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vsigler

Icy Peak summit info needed

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I would like to do the Ruth-Icy Peak traverse this spring, and am a little confused about the technical difficulty of the Icy Peak summit block. I understand that Icy has multiple summit blocks, and have read that the difficulty ranges from a "scramble" to 4th-class climbing. Can anyone shed some light on the grade, assuming clean conditions, which block is most often attempted, and also suggest an appropriate rack to bring, if needed? Thanks.

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Hi,

 

First off, I would suggest that this spring may not be the 'best' time to do the traverse. There is a lot of snow, and the traverse goes easily late into the season.

 

That said, if you don't mind slogging through a lot of wet snow, have at it. I managed to find the most difficult way up the summit block by missing the obvious water smoothed couloir on the front side and climbing around the back, soloing 5.6 terrain on the way.

 

We descended the standard route making a single, short rappel and down climbing the rest. The correct, easiest route to the highest summit block is the first block you would come to from Ruth Mt. There is a water smoothed couloir that has some fixed slings for rappels that is the easiest way up and leads directly to the true summit.

 

It would perhaps go at very low 5th class, maybe 5.0-5.2. I think most people solo it and then fix a hand line perhaps for weaker climbers. For a rack, maybe 6-8 nuts, 4 large hexes, 3 small Tri-cams, a few single slings with carabiners, a couple of double slings with lockers. That would be a very big rack for 50 meters of 4th and low 5th class climbing. I think it might be hard to protect as well??

 

The traverse could be done car to car in a day, assuming conditions are good, but I did it for my 40th birthday and wanted to sleep on the summit. We climbed Ruth, dropped our overnight gear on the summit, traversed to Icy, climbed the summit block, and returned to the summit of Ruth in somewhere around 10ish hours? Sleeping on the summit of Ruth is HIGHLY recommended. The views into the Nooksack Cirque, Nooksack Tower, and the famous Price Glacier are among the best views to effort ratio in the Cascades, IMHO.

Edited by DPS

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What DPS said. I ended up roping up and leading that smoothed couloir. I placed 2 pieces. It can be solo'd - just comfort level. I had a 30 m glacier rope btw - which was plenty.

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Thanks for the info. Yes, will be doing this later in the spring for sure. Most of the trip reports I read mention two summit blocks; NW and SE. Which is the more straightforward way to go? I will have a first-timer with me and I want to limit the fear-factor. Thank you.

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We climbed the SE summit which is the highest point on Icy Peak. It was really straight forward, blocky climbing with ample holds.

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We climbed the SE summit which is the highest point on Icy Peak. It was really straight forward, blocky climbing with ample holds.

 

Nice!

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FWIW, I climbed both summit blocks, essentially enchaining the entire Icy Peak massif. (Insert emoticon for sarcasm here). I missed the obvious, water smoothed couloir that clearly had a lot more traffic and fixed anchors than our route of ascent. We approached from Ruth Mt and climbed the SE aspect to the SE summit, down climbed the north ridge to a notch which the obvious, water smoothed couloir topped out at and then to the NW summit block.

 

The climbing up and down from the SE summit block involved steep, exposed, blocky terrain, perhaps 5.6 at the most. Fun climbing, really. I assumed the NW summit was the true summit, it seemed to have seen much more traffic and I thought it had the summit register, but my memory could be wrong.

 

Here is a satellite image of Icy Peak's summit tower, borrowed from Google Maps. The red line is our line of ascent, the green line is the obvious couloir I keep harping about and our line of descent. North is toward the top of the photo, Ruth Mountain is out of the frame.

 

icy-pk.png

Edited by DPS

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