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Tom MacD

Advice for First Timer to N Cascades

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If you head up to WA Pass, head a little further east and check out Flyboys on Goat Wall in Mazama, 18-pitch 5.9 sport route, well protected.

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Whoa ChucK, I hadn't seen that video before. Folks normally assume the Colchuck Glacier is such a passive little patch, but I was telling someone just the other day, "You know, people do die up there." I was thinking of the father-son duo from a few years back, but this was just a case of winning the alpine roulette for those guys. 

 

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Speaking of disasters in unexpected places; if you end up doing the Colchuck Col route despite the dire looking video above (I’d never expect to see a major avvy there, it seems so benign.), be careful descending from Asgard Pass. How many fatalities have we had there recently from people glissading  into a moat/hidden waterfall? It’s actually a really cool route with a fine alpine feel and not much real difficulty. 

Edited by Phil K

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If you don't mind camping on snow (since it'll be snowy as a MF around Wing Lake during your timeframe), then one of the ridge routes on Black Peak would have nice ambiance and views if weather allows.  On paper this doesn't look like a huge / difficult mountain but I feel like it's a good "toe in the water" alpine environment in the way that Sahale is.

 

Another pretty cool place is Gothic Basin.  On paper not as ambitious or high altitude as a lot of the options described here, but there's aesthetic scrambling on Del Campo.  This could be a good back pocket alternative if you want something that has less snow or a lower level of effort than some of the bigger alternatives.

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Thanks Jared - both of those were on my "long list" and now just might be back on there.  I've spoken to a few Ranger offices and it seems that the snow conditions are, indeed, a MF!  At this point, which only a few days before we fly to Seattle, I'm thinking of keeping many options on the table and seeing what the conditions are by visiting the ranger stations and talking to the climbing Rangers when I arrive (Zach Winters in Methow Valley has been super helpful, and gave me the name of the climbing Ranger in Leavenworth too).  As Zach said, "sometimes the mountains call the shots."  

 

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On 5/21/2018 at 7:58 AM, jared_j said:

If you don't mind camping on snow (since it'll be snowy as a MF around Wing Lake during your timeframe), then one of the ridge routes on Black Peak would have nice ambiance and views if weather allows.  On paper this doesn't look like a huge / difficult mountain but I feel like it's a good "toe in the water" alpine environment in the way that Sahale is.

+1 for Black Peak, especially NE ridge. The snow is just steep enough to feel like you're 'climbing' snow, and the rambling on the rock ridge is fun, easy and long enough to feel like you're rock climbing. And Wing Lake area is pretty. For reference, attached is a pic of the steepest bit of snow (06/12/16).

The mountains call the shots, but in my personal experience you're a little less likely to get shut down by weather in the WA Pass area than the Cascade Pass area.

And up in the WA pass area, SW Buttress of South Early Winter Spire is a great 5.8 that I've always thought was a bit of a gimme, in the sense the cruxes are short, and varied. Nice route, and something to think about if you've done the Beckey on Liberty Bell and want a little more.

DSC00664.jpg

Edited by Raoul Duke

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