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Frostbite Ridge route conditions?


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Has anyone else noticed the rock formation just below the rabbit ears Jeff made his avatar? The rabbit ears are easy to spot from the other side, but not from the north. I hereby nominate cock rock as the most distinguishing landmark of the ridge. Frostbite Ridge comes with its own tool.

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Crazy_Jeff said:

I also want to ask a couple extra questions...

1) Why do climbers always get up so early?

2) Why carry over?


Crazy Jeff,

Climbers get up early on mountaineering routes because the snow is firmer, snowbridges are more secure, to avoid sun exposure, and sometimes they have lots of climbing to do before dark. The first two issues are relevant on Glacier Peak. Someone posted that they punched through a snowbridge on the Sitkum while descending. I did too. The crevasse that I punched into (fortunately with just one leg) was big enough to have fucked me up pretty badly had I gone all the way in. It was at least three feet wide and deep enough to be black. Use care while descending.


People carry over because the descent route is shorter, less steep, safer from rock/ice/snow fall, etc, or because they want to see more of the mountain. In my case, I wanted to see the Sitkum Glacier route because it is a well-known route and I thought I might be interested in climbing it someday (not anymore).


Brief TR:

Partner and I climbed Heatstroke Ridge (aka Frostbite Ridge) in 28hrs (not super fast) with a camp at 7300ft on the ridge. This was one of the top five most scenic climbs I have ever done. Beautiful views of the entire Cascade Range and even the Olympics. Beautiful wildflowers and heather. Spectacular alpine environment. Would make a great backpacking/hiking trip up to our 7300ft camp.


Route is pretty straightforward. Partner was nervous about the last icy bit below summit, so we roped up for that and I placed one screw and one picket while climbing with just a regular mountain axe. Partner had the "third" tool.


Spent 1.5 hours on the summit and had a little session. hahaha.gif Did not see anyone until we started descending Sitkum route. Sitkum route is long, dusty, rocky, steep, and with much less viewage than Heatstroke Ridge.


LOTS of deer flies and a few mosquitoes below treeline. Deer flies are annoying and are too slow to bite you much. Partner used DEET which didn't seem to slow them down. I relied on my leg hair and quick hands to fend them off.


Lots of trail work/construction going on in the area. The PCT is washed out at Kennedy Creek (48degrees07.463minutes North, 121degrees10.255minutes West, 3940ft elev). The NFS has diverted people through the Kennedy Hot Springs area, but be aware of this and don't try to go North on the PCT from the Boulder Basin trail. We added about 1.5miles onto our day because of this mistake.


Despite what Crazy Jeff says rolleyes.gif, I would say that crampons and an axe are required equipment for safely ascending the icy northern side of the old crater up to the summit. People without much steep snow/ice experience will probably want a rope and a couple of pieces of pro. For people with some experience, the route is definately solo-able and the runout at the bottom of the icy section is mellow. The route is definately downclimbable, and unless you really want to see the Sitkum route for some reason (not a great route) I would recommend downclimbing and going back down Frostbite. Much more scenic and a much better trail.


Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful route. Go do it!



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Stephen_Ramsey said:

Did you guys have trouble getting out of Boulder Basin?


The climbers' path down to Boulder Basin was pretty crappy (and we were tired), so that part sucked. I stumbled a couple of times on the loose gravel and down-sloping ledges.


Once we got down to Boulder Basin, we were a bit unsure where to go. So we headed for the small ridge with lots of tents (which was a couple hundred meters to the right of the "trail" we had been descending), crossing a couple of small drainages along the way. We figured the tents would all be near the trail, which thankfully turned out to be the case.





The reason I asked is it looked like y'all were over on the left side of the basin, not near the trail. I knew the way out because I had been there before so I was tempted to go tell you guys the way out was on the right side, but people usually just want to be left alone and find out on their own (which you did) so I didn't. And by the time we were down by the pit toilet y'all had found the correct path. thumbs_up.gif

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