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Semi epic on Leuthold


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Well, this is kind of embarassing, but if you can't laugh at yourself who can you laugh at. We attempted it on Sunday, smooth sailing from south side over Illumination Saddle, across Reid Glacier, then...we made a route finding error that led to a very interesting day. We missed Leuthold all together, ending up on a gulley further to the left, we think it was the Upper Buttress of Yocum Ridge route. We only brought 1 picket, 1 fluke, 1 ice screw and 1 piton. It seemed a little more difficult than we had anticipated. Found a pitch of near vertical (aprox. 85 degrees) WI. I got to follow on that...with only 1 ice axe. I put on a wonderful display of thrashing and bashing, managed to get up it. A little bit more climbing and traversing on fairly steep snow gained us the ridgeline, where we thought all the difficulties were behind us. Turned the corner, and there was the friggin' rime encrusted gendarmes of Yocum R. laughing at us. Holy snikeys! No way we were continuing. After some putzing around, it seemed like our only option was doing a steep downclimb to hit the exit gulley for Leuthold, then trudge back over to Illumination S. w/ our tails between our legs. Once at the saddle we were treated to near zero visibility. Good thing we had map & compass, found our way back down to Timberline. We were thoroughly worn out by that point, shut out on summiting, but all in all still a great day. Then it was time to take turns [sleep] on the drive back north.

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Could you not see Yocum Ridge as you traversed across the Reid? If you truly saw the gendarmes in front of you then you were pretty low on Yocum and not even close to the upper headwall. Sounds almost as if you went from illumination saddle directly to lower yocum and then on up. Maybe busting out that map on the way up would have helped.


We all make mistakes. Glad you made it back ok.



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One thing:


When most think couilor, a long narrow chute usually comes to mind.


That is on ething the Luathold is not. It so wide and so obvious that some assume that that huge thing stareing right at them can't be it....it is.


Not sure if this is what happened to you guys.


When I did the Reid Headwall, whopper and I ran into three guys that thought they were on the Leuthold. [big Drink]

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I've found that carrying Oregon High along always helps sort out the mountain. When you are at the base of something on Hood, it is always bigger than the pictures suggest it will be, and its easy to get disoriented. Leutholds is no exception - as people have said its so wide that "couloir" is hardly apt. But If you take the extra few min at Illumination to sort out your route before you head down the backside and over the Reid, you'll see what needs to happen and can pick out some good landmarks off the photos.


PS: You are certainly not the first party (not probably the last) to mistakenly climb the lower Yocum only to bail when you realized your mistake. I think anyone who has spent any time on that side of the mountain does that at least once!



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Yeah, Leuthold did look pretty obvious in hindsight. We did have a picture copied out of a guide book, I think it was Oregon High. It sure seemed like it showed the route going to the left of a buttress down at the lower end of the coulouir, and from where we were standing at the time eyeballing the route, to get to the actual Leuthold we would have had to go to the right of a buttress, which we assumed was the one in the picture. We didn't study the area real close from Illumination, some climbers we ran into down low on Palmer told us to check things out from the safety of a rock outcrop just below the route, so we could guage the amount of rockfall coming down at the time. Yeah, that whole thing about it being too wide to look like a coulouir applied. The one we entered definitely LOOKED like a couloir. And yes, we did see Yocum beside us, and I am pretty sure we actually did gain the ridge line near it's upper end. To continue beyond that point looked to be beyond our technical abilities. Thanks for not laughing too much. [big Grin]

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