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jimlup

First climbs in the Cascades?

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My experience is with Colorado 14ers. What do people recomend for introductory climbs in the Cascades? I'd like to do Mt. St. Helen's but I know you have to go through a lottery for climbing season access. What else would be an easy but rewarding climb?

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Adams was my first Cascadian climb; I still lived in Michigan at the time. Just don't make the same mistake I did, and descend the wrong slope; we turned down too soon. We had to traverse quite a ways to get back to our camp.

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Consider Sahale Peak. It is right in the middle of the North Cascades, and offers close-up views of all the glacier-clad peaks in the heart of the range. The standard route is virtually a walk up with a bit of scrambling at the top that I'm sure you are up for if you've climbed a bunch of 14'ers. For a little more of an alpine feel, you can climb via the Quien Sabe glacier instead of the regular route, but you probably ought to know something about glacier travel if you are going to go that way.

 

Another good choice would be Mt. Ruth, but it may involve a very steep snow slope in early season (it comes before you get to the peak itself, after leaving the pass on the approach). It too has a small glacier on the climb to the summit.

 

These "smaller" peaks in the more alpine part of the range will not have the same character as the volcano's - you will be in the mountains more than above it all - but they'll give you a taste of what makes Washington special.

 

If you want to climb one of the volcanos and get the glacier experience too, I'd recommend Mt. Baker via the Coleman Glacier route - but you should definitely have some who knows about glacier travel along with you. Baker is probably #1 in terms of bangs for bucks (a big mountain climb, great glacier ambiance, and short approach/low overall effort).

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Shuksan via the sulfide is a great one, requiring basic glacier travel skills. I aslo really liked the basic non-technical routes on Colchuck, Dragontail, and Stuart. You can link Dragontail and Colchuck by going up Aasgard to Dragontail, down the backside to Colchuck Col, up Colchuck, and back down Colchuck "glacier" (outstanding early season glissade) to the lake.

 

Third vote for Sahale....probably the best payoff to effort ratio in the cascades - if you are squeamish downclimbing exposed class 4, might want a 30M rope to rapell from the summit.

 

The Brothers on the Olympic peninsula are great as well.

 

 

 

 

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Sahale looks great. Is it accessible this early in the season? It looks like the Cascade River Road is usually open sometime in June. Before this, is it possible to find parking along the road and hike the few miles to the Cascade Pass trailhead? Thanks.

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Dialing in your glacier travel skills will open up so much ground out here. Mt. Baker is great, here is another vote for the Coleman/Deming route on it; and one for Easton. Shuksan is good.

 

Once the N20 is plowed, there is the whole Liberty Bell group. South Early Winter Spire is a popular introductory route. Liberty Bell is another introductory spire. And talk about ambience, mountain goats, larches, and such a unique area on the confluence of the rain forest and the desert. Cutthroat peak is across the road; and so is Whistler. If you ever thought about climbing on the label of the Evian bottle this is the place.

 

Across the border, Yak pk with Yak Crack is fun when the snow is clear. Maybe spend some time doing some granite prior....shoot you'll just have to go to Squamish.

 

Go to the book section at one of them thar fancy outdoor stores and check any of the Beckey books, or Selected Climbs in the Cascades series.

 

Have fun, be like Columbus, go somewhere that you are not sure is, be lost and return like a hero, that is if you do not have roots to this continent.

 

 

Edited by blueserac

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Is it accessible this early in the season? It looks like the Cascade River Road is usually open sometime in June. Before this, is it possible to find parking along the road and hike the few miles to the Cascade Pass trailhead?

 

Yes

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...and I am sure that if you going to run into it, you are most likely to run into Bigfoot on the back trails of Shuksan...

 

How about the Twin Sisters...

 

Or the routes up near Alpental, just have your avalanche skills dialed in and load up on avalanche poodles.

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not positive cause I have never done it, but I would think that getting a permit for st helens midweek should be easy. anybody have any thoughts on that?

 

All of the above plus the sahale arm on sahale if your galcier skills are lacking.

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Matt P has some good suggestions.

 

I would also add Mt. Daniel and Mt. Hinman- you can also tag Catherdal rock with some 3rd class scrambling from the same camp. Very senic and moderate routes with little crevsse danger. Bugs can be awful in July, though.

 

I did the Coluchuck and Dragontail travese a few years ago and that was a fun relatively non-technical outing. Cashmere Mountain in the same area is also fun.

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One nice thing about Dragontail Colchuck is it's a great early season outing...enchantment permits kick in mid-june making camping at the lake problematic at best. I've found it's great around memorial day weekend, and the weather is typically more dependable east of the crest this time of year.

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Sahale gets my vote.... of course later in the season... Late june or july should work. Everyone has has great ideas... go for it.

 

 

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Sahale is a fantasic day. And if you want to be really masochistic, going on to Boston Peak is real neat too. Take a helmet. For a nice easy day close to Seattle, I'd say Kaleetan peak up at Snoqualmie pass. It has one of the coolest summits you can find......you'll see!

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My experience is with Colorado 14ers.
Many of the recommended climbs are in the North Cascades. If you liked the Elks, Crestones, and San Juans, then you'll love the North Cascades. What they lack in absolute altitude above sea level, they more than make up for in rugged terrain and wilderness ambiance. The approaches are longer, there is more snow/glacier travel, and the elevation gain is greater, but you should feel right at home. :grin:

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I dunno, the snowking/goode area is kinda baren/dry and the approach is boring as shit...lacking in the big glaciated mountain splendor.

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Or the routes up near Alpental, just have your avalanche skills dialed in and load up on avalanche poodles.

 

Da Toof, is a good intro to alpine rock climbing. There is some avy danger in the early season (right now), but it pretty much disappears in the late spring, once the snow melts at the pass.

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I dunno, the snowking/goode area is kinda baren/dry and the approach is boring as shit...lacking in the big glaciated mountain splendor.

 

I hiked up there in September a few years ago. It was fairly muddy. A fairly easy scramble, no routefinding issues, and no people. I wouldn't call the approach boring... but it was a hump in.

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I dunno, the snowking/goode area is kinda baren/dry and the approach is boring as shit...lacking in the big glaciated mountain splendor.

 

I think you might have Stormking and Snowking mixed up, Mike. Snowking is an incredibly beautiful hike with unabstructed views in all directions once up on the ridgeline, and the lakes below the peak are to die for. You start out stomping up a bunch of steep forest, but it's well worth it. Five stars.

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yeah, mike is confusing Snow and Storm Kings.

 

Snowking would be a good answer to the original Question. Storm King would not.

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