West Ridge

Page Type
Washington, United States, North America
Route Type:
Rock Climb
Time Required:
A long day

Route Quality: 5 Votes

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Page By:
West Ridge
Created On: Jan 18, 2004
Last Edited On: Jan 18, 2004


From the basin at 6,600 ft 0.5 miles south of the summit (see the "Getting There" section on the main page), climb up class 2-3 terrain to the 8,200-ft saddle immediately west of the summit. The route begins here.

It is also possible to traverse east to this saddle from the top of the Cascadian Couloir Route on Mt. Stuart. Moreover, knowing this, it would be possible to climb Sherpa AND Stuart on the same day, staying high on the ridge between the two.

Pitch 1

Climb up a blocky open book to its top and bring up your second. Class 4.

Pitch 2

Climb out of the top of the open book and traverse across what feels more like a face than a ridge. This pitch is as much level as upward as it crosses variegated and corrugated rock. In particular, at about two-thirds of the way, there is a deep cut one must climb into an out of (awkward). Class 4, low class 5.

Pitch 3

This is a short pitch up and over the ridge to its south side. From a belay in a sandy bench area, there are a couple of options. One option is a rather steep crack in a wide chimney for about 40 feet (stemming). The other option is to the right (I think) and is more of the same but more like face climbing. Class 5.0-5.2.

Pitch 4

This is not really a technical pitch but this sort of depends on how far you take it toward the summit. I'll include it as a pitch though it's really just a case of moving the belay closer. The south side of the ridge at this location is a broad sandy bench. You can take this bench east. It necks down to a ledge at a small corner. A belay can be set up here for the arc around to the summit headwall that will be obvious before you (the balanced rock will be off to the right). Or you can continue on progressively more exposed terrain to the headwall. Class 2-3. (Class 3+ past the corner.)

Pitch 5

A deep gully coming up from the right will force you to climb up to the left and around to the other side. In the interest of rope drag, you may wish to not set any pro to get around the gully. That way, once the leader is now opposite you across the gully, the rope will span the gap (i.e., it won't have to go way left to pro placements at the head of the gully). You can set up a belay on the other side but you might have enough rope left for the leader (especially if he/she set no pro to the left) to continue up what is considered to be the crux of the climb. When the leader gets to the other side, there will be an obvious break in the wall. It is the only "easy" way up. This break is characterized by a small cave. First, a short class 4-5 scramble up cracked rock is necessary to get to the cave. From the mouth of the cave, friction up a steep, awkward block that gets easier (the hardest move is right off the deck) to a rap anchor in an alcove above. Class 3-4 to below cave, class 4-5 to cave, class 5.4 from cave to anchor.

Pitch 6

A short pitch to the summit. From the rap anchor, climb up and out of the alcove to the adjacent gully, ascending a short distance to its head immediately north of the summit block. Turn right and scramble an exposed slab to the flat summit. There is a lone crack at the summit with which to place a mid-size cam to create an anchor. Alternately, there is a depression to the right (west) of the summit block that is pretty secure for hanging out in. From that depression, sorties can be made to the summit.

Getting Back

From the summit, reverse the route back to the rap anchor atop the crux pitch. Rappel the short crux section. Traverse back around the deep gully back to the broad bench. Rappel down the north side of the ridge crest to where Pitch 2 ended. Make a long, awkward rappelling traverse down and to the left to a rap anchor that was up and to the right of the open book climbed in Pitch 1. I'm not sure if we did a double rope rappel to this anchor or not. If not, then there must be an intermediate anchor. The last rappel was a double for us and it got us back to the 8,200-ft saddle.

Essential Gear

Small to mid-size alpine rack.
50m or 60m rope.
Other standard rock climbing gear.
Ice axe if early season (there may be steep snow on the approach to the saddle).