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jefetronic

[TR] Mount Maude - North Face 07/23/2022

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Trip: Mount Maude - North Face

Trip Date: 07/23/2022

Trip Report:

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Kelsey and I were ready to move on from ski season but are in terrible rock climbing shape after pandemic years out of the rock gym, so we searched for snow routes.  Mount Maude quickly shot up the list and we believed it would still be in shape despite it being late July, based on the snowpack we’d been observing this summer so far.  We’d been up in the area to scramble Seven Fingered Jack before, and so the approach was familiar.

We drove out Friday night in Kelsey’s van, getting a free, violent massage chair experience on the especially-bumpy access road, and conking out a bit after 11pm.  We had decided that it would be nice to catch the route in slightly softened conditions and that its North-facing aspect should keep it from heating up too much, so we woke up at 5am and were moving by 5:30am.  With just climbing gear, layers, and food for the day, we were reasonably light and banged out the approach to the meadow camp in Leroy Creek Basin in just over 2 hours.  From there, we followed the climber’s trail until we hit snow, switched to boots, and made our way up to the Seven Fingered Jack / Maude col at about 10am.  It was sunnier, warmer, and with less snow than we’d hoped on this side, but our view of the top of the route suggested it might still be in condition.

We had a snack here, put on our harnesses and sharps, and started our downward traverse toward the route.  We were on mushy snow for a ways before hitting a baked-out section for which we took crampons off and scrambled loose 3rd class until hitting snow coming down the North Face which looked more or less continuous.  We got our crampons back on here at 11:30am and pulled out our second tools.  The snow was softer than we were hoping for down low, but not demonstrating any signs of loose slide potential, so we scampered upwards unroped.  The angle down low is quite reasonable in the 35-40 degree range.

In the middle of the route, there was a brief bare traversing section we had to scramble through, but it was low-angled and pretty easy.  From there, the route kicked up in steepness.  We took our time, kicking in good steps, which varied in difficulty from a couple of kicks to five or six with some toe bashing.  The last 75 feet or so was appreciably steeper and much more firm.  We slowed further here to kick nice, secure steps.  A nice consolation was that the firmer snow made for secure high-dagger tool placements.

At 1:15pm, we crested the last steep snow of the North Face and high-fived on low-angle, rocky terrain that led to the summit.  We had lunch and took a brief nap up here then started down at 2:15pm.  After heading down the South Ridge for a ways, we decided to roll the dice and take a more direct, loose descent path to the West.  It had efficient sections on loose scree and snow and a couple more painstaking sections on loose rock,  but it went.  By 4pm, we were back at the Leroy Creek Basin camp area and, by 6:15pm, we were back at the van for just under a 13-hour day.  A fun day out, a beautiful area, and a nice transition out of ski season.

The booter is in!  I'd guess the route will still be in for another couple weeks (knowing how hot it's gotten since our ascent).  Go get it.  A few more photos and a GPS track are here: https://www.jeffreyjhebert.com/adventures/north-face-of-mount-maude

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Gear Notes:
Soloed the route with crampons and two tools. Brought a few pickets, a few screws, and a 30m glacier line just in case. Only pickets would have protected it.

Approach Notes:
Head to 7FJ-Maude Col and then do a descending traverse across snow and loose 3rd class to ~7,750 to start the route.
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Awesome! Thanks for all your reports -- your website has definitely been a source of stoke for me over the years :)

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Such an awesome route - great TR and photos!  In 2001, Erik Snyder (whatever happened to him - moved to Tahoe and then?), my wife and I did it in a day door-to-door from Bellevue.  We were late getting home to the babysitter.  =;-)  In 2005, Kurt Hicks and I did it after deciding against the Crawling Rat Rib.  We cheated by sleeping in Leroy Basin.  You should consider the Entiat Icefall as another good route on Maude (Bob Davis and I did that in 2000 with the great and handsome Chris Weidner).  And, for routes like this, the North Face of Sinister is in good shape right now.  Just spent a couple days looking at it from the Ptarmigan Traverse.  Caveat - the Bachelor Creek "trail" is in rough shape right now.  Unless you like blow down, in which case you'll be psyched.

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30 minutes ago, Juan Sharp said:

great and handsome Chris Weidner

I didn't know you knew Chris!!!  So great.

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I can't reveal all my secrets, Jason, even after 5 1/2 days of trying but failing to keep up with you on the Ptarmigan Traverse.  =;-)

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Violent massages are the best .  Thanks for the report !

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16 hours ago, Juan Sharp said:

.  Just spent a couple days looking at it from the Ptarmigan Traverse.  Caveat - the Bachelor Creek "trail" is in rough shape right now.  Unless you like blow down, in which case you'll be psyched.

Hey, just sent ya a message about the Ptarmigan Traverse. Thanks!

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