Trip: Mt Sefrit - Lower North Side Slabs
Over the years doing early season ski trips to Ruth Mountain, I have passed by these iced up slabs on the lower north side of Mt Sefrit and wondered about climbing them. After some rather marginal snow conditions on ski trips during the recent cold spell, we thought it would be the right time to attempt climbing it. These are the same slabs mentioned in the Beckey Guide for climbing Sefrit via the Southeast Ridge.
Chuck and I headed up Dec 6 during the one of the coldest days of the spell, but we messed around in the lowlands too long looking for ice that we didnít get to the Hannegan Pass Trailhead until noon. We were surprised by all the ice and just skinned up the trail looking for something easy. It was pretty cold (for western Washington folk) and windy so we chose a little double waterfall visible from the trail still in the sun. It turned out to be Donegan Creek on maps. The lower falls is about 30-40 ft high and the upper falls a bit smaller. This was a fun climb after mostly just driving around that day. At the top of the climb we got a good look at the Sefrit slabs, which looked like a fun multi-pitch moderate route with exposure.
We headed back up early on Dec 11 to climb the wall before the predicted snow (which hasnít happened) blocked easy access to the end of the road. We found the climb a full 5 pitches of a 60 meter rope. It took three pitches to get up the slab and into the gully on climbers right. Only the last pitch was a bit dry; the rest of the climb was solid and plastic. We had some running water over ice in one place to get a quick drink. Once topping out of the gully we climbed up and around (west) in the small funnel to access the treed rib to rappel down. The rap was a snarly mess in places because the trees are so thick. We should have rapped the way we climbed using V threads.
Being mostly a skier I have not ever posted at CC. But, when planning this trip I looked here, and at other ice climbing forums, and found nothing about ice climbs in the Ruth Creek valley, let alone this particular climb. One main reason for writing this trip report is to ask what others know about climbing in this drainage so thanks for any information you all might have about this area.
The Ruth Creek valley seems like pretty low hanging fruit for early season ice climbing. There was ice on both sides of the valley starting at the parking lot up to where we climbed. It is true many (not all) are rambling climbs in avalanche paths. These are really just ski runs waiting for more snow. But even for a dedicated skier there is nothing the matter with doing some ice climbing while waiting for snow. It seems the slabs we climbed would be of interest to others because of their length and sustained nature. It doesnít hurt that the setting is spectacular.
Used up to 9 screws per pitch including anchors
skis helpful in valley slide alder with rotten snow