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[TR] Seward Peak - SW Ridge 7/24/2005

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Climb: Seward Peak-SW Ridge


Date of Climb: 7/24/2005


Trip Report:

Decided to climb seldom done Seward Peak (now I can see why seldom done) with some friends on Sunday. Seward is nearly the Southernmost peak of the Black Buttes, below Colfax and Lincoln. Drove to Baker trailhead Saturday night, bivied in the woods, starting hiking at 4am. At the top of Heliotrope Ridge where lower climbers camp is, we traversed up to the right and gained the ridge. Then downclimb 800' to Thunder Glacier, very loose and hazardous, went around bottom of glacier, ran into an old plane wreck that the glacier has released. Dropped on down the valley below Lincoln where we got a view of our objective (peak in the middle):



Started gaining elevation again (had lost about 1,200') heading for SW ridge. Took awhile to find the start of the route, is not obvious, doesn't look like something one would want to climb, lava formations with lots of round rocks stuck in the wall, almost like concrete with stones sticking out, most holds were solid (!). Class 4 climbing, no real way to protect, just careful climbing. One harder move to gain the ridge proper, then downclimb other side on narrow ledges to bypass an obstruction on the ridge, turn the corner and see final technical hazard, "how we going to get up that!"



Once you approach, it does go, walked around the moat, then up first gully you see, then ramps to the left and switchback to the right up sketchy handholds. Beautiful views all around from the summit:



Clouds then gathered, then 1,500' of careful downclimbing, no slip zone on the ledges:



One rappel, more careful downclimbing and finally at the base of this big lava pile. Then long climb out, heading up to the ridge about 1/4 mile West of our downclimb to hit better rock conditions, about 1,500' of gain to get out, then back to Heliotrope and cars. About 7,600' elevation gain, 15 hours.


Gear Notes:

2 30m ropes for glacier travel and rappel, used for one rappel

Edited by obsydian

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Greetings Dan Lauren,


Interesting coincidence, as Jerry Huddle, Sofy (my 13-pound dog, a rat terrier), and I had this view of your route from Marmot Ridge of Thunder Glacier, Lincoln, and on to Seward Peak, the evening before you guys did it.



Who had been to Seward's top besides Dallas Kloke, Brice Simon, Mike Bialos, and Gene Mickle (was it?)?


Can you mark your route on this photo, please?


John Roper

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Here is the route drawn in with red line, dashed lines mean climbing on other side.



Basically we went about as far South as we could, backtracked a bit, then started up the SW face, 4th class to the ridge, then dropped on the East side of the ridge and followed that all the way to the summit.


Only found a little film canister with wet paper and hard to read names from 1988 and 1991 so don't know who's been up there lately. Did see fresh tracks and a new sling, so somebody beat us up this year already.

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