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onetoole

Buckner N Face TR

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Ahh...the most ferkin' beautiful climb! We did the N Face of Buckner yesterday, roundtripping from our Sahale moraine camp in 13 fun-filled hours. Clambered over the summit of Sahale, then went up high on the ridge toward Boston Peak until just below the last bump below the summit, and did a very short traverse on crap to get around to where Boston Glacier reaches high up on Boston's N side. Boston Glacier was just stunning, and easy to travel across. Same is true for Buckner's N Face, it sported firm neve that took good pickets, and easy-to-get-around bergschrunds and crevasses. I didn't get a good look at the N couloir, but from what I saw it's pretty much the same, with perhaps a little more broken up jumble at the bottom. Our option with Sahale camp went OK because conditions were perfect, but still a carryover might have been more fun.

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I'm assuming you're talking about the traverse of Boston? Just don't hold on to the rocks, they tend to not be attached to anything. But truly, it's not bad at all if you go as we did. All other traverses (Boston Glacier, Horseshoe Basin) were fruit.gifcake.

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I was surprised at how easy the traverse was. Mostly Class 2-3 scrambling on loose rock. It only takes a few minutes to get from the base of Sahale to the Boston Glacier.

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mmm, not sure exactly. wave.gif just heard there's a gross traverse. maybe getting onto the face. i think it was kearny said something bout severing the rope of hte party below him with a rock they sent down. i assumed when you said "crap" you were talking about the same place.

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Although my Kearney book is currently MIA, I believe the severed rope was on the actual N face of Buckner, and the nasty traverse is on Boston to get onto the Boston Glacier. (I believe he severed his own rope, the rope was going down to a client.)

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The traverse from Sahale summit to the Boston Glacier was not too bad. However, because of the loose rock and some exposure, I was glad that the rock was dry and that I was only carrying a day pack. In rainy conditions or with overnight gear, I would have been a lot more cautious on the traverse.

 

One other note, if you are planning to return to Sahale moraine via the short gully that leads up (from Horseshoe Basin) to the southern spur ridge of Sahale, you will want to look carefully for a scramble route to gain the ridge crest. At the top of the "short gully" that Nelson mentions, you will get to a notch in the ridge. We went over the saddle to the west side of the ridge, and somehow got off-route. We tried to scramble up to the ridge crest from the west side. That was a bad idea, and we ended up doing some "extreme scrambling" on wet, loose choss. We did find that after going up about 75', there is a nice class 3 "trail" on the east side of the ridge crest. The trail looked like it came up from further down on the ridge. So... perhaps the "trail" starts somewhere on the east side of the notch. I'm not sure. But I think there has *got* to be an easier way than we took. So be on the lookout for a scramble path, and hopefully you will fare better than we did. Maybe others can offer some more specific beta. I'd be curious to know where we went wrong.

 

Other than that, it was a very good, straightforward route.

 

For more info, you can read our trip report:

 

http://www.speakeasy.net/~sramsey/climbing/triplog/200307-buckner

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My partner and I camped at Boston-Sahale col Saturday night (all the Sahale permits were taken) and planned on carrying over the next day. I guess we were one day late, though. We retreated to the tent around 8pm when it started raining hard. The noise of the wind and rain kept me from getting any real sleep, and when our alarm beeped at 3.30am, it was still nasty out. We went back over Sahale at 9am, still in a whiteout. tongue.gif

 

The camp at the col is pretty cool -- a single tent platform with a short rock wall. I left my stove and pot on a little sheltered alcove nearby (a great kitchen) and it didn't blow away overnight. The view would probably be incredible, too. We got only a very short glimpse of Ripsaw Ridge and Buckner through the clouds, but it was awesome! I definitely want to try again and camp in the same spot.

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So... perhaps the "trail" starts somewhere on the east side of the notch. I'm not sure. But I think there has *got* to be an easier way than we took.

The easier way is really not too obvious: you go up the snow finger, then up a short step either around the left side or straight up. Then a bunch of trails lead to the left, which is where you went and suffered. The good way is to go straight up, it doesn't look like it but it's only 10 feet of 4th class and then you're on the trail.

 

One can also avoid crossing the ridge altogether, and just traverse around the bottom. It's more work, and you might get caught in a waterfall, but people have done it.

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Going around the toe of the ridge and up the drainage below the Sahale Glacier is not bad this time of year. When we went up that way on July 6th we had snow all the way. The route went up the middle left of the lower drainage and then cut left up a smaller gulley which avoided the cliffs/waterfalls of the upper drainage and put us practically on level with the moraine camps of Sahale. From what we could tell, this route would be very doable any time of year....

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Thanks Onetoole for the great beta for getting out of Horshoe Basin from the notch above the snow gully. Marek and I climbed the NF of Buckner via Cascade Pass on Monday as a one day 16hr push. Awesome day-everything went easier than expected. Especially nice after my last Mt. Challenger Ass-Whoopin.

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four of us did this last sat-sun. we ended up camping on boston glacier because sahale permits were gone, which turned out to be kind of nice, though packs were heavier due to carryover. the NF is still in good shape and we had the place to ourselves. descending the SF had *a lot* of arduous scree to descend and traverse and i wonder if much more of this is snow covered earlier in the season. getting back on top of the ridge leading to sahale from the snow finger was way sketchy, probably because we failed to follow some of the advice above about going straight up instead of following "trails" to the left. re going around and up below sahale glacier: i saw the glacier calve off a couple house volumes of ice - boom/crash/rumble that was the biggest icefall i have ever seen. front row seats. rockband.gif

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Yesterday, July 29, there was hardly any snow left in the lower drainage. Seems more like a scree and slide now if you go around the toe of the ridge, but still doable. Going up the snow finger would definitely save time and energy. The moat on the right side of the finger allowed us to gain the ridge quickly.

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