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T1985

Late season options for some newbies.

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A couple buddies of mine are coming out to Washington in the beginning of October to do some mountaineering together. But we haven't quite decided on what climb we're going to try.

 

We have all taken AAI's 1 week alpinism course on Baker and also did a guided climb of Mt. Shuksan this summer.

 

We're going to go out and try to tackle something by ourselves this next time around. However since we're doing it so late in the season we've been waiting to try and get some more recent trip reports to see what the conditions might be like before we commit to a climb.

 

Our tentative plans, roughly in order of preference, are Eldorado, Sahale, Silver Star and Ruth/Icy Traverse.

 

Are any of these mountains better or worse that time of year for our experience level? Also if there are any other mountains that would be good alternatives we'd love to hear about them too. Preferably in the North Cascades.

 

Any input would be appreciated.

 

Tyler

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October can be a difficult time to climb in the Cascades, starting of the 'shoulder season'. Stable weather can persist into mid October some years, so keep your fingers crossed for that.

 

Eldorado, Sahale, Silver Star, and Ruth/Icy traverse are actually really excellent choices for early October. Typically the glaciers are all passable and any early season snow should not stymie the easy rock climbing found on these peaks too much.

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Yeah, we're hoping for the best but realize we might get hosed with the weather.

 

Good to hear we're on the right track for objectives.

 

Thank you

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Silvertstar will be your best choice in marginal weather since it is so far east of the crest. I would expect a lot of bare glacier ice at this time of year- it's usually a pretty benign route but could be spicy this late. Go over Burgundy Col not via Silverstar creek. All your objectives seem worthy and doable at this time of year- just keep an eye on the WX and go east if you need to.

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Silvertstar will be your best choice in marginal weather since it is so far east of the crest. I would expect a lot of bare glacier ice at this time of year.... just keep an eye on the WX and go east if you need to.

Yup and there are some great peak-bagging trips that can be gorgeous this time of year, such as this one. Of course, the real world is rarely as gorgeous as Jason's photos, but Sawtooth Ridge and/or high Pasayten peaks can make for a memorable trip as well.

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Fall can be beautiful, but you should understand that snow fields and glaciers are likely to be very hard and icy, and there may be new snow in higher elevations. Falling on hard snow or ice can send you into talus at high speed. People have died this way. I'm not saying don't go, but understand that snow and glaciers that are super easy when soft are scary (to me) late season without crampons.

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snow and glaciers that are super easy when soft are scary (to me) late season without crampons.

And they need to be sharp. Don't overlook this.

 

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I've climbed Eldorado and Ruth/Icy traverse in October and September, respectively, and the glaciers on both were easily navigable. I think Sahale by Sahale Arm would be fine and Silver Star via Burgundy Col might be ok too. It is while others are fine. The Colchuck Glacier comes to mind as a dangerous late season climb. Easy in early season, icy with a bad run out late season.

 

I climbed NE Buttress of Colchuck in August and descended the Colchuck glacier which was a frightening experience. A father and son died there when they slipped and slid into the rocks.

 

The take home message is yes, glaciers tend to be very icy this time of year, but my experience holds that some glaciers remain in good shape in the fall.

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