Start at Timberline Mountain Lodge. Ascend the Palmer snowfield to about 9,000 feet. Stay on the east part of the route and look for a large ridgeline under the Steel Cliff that cuts over to the eastern flanks of the mountain. See photo #1. Watch out for crevasses, this is on a glacier. Pass under the cliffs (watch out for icefall) to the start of 3 gullies that ascend up towards the ridgeline. See photo #2. Here starts the technical portion of the climb.
Any of the 3 gullies can be climbed. If you take the western most one, keep in mind that there will be a long traverse over to the ridgeline. The slopes here are sustained at 45 degrees. Once at the ridgeline, a series of traverses and crossings must be done to connect up with the standard Wy'East route. There is some significant exposure here. Stay close to the rock outcroppings along the edge.
The lower portion of the route moves up gradually steepening snow or alpine ice to 50 degrees. Once you are on top of the Steel Cliff, the route hugs the ridgeline between the Steel Cliff and Devil's Kitchen. We encountered some ice crusting over rock that we fell into, as well as some easy mixed climbing. There are several steep traverses to access the upper part of the ridge. The traverses, including one move where you have to downclimb about 10 feet, were very tricky.
When you finally get to the top of the ridgeline right along the eastern edge of the Devil's Kitchen, you are rewarded with a view of the summit mass. From here you can see the crux of the route, 2 steep gullies of approximately 50 to 55 degrees slope and another exposed traverse. See photo #1.
Once you've obtained to top of the second gully, the only thing left is an easy walk over the ridgeline to the true summit.
Expect 6 to 8 hours to get to the summit, if you can do the Hogsback in 4 to 5 hours.
Crampons, 2 ice tools, rope, harness, helmet, pickets, ice screws, and prussics for the glacier crossing in late spring or summer.
This route has a lot of exposure, and is not recommended for beginners. It is a good winter and early spring route.