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MCash

[TR] Sherpa Peak- Northeast Couloir to East Ridge 6/19/2005

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Climb: Sherpa Peak-Northeast Couloir to East Ridge

 

Date of Climb: 6/19/2005

 

Trip Report:

NYC007, bwr, and I left the Stuart Lake trailhead at about 7:00 enjoying the hike up to the junction in the cool morning air. We made our way past the second swamp and enjoyed the first view of our destination.

 

162349.jpg

 

Right where the trail started to gain elevation going up to Stuart Lake, we headed due south crossing the stream that drains from Stuart Lake. We stayed high in the boulderfields on the west side of the Mountaineer Creek drainage until forced down into the valley. Here we found a climbers path on the west side of Mountaineer Creek and proceded up the valley until we determined that we were in the wrong fork. After crossing a small buttress, we log hopped, scrambled through boulderfields, and bushwacked through vines and slide alder up the middle fork of Mountaineer Creek.

 

Klenke Terrain!

 

162346.jpg

 

Shortly thereafter we arrived in the basin below the Northeast Face of Sherpa Peak. The western spire (main summit) of Argonaut looked inviting, no of us had ever seen it from this direction.

 

162345.jpg

 

162348.jpg

 

From here we checked out the route and looked at descent options. If the Northeast Couloir was too difficult to downclimb, we decided we would traverse to the Sherpa / Arognaut col, then downclimb the mellow snowfield back into the basin.

 

162347.jpg

 

The approach up to the entrance of the couloir was about 1,000 feet of lovely scree, rocks, and gravel following a big avalanche path. Gotta love climbing in the Chosscades!

 

162350.jpg

 

We scrambled up to the entrance to the couloir and put on crampons. All of a sudden we heard a rumbling. Here comes several large rocks flying down the couloir. Thankfully the rocks followed a notched out path down the middle of the couloir diverting the rocks away from us. We looked at each other having second thoughts about this route. After some discussion, we decided to continue, but stay out of the central debris chute that had formed.

 

The climbing in the couloir looked easy from below but the warm temperatures made the going slow and strenuous. I kicked in steps for Matt and Bruce up the snow finding irritating sections of slush that would give way under my weight. About 150 foot up we had to go through a thin mixed section which was mildy interesting in crampons and 1 axe.

 

162351.jpg

 

The couloir was about 1,000 foot long with an average slope of 45 degrees with a few steeper sections. The wallowing was quite strenuous and took a lot of energy out of our group.

 

162353.jpg

 

162354.jpg

 

We finally arrived at the notch on the East Ridge. Bruce and Matt were tired and it was already 2:15, so they decided to head down. I was going for the summit, and would meet them down in the basin.

 

I looked up at the East Ridge route and could see the balanced rock. It didn't look too far, the start looked quite straightforward. The route description said 4th and 5th class to 5.0, it sounded pretty easy.

 

162421.jpg

 

I scrambled up the start of the ridge finding easy terrain. About 1/3 the way up it steepened and the rock improved. I scrambled up a 4th class chimney with rap slings, then up another harder chimney with a couple single moves to mid 5th.

 

162422.jpg

 

After passing through a tunnel I traversed the north side of the summit ridge crest and scrambled up to the summit. I was the first one to sign the register this year. The balanced rock looked really fun, but not something I felt comfortable trying to solo (especially the downclimb). That will have to wait for another time.

 

162416.jpg

 

162418.jpg

 

Views from the summit were nice, but I saw a thunderstorm approaching, so I took a couple photos and headed down.

 

162419.jpg

 

I raced down the ridge trying to beat the rain. Getting down the couloir was a royal pain, as we suspected. Pretty much the only option was to back down in the slushy snow. The hike out was faily uneventful, though we were all pretty tired for the last couple of miles on a 14 hour day.

 

A fun route. The climbing is easy but it is a lot of ground to cover in 1 day. We all had a nice time and enjoyed the variety of terrain from a trail along a river to meandering through the woods, tons of log hopping, boulder hopping, bushwacking, moderate snow, and some nice granite.

 

Gear Notes:

Crampons

Ice axe

Rope (Did not use)

 

Approach Notes:

A wide variety

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nice work! thumbs_up.gif the upper rock appears decent. the approach sounds taxing. looks like the brush was BW2?

Edited by lunger

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Thanks. The rock on the ridge is very nice, but well featured making for nice scrambling with some good exposure in several areas. The bush along the creek is not that bad at all, I've been in much worse.

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Good Job Guys!. John Cain & I did that route last Sunday.

Martin, we run into you guys last year on Argonaut.

 

1099NE-Couloir-Col-Sherpa-Pk.jpg

1099NE-Couloir-Sherpa.jpg

1099Sherpa-East-Ridge.jpg

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Thanks for the pics and beta. Where did you guys bivy on the descent?

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After helping some people clear a big blowdown on the road to the trailhead, we weren't on the trail until about 09:45, and in the couloir at around 1:30.

When we did the route, the Couloir was pretty solid, and took longer than we'd expected. After topping out, it was late afternoon, and we didn't really want to back down the ice, so we headed down the other side of the ridge, climbed up and took a look at the Sherpa Glacier which was also totally solid, so we just headed back down into the valley, crawled under some big rocks, shivered 'til it got light, then walked around some rock ribs, reached the low pass between Argonaut/Sherpa and strolled out for a nice Monday morning breakfast in Leavenworth. I had several pounds of Chinese take-out at Safeway. Later that afternoon, I downed a family-sized pizza while making plans for dinner.

Edited by zoroastr

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Yes...didn't look for a log. Was is in that pile of stones?

Here's a shot of Stuart from the summit blocks. Like you, we gave Balance Rock a pass. stu.jpgtiny.jpg

Edited by zoroastr

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BWR and I at the notch decided to head down since there was a storm moving in pretty fast and we knew we werent going to be going down too fast, me with my knee hurting and I was BEAT but I knew I had to save some energy for the shwack back.. The descent to the cars felt never ending . But the coulior was definatly very enjoyable and an amazing area, would like to get back there and play on Argonaut..

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Hey NYC007, you sure seem to bring up the rear quite a bit. A big thank you to MCash for kicking in steps so my little buddy could make it to the top.

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nice TR. we climbed the ice cliff on stuart the same day! we didnt see you guys though. we did find a sweet variation of the approach that follows the creek the whole time. way better than the boulder field BS.

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