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#896257 - 07/24/09 01:34 PM [TR] Mt. Formidable - Direct NE Buttress (FA), III+, 5.9 Hicks/McBrian 7/22/2009
kurthicks Offline
spray'prentice

Registered: 04/22/03
Posts: 2563
TRs: 26 Photos: 316
Loc: Seattle
Trip: Mt. Formidable - Direct NE Buttress (FA), III+, 5.9 Hicks/McBrian

Date: 7/22/2009

Trip Report:
On June 22, 2009 Forest McBrian and I climbed the complete NE Buttress of Mt. Formidable. This feature splits the Middle Cascade Glacier from the Formidable Glacier on the mountain’s northeast aspect.



From our amazing bivy near the Middle Cascade Glacier along the Ptarmigan Traverse, we descended onto the Middle Cascade then climbed 40 degree snow to the toe of the buttress and searched for a suitable moat crossing. This dictated our starting point—at the left edge of a sidewalk/ramp system, close to a small, white crystalline band. From here, we climbed about 1000’ of new terrain, up to 5.9, before intersecting the 1962 route near the top of the buttress. The technical crux consisted of a tricky move out of a dihedral on the second pitch. Numerous pitches of less technical, but decidedly alpine terrain (a.k.a. steep, loose, nearly impossible to protect, fifth class heather) led to a snowpatch at mid-height. A couple more technical pitches to 5.8 led to the phenomenal snow aręte that caps the buttress. We then climbed up and over the East Ridge pyramid that sits at the head of the Formidable Glacier (though this can be bypassed easily), probably making the second ascent of that feature (Martin Volken did the full East Ridge a few years ago). Incredibly fun and exposed ridge traversing led from the right-hand col to the true summit. Descent was made by cutting across the south face, generally traversing southeast towards the head of Flat Creek (exposed class 4/5 in spots, no rappels needed); then following the Ptarmigan Traverse route northward to the Spider-Formidable Col and back down the Middle Cascade Glacier. Our roundtrip was fifteen hours, eleven of which were spent on ascent.

All things considered, our route is similar to the NE Buttress (1957) of nearby Johannesburg except that it is not guarded by 2000’+ of heinous bushwacking and the rock quality is better on Formidable. The exposed, but safe position on the buttress crest between two very active glaciers gives the route its appeal.

Forest on the opening pitch


Pitch 3


Snow Arete


Upper East Ridge


The NE Buttress


Mt. Formidable
Direct NE Buttress
III+, 5.9
Kurt Hicks, Forest McBrian
July 22, 2009


Gear Notes:
A single rack to 3”; small cams most useful. One axe and crampons per person if snow conditions are firm. We placed one Lost Arrow, but other options may exist.

Approach Notes:
Hike to Cascade Pass then follow the Ptarmigan Traverse until able to descend down to the base of the NE Buttress.
_________________________
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#896258 - 07/24/09 01:36 PM Re: [TR] Mt. Formidable - Direct NE Buttress (FA), III+, 5.9 Hicks/McBrian 7/22/2009 [Re: kurthicks]
Pilchuck71 Offline
addicted to cc.com

Registered: 05/26/09
Posts: 591
TRs: 12 Photos: 164
Loc: Bellingham, Washington
Nice work! Looks like a fun piece of climbing!
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www.onemansmountainadventures.blogspot.com

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#896260 - 07/24/09 01:46 PM Re: [TR] Mt. Formidable - Direct NE Buttress (FA), III+, 5.9 Hicks/McBrian 7/22/2009 [Re: Pilchuck71]
Ishmael Offline
member

Registered: 04/05/07
Posts: 157
TRs: 0 Photos: 0
Loc: Pacific Ocean
nice looking line.

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#896261 - 07/24/09 01:49 PM Re: [TR] Mt. Formidable - Direct NE Buttress (FA), III+, 5.9 Hicks/McBrian 7/22/2009 [Re: Ishmael]
mountainmatt Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/05/06
Posts: 1133
TRs: 27 Photos: 281
Loc: Berkeley, CA
Hells yeah! That is a sweet looking line! Way to get after it brew
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Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment.

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#896262 - 07/24/09 01:51 PM Re: [TR] Mt. Formidable - Direct NE Buttress (FA), III+, 5.9 Hicks/McBrian 7/22/2009 [Re: Ishmael]
t_rutl Offline
addicted to cc.com

Registered: 10/24/08
Posts: 658
TRs: 13 Photos: 196
Loc: PNW
hellz yeah tup

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#896264 - 07/24/09 01:56 PM Re: [TR] Mt. Formidable - Direct NE Buttress (FA), III+, 5.9 Hicks/McBrian 7/22/2009 [Re: t_rutl]
John Frieh Offline
sprayer

Registered: 11/08/03
Posts: 6290
TRs: 56 Photos: 1214
Loc: PDX
bueno!

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#896287 - 07/24/09 04:22 PM Re: [TR] Mt. Formidable - Direct NE Buttress (FA), III+, 5.9 Hicks/McBrian 7/22/2009 [Re: John Frieh]
wayne Offline
spray'prentice

Registered: 05/14/01
Posts: 3576
TRs: 74 Photos: 648
Loc: Seattle!
Righteous! Good for you two! and thanks for TRing. Please though , You must talk about how it felt to see this route though. Was it planned or spontaneous. Did you do the ptarm?
Oh Man, I saw and thought about that line, I did a solo of the complete n ridge.
GREAT for getting it and I am glad it is a worthy line. (and), What about the ridge to the left?
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#896310 - 07/24/09 08:15 PM Re: [TR] Mt. Formidable - Direct NE Buttress (FA), III+, 5.9 Hicks/McBrian 7/22/2009 [Re: wayne]
tazz Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 05/03/05
Posts: 290
TRs: 15 Photos: 163
Loc: renton
NICE!! want....


thanks for the report. rocken
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#896327 - 07/24/09 10:32 PM Re: [TR] Mt. Formidable - Direct NE Buttress (FA), III+, 5.9 Hicks/McBrian 7/22/2009 [Re: tazz]
Blake Offline
kiwi-wanker

Registered: 10/15/03
Posts: 2921
TRs: 49 Photos: 773
Nice Forest and Kurt! brew Did you find a hot tub to poach out there?

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#896331 - 07/24/09 10:42 PM Re: [TR] Mt. Formidable - Direct NE Buttress (FA), III+, 5.9 Hicks/McBrian 7/22/2009 [Re: Blake]
Sol Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/24/03
Posts: 1701
TRs: 31 Photos: 407
Loc: leavenworth
your guyz'z hands must be stained from picking that plum!

rocken

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#896350 - 07/25/09 07:17 AM Re: [TR] Mt. Formidable - Direct NE Buttress (FA), III+, 5.9 Hicks/McBrian 7/22/2009 [Re: Sol]
Braydon Offline
addicted to cc.com

Registered: 02/20/08
Posts: 439
TRs: 2 Photos: 9
Loc: The Quah!
how has this not been climbed yet!? looks sick, awesome job guys
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"The only easy day was yesterday." - US Navy SEALs

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#896399 - 07/25/09 03:50 PM Re: [TR] Mt. Formidable - Direct NE Buttress (FA), III+, 5.9 Hicks/McBrian 7/22/2009 [Re: Braydon]
kurthicks Offline
spray'prentice

Registered: 04/22/03
Posts: 2563
TRs: 26 Photos: 316
Loc: Seattle
Wayne--the line wasn't totally spontaneous. We were both looking to get into a new place for us and see new terrain... but it came about after a quick look at green beckey. The AAJ had no reference to the feature being climbed either. We just went in for the route as a super mellow three day trip. The ridge to the left with the pinnacles looks good from a far but is junk and rubble covered from our vantage point. The east ridge looks like a fun one though.

Unfortunately no hot tubs were poached on our climb...
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http://www.kurthicks.com

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#896474 - 07/26/09 08:40 AM Re: [TR] Mt. Formidable - Direct NE Buttress (FA), III+, 5.9 Hicks/McBrian 7/22/2009 [Re: kurthicks]
NYC007 Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 793
TRs: 2 Photos: 54
Loc: spokanistan
looks good Mr Hicks!
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#896484 - 07/26/09 09:57 AM Re: [TR] Mt. Formidable - Direct NE Buttress (FA), III+, 5.9 Hicks/McBrian 7/22/2009 [Re: NYC007]
AlpineK Offline
Spray Master

Registered: 11/08/00
Posts: 11419
TRs: 73 Photos: 978
Loc: Seattle, WA
Yep, nice route. tup
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http://symbiosistree.com/index.html

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#933892 - 01/14/10 11:57 PM Re: [TR] Mt. Formidable - Direct NE Buttress (FA), III+, 5.9 Hicks/McBrian 7/22/2009 [Re: AlpineK]
damage Offline
n00b

Registered: 06/23/09
Posts: 26
TRs: 0 Photos: 0
Loc: olympia, wa
This was nice to find. thanks for the great pics too.

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