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Cascade Alpine Guide, Vol 2, 3rd Ed, errata/addenda


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I recently picked up a copy of CAG-2, 3rd Ed., Stevens Pass to Rainy Pass. I contributed some info for this edition, but some of it came out wrong or incomplete. This message contains corrected and additional information for the book. It would be great if other climbers could contribute other errata/addenda to this thread, both for future editions and to fill the void until the next edition comes out (probably over a decade away).


p. 338, Thunder Peak, West Buttress


This entry is badly garbled. The route should be the East Ridge and the date should be 1998, not 1988. No route description is included in the book. Here's a picture of the route:




And here's my writeup from AAJ-1999, p. 215:


Thunder Peak, East Ridge. Thunder Peak is an 8,800-foot satellite of Mount Logan in the North Cascades. Its 2,000-foot east ridge first caught my eye 15 years ago during a ski ascent of Logan. The ridge features two notches, at 7,500 and 8,000 feet, and rises sharply to the summit. On Labor Day weekend, Silas Wild and I hiked from Fisher Creek to a 5,200-foot lake north of Mount Logan. This is the normal approach to the Banded Glacier. On September 6 [1998], from a camp above the lake, we crossed a 7,040-foot col ("Birthday Pass") to reach the base of the route. We scrambled the first few hundred feet of the ridge, then belayed three pitches to the notch at 7,500 feet. While preparing to rappel, we found rope fibers, evidence of a previous climbing party. Since we saw no other artifacts, we don't know whether the earlier party retreated from this point or finished the climb. We rappelled 80 feet into the notch. The crux of the route was a 5.7 pitch out of the notch. From there to the second notch the climbing was mostly low-end fifth on solid rock with excellent views. The second notch had a short rappel and a rotten gully, but the rock improved above it. We reached the summit in about ten hours from camp (Grade III). The descent back to camp was uneventful until the last few feet of moraine. There Silas was caught and partially buried by a rock avalanche. Miraculously, his only injuries were bruises, a small gash on his leg and a broken wrist. He was able to start hiking the next day, and after another night on the trail, reached Colonial campground early the following morning.


p. 355, Kimtah Peak, East Face


There are two entries for this route, one called a variation of the NE Ridge (should be deleted) and one properly called the East Face. Neither contains a very good description of the route. Here's my writeup from AAJ-1991, p. 166:


Kimtah Peak, East Face, 1989. On April 25, 1989, my brother Carl and I climbed the east face of Kimtah Peak. Under early-season conditions, this appears to be the easiest way up the peak from Katsuk Glacier. Our route was near the center of the face, where an avalanche cone gave us a boost onto the steep rock band that spans the base of the wall. We climbed two short mixed sections to get past the band, then 50 degree snow to the summit crest. Lacking rock gear, we made two bollard rappels to pass the band on the descent. In summer, the face would probably be much harder. The rock band would be a formidable obstacle and there would be much loose climbing above.


p. 354, Katsuk Peak, North Face Couloir


The route description says the couloir divides the left side of the face. It divides the right. This error was introduced by the AAJ editor, not in this book. Here's my writeup (corrected) from AAJ-1993, p. 146:


Katsuk Peak, North Face Couloir. On May 3 [1992], my brothers Gordy and Carl and I climbed a 1200-foot couloir that splits the right side of this face. We made running belays by looping slings around horns, but some of the anchors were questionable. Snow flukes, rock protection or second ice tools would have been useful. At the top of the couloir, we swarmed up 60 degree powder snow and then squeezed through a narrow slot to pass a cornice. We scrambled along the south side of the west ridge to reach the summit, which offered great views of the North Cascades. (II, Class 3.)


p. 322, Mt Torment, Torment-Forbidden Ridge (North Spurs)


These routes are more properly listed under Forbidden Peak, not Mt Torment. The first ascent party should list me instead of my brother Gordy. The route information is pretty brief. Here is a picture of the spurs (to the right of the NW face spur).




Here's my writeup from AAJ-1991, p. 165:


Forbidden Peak, The Forgotten Spurs, 1989. West of the northwest face of Forbidden Peak, on the divide leading to Mount Torment, are a pair of north facing spurs long neglected by climbers. On August 26 and 27, 1989, my brother Carl and I climbed both spurs after descending from Forbidden Peak's west ridge notch. On the afternoon of the 26th, we rappelled from the notch to the Forbidden Glacier and traversed to the base of the west spur. We gained it on its east side at a little notch about 300 feet above the toe. The first pitch was up brittle rock left of the notch; the second with terribly loose rock near the crest. Above, the angle eased and the spur became a delightful scramble on clean textured gneiss. A snow crest completed the last few hundred feet to the airy Torment-Forbidden divide. A thunderstorm made reaching our bivouac at Forbidden's west ridge frightening. (III, 5.7.) The next morning we descended to the east spur. From the base, we climbed clean blocks and then lichen-covered cracks along the crest, up steep blocks and corners just left of the edge. I made a few aid moves to get up a fine dihedral that seemed hopeless in my wet mountain boots. The third pitch climbed a brittle pillar, then increasingly mossy rock to the crest. The spur eased to enjoyable, blocky fourth-class scrambling. From the top, it was a fairly short climb along the divide to the west-ridge notch. (III, 5.8, A1.) If continued to the summit via the west ridge, either spur would be a Grade IV route on the peak.


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Phrases appearing in the two opening paragraphs of the Preface to volume 2 of the Cascade Alpine Guide raise interesting questions as to the provenance of some the information contained therein:


"guidebook . . . encyclopedia of natural features . . . depicts . . . To achieve . . . quotations are . . . given from early narratives . . . Culture and technology . . . environment" (CAG-2, Preface, 1st ed. 1977 p. 9, 3rd ed. 2003 p. 7)


"encyclopedia of natural features . . . guidebook . . . depict . . . To achieve . . . quotations are given from early . . . narratives . . . culture and technology . . . environment" (Exploring Washington, 1975, Preface, p. 6)


What is especially curious, is that nowhere in all of the 400 pages of CAG-2 (or CAG-1 or CAG-3, for that matter) is "Exploring Washington" mentioned. This is not the only instance, as may be seen from the following:


"the original railroad grade, completed in 1893 . . . highway over Stevens Pass was completed in 1924-1925, following the original railroad grade" (CAG-2, pp. 154-155)


"The original railroad grade, completed in 1893 . . . Stevens Pass Highway, completed during 1924-25, followed this original railroad grade" (Exploring Washington, p. 88, item 123)


"names . . . Chinook jargon . . . Forest Service . . . 1910 to 1940 . . . dialect . . . incongruous . . . coastal Indian trade language" (CAG-2, p. 155)


"Chinook jargon . . . names . . . Forest Service . . . 1910-40 . . . dialect . . . incongruous . . . trade language . . . coastal Indians" (Exploring Washington, p. 41, item 43)


"The name honors the eminent British geologist Sir Charles Lyall [sic, Lyell] (1797-1875)" (CAG-2, p. 232)


"named in honor of the celebrated English geologist Charles Lyell (1797-1875)" (Exploring Washington, p. 44, item 220)


What is particularly significant about the last entry, is that this is an historical error which was introduced for the first time and which is unique to "Exploring Washington." Mt. Lyall actually takes its name from the alpine larch present in this region, Larix lyallii, which in turn honors the British botanist with the Northwest Boundary Survey, David Lyall (1817-1895). Other parallelisms, particularly in the origins of geographic place names, suggest that has CAG has made significant use of "Exploring Washington" as a source of information, but without indication of provenance.


It would appear that Fred has held the literary style of the author of "Exploring Washington" in such high esteem, he chose that author's words with which to open his own magnum opus. Perhaps this could be regarded as an honor. But then, one begins to wonder if a detailed literary analysis of all three volumes of CAG might reveal that other individuals have been similarly honored.


At least one other individual:


"This superb climb has enough difficulties to satisfy almost anyone, and its mixed character, requiring genuine ice climbing, places it in a rather select group of difficult American climbs requiring skill in both rock and ice technique." (George Lowe, "Grand Teton, North Face of Enclosure," The American Alpine Journal, 1970, pp. 132-133, ex p. 133)


"An exceptional climb of purity, with enough variety and difficulty to satisfy almost anyone. Its mixed character, requiring some genuine ice climbing, places it in a rather select group of North Cascade climbs requiring flexible alpine skills." (CAG-2, 1st ed. 1977, p. 289, Forbidden Peak, northwest face)


This evident parallelism was first discovered by Lowell, who called attention to it in: "A Curious Beckey-ism," rec.climbing, posted 1993-08-04. He again made note of it more recently in: "Route Reports -- North Cascades -- Beta for NW face ice climb of Forbidden," cascadeclimbers.com, post #52634, dated 09/11/02, 08:13 pm. What makes the situation particularly incongruous is the fact, first noted by Lowell in 1993, that "the NW Face of Forbidden Peak really doesn't have any ice climbing"!


This is an astounding piece of mountaineering scholarship on Lowell's part. How many people would have perused the description for Forbidden's northwest face, retained this information in mind, perchanced to read the Grand Teton description at a later time, and then perceived the parallelism between the two accounts? It is one thing to recognize one's own words --- but to remember the writings of two different individuals, and then match the two, this requires an exceptionally keen mind.


(The 1993 post was apparently brought to Fred's attention, for in the 1996 revised second printing of the second edition of CAG-2, p. 304, the wording has been altered to read: "An exceptional climb of purity. Its mixed character requires some genuine climbing, and flexible alpine skills.")


Off_White has also performed an astonishing feat of literary detective work, for scarcely 6 minutes after Lowell's initial post, he identified George Lowe's phrase "select group" as also occuring in CAG-3, p. 113, Mt. Fury, north buttress (post #52635, 09/11/02, 08:19 pm). How many individuals, given the two words "select group," can then, within 6 minutes, promptly determine precisely where they appear in the three volumes of CAG? Cascadeclimbers.com has some remarkably astute individuals among its forum members.

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i have seen a certain guidebook author copying out information from a certain publication (another guidebook) he was too cheap to buy, onto a set of mcdonalds napkins (too cheap to buy note paper when napkins are free) in the book department at MEC.


or look at the latest ELAHO Bugaboo guidebook where a few drawn topos appear which look VERY SIMILAR to topos from the old Bensen Green guide with a few minor changes !!! yellaf.gif


or check out Smoot guidebooks which are SHAMELESSLY PLAGIARIZED from every other source imaginable shocked.gif

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Dru said:

or look at the latest ELAHO Bugaboo guidebook where a

few drawn topos appear which look VERY SIMILAR to topos

from the old Bensen Green guide with a few minor changes !!! yellaf.gif


my understanding of this situation is that the topos in

the Bensen/Green guide were based on uncredited originals

drawn by one of the authors of the new Elaho guide anyways,

but the topo credit was given to the Mountaineers publisher's

artist who tidied them up for printing.

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  • 5 months later...

I do not have the 3rd Edition of this book, but I have the second edition. I do not know if the third edition has been corrected for this error I found.


In the second edition this route title appears wrong:

Bedal Peak--Northwest Shoulder

The first sentence says: "Follow the trail about 3 1/2 mi. to the....." Which trail? Bedal Creek trail or Sloan Peak Trail?


The second sentence says: "From the Sloan-Bedal Peak saddle..." Well, if you are on the Sloan-Bedal Peak saddle then you obviously SE of Bedal. If you are SE of Bedal then how can this route description be in the Northwest Shoulder route title?

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You take the Sloan Peak trail to Cougar Creek and head up the right side of the creek, avoiding the falls. Hit the ridge at about 3800 ft where it trends due east-west. Follow it up to about 5500 ft where there is a drop off. Leave the ridge and do a rising traverse just off the ridge on the North face. At about 6,000 ft get back on the ridge and follow it to the summit. The summit register is a pill bottle.

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  • 2 months later...

The pictorial route description of Morningstar Peak is incorrect. The dashed line should continue to the "Swauk Formation east-dipping bed" as shown; however, the line then should continue NW (directly towards Sperry Peak in the picture) and then around the toe of the buttress (this buttress can be seen in the picture) and then heading west(directly towards Vesper Peak in the picture). The dashed dotted line would then be a little higher in the picture. The "East Side Route" is shown correctly.


The route as shown will lead climbers to a large cliff with about a 350 foot droppoff.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Prompted by some email from John Roper and Harry Majors on an unrelated topic, I looked through my copy of R. Duke Watson's outdoor trip record (which Duke generously gave me a couple years ago) for the month of August 1960. During a pack trip in the Washington Pass area with family and friends, Duke Watson, Warren Spickard and Dave Scott climbed both the east and west summits of Black Peak on August 23. This climb pre-dates the July 8, 1966 ascent of the west summit by the Firey-Meulemans party listed in CAG-2, 3rd Ed., p. 348.


So, I think the first ascent record for this summit needs to be revised.


R. Duke Watson is a little known and under-appreciated Washington mountaineer. He was an officer in the 10th Mountain Division in WWII, leading the company that seized Mt Della Torraccia in the Appenines, where Duke was wounded on the summit. He made the first ascent of the west peak of Mt Fury in the North Cascades and the fourth ascent of Mt Waddington in the B.C. Coast Mountains. He was a pioneer ski mountaineer and one of the founders of the Crystal Mountain ski area. Beginning in his fifties, he organized a series of canoe trips across Canada. Last I heard, Duke is still healthy and vigorous in his late 80s.


I suspect that a more thorough review of Duke's outdoor record (I've looked at it only for ski mountaineering trips) would uncover other pioneering climbs.

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  • 9 months later...

I don't know if this is the correct place to put this information. Here you go:


Big Devil Peak Northwest Route:


1) It says this: "From North Cascades Hwy at Sky Creek raft across the river." It should say: "From North Cascades Hwy 1/4 mile downriver from Sky Creek, raft across the river."


2) It says "Time: 2 days round trip". It should read, "Time: One long day."


3) The pictorial of the 1963 route shows a picture of a camp halfway through the route. Eliminate the picture of the camp--that is totally untrue.

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  • 5 months later...

Storm King Route revision:

My old edition of the CAG suggests leaving the PArk Creek trail 3/4 mile (towards Stehekin) of PArk Creek Pass. This route is bad-to-impossible, especially solo (Brush, cliffs, waterfalls, flowing gullies). If this approach is still included, I suggest ditching it.


The approach to Storm King should follow the Goode descent climber trail from the PArk Creek TRail. This climber trail leaves the maintained trail about half way (4.5 miles) from both the pass and the Stehekin Road. 400 yards up-valley of a huge washout (marked with 10' snag and cairn), the climber trail cuts off to the right (toward Goode and Storm King). Head up and right through the forest 1/4 mle until you shortly reach the ridgeline that runs toward Goode, parallel to this major watercourse draining Goode's SW side. The climber trail runs immediately WNW of this drainage gulley, and can be followed to meadows at 6,000'. From here, head north, through the talus basin between Goode and Storm King. Climb moderately steep snow or, later in year, talus, to a main gulley just SW of the highest/easternmost tower of Storm King. 40' below the top of the gulley(where one is able to look over the edge into the Bridge creek valley), follow a branch right (East), through a 4th class right-facing dihedral then up for 100' to the summit. A single rope rappel from the summit lets one avoid any exposed 4th class, and brings you back just below the 4th class dihedral.

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  • 4 weeks later...
R. Duke Watson is a little known and under-appreciated Washington mountaineer. He was an officer in the 10th Mountain Division in WWII, leading the company that seized Mt Della Torraccia in the Appenines, where Duke was wounded on the summit. He made the first ascent of the west peak of Mt Fury in the North Cascades and the fourth ascent of Mt Waddington in the B.C. Coast Mountains. He was a pioneer ski mountaineer and one of the founders of the Crystal Mountain ski area. Beginning in his fifties, he organized a series of canoe trips across Canada. Last I heard, Duke is still healthy and vigorous in his late 80s.




Mr. Watson sounds like an interesting character, whom I have no interest in belittling. However, I must point out that a brief review of the chronology of events on the mountain indicates he did NOT make the 4th ascent of Waddington.


1st ascent: Weissner and House, 1936 - FA SW face.

2nd ascent: Beckey and Beckey, 1942 - via SW face.

3rd ascent: Cook, Houston, Long, de Saussure, 1950 - FA Bravo Glacier route.

4th ascent: Bettler, Steck, 1950 - FA NE face.

5th ascent: Bitterlich, Bitterlich, Meier, Owen, Schiel; 1958 - via Bravo Glcr route [1st Canadian ascent].

6th ascent: Boyko, Fickeiesen, Jackson, Jacques, Latz, Magnussen; Aug 4, 1960 - via Bravo Glcr route [seattle Mountaineers].

7th ascent: a "climbing party which included Mountaineers Tim Kelley and Franz and Virginia Mohling"; after August 7th, 1960 - also via Bravo Glacier [1st female ascent].


The only reference to this ascent (the 7th) appears in passing in the midst of the Fickeisen/Gunnar report on their trip (which included the 6th ascent). No other names appear anywhere. Because of the interesting fact that this party included the first female to climb Waddington, I made attempts to track members down during my research for preparation of The Waddington Guide, but I was unsuccessful. I presume Mr. Watson was a member of this party?


Thanks for any clarification that you can provide.

Anybody got a contact for Virginia Mohling?



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Thanks for the correction, Don. The information about Duke's Waddington climb was told to me by one of his friends (not Duke himself) and as you have pointed out, it was not correct. In a recent interview, Duke said that his 1959 party did not reach the summit. They had fine weather on their summit day, but the tower was plastered with ice feathers, which were raining down frequently, so they retreated.


The rest of the information in my short note about Duke is correct. I'm planning to write a profile of him for the 2006 issue of the Northwest Mountaineering Journal. He's a remarkable guy. He was Fred Beckey's platoon leader in the U.S. army mountain troops, and gave Fred his basic training. He commanded the army's Seneca Rocks climbing school in 1944, which included as instructors most of the best climbers in the country at that time. Duke's assistants were David Brower and Raffi Bedayn, famous before World War II for the first ascent of Shiprock.


In his 50s and 60s, Duke canoed over 20,000 miles throughout Canada, including a 7,000 mile crossing of the entire continent, in stages over many years. He's about to celebrate his 90th birthday.


I'll be meeting with Duke again to return some materials. I'll ask if he knows what has become of Virginia Mohling. I'll also be meeting with the Mountaineers History Committee next month (including Frank Fickeisen perhaps) and I'll ask if they know about her.

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  • 4 weeks later...
including Frank Fickeisen perhaps


He should be there. wink.gif


Aw, the evil Mr. FF. I wonder what wicked deeds he has been up to? I have never trusted that S.O.B. ever since Rolf filled me in on how much of a bad man FF was. I also remember that cad trying to wake me up a 5am, while I was asleep, after drinking to the wee hours. FF is truly the anti-christ, for god's sake, Kurt's middle name is 666.

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Is this quote from the same Frank?

"When you have two engines, you have two engines that can fall to bits. When you have four, you have four that can fall to bits. The less engines you have, the safer you are." - Frank Fickeisen, chief engineer for Boeing, replying to a complaint made by the American Airline Pilots' Association about the dangers of flying two-engine airplanes across the Pacific Ocean.
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Face it Kurt, you and your father are evil Devil worshipers. You want to shape the Mountaineers into a strange cult, obsessed with wearing shorts over long-johns. Explain your involvment with that group of sickies who hung dead pigs on popular sport climbs years ago. What ever happened to those wackos? They must be in prison, why aren't you? You would enjoy all the sex.

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  • 2 years later...

CAG volume 2 contains confusing information about Buck Mountain. The 3rd Ed. lists the elevation at 8528ft (the 2nd Ed. listed 8573ft). This, combined with vague text, may lead one to believe that the north summit (marked 8528ft on the USGS 7.5min topo) is the highest. I climbed both the north and middle peaks a couple days ago and the middle peak is definitely higher. The text says that the north summit "is triangulated at 8573ft" but I think that's wrong since the USGS topo says 8528ft. I think 8573ft is the height of the middle peak. The text should be corrected, ambiguous language removed, and the peak height should be changed to 8573ft.

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  • 2 months later...

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