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[TR] Mt. Challenger- Challenger Glacier (Wiley Lake High Route) 7/22/2005

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Climb: Mt. Challenger-Challenger Glacier (Wiley Lake High Route)


Date of Climb: 7/22/2005


Trip Report:

Aside from rain while we were climbing the summit block, the actual Challenger Glacier and rock sections of the climb were straightforward. The Challenger Glacier is in great shape, we had no problem avoiding crevasses and there was no high angle snow climbing involved in getting around the bergschrund. There was no moat between the snow and the rock. Our approach: day 1-boat shuttle to Big Beaver trailhead. Catch the boat from the dock 600' and 1/2 mile below the Happy Flat parking area on Hwy 20 east of Newhalem milepost 134. Call the resort 206 386-4437 to arrange the shuttle-$30.00 one way for up to 6 people and arrange the return shuttle. Hike 14 miles to near Beaver Pass.

Day 2-from about 100 yards NW on the Big Beaver trail from the post marking the entrance to the Big Beaver stock camp, we took a compass course of 269 degrees, deviating no more than 50-75 feet from the course (need readings every 20-30 feet, it gets disorienting) bushwhacking through serious brush, first on the level, crossing 4 small streams, then on increasingly steep terrain through brush and undergrowth for about 1 mile to a bench at 5250 feet. The UTM coordinates for this bench (NAD 27 datum) are (easting) 0627199 (northing) 5414519. Once on this bench, a path leading upward to gloriously open meadows is immediately evident. This path becomes faint, crosses a rock saddle after which the path gives out and the 2 mile traverse to the south of Wiley Ridge begins. I can't give much detail of the traverse except that we followed what seemed to be the logical route, not gaining or losing much elevation. The heather and rock can be steep at times with some exposure. One party member requested a belay at one point and if wet, the route could be treacherous.

We camped at Eiley lake, just at the outlet. There are 3 nice spots with great views of Luna Peak. Day 3-(rain) left camp at 630 am. We continued the traverse, past Wiley Lake to Wiley Ridge (1.5 hours) then 2 of us continued traversing west on steep snow to a notch just east of point 7374, went through the notch and descended easy rock and scree to the base of the glacier. Once on the glacier the climb was straightforward. We were off the summit, heading down the glacier in improving weather at 1130 am.

Pack out was the reverse of the way in.


We used 2 nuts (size 5-6) in addition to the 3 fixed pitons on the summit block and one medium sling around a flake at the very top.


Gear Notes:

see text


Approach Notes:

Need permits for camping on the Big Beaver Trail. Call the park ranger 360-873-4500 option 1 then ext 39 for info. We were told the Luna camp was full for our return trip out but there was no one there. We were all stung at least once by yellowjackets on the bushwhack section of the trail. If you are below about 5'5 in height, the brush will be over your head at times.

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Sounds like you were the party we ran into late Sat. afternoon as we were pulling into Beaver Pass. Did you find the flies any nicer down at Luna camp?


I think we pulled a compass out twice on the bushwhack. We just started out a little S. of the shelter and moved directly upslope as much as possible, avoiding the heaviest brush. Brings you right up to the flat at 5700'.


Did your map use NAD27? I believe the Mt Challenger quad is based on NAD83.

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The Challenger quad I have was edited in 1989. The horizontal datum is 1927 NAD. Sounds like you stressed less about the navigating than we did. In any case, it was essentially directly uphill.


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