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N. Cascades winter climbs for mere mortals?

PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 12:48 am
by mountainsandsound
Washington climbers: Any suggestions on some good moderate winter objectives that are accessible and don't require much ice climbing ability? I saw ExitableBoys' list of winter climbs in the cascades, but I'm not ready for something like the north ridge of Shuksan. I would like to move away from snowshoe hikes and into more climbing during the winter. I guess I would like some more experience on steep snow and very moderate mixed terrain to start. Would Chair peak fit the bill? I've been planning on snowshoeing up to Sauk and Pilchuck this winter sometime, are there any variations on these that would provide what I'm looking for? Any suggestions? Thanks.

Re: N. Cascades winter climbs for mere mortals?

PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 1:27 am
by jordansahls
Chair peak may be a short climb by either the NE buttress or N face routes but it generally requires that the climber have competent ice skills.

I would say something like the West ridge of the North twin sister would be a good option. Lots of fun moderate mixed climbing in the winter. You could also look into doing something like the White salmon glacier on Shuksan. Sahale via the Quien Sabe glacier or Eldorado via the inspiration glacier are also good climbs.

I don't know much about Sauk but Pilchuck generally is not a good peak to test/learn alpine skills. Sure, there is potential for mixed climbs on the SW face but those climbs are probably better suited for someone with at least a little bit of ice and mixed expirience. Also, winter access can be a real pain in the ass.

Anyway, I would ask EB what he thinks or go over to cascadeclimbers.com and check out their large trip report database (lots of good ideas in there).

Good Luck!

Re: N. Cascades winter climbs for mere mortals?

PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 2:10 am
by ExcitableBoy
Ok, here are my suggestions.

Ruth Mountain, Ruth Glacier. Will require an extra day to ski or snowshoe the Hannegan Pass road.

North Twin Sister, West Ridge or North Face

Guye Peak, SW Ridge

Bryant Peak, NE Face

Red Mountain

The Tooth, South Face (rock climbing, mid 5th)

Chair Peak, NE Buttress, North Face (Requires ice climb ability)

Silver Peak

Colchuck Peak, North Buttress Couloir or Colchuck Glacier

Argonaut Peak, Northeast Couloir

Mt Stuart, Sherpa Glacier

Castle Peak (Tatoosh)

Pinnacle Peak

Whitehorse Mt, Whitehorse Glacier.

Re: N. Cascades winter climbs for mere mortals?

PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 2:19 am
by mountainsandsound
Thanks ExcitableBoy, I was hoping you would have some input.

Re: N. Cascades winter climbs for mere mortals?

PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 4:01 pm
by ExcitableBoy
You are welcome. FWIW, W. Ridge of North Twin Sister, South Face of the Tooth, NE Face of Bryant, and North Face of Chair Peak were the first winter climbs I did when I went to school in Bellingham. I did have frozen waterfall experience at that point though.

Something you may want to consider is getting up to Mt Baker and setting top ropes on the seracs of the Coleman Glacier or on the waterfalls that freeze below the Hogsback to practice ice climbing. Now might actually be a great time to do that. If you don't have a pair of matched tools, you and your partner can split the rental cost for a pair. I'm pretty sure AAI rents them.

Re: N. Cascades winter climbs for mere mortals?

PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 6:46 pm
by mountainsandsound
Yeah, I was thinking seracing would be some good practice for me at this point.

Re: N. Cascades winter climbs for mere mortals?

PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 8:28 pm
by ExcitableBoy
Also, don't forget the waterfalls that form near the Mt Baker ski area. Pan Dome Falls and Death Picnic might not be your bag yet, but there are other, smaller falls that form here and there.

Re: N. Cascades winter climbs for mere mortals?

PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2011 2:58 am
by mountainsandsound
yep, got a friend taking me up there in the near future.

Re: N. Cascades winter climbs for mere mortals?

PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2011 3:46 am
by ExcitableBoy
Cool,

I remember watching B'Ham local Alan Kearney leading Pan Dome falls (with the same Chouinard X tools as me!). As a young climber it was really cool to watch a maestro at work.

Re: N. Cascades winter climbs for mere mortals?

PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2011 2:12 am
by mountainsandsound
Hiked up to Pilchuck with my brother on Saturday, saw what looked like quite a bit of good ice on the way up. It's funny how you start looking at the landscape differently based on your outdoor hobbies. Same thing when I first got into surfing, a wave or a beach is never just never the same again.

Re: N. Cascades winter climbs for mere mortals?

PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2011 2:45 am
by ExcitableBoy
mountainsandsound wrote:Hiked up to Pilchuck with my brother on Saturday, saw what looked like quite a bit of good ice on the way up. It's funny how you start looking at the landscape differently based on your outdoor hobbies. Same thing when I first got into surfing, a wave or a beach is never just never the same again.


You know you're in too deep when you start bouldering on the all the sandstone buildings in town. :D If you haven't checked it out, Sehome Hill Arboretum has some fun little cliffs you can top rope in between classes and Larrabee State Park has a nice, 50 meter bolted slabby faceas well as some bouldering.

Re: N. Cascades winter climbs for mere mortals?

PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 10:55 pm
by mrchad9
How realistic is a winter/early spring ascent of Adams? Maybe March, but definitely before mid-May. Not sure how the approaches are, and cruising through the summit log I only saw one entry in April in the most recent 100, but it didn't have any real info.

Re: N. Cascades winter climbs for mere mortals?

PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 3:38 am
by Matt Lemke
mrchad9 wrote:How realistic is a winter/early spring ascent of Adams? Maybe March, but definitely before mid-May. Not sure how the approaches are, and cruising through the summit log I only saw one entry in April in the most recent 100, but it didn't have any real info.


Adams can certainly be done in winter via the south spur just note that the road to the trailhead is closed. That adds quite a bit of distance and gain to the climb

Re: N. Cascades winter climbs for mere mortals?

PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 2:44 am
by dskoon
Matt Lemke wrote:
mrchad9 wrote:How realistic is a winter/early spring ascent of Adams? Maybe March, but definitely before mid-May. Not sure how the approaches are, and cruising through the summit log I only saw one entry in April in the most recent 100, but it didn't have any real info.


Adams can certainly be done in winter via the south spur just note that the road to the trailhead is closed. That adds quite a bit of distance and gain to the climb



Yep. ^^^^ Gotta be able to make the trek.