The North Face has been especially appealing to me. The face is really defined by two significant gullies running almost completely from bottom to top, reminiscent of some sort of double barreled musket. It’s the sort of feature one would should really only climb when conditions are solid, otherwise it would be a game of bullet dodging. [...]
I had always wanted to climb the Leuthold Couloir, an apparent Pacific Northwest classic, but being a grade II climb I just never really got around to it. When we saw a 2 day weather window open up, we made the call to shoot for the Leuthold Couloir with a camp at Illumination Rock. It would be a little easy, but hey, it’s supposed to be a classic.[...]
The Pearly Gates route is a route usually deemed for beginners during the spring and summer. However, when undertaken during the winter, the route really takes on an elevated level of seriousness. Trail breaking, steep hard blue ice, and high winds, all make for what I consider a Cascade classic.
One of the considerations I have had for a long time has been spending a summer season climbing a bunch of alpine routes close to home. The irony of me leaving for peaks abroad during the core of the climbing season here has never been lost on me. For that, I have never actually had the time to climb in the Boston Basin.[...]
We got a nice late start at 5am to begin our approach up to the base of the Fuhrer Finger. We had blue skies overhead, but the weather forecast upgraded our possibility of storms from “slight chance” to just regular “chance”. Across the horizon, Mount Adams and Mount Saint Helens were already covered with storm clouds as well. Taking a chance on the “chance”, we made the call to move up. If a storm did start to come in, we’d just have to figure something out.[...]
Somewhere on the internet I read that people could climb Shuksan’s North Face in a long day. I knew that would probably be a bit extreme, so I figured 2 days would be optimal. I sent Chad a message with my timeline and he said he would really prefer to do it in 3. In fact, he would truly prefer to do it in 4. In hindsight, 4 would have been nice.[...]
Stepping onto the route itself was pretty exhilarating. It was something I had been dreaming of for the last few years. Even more exhilarating was our high speed crossing of all the lower slope’s avalanche debris that we did not want to hang around in.[...]