About time this one got put back on SP. I was just wondering what happened to it. Let me know when you get it completed so I can vote. (Just noticed though you have the state as Washington though.)
Thanks for getting this one back up!
I will fix the title. I was glad I found photos, I don't have any from my trip up.
I'll double check to see if mine were deleted when the original route page vanished. Between me and dkantola, there should be some fairly decent ones.
I have climbed all over the Reid Glacier Headwall by every combination of chutes and steps possible starting in 1970. This is a much better climb(s)than Luethold.
A very nice, if physically demanding, route. Ascent to the Illumination Saddle is very straightforward, rope up for glacier travel here.
After descending onto Reid Glacier, Begin angling upward towards first snow gulley. Here, my partner and I were confused whether or not to cross over the snow ridge here or head straight towards the impossibly narrow chute. Yes, you go towards the gulley. Here, the first ice is encountered, easily simul-climbable with short sections where one may want to belay. We did not, but there is mandatory ice climbing up to 65º, with one 15ft section of WI3 which can be bypassed with less-steep alpine ice.
After exiting this chute, continue on steep snow and cross over the hogsback of snow into the second major snow gulley. Retreat here would be difficult, though not impossible. Climb 45-50º snow / crusty alpine ice towards an improbable-looking passage between massive rime-covered towers. Here the angle steepens into 55º ice. In this section, and the section in the first snow gulley, there are very interesting features in the snow, which may have been a product of the low snow conditions we climbed in, that I can best describe as ice runnels/chimneys, inset in the snowfields, with walls up to 3 feet tall, oriented vertically along the snowfield. I can only imagine that they were created by a melt-freeze cycle, or the constant barrage of rime falling from above slowly eating away into these weird channels. Nevertheless, they provide very secure tool-swinging, and allowed us to comfortably simul-climb these gulleys up to 60º without placing much, if any, pro.
After navigating a way through these rime towers through ice gulleys up to 60º (it appears some route latitude exists here), with short steps of potentially steeper ice, one finds themselves in the upper headwall, where the angle lessens but the snow conditions become very unfavorable. On this upper part of the headwall, and scattered along the route, one encounters crusty yet unstable ice, necessitating careful foot placements and an acceptance that the next 500 feet will not provide the most secure feet. Maybe under better snow conditions it's better. Furthermore, as a product of low snow and high winds, "rime horns" peppered the upper headwall, constantly snagging the rope and making for slow progress. If comfortable, it may be advisable to actually unrope here. This section felt secure enough to do so for experienced parties, yet we did not. We did not do this, yet hindsight is always 20/20.
For the next 500 feet, take the path of least resistance up 45º snow/ice, with short sections of steeper ice, generally angling up and left towards the ridge at the top of the Leuthold Couloir (Queen's Chair). We did not see a simple way to traverse directly over to this ridge, as it looked too steep and exposed for easy traversing. After crossing at least 3 ridges that appear to be the summit, yet in fact hide the upper sections of the mountain, one finds themselves on the summit ridge, with all the major climbing done. Follow the ridgeline to the true summit, being wary of cornices (and wind). You are now standing at the tallest point in Oregon.
We started from Timberline Lodge at 10pm on 1/1/18, reached Illumination Saddle at 12:30am, reached the summit at 9:40am on 1/2/18, and made it back to the lodge at 1:30pm (we took our time coming down). I have also done the Leuthold Couloir as well, and I believe this route to be much more engaging and involved. All in all a great outing on my home mountain!