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Ian Lauder

[TR] Sinister Peak / Dome Peak - West Ridge 07/21/2019

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Trip: Sinister Peak / Dome Peak - West Ridge

Trip Date: 07/21/2019

Trip Report:


3ish day trip to climb Sinister and Dome. 

Hiked in the first 6 miles on Fri night to 6 Mile Shelter.


Saturday hiked the 8 miles in just over 7 hours to Iswoot Ridge (thick wet bushwacking for a mile, hornets and a bit of off-route travel here and there).


21 hour day on Sunday. The route to Sinister is just about out and we weren't even sure it the glacier would be passable.  So we considered it a bonus if we could get there. Had to do a much longer downclimb and side traverse around the bergschrund and over another lower crevasse just to get started from the Dome saddle. There were faint previous tracks that went down a shorter downclimb and over a snow bridge that has now collapsed (you can see that 2 pictures down).



Only had to backtrack from one path that was a dead end, then the final crevasse leading to Sinister had one small snowbridge left we could cross. Other than that the navigation was pretty straight forward even if it did involve some weaving around a number of large crevasses.


Burned most of our time getting there and only had an hour before our turn around time to climb. We figured if we could do a quick run up we could make it in time to get back for Dome.


After re-reading the route beta we had printed out that it was some 3rd class with a + move and then to easy 2nd class and no mention of gear or ropes we went up without rope and gear, which in hindsight wasn't a good idea. Turned out the people who had written that trip report had pitched it out and rappelled and one thought it was 4th class. Found that out after we got back. With approach shoes I thought the climbing wasn't bad, just 4th class exposure in a couple places. But everyone else had heavy boots which made those moves more thought provoking.

The first 3rd+ moves after getting up the gully turned back half our group and the other 2 of us up higher had to descend a 2nd parallel gully that had a 4th class move to get down into. Plus I had to poach rappel slings off a couple rap anchors to use as makeshift handlines to lower down a couple moves on longer slab to get people down a move on each of the gullies.  So if anyone sees a couple free hanging pieces of webbing, that was us...

The gully that is snow filled that could be scrambled down early season was melted out to the point it cliffed out about 15 feet above a moat. So, we burned another couple hours getting a rope up to rappel down.  The other half of our party walked back around to where we dropped the gear and was able to lead up about 20 feet next to the gully and tossed the rope over to us and we rapped back down.  After doing some exploring where the right gully cliffed out and scrambling up climbers left and out of it and moving left about 10 feet its possible to get out of it without a rope, but would involve about 10 feet of kitty litter angled slab with questionable holds.  We didn't have to resort to trying that as by then we had the rope to rap down with.

In hindsight double checking what we did we were on route but it was confusing and didn’t match up with the beta we had. Plus 2 different gps devices showed us in different places which added to the confusion. Finding 4 rappel stations and 4th class climbing when we were expecting 3rd class made us wonder if we were on a different route. We could have done a better job digging around for more beta on this one.


Busted back to Dome as fast as we could and barely had time to summit that just at sunset which was an awesome view. Spent the next 3 hours navigating back to camp in pitch dark. Halfway there 2 rechargable headlamps without spare batteries had died and we were navigating back with cell phones.


Late dinner at 1am. Slept in late on Monday and had a more relaxed day with a long hike out with dinner at Taco Bell in Arlington at midnight.


Good times. This one throws a lot at you. Might be one of our favorite trips so far - except for that getting cliffed out part.

We'll be back but for the North Face next time.  We got the best and hardest parts of that route, good enough for the first try on this peak.

The concerning part turned out at the end of the trip. Back at the cars the next day ran into a guy who had the next morning summitted Dome right after us who had met a 20 something year old with little glacier experience and wearing tennis shoes with crampons and an ice axe doing the Ptarmigan Traverse who he saw following our boot tracks solo over to Sinister. And he had made it past the first bergschrund. No idea what the rest of his skills are or what he knew about Sinister. Gonna have to keep our eyes open for any reports on if he made it back and how far he got.  If anyone hears about a kid soloing Sinister this weekend drop us a note how he faired.

Gear Notes:
40m rope, light rack, ice axe, crampons, stuff

Approach Notes:
Heavy wet brush on the way in, dry and fairly beaten down on the way out.










































Edited by Ian Lauder
added video and photos
  • Like 1
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Nice work.  Your video commentary is surprisingly upbeat for being stuck in the gully without a rope!  Attitude is everything.


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HAHA, yea.  We had a rope, it was just down at the base of the climb with a couple other people, so we just had wait awhile for them to get it and toss it over.  Towards the end we figured out a possible way down without it involving going back up the gully about 15 feet, scrambling up and out of the gully then working over about 15 feet to a sloping ramp that spits you out on the rocks you can step onto the snow from.  The person that brought the rope up managed to get up that way and over the gully.  If we had really gotten stuck we probably would have figured that out at some point. Worst case we could have retraced the route but that would have taken a lot longer and the person I had with me I didn't want to put them through that.

Edited by Ian Lauder

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