North Buttress Couloir

Page Type
Route
Location:
Washington, United States, North America
Route Type:
Mountaineering
Time Required:
A long day
Difficulty:
Moderate Snow
Grade:
II

Route Quality: 6 Votes

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North Buttress Couloir
Created On: Sep 19, 2004
Last Edited On: Oct 30, 2009
A pretty good view of the...North Buttress Couloir

View of the North Buttress...North Buttress Couloir

Overview

At approximately 40 percent...In the couloir

Probably the second most climbed route on the peak, the Northwest Buttress Couloir is a far more interesting alternative to the much easier Colchuck Glacier Route.

The route is most often climbed in winter or early spring while the couloir is entirely filled with snow.

It is an easy 3 to 4 hour climb from a camp at Colchuck Lake, or can be accomplished in a long day from the trailhead.

The first ascent of this route was by Ray Lilleby and James Wickwire on 15 July 1962.

Approach

Reach Colchuck Lake as per the main page. (About 4 miles of trail).

Colchuck Glacier is visible from the lake and easily reached over talus or snow depending on the season. (less than a quarter mile). The base of the North Buttress Couloir is obvious from and easily reached from the toe of the glacier.

Route Description

Four Pacific Northwest...North Buttress Couloir
North Buttress Couloir, Colchuck PeakIn the couloir



A very straightforward route - from the base of the couloir, climb to its top.

In winter and early season, it is snow the entire way. Later in the summer, there can be Class 4 rock exposed.

The couloir tops out on the North Buttress Route which is Grade II, Class 3 & 4 if one climbs west of the crest as suggested by Beckey, but with some very nice easy class 5 climbing directly on the crest.

Most parties descend via the Colchuck Glacier Route.

See Images below for more climbing photos.


Essential Gear

Ice ax, crampons, and rope.

Snow and rock protection depending on the season, the parties comfort level on steepish snow, and the parties intended route to the summit from the top of the couloir.