8 days into the Northern Pickets
Scotty, Tj, and I had planned for ten days in the Northern Pickets. The goal was to leave Bellingham, Wa, taking the Hannegan Pass trail to Easy Ridge and Perfect Pass, whereupon we'd enter the Northern Pickets and summit Challenger, Luna, and Mt. Fury.
Here is a video of the trip! http://vimeo.com/27512215
We ended up taking 8 days of perfect weather, July 31 - Aug 7, 2011, and summited Challenger and Luna, while scotty and TJ made an attempt on Fury but turned back due to some loose rock/exposure.
Arriving to the Pickets and Climbing Challenger
10 hours hiking the first day got us onto the start of easy ridge. The Chiliwack was cold but crossable.
Easy Ridge was very snowy still. Easy Peak was a mixture of steep hard-packed snow and scrambling, requiring crampons and axes.
Next was Imperfect Impasse. We opted for the high route ascending the buttress before coming upon the impasse. Steep snow took us up to a right traverse placing us into a small patch of grassy plants. From there we climbed straight up the buttress. It puts you onto a short knife-edge and then onto a thin but manageable catwalk. All in all, with 65lb packs, it was a real struggle of strength and mental composure. I'd likely not do it again with that much weight, but otherwise it is manageable. After this we were too tired to continue up imperfect impasse so we found a spot to bivy.
Day 3 we rested and only traveled up over perfect pass to find an outcrop to sleep on. In the morning we headed out for Challenger
Crossing Challenger we stayed fairly high following another climbers path. We traversed up above the large outcrop in the center of the glacier (visible in the last photo). This was a good path and very little/no crevasses were negotiated.
The rock was fun and easy. TJ led it and slung a few horns here and there. Stay below the ridge on the west side, do not attempt to follow the ridge the entire way (TJ did, and it didn't work). The Crux is protected with three pitons, two of which are easily reached before getting far off the deck.
After descending from challenger we picked our way (successfully, but it was questionable at times) down into luna Cirque and found our bivy at lousy lake.
In the Morning we headed up to luna col. The route up was fun but steep and long. took just over 6 hours or so to get to the col. We found a good bivy site and dropped our packs, heading for the summit of Luna. Easy scrambling landed us at the top with excellent views!
Scotty and TJ made an attempt on Fury in the morning. I stayed behind as I was feeling a bit nervous and wanted to relax instead. I piled up their sleeping gear and snoozed away only to be awoken by them returning unsuccessfully. we hung out the rest of the day and bouldered on some outcrops (we brought rock shoes but did not need them).
In the morning we headed for home. We got from Luna Col to below perfect pass and beyond the impasse (we took the low route). Day 8 we started from the impasse and made it all the way to the car before dark.
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