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Shuksan North Face - doable in late July?


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Hi folks,


We're considering a climb of Shuksan N face on July 28-29. In the opinion of those who know this route, is that too late in the season or will it still be in shape then?

I saw some photos on the web of a decent sized bergschrund on the N face. Does this ever melt out to become impassible? We plan to bring a few screws and 2 tools if need be.


B'lay On,




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No no no no no no no. The route may still be in, but the approach is BRUTAL without snow on it. Think slide alder. Think Devil's Club . Think steep slopes. The two or so miles took several hours and was the most unpleasant crap I've ever gone through in the Cascades. Make sure the approach is totally snow covered when you go in. Perhaps there was a better way but...

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Search this site for beta on the approach - I know it's been discussed before. I've done both the all-on-snow approach from the ski resort, and also the snow-free approach from the end of the logging road (drop down to creek, climb up to ridge).


While the snow approach is much more pleasant, there is hardly any bushwhacking if you do the other approach correctly (there is a patch of devil's club and dense shrubery near the creek). It's in a dry streambed, and then mostly open forest. Very steep in spots though - like you might want wear crampons in the woods in spots. It took us about 5 hours, but others do it faster (we were carrying ski gear and it was ludicrously hot, like 80F at sunrise).

Edited by philfort
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North face today.






Doable with a single tool, on snow all the way. Little gully that links the lower to upper portions of the face (not visible in this pic) could melt out before too long and make things more interesting.


BTW, turns on the upper face were very very nice this morning. Nice and smooth w/o suncupping till you hit the lower glacial-ish portion.






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So my buddy and I tried to do the NW arete on shuksan this last weekend via the approach described in alpine select(this approach takes the logging road partway up the road to baker, goes along the clearcut down to the river and then up the ridge).


unfortunately due to border delays, and more importantly, a vague and slightly incorrect description of the approach in AS [approach 55], by the time we found the correct route we had to turn around cause it was getting late in the day. so, to clarify the approach for anyone trying to access either the NW arete or the north face on shuksan, here's a little info so you don't get lost like we did:


1) you'll notice that the logging road is perfectly driveable, so when you pull of baker hwy, keep going.


2) from the description in AS, you'd think the road just ends at a certain point and you'd just park and start walking. not so! Instead, at 2.6km down the road after the road makes a left turn, you'll notice a small spur road on the right. you can park here, or drive a short way down this spur road. If you miss this turn off, you'll find that the main logging road continues past this point, up a slightly steep hill (no go for 2WD?), and then stops abruptly.


3) back on the spur road, start hiking through intermittent nasty spots of slide alder. after a while (20 mins or so? I can't remember exactly), in one of the clearings in between spats of slide alder and various other nasty foliage, start looking for the clearcut that drops off to your left. the clearcut is not immediately obvious from the road if you're heading down the trail at full speed like we were, so keep your eyes open. from the clearcut, the approach is obvious down the slope to the river.


4) if you miss the clearcut you'll find that the road bed quickly disappears and you'll have a bi*ch of a time fighting through slide alder, etc., your parter will get poked in the eye with a tree branch and you'll quickly discover that you're not having a good time.


sorry if this has been posted somewhere else, but it bears repeating.


Edited by northvanclimber
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