We have talked about this trip for years. Weather for the weekend was improving, but there is so much brush to start with we did not want to fight falling on wet heather/brush and getting soaked even if the drizzled stopped. So we did not start our trip until just after noon on July 16. It was still wet, but the Sun was starting to come out. On went the rain pants and off we went. We parked our car outside the gate at the White Salmon Ski lodge. I had called the Baker phone number, they didn't care as long as I did not block the gate. (no trail pass for this spot) We hiked up to near Chair 8, took a short road spur toward the White Salmon River valley and began a diagonal descent through a clear cut toward the next unlogged trees. We got wet despite leaving later. The Potter/Nelson book shows sharting lower than we did and crossing the Salmon lower too. People I talked too said they abandoned the attempt because the brush was so bad. I don't know. I think it is just "bad" any time you leave a trail up there. I hope others will comment on this route and the approach. We crossed the river on a log we just came close to. You can not just travel up and down the River and make a choice. The brush makes this so unattractive, you'd spend a day looking for the ideal spot. So, go for it. We started up the the ridge thinking we would sort of make progress toward the North Face and go up at the same time. We were moderately successful at this. At 4500 feet we stumbled onto someone's abandoned gear. A North Face Tent, North Face shredded blue sleeping bag, cooking pot, slings, crampons....creeped us out. No body parts. I reported to ranger at Glacier and later got a call from the Marblemount Ranger asking for Topo location and report. We'll see what becomes of that. Wish i had GPS location for them. Our late start really cost us the rest of the trip. By the time we got to the ridge top the fog rolled in and we could not see where to go to get to the foot of the glacier. We bivied in the meadow and called it a night. We got up Sunday morning at day break to clear, ideal condition, wishing we were higher up. We got to the the start of the climbing as fast as we could. The ridge top was still brushy and wet. The real climbing and route finding difficulties started right away. There is just no clear, easy way throght that lower glacier. The crevasses ran for a long way perpendicular to the way of travel. We used ice screws and pickets many times for protection, went up short sections of ice, then hoped we could get around the next one. Only to be dissappointed and have to retrace our steps, loose elevation and regain it again. But we made slow progress and found the transitional steep slope to get us onto the upper face that continues steep, but no route finding troubles and only insignificant crevasses. From the top of the North Shoulder Col at 8400 feet, you traverse around the summit pyramid to the east and south. Crevasses here too were huge and cost us elevation we would have to make back up. We were near the base of the south gully system leading to the summit at about 8:00PM. We said forget the summit, we've been there and we wanted off the snow before total darkness. We saw a beautiful sunset, bivied at the bottom of Winnie's slide and saw two hours of the northern light, color and all. It made the extra night worth it. Out the Fisher Chimney's in the light of Monday morning, hike/traverse to Lake Ann. Our climbing friend Nick, moved our car up to the Lake Ann trailhead for us, brought us chicken to Lake Ann, carried some of our gear out to the Car. Don'f forget, if you don't have a ride or someone move you car, its another 4 miles or more from Lake Ann trailhead, down to The White Salmon gate. This was a fantastic climb. Like the book says, conditions mean everything. It is also a carry over, so bring the gear you need, but travel as light as you can. We carried very light bivy bags, slept in everything we had, no freezing temps fortunately. This was unforgettable. Hope this makes sense to the readers.
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