, but clear skies. The central gully is melting out fast and the snow was of dubious quality. Perhaps the SE ridge would be a better choice for the rest of the summer.
North Face (2006) and Fisher Chimneys (2003)
Drove up from Seattle, got permits at the ranger station in Sedro-Wooley, and hiked to the base of the Sulphide on 7th August. We camped on snow on a small ridge. The views of Baker and the North Cascades at sunset were breathtakingly beautiful. The trip would have been worth it for that alone.
We got up a little before 5am and were geared up and on the trail around 5:30. The snow was solid in the morning, and perfect for crampons: not icy, not slushy. Roped up on the glacier and made it to the base of the summit pyramid a bit before 9am. We decided not to climb the pyramid since we were wearing plastic mountaineering boots.
We stayed to the left on the upper glacier and didn't have to cross any open crevasses. There was one spot where someone had punched a boot through a snow covering over a completely covered crevasse.
We stopped on the way down and belayed each other to the edge of a large open crevasse and looked inside. The eerie blue of glacial ice is almost otherworldly.
Took an ax, crampons, helmets, rope, crevasse rescue gear, pickets, wands, plastic boots. Next time I would do it in leather boots for easier climbing on the pyramid (and less weight on the feet).
Amazing climb. Stunningly beautiful. Tons of pictures are available at http://www.brucec.net/pictures/shuksan2006/.
Somtimes the sweetest summits are the ones you steal. Had beautiful hike in to the bottom of the Sulphide where we were the only independent team in a tent city of guides and clients. Woke up to milky sheet of piss poor visibility. No one went up. After an hour of sitting aorund camp my friend Dan and I decided to give it a go. We placed wands for safe navigation as we traverse the flat monotony of the Sulphide. Just below the summit pyramid we poked through clouds. A beautiful scramble up the pyramids with billowing clouds below was exhilirating. Only Baker was above the clouds. We had that sweet satisfaction that occurs when a seemingly busted trip turns into something special.
waited 3 days at bc for better weather. had to go down to get more food for another 5 days. when we got back the weather was clearing and did the route the next day via simul climbing the ridge of the pyramid. we were the only ones there the entire time! then we got to hike out with all that food!
Fantastic day on a fantastic mountain. Only saw one party on the mountain the whole day and they were coming off of the crystal glacier as we were descending. Crevasses pretty open and the remaining snow bridges won't hold for long. Perfect weather and endless views.
A nice weekend climb. A large Mountaineers group came up the Fischer Chimneys, but we were up and down the summit pyramid before they were ready to tackle it, so we avoided the rock problems a large group might encounter in the gully.
Left TH @ 4am, made to summit pyramid around 1030am. Some went all the way, but I stayed behind because of crappy conditions (sugar snow on choss). Waxed my skis and got in over 4k in turns all the way down to the trees on Shannon Ridge. Sloppy and the runnels sucked lower down by the high camps. Witnessed some huge snowfield avy's coming off of the peaks as you traverse from Shannon Ridge to the toe of the glacier
Awesome climb, great weather. Some crevasses open along route, easy to navigate.
Was a really fun route, what more can I say!
Great Climb, great weather. I was suprised that we didnt run into more bare ice this late in the season.
Magnificent place, great weather, great summit, climbed with great friends. Awesome. By the way, the base camp location is magnificent and more than worth the trip alone.
What a difference a year makes! Last year, at virtually the same time of year, the route was much easier to manage...just a sniff of snow prior to the top of the Chimneys, and bucket steps up Winnie's Slide and Hells Hwy. This year, snow at the trailhead and the road is currently closed 1/2 mile and 500 feet down from the trailhead, so there was bonus work to do. Lots of snow covering the boulder/scree field prior to the start of the Chimneys, and getting off the snow onto the rock via moat is a little spicey. Beyond that, chimneys are dry, glaciers in good shape, steep sections seemed a bit steeper this year with the heaps of snow up there. Snow good and firm early, but a bit mixed later in the day with potential to blow out tires, so set your pro, be careful, and have fun. Great route, and good climbing with Cluck.
A few notes on route conditions. Big snow year had Lake Ann still frozen and lots of snow on approach. Chimneys dry but lots of problem solving for entrances via large moats. Winnie's hard snow and steep enough to warrant a rope and pickets. Pitch up to Upper Curtis had some ice (we place a couple screws) but wasn't super steep. Upper Curtis cracks still mostly closed. Highway to Hell was moderate. Sulphide closed. We climbed SE ridge, downclimbed central South gulley (dry). A very, very long day.
Helped lead a group of kids from WWU on the Outdoor Center's trip. We got turned back Sunday due to a down pour of rain. Beautiful sunset though from high camp on Saturday.
My Son and I finally did the North Face using parts of three days. Please take a look at the NF Route description. I hope summitposters will add some info or give the route a try. Super route.
A great day with friends. Spectacular weather but a bit windy on the summit.
Possible in a day, took a little longer due to an accident. Top pyramid was hard ice, saw my friend whiz by me airborn, then was pulled 300' in self arrest position to ease/break his fall. Banged up bad. Helicopter came 2 hrs later. A winter wonderland.