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Wanderlustmd

Glaciers

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I'm an experienced rock/ice (mostly rock) climber of 14 years and I'm taking a leave of absence from my job this coming year to focus on climbing full time and would really like to get down to Patagonia next season for some alpine rock. As an east coaster, we really don't have glaciated terrain, so that's kind of a gaping hole in my skill set. When I first started climbing, I took a glacial travel/crevasse course to learn the systems. I just need to get out and do it, focusing on route finding, hazards, etc. ideally with partners who can show me a trick or two along the way. I'll essentially have mid-June to Sept, of this year, before heading to the valley and desert in the fall to climb, climb, climb.

 

If you were in my shoes, what would you do to get ready for a place like Patagonia in terms of glaciated terrain? Obvious places like the Bugaboos come to mind, which I've never been to and am planning on visiting. What about portions of the Cascades, i.e Baker, Stuart etc.? What are some good routes/destinations that would help me get some solid glacier experience (ideally with several pitches of splitters thrown in) during that time frame?

 

I know a lot of this sort of thing can vary from year to year with snow levels, etc. I'm just looking for some ideas.

 

Cheers!

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If you were in my shoes, what would you do to get ready for a place like Patagonia in terms of glaciated terrain? Obvious places like the Bugaboos come to mind, which I've never been to and am planning on visiting. What about portions of the Cascades, i.e Baker, Stuart etc.? What are some good routes/destinations that would help me get some solid glacier experience (ideally with several pitches of splitters thrown in) during that time frame?

 

The Bugaboos are a great destination for alpine cragging, but if your primary goal is to get time on glaciers there are better choices. The Cascades are the most heavily glaciated range in the contiguous US so they are a natural choice. Mt Baker and Mt Rainer will have the largest and most easily accessible glaciers. Other thoughts are the Boston (North side of Forbidden), Inspiration (Eldorado), Curtis and Suphide (Shuksan).

 

Index Town Walls and Leavenworth areas have great granite cragging. The Stuart Range and Enchantments have great alpine rock routes on the same white grandiorite batholith as Index and Leavenworth. July has the hottest weather, glaciers will still be in reasonable conditions, and alpine rock routes will be a go.

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The glaciers in the Bugs are fairly tame, but the climbing can be remarkably similar to Patagonia in early season (May/June).

 

For glaciated approaches to alpine rock routes, Marble Creek Cirque in NCNP is a good bet (July). Early Morning Spire, the West Face of Dorado Needle, and the west arete of Eldorado are all good climbs, though probably much easier and shorter than what you have in mind in Patagonia.

 

For the real deal, you might want to check out the Waddington Range. After early summer in the Bugs and Cascades, you would be ready to see how it goes in a much bigger range that will throw more challenge your way. If all goes well, Patagonia beckons the following fall/winter.

 

To be honest though, I think most would find trekking (and scrambling easy peaks) down around Chalten and Torres del Paine just fine if the climbing in Patagonia is more exciting than you would like. I know I didn't climb a single pitch and had a grand time. There is now lots of sport climbing and bouldering down there if the alpine is out of condition or too daunting.

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If you were in my shoes, what would you do to get ready for a place like Patagonia in terms of glaciated terrain? Obvious places like the Bugaboos come to mind, which I've never been to and am planning on visiting. What about portions of the Cascades, i.e Baker, Stuart etc.? What are some good routes/destinations that would help me get some solid glacier experience (ideally with several pitches of splitters thrown in) during that time frame?

 

The Bugaboos are a great destination for alpine cragging, but if your primary goal is to get time on glaciers there are better choices. The Cascades are the most heavily glaciated range in the contiguous US so they are a natural choice. Mt Baker and Mt Rainer will have the largest and most easily accessible glaciers. Other thoughts are the Boston (North side of Forbidden), Inspiration (Eldorado), Curtis and Suphide (Shuksan).

 

Index Town Walls and Leavenworth areas have great granite cragging. The Stuart Range and Enchantments have great alpine rock routes on the same white grandiorite batholith as Index and Leavenworth. July has the hottest weather, glaciers will still be in reasonable conditions, and alpine rock routes will be a go.

 

Great, thanks for the response. I appreciate it.

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The glaciers in the Bugs are fairly tame, but the climbing can be remarkably similar to Patagonia in early season (May/June).

 

For glaciated approaches to alpine rock routes, Marble Creek Cirque in NCNP is a good bet (July). Early Morning Spire, the West Face of Dorado Needle, and the west arete of Eldorado are all good climbs, though probably much easier and shorter than what you have in mind in Patagonia.

 

For the real deal, you might want to check out the Waddington Range. After early summer in the Bugs and Cascades, you would be ready to see how it goes in a much bigger range that will throw more challenge your way. If all goes well, Patagonia beckons the following fall/winter.

 

 

To be honest though, I think most would find trekking (and scrambling easy peaks) down around Chalten and Torres del Paine just fine if the climbing in Patagonia is more exciting than you would like. I know I didn't climb a single pitch and had a grand time. There is now lots of sport climbing and bouldering down there if the alpine is out of condition or too daunting.

 

I'll just be happy to climb down in Patagonia. I have ideas, of course, but from what I've read/ben told, the weather dictates what you can climb to a certain extent. In the Cascades, I'll just be looking to log as much time as possible on whatever I can get on. Those sound like good routes, others have mentioned them to me.

 

I don't know much about the Waddington Range, anything specific you can recommend?

 

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I've never climbed in the Waddington Range, but it is high on my list.

 

Get the excellent guide by Don Serl and pick something that seems challenging. You won't be disappointed.

 

waddington.jpg

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