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Albuquerque Fred

[TR] Boston - Buckner - Horseshoe - Boston - Buckner - Horseshoe 06/17/2018

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Trip: Boston - Buckner - Horseshoe - Boston - Buckner - Horseshoe

Trip Date: 06/17/2018

Trip Report:

Sean is always bitching at me to write up one of my adventures.  So here it is, two day trip to tag Boston, Buckner, and Horseshoe.  Happy??

I got a leisurely 930 am start at Eldo TH at MP 20 on Cascade River Road, up the Boston Basin climber's trail.  Snow mostly melted out in the trees, almost complete snow coverage by 5800'.  Brush on the old road grade at 3-4k made me glad I wasn't carrying skis.  Continued up the Quien Sabe Glacier to reach the Boston-Sahale Col around 5 pm.  From that vantage the S face of Boston looks improbable.  I ended up ascending the ridge towards the false summit until the end of the snow and east-hanging cornices.  Traversed around the east side but was continually nonplussed with descending or contouring.  I opted to scramble back to the ridge crest near the saddle between the southern false summits which led me to a decent and short ledge system which deposited me on the upper reaches of the Boston Glacier.  From this vantage the contours of the route on Boston became more apparent, and as I got closer I saw all the rap slings among the ledges.  Dropped my pack and gave it a go, reaching the top a little before 7 pm.  The exposure is unmistakable and thought provoking, especially with mountaineering boots.  Due to all the choss reports on this peak I tested foot and hand holds extra deliberately.  Fought my way past the plastic unicorn guarding the posh log and signed the first entry of this year.  Whoever it was on CC or Peakbagger who said they downclimbed this route has balls of steel and the patience of a Thomas Pynchon reader.

Rapped 3 pitches and headed down and across the Boston Glacier to bivy at 7300' below the N Face of Buckner, finally dropping my pack around 9 and dug in for the night.  Up at 4:30 am and eventually moving at 5:40.  There were a few cracks opening up, but as observed from Boston a clear route up the N Face.  The snow had hardened overnight though was still a little punchy from where I started.  When the slope steepened over 7800' it became more firm.  It was quite secure on front points, with rest spots easy to kick in every now and then.  Nothing like the bullet proof holy shit don't slip bowling alley lane that Sean and I encountered on the Nohokomeen Headwall 3 weeks prior.  It was mostly straight up to about 8400' where I began a leftward ascending traverse along a snow finger to the main slope beneath the peaks.  Then more straight up to the summit near the SW peak.  Front dagger and front points almost the whole way.  Glorious.  

Topped out around 745, fiddled around finding the ledge on the south side around the gendarme blocking access to the NE peak.  Took a break at the top of both summits, both crawling with ladybugs.  Oh my God am I glad I am here.  If they had put these mountains in Texas it would be cockroaches instead.  Following a boot track I believe may have been from 6-16 I started heading down to Horseshoe Basin around 10 am.  I immediately regretted not leaving my crampons on since that aspect having only seen sun for a short while was still uncomfortably firm.  More about persistence than safety I persisted, occasionally swallowing my pride and front pointing down the reasonably mellow slope.  Eventually I reached more mellow terrain, contoured around 8200' over to the base of Horseshoe, dropped my pack, found the starting gully and ledge, and was quickly at the top.  A rap got me back to the gully.  

Back across the Horseshoe Basin following the boot track to 6600' which again began ascending to a notch at the top of a steep snow finger.  From here it is a quick ascending traverse along the rest of the big gully SE of the Sahale Glacier.  This area is starting to melt out and there is some hang fire, so I was encouraged to move quickly.  I found myself at the Sahale bivy sites around 3 facing a decision.  Tag Sahale for extra credit, or reach my car 2 hours earlier to be reunited with my ice cold ciders?  Down I went.  I cut down across the Arm to around 6800', then continued down SW over continuous snow to find the sadistic Cascade Pass Trail.  Back to the car by 6:30 pm where my love was waiting.


Buckner (R) from top of Boston.  Black center and Logan left.



Buckner from Boston Glacier



Forbidden Sunset



Horseshoe Basin exit, crosses the rockfall streak to the wide snow finder at the base of the ridge, then crosses the bowling alley and up the steep snow left of the broken area.



Gear Notes:
Axe, ice tool, crampons, and rope for use. 2 pickets and a set of stoppers for character.

Approach Notes:
Trailrunners for the road and the trails below ~5k. Worth the weight.
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Lovely adventure and TR.

Thanks for posting!

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