Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • olyclimber

      WELCOME TO THE CASCADECLIMBERS.COM FORUMS   02/03/18

      We have upgraded to new forum software as of late last year, and it makes everything here so much better!  It is now much easier to do pretty much anything, including write Trip Reports, sell gear, schedule climbing related events, and more. There is a new reputation system that allows for positive contributors to be recognized,  it is possible to tag content with identifiers, drag and drop in images, and it is much easier to embed multimedia content from Youtube, Vimeo, and more.  In all, the site is much more user friendly, bug free, and feature rich!   Whether you're a new user or a grizzled cascadeclimbers.com veteran, we think you'll love the new forums. Enjoy!
Sign in to follow this  
Toast

[TR] McClellan Butte - North Couloir 3/13/2004

Recommended Posts

Climb: McClellan Butte -North Couloir

 

Date of Climb: 3/13/2004

 

Trip Report:

This weekend I was itching for a little alpine adventure. I credit Paul Klenke with suggesting McClellan Butte. We’d climbed a nearby peak a few days earlier, and it was a real sight. I ran into Dave Whitelaw on Friday, and he confirmed it’d be a goodie. Sure enough it was.

 

Climbing Party: Tony Brodek, Dustin Balderach, Ken Puhn, Tony Tsuboi

Trailhead: 1500’

Summit: 5162’

Difficulty: Grade II, 5.6 mixed climbing with snow to 50 degrees.

 

The trail up had a few blow downs across our path, but otherwise the approach was straight forward. Snow appeared about 2500’, and we turned off onto the snowfield about 3400’. We ascended steep hard snow to a small shelf where we roped up and belayed from a sturdy tree at the base of the rock pitch. The quality of the rock itself was pretty chossy with razor sharp edges and snow and ice mixed in. Pro was questionable, but I did find a few decent placements. I’d missed a trusty rusty on the way up that later proved to be not so trusty after all. Topping out I was treated to a stellar view of Mt Rainier and peaks all around. We descended to the South ridge to a saddle then dropped off the East side of the ridge into the Alice Creek drainage. We traversed NE back to where we’d left the trail and the rest is history. All in all, I’d call McClellan Butte an overlooked gem.

2712McClellan_Butte.jpg

 

Gear Notes:

Snowshoes, crampons, ice axe, second tool, pro to 1

 

Approach Notes:

Drive I-90 East to Exit 42. Park at the McClellan Butte Trailhead. Follow the trail up to roughly 3400'. Veer off to the right into a snowfield. Follow upwards to obvious gully. Ascend steep snow up to 50 degrees. Anchor in at stout tree at base of the rock pitch. Climb dihedral crack to the left of the summit. Rock to the right is very loose and extremely questionable. True summit is a short scramble from the top of the rock pitch. Descend off the South Ridge. Drop off into the Alice Creek drainage and traverse NE back to where you left the trail. Be careful, the snow is steep, and there’s plenty of cliff bands to thread through. As an alternate, it's probably possible to rap down the original climb route and down climb the couloir, but the snow was quite hard so we opted for the soft snow variation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great TR, thanks -- sounds good! I have never heard much about this climb before, so thanks!

 

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice work guys, sounds like you hit it in good condition.

 

Toast, did you use any snow pro? Was it icy enough to take pickets or flukes?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ahhh, shucks! blush.gif Credit to me?!!!

 

How long round-trip was it?

 

BTW, you credit the above picture to Dustin in the gallery but the exact same picture is credited to one Peter Chapman on Sergio's McClellans Butte page. confused.gif

 

Dustin must've stole it. I just stole what was apparently already stolen. wink.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did this climb last summer. It was good time with a lot of loose rock and questionable protection. The sun was setting in pinks and purples across Mt Rainier right as we topped out. Check out the pic

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Volken suggests this as a ski, were/are the conditions favorable for that?

 

I skied this route several years ago and definately found it worth skiing. There is no approach and it's a great climb. Watch out for avi danger and you should have a blast. We climbed up through the trees just next to the couloir when we skied it and found it safer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We tried skiing it about this time of the season last year & found it full of avy debris and an alder jungle at the bottom. Should have gone back earlier this year...timing is everything.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ahhh, shucks! blush.gif Credit to me?!!!

 

How long round-trip was it?

 

BTW, you credit the above picture to Dustin in the gallery but the exact same picture is credited to one Peter Chapman on Sergio's McClellans Butte page. confused.gif

 

Dustin must've stole it. I just stole what was apparently already stolen. wink.gif

 

I didn't steal it. I told you it was not my picture. Listen and read, son!! wazzup.gif

 

Great lead, by the way. You the man!! thumbs_up.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Nice work guys, sounds like you hit it in good condition.

 

Toast, did you use any snow pro? Was it icy enough to take pickets or flukes?

 

We took pickets and the snow would have been excellent for them but we felt comfortable enough not to rope up for the couloir itself. We roped up about 100 feet short of the rock pitch at a small bench, then did a running belay (slinging a couple trees) up to a solid belay tree for the rock pitch. I don't think flukes would have worked in those conditions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Oh shit! Did I leave the oven on?" After a quick stop in North Bend to call my housemates and ask them to make sure I had turned the oven off this morning, I continued merrily onward, with renewed faith that my house would not be a smoking crater upon my return.

 

Left the trailhead around 10:30 and hustled up the trail to around 3000' where I cut right (west) to the base of the couloir. I had been hoping that the cool, cloudy conditions present in Seattle would be in effect up at Snoqualamie Pass today and provide me with some nice firm snow, but the snow was soft and I had to posthole up about 500' until I found Toast, et al's boottrack. Made quick progress from there to the base of the rocky summit block

 

1826McClellanButte_002-med.jpg

 

and then scrambled directly up the North ridge (staying just left - east - of the crest) and reached the summit at 1PM. Found some good booty at the top, just before the north ridge flattens out - describe it and provide me with some bigdrink.gif or sexual healing smileysex5.gif and I might give it back. smirk.gif

 

I suppose you could do some 5.6 climbing on the summit block if you wanted to (off to the right from the top of the couloir) wazzup.gif but going directly up the north ridge (the way the faint tracks went) was no more than 4th class.

 

Had some OK views from the summit. I could only see the bottom half of Rainier cry.gif , but the views to the north were nice. Hopefully ya'll can name some of these peaks:

 

1826McClellanButteViewAnnotated_copy-med.jpg

 

I had originally planned to descend the couloir, but decided to do something a bit different and went off to the west. After some fun glissading, I ended up on the logging roads and motocross/Mtn bike trails that criscross all over the west side of that mountain. Found lots of redneck shooting galleries including one very shot-up wheelchair. WTF!?!? I like to think that someone was celebrating their recent rehabilitation from some handicap (maybe Binny Hinn healed them!),

 

archambault8.jpg

 

but it was probably just some average troglodyte stupidity. rolleyes.gif Scouted out some spots that might make for some decent (by Exit 38 standards) bolted sport climbs... Anybody have a drill and wanna get bizzy?

 

Fun romp! Don't need snowshoes. Bring crampons (alluminum would be fine), one ice axe, maybe a second tool if you want. Ropes, partners - your choice. Remember to turn the oven off before you leave the house. wink.gif

 

Cheers All bigdrink.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Answers to your labeling query provided in the gallery. I'll let you transcribe the answers into your post above.

 

Here is a picture of McClellans from the west last Wednesday (from the Hall Creek-Change Creek Divide):

78041.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice work! You must have accessed the ridge to the summit block lower down (like we should have). We went up a short dihedral directly to the left and under the overhanging summit block (which is pretty loose rock by the way). It was definitely not 4th class.

 

I left a tied green 9/16 inch double runner (with my name on it) at a spot on our descent (southeast slopes, near the tree line) were we stopped to shed layers. Dropped it in a post hole and forgot to pull it back out. Its practically brand new. thumbs_down.gif At least I think that is where I lost it. We also left a yellow neutrino marked with yellow tape, near the summit, I think. Did you find either of these items? I believe that is all we are missing, but I'll check with the others.

 

I'm sorry, but you'll get no sexual healing for that booty. hellno3d.gif It just isn't worth it. We'll buy you a beer though! bigdrink.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Nope, that's not the booty I found, but I like Neutrinos so maybe I'll have to go back up there. evils3d.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Volken suggests this as a ski, were/are the conditions favorable for that?

 

If another storm rolls in you would find good conditions if you were say...walking up the chute as the snow is starting to fall...by the time you get to the logical ski turn around point there should be enough soft snow to make it a cruiser. Anything more than that and you are in an avvy trap and waiting for the next cycle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My friend Dan skied the north couloir today. Good firm snow up high, but variable and more difficult conditions in the lower third. Avy debris down low was annoying. On the way out (around 12:30pm) we saw another guy headed up with his boards.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

×