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Garvin

Price Glacier on Mount Shuksan

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I would like to climb the Price Glacier the first week in Oct. Any advice on approach? Is early Oct too late in the fall? I am in Wyoming and could use any advice anyone can offer.

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Have fun.

Don't fall into the drink on the Log Crossing!

 

And I hope you are better versed in wild glacier travel then 99% of Colorado or Utah climbers.

 

Not trying to be smart ass.

 

Have fun. Its should be an enjoyable trip for you.

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Garvin -

I haven't done the Price, but I have climbed Nooksak Tower from the Price Glacier. The Price will be a challenging climb in October as it is quite broken up even early in the year, and you will be there at the time of maximum ice and crevasses. You should expect to have to climb in and out of slots and you'll find not only steep ice but you'll probably have to climb some rock with your crampons on. Falling rock and ice are significant hazards on the route at any time of the year, but they should be at a minimun if you are so lucky as to have a cold weather period.

 

The approach is not hard to find. You will have to cross a creek at the trailhead (an easy wade or you may find logs that will allow you to keep your feet dry) and then hike about two or three miles of overgrown logging road until you enter the big timber. I recall that it was maybe a couple hundred yards after entering the old growth that you will want to drop down and cross the Nooksak (as of a couple years ago there was a "wilderness boundary" sign nearby). It is a big creek and the old log is gone but I think an alternate log crossing has been described on this board -- maybe in connection with a trip report of a climb on Nooksack Tower in 2001. The climber's trail to Price Lake starts up the hill no more than a couple hundred yards left of the outlet stream from Price Lake. It is overgrown at first and there is some climbing over logs, but it should be easily indentifiable and it is not a bad trail by Cascade approach standards. From the Lake, follow the moraine on the left until you can climb up onto the ridgeline up and left (the divide between the Price Glacier cirque and the Nooksack valley), and follow that until you reach a rocky step in that ridge. This spot, maybe 6-8 hours from the car, would be your last opportunity to camp in the trees and there should be water available in a gully just a few hundred feet down. From here, you will probably want to drop a few hundred feet and traverse beneath a rock face before climbing back up and right onto the east lobe of the Price Glacier. This lobe of the glacier is relatively gentle and not as threatened by rock and icefall as is the main lobe where the route travels beneath seracs and crumbly rock walls, so this also makes a good place to camp. Then, as you head over to cross beneath Nooksack Tower to reach the main lobe, there is a rock knob that may be slightly out of your way but would offer a spectacular bivvy spot on rock instead of snow.

 

Because of the complexity and danger of the route, most parties carry over and descend via Fischer Chimneys. Run an internet search and you may find a trip report with a current description because it is in 50 Crowded Climbs and therefore draws a lot of attention.

 

[ 09-07-2002, 09:24 PM: Message edited by: mattp ]

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imo the Price is best just before snow begins to fall in earnest. Early to mid-October is often perfect, with enough newer snow to make the ice less slippery but not enough to cover the gapers. A little snow in September followed by a dry spell and a thaw-freeze cycle should do the trick. Of course you run the risk of too much precip in September.

 

Travel on the lower glacier was trivial for an experienced 'glacierist'. The shrund is usually the crux. We passed it on the left hand side (~50' of vertical ice) following with a couple of pitches in a steep gully (no rock involved at the time). I believe the right hand side of the shrund involves some mixed climbing.

 

Definitely carry over via Fisher's Chimney (plant a bike at the Lake Anne trailhead to get back to your car).

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I did the Price in early season, May I think. I saw a late fall photo later and barely recognized the place! It is obviously a very active glacier and when shit falls down it, it's pretty big and scary! IMO you shouldn't just plan on coming in and "doing it" regardless of conditions. I think you'll want a cold snap...very possible in October, but not a for sure thing. Don't obsess with just that route if it's not in the right condition. I'm not saying it's not, but you may have to go all the way up there to find out. Nooksack Tower would be a real feather if the glacier is too messed up.

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