Mt. Buckner, North Face (early spring ascent)

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Trip Report
Washington, United States, North America
Date Climbed/Hiked:
Mar 23, 2010
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Mt. Buckner, North Face (early spring ascent)
Created On: Mar 26, 2010
Last Edited On: Sep 14, 2013

A spectacular climb and ski descent

* In this trip report, the text is given on the images, so click on the images for descriptions. *

The Route

The trip took us 2 days. Day 1 involved skinning/snowshoeing into Boston Basin, and getting to Boston Glacier via the Sharkfin Col (which involved a single-rope rappel to get below the bergschrund on the other side). We set up basecamp on the Boston Glacier with a great view of the North Face of Mt. Buckner. Day 2 involved climbing the North Face of Mt. Buckner and then packing up camp and skiing/snowshoeing back to the car. Jason and Kyle skied/snowboarded the North Face while I backed down. On the way out, we chose to use the notch just south of Boston Peak (between Boston and Boston-Sahale col) to get back into Boston Basin.
Topo map of the route we took.
Route overlay for the North Face of Buckner, early spring conditions.

The Approach

The approach involved skiing/snowshoeing through Boston Basin, going over the Sharkfin Col, and setting up basecamp on Boston Glacier. While crossing the Boston Glacier, Jason punched through a snowbridge and nearly fell into a deep crevasse, but reacted quickly to get his ski stemmed on the opposite lip of the crevasse.
(Photo on right by Jason Hummel.)
(Photo by Jason Hummel.)

The Climb

We climbed the North Face of Mt. Buckner on Day 2. In early spring conditions, the route involves about 1300ft of 40-50° snow. The conditions were great on the way up and the summit views were spectacular. A wind picked up just when we reached the summit, so we did not linger long as we wanted to get down before there was too much wind-loading on the face. Jason and Kyle skied/snowboarded down the North Face in a few minutes, while I backed down in about an hour. It was a fun climb.
(Photo by Jason Hummel.)
360° pano from the SW summit of Buckner. Jason is sitting on the SW summit, and the NE summit is on the left side of the panorama. It was a hazy day, but you can see (from left to right) Logan, NE summit of Buckner, Goode, Booker, the peaks of the Ptarmigan Traverse, and the SW summit of Buckner, among others. Click here to go to my panoramas page to see more panoramas, many of them labeled!

Back to the car

After climbing/skiing the North Face of Buckner, we packed up camp and headed out. We chose to get back to Boston Basin via the notch just south of Boston Peak (between Boston and Boston-Sahale col). It was fun to try a different way out, but in the end it probably took longer because of its high elevation and some icy conditions in the rappel/descent gully on the other side. We got back to the car shortly after dark. What a fun trip!

More on my website

This trip report is copied from my website, which has several other climbing trip reports and photographs from the North Cascades and elsewhere:


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Viewing: 1-6 of 6

EricChu - Mar 26, 2010 4:42 pm - Voted 10/10

Very nicely done report!

I like very, very much how you presented your photos - they're already spectacular in themselves! - how you framed them makes the whole page look really first class!


gimpilator - Mar 26, 2010 7:24 pm - Voted 10/10

Another Amazing Report!

Your photos from this trip are really lovely. Looks like a great time. That must have been a real surprise for your friend who almost fell in. Where did you learn about knot anchors? Wasn't that originally a German technique?


StephAbegg - Mar 26, 2010 7:42 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Another Amazing Report!

I actually just set that knot for fun, but pulled in the right direction it was actually pretty bomber. I remember once my dad setting a knot rappel from the top of one of the Peshastin Pinnacles, guess that's when I first learned about it, its a good trick to know. Another good trip is setting chockstones to rappel off of:


EricChu - Mar 26, 2010 8:14 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: Another Amazing Report!

Chockstones - that's a technique that was first used by the climbers in Wales, isn't it? I remember very well reading about that in Chris Bonington's books...


gimpilator - Mar 31, 2010 8:16 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: Another Amazing Report!

So your dad taught you. I first hear about about it in the climbing film The Sharp End when a group of climbers goes to an area in Germany where standard protection is not permitted. It's a fun film if you haven't seen it yet.


paulrc - Jun 2, 2012 2:11 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Another Amazing Report!

Not Germany but the Czech Republic in that film. It's an area of sandstone cliffs in Poland and the Czech Republic where use of metal pro (nuts, cams) is not permitted due to rock wear.

Viewing: 1-6 of 6

Mt. Buckner, North Face (early spring ascent)

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