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[TR] Mt. Fury - North Buttress 6/23/2017

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Trip: Mt. Fury - North Buttress

 

Date: 6/23/2017

 

Trip Report:

Summary: We climbed North Buttress Fury over a three day weekend (July 23-25), approaching up Access Creek on day 1, climbing the buttress on day 2, and descending on day 3. Definitely one of the best routes I've climbed in the cascades.

 

Pictures and Details:

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We were happy to be at the Ross Lake dock for a 8 AM ferry ride to the Big Beaver trailhead. I would have liked to leave earlier, but 8 AM is the earliest they will do. Call ahead for a reservation, and be prepared for the high cost: $65 per boat ride, $130 there and back.

 

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The ferry ride only took about 10 minutes. We arranged a pick up time on Sunday for 6 PM, which is the latest they would do.

 

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After hiking up the Big Beaver trail for 10 miles, we arrive at our turn off for Access Creek. We dropped our trail runners here, put on our boots, and headed towards the river ford. After searching around for a bit through the devils club, we found a feasible ford (located here: 48.844834, -121.217546), which involved thigh deep water. Elsewhere and we would have been swimming because the river was quite high.

 

The bushwhack up Access Creek was fairly pleasant. Certainly one of the easiest bushwhacks I've done, and there is even a faint trail most of the way if you can stay on it. Perhaps in later season, when the new growth comes in, it becomes harder.

 

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Free of the bushes in upper Access Creek, just about to head up steep snow slopes.

 

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Traversing over to Luna col.

 

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Setting up camp at Luna col. It was a long and tiring day. We started with the ferry at 8 AM and got to camp at 9:30 PM.

 

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We slept in and only got up at 6 AM to start our climb. The North Buttress looms.

 

From Luna col we descended down to Luna and Lousy Lakes. We had heard about people getting cliffed-out above Luna Lake. To avoid this, we traversed aggressively skiers left from the col, keeping just below large rock buttresses. We got down to Luna Lake this way with no problems.

 

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We then traversed beneath the northern aspect of Mt. Fury, making our way quickly beneath several bands of hanging ice cliffs and rock-fall zones. It would probably have been a better idea to get up earlier and avoid the objective hazard. We heard rock and ice fall all day.

 

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The access couloir for the North Buttress. 50+ deg snow in places.

 

We accessed the buttress via a couloir on its eastern flank (as described in Beckey), which avoids rock and icefall danger associated with the access on the western flank. This couloir was continuous for us, but will probably involve several rock transitions as it melts out later in the season.

 

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There was a lot of snow on the route this early in the season, which made for tricky route finding at times. But there was usually a way to avoid it. The climbing difficulty was 5.8 in two places, not the 5.6 advertised. Otherwise, mostly 4th to low-5th class. We climbed in boots, but the rock was very textured, so it would have been more fun and faster to bring rock shoes.

 

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The exposure on this route was great the whole way.

 

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The final snow arete on Fury, puts the one on J-berg to shame.

 

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The arete was quite steep in places (near the start, and at the top), up to 50+ deg. Snow was fairly soft, but it made for good steps. The start of the arete was a disturbingly narrow fin of snow, with incredible exposure to both sides. After that the arete was nice and fat.

 

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The final bit of steepness before the arete was over.

 

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And there she is in all her glory.

 

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A few more rock scrambles brought us to the top. Contemplating the Southern Pickets at the summit.

 

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After that, it was a lot of steep snow traversing and up-down travel back to the tents, which we made at 10 PM. A long day.

 

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The next day we slept in again, and only got moving at 9 AM. The descent down Access Creek was hot and buggy, but went without major trouble. At the trail, we realized that we had 3 hours to hike 10 miles to the ferry, so we hoofed it. A sting in the tail, but we made the ferry, and at least a beer came with it.

 

Gear Notes:

Single twin rope.

Small rack of 5 cams and a few nuts.

Boots (rock shoes would have been nice).

One ice axe, maybe bring two later in the season.

 

Approach Notes:

Access Creek.

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DAMN.

 

That is an impressive three day effort! Having been all through that country (over many more days) I can imagine how tired you must have been cramming that into a weekend. That buttress is pretty intimidating looking, well done!

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Yes, very nice. The North Buttress of Fury was on the short list (100 routes) for 50 Classic Climbs of North America. It's been on my list for years, but I've only managed to nibble around the edges of the Pickets. Strong work.

 

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Great trip report and congratulations on notching one of the most sought-after routes in the Cascades. Challenging in so many ways and sounds like you did it with great elan.

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