Northeast Face of Bryant Peak
The author as a young man approaching the climb
Bryant Peak is often overlooked due to its undistinguished appearance and proximity to more popular peaks. For climbers looking for alternatives to Chair Peak or the Tooth, the Northeast Face Bryant Peak delivers a quality winter alpine experience.
Carlos Hatfield and I climbed this previously unreported route in the winter of 1994. We climbed four pitches of snow and ice up to 90 degrees. This route is recommended as a winter climb.
In addition to being one of the few technical routes on the mountain, it is also one of the most easily accessed as it is approached via the Alpental Valley.
On the route. Photo by Carlos HatfieldA note about winter climbing at Snoqualmie Pass
Snoqualmie Pass offers very accessible winter recreation opportunities including alpine climbing, ice climbing, bolted mixed climbing, snow shoeing, and back country skiing. The small, rugged mountains become attractive objectives for the climber looking for winter adventures.
Its proximity to major population centers and short approaches may give the winter traveler a false sense of security. Don't be fooled, the Alpental valley is prone to avalanches and every couple of years there is are fatalities. One year a young skier lost his legs from frostbite when he skiied out of bounds and became lost, spending a couple of nights in the open.
Pay attention to weather and avalanche forecasts. Don't head into the valley if it is snowing hard or has very recently. Be versed in avalanche science and carry the tools to make your own assments and to effect a rescue. Shovel, beacon, and probe should be considered mandatory.
The route is best approached from Source Lake at the head of the Alpental Valley. From I-90 take Exit 52. Turn onto Alpental road heading towards Alpental Ski area. Follow the road past the main parking lot for the ski area to its end where a large parking area will be plowed. Follow the cat track up the valley which peters out into snow shoe, boot, and ski tracks until you reach Source Lake in about 1.5 miles.
From source lake bear slighly left passing cliffs and waterfalls on the right. Avoid making a hard left under the mixed climbs of Bryant Buttress which leads up to Great Scott bowl below the east face of The Tooth. You will be aiming for a narrow gulley. Climb the gulley to the base of the north east face.
Approach from Source Lake
An alternate approach is to park at the main Alpental Ski area parking lot and follow the Snow Lakes trail to Source Lake. The trail head is across the road from the parking lot and is identified by a large sign. Follow the Snow Lakes trail to where it makes a steep switch back in approximately 1.5 miles. Continue straight up the valley to Source Lake.
Both approaches receive high use in the winter so they are usually well packed.
The route starts between two rock ribs and climbs snow and ice for four 60 meter pitches up the narrowing face. We encountered steep snow and vertical sections of ice. We descended southwest making one rappel into a steep gully which we downclimbed back to Source Lake.
Approximate line of ascent
The descent route. Photo by Carlos Hatfield
Screws - include some stubbies
Pitons - 2-3 KBs/Bugaboos, #1, #2 angles
Add External Links text here.