We had a blast on this route, and doing the lower N.ridge only added to what we were looking for on this outing...alpine rock!
Getting onto the glacier from the n.ridge worked out excellent, and once past the big crack it was cruzer to the shrund at the base of the ICG couloir. we each rolled aproach sneaks, aluminum cramps, and light axes...just what we needed-nuttin we didn't.
We climbed directly off the glacier to the ramp system leading to the base of the pillar, and enjoyed some chill time at the base. pretty rad setting with the tight glacial cirque, the steep slabs of the NE face, and the jutting pillar towering above with its obvious splitters shooting up the clean granite.
not so sucky...
E took the reigns and got us going on 5.10 climbing right off the bat, steep, mostly clean, and challenging this pitch felt at least .10b to me on tr...it ends at a tiny little ledge below more straight up cracks.
The next pitch had me traversing out the tiny ledge and heading up in sweet fingers and hands, until the crack moves right and thins out,(crux) only to open back up above with a weird flared jam followed finally with more hand jams.
The system continues uninterrupted above as a killer hand crack, i belayed below a bulge, and got sprung looking at the soaring hand crack that would lead us to the top of the pillar.
E led up thru the bulge, and fought hard to the top out, i thought this last pitch was the most stenuous .10b/c
After a brief chill session atop the pillar, we headed on up to the false summit happy to be back in tennies. up, across, down and around, and we found the top of the sherpa glacier couloir. down we went carefully dealing with the typical junk found in mostly melted out couloirs later in the season. One rap, a shrund passing, a wicked steep glissade, a lil more snow and we were satisfying our thirst on pure glacial goodness.
Some slabs, some dirt, some talus, and then right back into camp, to rest up in the tent and wait for the trail to cool down, and we were out...bliss!
made it out with the headlamp coming out only at the very end to locate the hidden champagne of beers waiting in the creek...cheers to that!!
The lower north ridge to the girth pillar is o.k.
...if you like perfect