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#1076759 - 07/25/12 12:53 AM [TR] Black Peak's West Peak - NW ridge (and N Buttress) IV 5.7ish - FLA 7/21/2012
lunger Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 367
TRs: 12 Photos: 131
Loc: see atoll
Trip: Black Peak's West Peak - NW ridge (and N Buttress) IV 5.7ish - FLA

Date: 7/21/2012

Trip Report:
Rolf Larson and I climbed this route on Saturday. We are not aware of previous ascents—and speculate this could be a first and last ascent, aka FLA.

This 3,000' ridge/buttress climb impressed me when Dan Helmstadter and I were en route to a ski of Black Peak's (East and main summit) NW Face.

Pic from my May ski trip with Dan:


Pic from a climb/ski of Arriva a week before, early May. W Peak is on right, and the long buttress/ridge extending toward the viewer is what we climbed:


It looked so classic, the long ridge with steep walls falling off to a glacier, ending in a high and scenic N Cascades summit.

And it was. Classic. Uber-mega-meta-classic. Much better than any Internet meme. Sorta like the N. Ridge of Stuart (only longer) combined with the Torment-Forbidden Traverse (only steeper), and a High-Priest-like blockheaded finish. Purity of line, quality of rock, a graceful climbing partner: these are things devoutly to be wished. The pictures don’t do it justice, one must experience the climb for one’s self; a tonic for the soul, as Rolf might say. But probably not.

Looking at the limited pics, we thought there could be some steep, more-difficult climbing. We were loaded for bear and a bivy—rope, a medium rack, light bivy gear, a stove, climbing shoes, and too much food. All but the rope ended up training weight—we made 2 raps, but otherwise the stuff stayed in the packs while we rambled up the scenic ridge, with lots of 3rd and 4th class scrambling, and difficulties up to 5.7 or so. As is often the case, the most difficult climbing usually occurred on the best rock.

The approach was made over the northern col between Black and its 8395’ point to the north. Spicy downclimbing ensued to snow, then finally to the base c. 5800’ after running under looming seracs. The pics tell the rest of the story; this thing was long.

Our first look during the approach, from the col:


Near the start (from these humble beginnings), poor pic:


Looking down initial stretch; photo doesn’t show considerable exposure here:


Still much to do:


We passed this gendarme on its right, but in retrospect would’ve enjoyed going over it


On the torment-forbidden-esqe section (Rolf’s photo):


Still more to go:


Gramps hikes up his britches


Rappin’


The rock quality suffers no comparison.


And gets even better:



final summit block


Hard to believe this was a ski slope a couple months ago


Some more scenics and action shots are here.

We enjoyed this route, but as subtly hinted, were hoping for more difficult lines along the way. Still, motoring up a long climb is always a splendid way to spend a day.

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#1076765 - 07/25/12 07:26 AM Re: [TR] Black Peak's West Peak - NW ridge (and N Buttress) IV 5.7ish - FLA 7/21/2012 [Re: lunger]
BirdDog Offline
addicted to cc.com

Registered: 11/29/06
Posts: 408
TRs: 8 Photos: 103
Loc: too close to civilation
Excellent. Congrats on the FLA!

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#1076778 - 07/25/12 10:02 AM Re: [TR] Black Peak's West Peak - NW ridge (and N Buttress) IV 5.7ish - FLA 7/21/2012 [Re: lunger]
ryanl Offline
member

Registered: 05/31/05
Posts: 176
TRs: 19 Photos: 424
Loc: shoreline
Yeah Lunger!!!! You continue to amaze and inspire. Too bad it turned out to be so chill- I was hoping to read about you and Rolf bickering as that always makes me laugh.

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#1076783 - 07/25/12 10:50 AM Re: [TR] Black Peak's West Peak - NW ridge (and N Buttress) IV 5.7ish - FLA 7/21/2012 [Re: lunger]
spionin Offline
the reverend

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 473
TRs: 26 Photos: 443
Loc: seattle, wa
Originally Posted By: lunger
Sorta like the N. Ridge of Stuart (only longer) combined with the Torment-Forbidden Traverse (only steeper), and a High-Priest-like blockheaded finish. Purity of line, quality of rock, a graceful climbing partner


whoa! pile on the superlatives!
excellent report, dudes!
_________________________
mountain softwoman

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#1076807 - 07/25/12 01:34 PM Re: [TR] Black Peak's West Peak - NW ridge (and N Buttress) IV 5.7ish - FLA 7/21/2012 [Re: lunger]
tanstaafl Offline
Pretty Pretty Princess

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 465
TRs: 5 Photos: 69
Nice matching green shirts! Glad the routefinding difficulties were limited to the urban environment.

Excellent writeup as always.

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#1076814 - 07/25/12 02:26 PM Re: [TR] Black Peak's West Peak - NW ridge (and N Buttress) IV 5.7ish - FLA 7/21/2012 [Re: tanstaafl]
Sol Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/24/03
Posts: 1639
TRs: 30 Photos: 401
Loc: leavenworth
Nice work gentlemen!

Blake sent me a shot of this ridge about 5 years ago and it's been sitting in my backburner folder ever since. Nice to see it get sent!

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#1076831 - 07/25/12 06:24 PM Re: [TR] Black Peak's West Peak - NW ridge (and N Buttress) IV 5.7ish - FLA 7/21/2012 [Re: lunger]
pms Offline
addicted to cc.com

Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 492
TRs: 3 Photos: 15
Loc: Seattle, WA 98105
Awesome

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#1076833 - 07/25/12 07:14 PM Re: [TR] Black Peak's West Peak - NW ridge (and N Buttress) IV 5.7ish - FLA 7/21/2012 [Re: lunger]
wayne Offline
spray'prentice

Registered: 05/14/01
Posts: 3426
TRs: 61 Photos: 590
Loc: Seattle!
Looks like something I would do.
What is the L part of FLA? loving?
_________________________
http://waynewallace.wordpress.com/

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#1076840 - 07/25/12 09:00 PM Re: [TR] Black Peak's West Peak - NW ridge (and N Buttress) IV 5.7ish - FLA 7/21/2012 [Re: lunger]
lunger Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 367
TRs: 12 Photos: 131
Loc: see atoll
no wayne: laconic.
we actually invoked your name, thinking it was your kinda thing--you should repeat it but proper-like by hitting all the high points.
to other interested parties: there appear to be steeper approach options coming straight up from (appropriately sheltered places) below the seracs; would add quite a few pitches of challenging climbing.
to add to the enticement, there are really cool bivy sites at various places along the ridge.

haha tanstaafl! routefinding difficulties were the theme of the day, but none so tough as navigating Ballard.

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#1077089 - 07/28/12 10:56 AM Re: [TR] Black Peak's West Peak - NW ridge (and N Buttress) IV 5.7ish - FLA 7/21/2012 [Re: lunger]
rat Offline
addicted to cc.com

Registered: 05/20/01
Posts: 578
TRs: 13 Photos: 12
an appropriately hyperbolic donkey douche description of a classic northwest pile. definitely a fine day of immersion.

we were a little over 6hr on the route itself so grade III in my bickering opinion. probably IV if you pitch some of it out and/or directly climb the 2 steps we easily skirted due to concerns about time and forecasted incoming wx.


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#1077144 - 07/29/12 01:31 PM Re: [TR] Black Peak's West Peak - NW ridge (and N Buttress) IV 5.7ish - FLA 7/21/2012 [Re: lunger]
lunger Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 367
TRs: 12 Photos: 131
Loc: see atoll
hadn't really thought hard re: the grade, but III or III+ is fine by me. suppose threw up the IV 'cause have climbed grade IV's (and even a grade V) quicker. as you say probably depends on whether you solo the whole thing or pitch out some...

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#1077276 - 07/30/12 03:21 PM Re: [TR] Black Peak's West Peak - NW ridge (and N Buttress) IV 5.7ish - FLA 7/21/2012 [Re: lunger]
Marko Offline
addicted to cc.com

Registered: 12/09/00
Posts: 520
TRs: 4 Photos: 67
Loc: Ren. Ton.
Cool beans Youth(s)! Thanks for the photographic evidence. And so many words.

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#1121762 - 03/12/14 11:20 AM Re: [TR] Black Peak's West Peak - NW ridge (and N Buttress) IV 5.7ish - FLA 7/21/2012 [Re: lunger]
stamati Offline
journeyman

Registered: 08/21/13
Posts: 57
TRs: 1 Photos: 0
Loc: Bellingham
What do you mean by first and last ascent?
_________________________
i got 99 problems but a pitch ain't one.

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#1121765 - 03/12/14 12:04 PM Re: [TR] Black Peak's West Peak - NW ridge (and N Buttress) IV 5.7ish - FLA 7/21/2012 [Re: stamati]
olyclimber Offline

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼

Registered: 09/19/03
Posts: 24472
TRs: 31 Photos: 838
Loc: In Love with You
I'll let Lunger confirm, but I'm pretty sure what he means by that is that he isn't recommending it as a great climb worthy of many repeats. That isn't to say someone won't have fun doing so, as fun is a subjective measurable. That said, these pictures look nicer than my office window right now.
_________________________
SNACKS!!!!!

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#1122219 - 03/21/14 09:03 PM Re: [TR] Black Peak's West Peak - NW ridge (and N Buttress) IV 5.7ish - FLA 7/21/2012 [Re: lunger]
stamati Offline
journeyman

Registered: 08/21/13
Posts: 57
TRs: 1 Photos: 0
Loc: Bellingham
But that doesn't match his description of the route, which sounds classic and of a high quality. Maybe he means first and most recent? Because there's no way that's going to be its last ascent wink
_________________________
i got 99 problems but a pitch ain't one.

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