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martin

Spider Mountain North Face ski descent

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On June 17th Pro Guiding Service owner Martin Volken and Peter Avolio skied the North Face of Spider Mountain.

 

We approached the face via Cascade Pass, Cache Col and Arts Knoll on the 16th. We camped at Arts Knoll. The next day we descended onto the Spider Glacier and observed some larger avalanches coming of the face lookers right of the 1976 route (Beckey guide). We hurried accross the upper Spider Glacier and accessed the face just to the right of the 1972 route. The ascent involved some basic snow climbing and initial moat navigation. We trended left since this was the only part of the summit ridge that was not corniced. We felt good about this, but also realized that the objectively safest ski line was also the steepest line on the face. This was the snow band that runs to the east and parallel to the 1972 route.

Snow conditions for skiing turned out to be more confidence inspiring than anticipated during the ascent.

Length of the face is about 1400 feet and steepness ranges between 45 in the lower half to 54 degrees in the top half. Conditions were ok but not great. Moats are definitively detaching and the face was quite runneled.

The final moat was negotiated via rappel off a buried rock in the snow. It seemed like quite a commiting line, so Peter dubbed it Arachnophobia.

 

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well done! is a 'backcountry skiing: north cascades' in the making i wonder smile.gif

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Congrats! As Sky said, I'll scratch that one off my list. Of course, that doesn't mean I still won't go ski it. Nice work!!! grin.gif p.s. Will you post pics?

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I will put some pictures on the website of the guiding service in the next couple of weeks. (proguiding.com)

When it is up I will note it on Cascade Climbers. The guys from Telemark Tips might put something up...

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martin, out of curiosity, is spider really the crumbling pile of crap that all the quotes in beckey, et al describe it as?

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I have climbed it via the West Ridge a couple of years ago and must say, the rock is garbage there for the most part.

Seems like the North Face routes are the best, since you do not have to deal with much of the poor rock.

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JoshK said:

out of curiosity, is spider really the crumbling pile of crap that all the quotes in beckey, et al describe it as?

 

yes it is

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There are some photos from the descent on our website now at proguiding.com

Stay safe out there.

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JoshK said:

martin, out of curiosity, is spider really the crumbling pile of crap that all the quotes in beckey, et al describe it as?

 

I once climbed the Kloke route in the Fall. The initial pitch over the bergschrund was on steep, loose and unprotected rock that was covered with dirt, but the ice climbing on the face itself was OK. The descent down the south side was quite steep, and the rock was about as crumbly as anything that might be called "rock" -- much of it was really more like hardened dirt puctuated by "outcrops" of crumbling garbage. I'd say it rivals even the Canadian Rockies for junk factor but overall I thought the climb was worth while.

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The south side route is fine if you do it early in the season (like right now). It's mostly snow. As I recall, there are a couple of south side gullies and you want to take the more easterly one (traverse farther east from Spider-Formidable col). The Kloke route on the north face is a fun snow climb, but usually requires a rock pitch to bypass the schrund. Avoid the ridges on Spider.

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