Mt Terror, Southern Pickets - Central Buttress of South Face III 5.9 Date:
Rolf and I climbed this (likely) new route last weekend, provisional name = Fear and Loathing. Grade III (approx 6 pitches; we did 5 1/2 with a 70m), 5.9 adventure climbing on mostly solid (and well featured) Skagit gneiss. Another objective the next day turned us back, but we'll always have Terror. And loathing.
After the most enjoyable and casual 6.5 hour approach (it's an acquired taste) to our camp near the Chopping Block, we could look across lovely Crescent Creek basin at Mt Terror. Hard tellin' not knowin', a route up the face sure looked improbable. We took a casual approach, waiting for the sun to get on the rock (frosty night), and weighed a number of potential routes. The most viable options appeared to be the butresses on the left, center, and right. We agreed the most aesthetic was the buttress snaking up most directly to the summit. Our route - poorly marked in red - goes up the barely lit central buttress to the summit:
I didn't take v many pics, my camera was thawing out. And sorry ladies, no butt pics of Rolf on lead--he seemed to quickly disappear from view, as befits a rat.
For first lead, I won rock paper scissors, and got probably the best pitch of the route. Up a steep juggy corner (careful hold selection), then a rising, more solid and exposed ramp, that at times gave that familiar feeling of pushing you off toward the void. Some 5.9 on this pitch, an engaging exercise putting together the pieces. Looking down pitch 1.
Rolf's pitch 2 took the chimney/gully, 5.8 or 5.8+?, to a nice belay and decision point: the central buttress, or east buttress of the south face? We stuck with our original plan. For p 3, I hung a left and sent an easy boulder prob to gain the ridge crest and a spate of more sustained climbing before it relented to more wandery rambling. 5.8+ again? I stuck to the buttress crest, but there are certainly variations on this ledgy gneiss.
Looking down p3 from a belay on the crest, just below a prominent tower; you can see the east buttress off on the left.
Rolf's pitch 4 skirted the tower on the left; more moderate climbing, but also greater loose rock management. From his belay, I climbed some steeper rock (nice corners) and then ledge systems, carefully constraining the course of the rope to avoid dislodging some slayers. Super fun pitch, with fine air and views.
Top of p 5; mt despair central background.
For the last pitch, Rolf ran up a steepish blocky and juggy section, which then backed off to the remaining summit scramble. Nice views both ways along the Southern Pickets.
L to R: McMillan spires, Inspiration, Degenhardt Glacier.
We then boogied down the West Ridge route and then the couloir back to our packs. For fun and moderate climbing on mostly good rock, in a remote setting, I recommend this climb.More pics.Gear Notes:
Tri-cams useful. Brought pins but did not use.Approach Notes:
Lovely walk to Crescent Creek basin. There's now a non-high-wire-walking log that takes you across Terror Creek.