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[TR] Lane Peak - The Zipper 4/2/2017

Dhruv Garg

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Trip: Lane Peak - The Zipper


Date: 4/2/2017


Trip Report:

My friend had found this gem of a peak while looking for a couloir to attempt. Since we had planned on doing a lot more couloirs this year, the Zipper seemed like a nice place to start. As the avy danger was expected to stay low to moderate over the weekend, we decided on it and left Seattle at 7.15 AM. The drive was uneventful as road conditions were stable and we were at Narada Falls by 9.30 AM.


Since it was windy and we expected the route to be wind-scoured, we decided to carry a rope, a couple of pickets and an ice screw in case things look really bad. Geared up, we left the parking lot at 9.45 AM and after a few minutes of deep postholing, decided to put on snowshoes. We hiked up to Stevens Canyon road a bit further in the trees rather than the straight climb up above the falls. After diverging from the road at the bend, we made it to Tatoosh creek and found a rather narrow snow bridge atop a log to cross on to the other side.



snow bridge near Tatoosh creek


At the bottom of the avy debris, we found a clove of trees to stash our snowshoes and decided to put on our harnesses and crampons and get our ice tool out since the debris was quite firm. Leaving at noon, we got past the debris by staying near the rocks to minimize chances of postholing. It got rather windy when we got to the bottom of the Zipper and as expected, it was pretty wind-scoured. With an ice tool on one hand and an ice axe on the other, we started making our way up the Zipper and noticed that the route was predominantly hard snow with patches of ice here and there. Since we felt pretty good about our traction in the couloir, we gave up on the rope and pro and topped out at 2.15 PM.



making our way up the Zipper


After taking a short break, we left our packs (with the rope and pro) and started the steep climb towards the summit amongst frequent high winds. Postholing a good amount of the way, we went up the gully on the right and got to a rocky section to attain the ridge line. With some class 5 moves, we made it past it and climbed the cornice-laden 20ft to the ridgeline only to realize that we had taken the wrong gully. Facing one of the narrowest knife ridges (and heavily corniced) we've ever seen, we made half way to the summit and decided to call it good. We were just 10 ft away from the summit but the knife ridge (with unstable snow on either side leading to deadly exposures) made it impossible to navigate past it.



making our way to the ridgeline up the wrong gully


Slowly but steadily, we downclimbed the rocky section and made it back to our packs at 4 PM. With our crampons off, the saddle was uneventful with a few glissades (which kinda hurt since it was hard snow) until we went a bit past the steep gully on the left. Backing up, we downclimbed the gully for a while and then decided to just glissade the way down. I wouldn't recommend this since you gain speed real fast and it's almost impossible to stop. We were stopped by the avy debris way down and got back to the retrieve our snowshoes at 5.30 PM. The hike back to the parking lot was pretty monotonous and our sore feet touched down on concrete at 7.20 PM


For Lane Peak GPX, Lane Peak PeakBagger TR.

For more visuals on the route, flickr/Lane Peak 2017.


Gear Notes:

Snowshoes, ice tool, crampons, avy gear, rope (unused), pickets (unused), ice screw x1 (unused)


Approach Notes:

Stevens Canyon Rd is still full of snow and you'd need snowshoes all the way to avy debris to make it easy-going.

Edited by Dhruv Garg
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