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CraigA

Mazama Headwall

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This is a little late but what the hell!

 

Sabertooth and I did the Mazama Glacier Headwall on Aug 16-17. We went to do The Castle but it was completely melted out, and the Klickitat had a fair amount of ice fall (not to mention the base of the route didn't look approachable....too many LARGE crevasses). So, we opted for the Mazama Glacier and decided to look at the headwall when we got there.

 

The route went pretty straight forward with minimal crevasse navigation down low and nothing up higher. The headwall looked sweet so we traversed over and headed straight up. 54257.jpg Sabertooth starting the Mazama Headwall.

 

54258.jpg

Another shot heading up.

 

Access to the top was blocked by two very large crevasses. We traversed around the first one but the second on went on as far as you could see in both directions. There was easy access into it and we found a low point that wasn't overhung and decided to climb out. This was going to require about a 15 verticle ice climb, nothing major. 54259.jpg

Getting a little thirsty!

 

We checked out the whole area, everything was solid and there we no immediate dangers so I headed up. What was supposed to be a piece of cake 4 or 5 move climb was complicated a little by a small overhang you couldn't really see until you started climbing it. Being the rookie I am on verticle ice I made it look like a grade V or VI. When I was about to pull over the top, the top was about chest level to me, my second tool popped out and I went straight back. I landed on my back and slid about 20 feet to the other side of the crevasse. I got up and looked at Sabertooth, who was trying to figure out what the hell just happened. I evaluated myself and everything seemed fine (my day pack softened the landing for me and all I ended up with was a small bruise on my side and right knee). We decided to drop the packs and Sabertooth (more experienced on ice) made very short work of the wall and we sent up the packs and I came up on a boot belay.

 

This put us right on the trail from the South Summit to the true summit and we summitted in 5hr 45min.

 

I have climbed Mazama Glacier before (and since) and love the climb. I've never done the south side it just doesn't appeal to me, but I would HIGHLY recommend the Mazama Glacier and the headwall adds just the right amount of spice to it (although I would opt to pass on the fall). All in all it was one of the funnest climbs I've done.

 

54254.jpg

Our approximate route.

 

Craig

 

P.S.: There was a post a while back about steep slopes on the Mazama and someone said they didn't know where anyone would find them. On the route proper there is nothing over about 40 degrees, but as you can see from these pictures if you get on the headwall you can get to 60+ rockband.gif

 

Edited by CraigA

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Fairweather said:

Nice Pics! How did the So Klickitat Icefall look down below? Did it look like it could join up with your route? Too broken?

 

Nice TR.

 

At this point it looked WAY TOO broken. I'm not even sure you would be able to get to the base of it. I should have a picture showing it, I'll try to find it and post it.

 

Craig

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Fairweather said:

Nice Pics! How did the So Klickitat Icefall look down below? Did it look like it could join up with your route? Too broken?

 

Nice TR.

 

I agree with Craig on the Klickitat Icefalls. The north icefall that is just below the Castle structure had tons of crevasses on the approach and on the icefall portion itself. Some of the crevasses extended nearly the entire width of the icefall, and the route would require a lot of meandering this late in the season. It's too bad the Indians don't open up the Bird Creek Meadows approach any earlier. The Cold Springs approach is only a little longer, though.

 

The south icefall was more of the same. I agree that the south icefall linked up with a finish on the Mazama Headwall including climbing out of that crevasse as shown in Craig's third picture would be a nice climb. I thought the South Klickitat Glacier Icefall route looked significantly easier than the north. Craig talked to a guy at the high camp that had climbed the North Icefall. He said the crux was a full pitch of dead vertical ice about half way up. It looked really interesting. You would have to belay off a 60 to 70 degree section of ice. Might be tough to get a really good anchor.

 

The Klickitat Headwall, which goes up the center between the icefalls was completely melted out, as was the Castle. All 3 Klickitat routes appear to be early season climbs only.

 

Both icefalls were VERY impressive looking. Makes the Adams Glacier look pretty wimpy by comparison. Add those to the tick list. bigdrink.gif

 

The Mazama Headwall was a fun little climb. The 60+ section of snow as shown in Craig's first two pictures was great. Traversing the edge of that crevasse on a 40 degree slope with the headwall and the south icefall below you was interesting. Climbing out of that crevasse provided a satisfying conclusion, though the scree slog to the summit was pretty anticlimatic.

 

Here is a pic of the side profile of the south icefall. It is hard to tell if you could avoid the nearly vertical sections. 52079.jpg

 

Here is a shot of the north icefall with the Castle just ot the right of it. 52081.jpg

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Thanks for the pics and info! The main icefall crosses my personal "sanity" line. Too much hanging ice on the left, and too much loose rock conglomerate on the right. I would like to give the South Icefall a shot one of these days though!

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Did you guys have any ice screws with you? You are lucky that fall you took wasn't worse than it was. Looks like you have one hell of a fun climb, though. thumbs_up.gif

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Yeah, we had a couple screws but didn't use them. The snow at the bottom of the crevasse seemed like a nice boulder pad, and there was no exposure. 15 feet wasn't too bad. I'm just glad Craig didn't whack his face with the adze when his tool popped. I almost did that in Banff this past winter.

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Sabertooth said:

... I'm just glad Craig didn't whack his face with the adze when his tool popped.

 

Me too!! hahaha.gif

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Nice work...looks like you all had a great climb.

 

Not sure if there is actually a "Mazama Headwall." By your photos, you clearly climbed the Mazama Glacier, and then traversed for a finish on the upper Klickitat Glacier. The Mazama Glacier is more of a pocket glacier, and is formed between a couple of ridges. The traditional finish of of the Mazama Glacier, of course, is up the snow/corniced ridge, that leads up to Piker's Peak (menioned as the "South Peak."). The corniced ridge above the Mazama Glacier forms the south edge of the upper Klickitat Glacier.

 

Next time you're on top of Piker's Peak, go down about 10-20 feet on the west side amongst the rocks, and you'll be able to read an inscription on a large boulder that says something along the lines..."if you stop here, thinking this was the summit of Adams...then you're a "Piker." Hence, the name of the place became Piker's Peak. Seems to me there's a couple of other old inscriptions there, too. I don't remember the date signed on the rocks, but it's something like in the 30's or 40's.

 

Good on ya...I'm jealous of your trip! Sweet...and congrats!

 

 

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Old_Man, you are correct about the headwall and I agree it's more of the upper part of the South Klickitat, but all the route descriptions I've seen call it the Mazama Headwall....go figure! confused.gif

 

Anywho, it was a fun climb.

 

I've heard (but not seen) about an inscription at Pikers Peak that says something like "You are a piker if you think this is the summit, do not grumble for the mountain was here first." Next time I'm there I think I'll look for it.

 

Craig

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