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[TR] Mt. Washington- Route 3 - SE Ridge 7/24/2004

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Climb: Mt. Washington-Route 3 - SE Ridge


Date of Climb: 7/24/2004


Trip Report:

I don't have much time for details, but here is the summary and some pics:


We went up route 3 on Washington last Saturday under the heat. I'd heard from a friend that it took him 10 hours up to the top and I couldn't believe it. After taking 9.5 hours ourself I'm a bit more humble about it now. The shield wall includes 6-7 pitches of mostly middle class 5 climbing. The route goes up the ridge on the left, frequently moving onto the face along benches and ledges.



The first pitch someone's even bolted. Anyone know who?


It's fun climbing, and considering it's in the Olympics the rock and protection is not all that bad.


OK, so this one has a wee bit of camera tilt.


This one is looking back down from the top of the shield wall.


After the top of the shield wall, there is the first of 2 rappels.


Afer this, some easy to moderate terrain leads to another high point requiring another rappel, then some final obstacles to overcome before the summit ridge.


Yes, 9.5 hours up from the road. But then again, we're not real fast either. Descended by the trail of route 1. I'd recommend this one folks.


Gear Notes:

Singles in cams up to 3.5. Doubled up on 1's and 2's.

Set of nuts and a couple hexes, 8 slings and a couple quick draws. All gear used at one point or another, though there were some pitches that I maybe placed only 2 or 3 pieces. Single 60m rope OK unless you need to bail off to the basin of route 1 on the west side (which can be done at certain points), in which case a second rope would be nice. But a single should do.


Approach Notes:

Make sure you work your way to the right of the gendarmes once they are reached. Then hug the right side of these to gain the basin below the shield wall. At the wall, go up the gulley on the left to the head, where the first pitch starts.

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Where do you define the SE ridge route? The 4 people I know who have done it describe it as we did it, and most feel the current description in the book is misleading at best, giving it a class 4 rating. Admitedly there is some class 4 terrain involved, but only mixed between sections of low to mid class 5, particularly the first pitch.


Perhaps what has been known as the standard route actually has you gain the ridge much further up the buttress, as the more difficult terrain is lower. I don't know. It's only my first time on that route, so I'll take your word for it.

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Ok Scourge, that makes sense.


West face of cruiser, eh? Have you done route 4 or 5 (Wandering Minstrel)? Route 4 looks like it would be a fun alternative to the standard. Route 5 looks like it has the makings of an epic, but at 10 hours up from Gladys I suppose it is on par with this SE Ridge of Washington. Interesting though it's given a grade IV, only one of 2 in the book. hellno3d.gif

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  • 2 years later...

thanks for re-posting, John ... I later learned how to access pics by user search in the gallery.


We did go up last weekend- things looked very promising, although it was cloudy. (Killer approach, by the way.) While leading the second pitch, I knocked some serious choss down. Shouting confirmed that sjwages (belayer) was okay, so I continued up, comfortable with the fact that the olympics are a chossy range. I was pretty run out on easy terrain when I reached a somewhat off-width crack with a fragile looking alpine tree/shrub which I slung. I struggled up into the crack where I was able to stand comfortably, and placed a nut, finally. Then belayer shouted up- "Ian, we had better retreat ... the rope's cut in half!" There were only 10-15 (?) feet left of rope before he would have to pass the cut-through section through. Apparently one of the choss bombs I had sent hurtling down the mountain cut the rope in half. So I took the nut out and downclimbed. We backed off the two-bolt anchor at the top of the first pitch ... which explains why there is a nice, bright new yellow sling, two rap rings, and one biner there. (Booty call!) We probably could have simul-climbed but we weren't sure exactly what we were in for, and didn't really discuss our options at the belay station before bailing on the rope with the cut section tied-out. Maybe we'll try again this weekend, I don't know. In any event, thanks for the re-post of the photos. Also looking forward to TR of Destroyer and Enigma.

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Wow, you guys dodged a potentially serious situation there. I'm always worried about the potential of cutting the rope with rockfall, particulary when rapping down nasty loose gulleys.


Yeah, the approach to that route can be a bit tricky, and figuring out just where to go through the woods makes a big difference. There's a couple of erroneous paths near the rocky gendarmes that can lead you astray.

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