Castle Route (C.E. Rusk) Mt. Adams

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Murph1

 
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Castle Route (C.E. Rusk) Mt. Adams

by Murph1 » Tue Jul 18, 2017 12:31 am

Have been researching routes on Mt. Adams. Have looked on Cascade Climber
and this site both and come up empty on Trip Reports of repeat climbs of Rusk's
Original Route on the Castle described in his book Tales of a Western Mountaineer.
Anyone out their completed the route in the last ten years? Did I miss a report on
either site? Hundreds of reports on the Southern (Lunch Counter) Route, North
Ridge, Mazama Glacier, and Adams Glacier. Know of two ascents made of Castle
by variations of Rusk's Route. They were both pre 2000. Any leads appreciated.

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ExcitableBoy

 
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Re: Castle Route (C.E. Rusk) Mt. Adams

by ExcitableBoy » Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:12 pm

I keep my ear to the ground regarding the Cascades, and I do not know anyone personally, nor have I heard of anyone making this ascent. I would recommend you pose this question on CascadeClimbers.com, someone there may have done it and not made a trip report. Otherwise, go do it and let us know how it goes! Some of my most memorable climbs in the Cascades have been ones where it was a either a second ascent or at least no one had reported a second ascent so there was very little information floating around about the route aside from two sentences in the Beckey guide.

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Murph1

 
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Re: Castle Route (C.E. Rusk) Mt. Adams

by Murph1 » Tue Jul 18, 2017 4:02 pm

ExcitableBoy:
Thanks for the advise. Not likely that I will get the opportunity to climb the Rusk
Route. At 77 years old I don't have the speed and endurance to take on a route with
lots of rockfall which requires a quick ascent through the danger zone. Maybe my
son will give it a try someday. I'll have to be content to stick to the Lunch Counter
Route. Tried hiking from the end of the road to the summit and back to the truck in
one day five years ago. Made it to the False Summit but was dehydrated in the 80
degree heat and had to turn back. Only had two water bottles. Bummer! Would
have been my fourth ascent of Mt Adams. Wanted to see how much of the old
Fire Lookout was exposed. On my previous ascents all but the roof and one side
were under snow. Had heard that now the whole structure is exposed.
Take Care!
Murph

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Jesus Malverde

 
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Re: Castle Route (C.E. Rusk) Mt. Adams

by Jesus Malverde » Tue Jul 18, 2017 5:22 pm

Murph,
You ask a really interesting question. I seem to remember there might have been some footnotes/editor's comments/preface in the 1978 Mountaineers Books edition of Tales of a Western Mountaineer that indicated The Castle route quality had deteriorated in the years after Rusk climbed it. Who knows, perhaps I heard this from somewhere else. Maybe the route is in such bad condition or safety is so poor, others move on to better quality routes on Adams? I don't have my book copy anyone so I can't check this. I could be totally wrong here. It's hard to keep all these route anecdotes straight anymore.

FWIW, I just looked in my copy of Cascade Alpine Guide (Vol I, 2nd ed, page 64) and Becky doesn't mention the route having deteriorated to the point of being unclimbable or a "suicide route." Just this: "The complexity of the face and attendant route finding problems render any ascent route delicate." Another Becky understatement? :)

Hopefully others will jump in here...
Best,
JM

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Murph1

 
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Re: Castle Route (C.E. Rusk) Mt. Adams

by Murph1 » Tue Jul 18, 2017 8:27 pm

Jesus:
Your comments are right on with what I have read. Evidently Rusk's original route
at one point has collapsed and the two parties I know of selected alternate ways to
the top of the Castle one going to the far right and one towards the middle of the last
vertical section. I know that at one time a plaque was placed on top of the Castle
to commemorate Rusk's outstanding climb. For his time he was a real pioneer in
Northwest Climbing. I am beginning to believe that in recent years the huge crevasse
just above the Castle has opened wider and expanded across the slope to the summit
making it necessary for anyone climbing the route to make a major detour to the north
to get by it. Like all the routes on the East Side of Mt Adams and those on Willis Wall
on Rainier, the threat of rockfall is so extreme that few climbers are willing to put
life and limb on the line to attempt them.

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Murph1

 
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Re: Castle Route (C.E. Rusk) Mt. Adams

by Murph1 » Fri Jul 21, 2017 4:44 pm

Historical Note:
Rusk made the first climb of the East Side of Mt Adams by the Castle Route in
the summer of 192l leading seven members of the Cascadians to the Summit after
a Bivi on top of the Castle. When Rusk died ten years later in 1931 his last request
was that his ashes be placed on top of the Castle on Mt Adams. On July 27, 1931 two
of his friends, Clarence Truitt and Clarence Stracher, who had accompanied him on
the First Ascent returned to the top of the Castle and built a small Memorial with his
ashes encased to fulfill his wish. The Memorial is still on the mountain.

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Re: Castle Route (C.E. Rusk) Mt. Adams

by pcg » Sat Jul 21, 2018 10:48 pm

I’ve been curious about this as well. It’s also occurred to me that the easiest easy way to visit Castle Rock might be to descend from the summit.

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Re: Castle Route (C.E. Rusk) Mt. Adams

by krisludington » Thu Jan 02, 2020 9:01 pm

We're putting together the most historic Mt Adams climb that we can this year (2020) for the Cascadians Centennial year. I'd be willing to entertain an attempt at this route (C.E. Rusk Castle Route). Is anybody interested in helping me plan it?

Satch Ludington
Cascadians Climbing Chair

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Tim Erickson

 
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Re: Castle Route (C.E. Rusk) Mt. Adams

by Tim Erickson » Wed Feb 05, 2020 1:09 am

In September 1993, my partner and I climbed the Castle Route, including viewing C.E. Rusk's memorial. One thing that jumped out at me looking at the summit register, was the rarity at which it had been climbed. It was something like only once a decade based upon the register. I cannot speak to what the conditions today are, and in comparing two photos I have taken from the summit (one in 1993, another in 2008), there was a significant mass of rock removed from the south side of the Castle (I had heard this was in 1997?). I am not sure if this affected Battlement Ridge any, or the route up from the base of the Castle. My quick thoughts on the route based upon our experience. Skipping past the ascent up Battlement Ridge (which is in itself a "fun" adventure), at the base of the Castle, we found a couloir that seemed to be the best route up, although it was steep ice/rock and not readily protected. Very exposed and a fall was probably not going to be survivable. But once on the summit of the Castle, the new issue is getting off. I suspect that sometime after Rusk had ascended, the glacier has retreated leaving an exposed roughly 80 foot drop off from the nose of the Castle. There just isn't a walk off. You have to skirt this drop either to the north or south. To the north, it was high exposure, but probably more ice climbing than rock. We didn't attempt that direction, but maybe it goes. We chose the south, which consisted of a lower Class 5 down climb, then side traverse along rotten rock. There was really no way to protect the down climb. The rock is just too rotten. We fashioned a bollard cut into the rock above at the top with our ice axes (that's how rotten it is), ran webbing around it, and hoped it would hold. We were underprepared and I wish I would have had a longer rope and some flukes. But alas, we were expecting the walkoff. So my two recommendations. First, I think a spring ascent when the couloirs from the base of the Castle to the top are still full of solid ice and/or snow would be better than our fall ascent. At least if you have a solid ice/snow layer, you can protect it with flukes and/or screws. There is no protection on rock. It is much too rotten. Second, before I would attempt this again, I would summit Adams and down climb the Rusk to the Castle and inspect how to ascend/descend the nose. Getting off the Castle really is the problem, so I would plan that out carefully and ensure you are geared for it. We actually debated sitting it out and waiting for the rescue helicopter. Otherwise, if you do summit, please bring me back my locking caribiner if you find it on top of the Castle where our belay anchor was!! Good luck! If you need more info, please contact me.


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