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[TR] Castle Peak - Middle Buttress 8/3/2008


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Trip: Castle Peak - Middle Buttress


Date: 8/3/2008


Trip Report:

Blake Harrington and I, Peter Hirst, climbed the Middle Buttress of Castle Peak in the North Cascades. The Middle Buttress hosts one other route - the "Colorado Route", climbed in the early 90's. Our route probably shared some of the same terrain as the Cod route, but probably a lot of independent terrain as well. The rock was high-quality for the most part, though some of the cracks higher up were choked with sod. Blake led two challenging 5.10 pitches and I led one, though his was more runout than mine. The other pitches were in the 5.7 - 5.9 range. A good route that felt very alpine in natute, in that it followed a feature rather than a crack system.


Here are some pic's (taken by Blake). I have more I'll post when I get a chance.








Gear Notes:

Climbing equipment involving the use of pitons.


Approach Notes:

Oh the Wildflowers.

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The feature we climbed looked better than the Kearney Route, but I haven't climbed the Kearney route so I guess I can't say for sure. About 6 hours in on Saturday (including a 1/2 hour huddle under a larch tree to wait out a squall); Left camp around 5:00 am on Sunday, back to camp around 6:00 pm, and back to the TH around 11:00 pm. It was a long day and a third day would have made it more enjoyable.

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I told the Alpinist guy to hold off, as my photos weren't much, and on a postage-stamp sized screen Peter's looked better. But Peter doesn't have the interweb at his house, I went to utah for 8 days on work and dropped off the map, the mailman evidently went on strike, yada yada yada.


I'll describe the route topo and more pics in the morning pending receipt of said photo CD from Pete.


I think it's worthy of a repeat. The area is beautiful at least and worth the hike in on its own.

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Pete was a great partner, except he kept trying to drop stuff (like ice tools) on my head from above. A few more photos and route description, as well as I can remember it.


The beautiful approach and camp






Castle Peak North Face – Middle Buttress

The “Colorado Route” generally follows the buttress crest, the climb Peter and I did was off to the left side of the wall.

The glacial moat may be an obstacle late in the year. Two snow patches above the glacier may block parts of the route. All Lengths and grades are approximate.


Clouds giving way to sun in the morning






P1. Begin in the blocky line just left of the gulley/chimney on the left edge of the buttress. Toward the end there is a wide crack, most of the pitch is low 5th. 70m 5.8

P2. Climb up and right to the top of the snow, aim for the clean wall below a L-Facing corner. 20m Low 5th

P3. Up unprotected face climbing to the corner, which has good gear (fixed LA piton in place). From the top of the crack, hard 5.10 face climbing leads to a ledge. 30m 5.10+







P4. Face climb left from the belay, then up the perfect flakes and cracks to the pedestal above. 40m 5.10-






P5. Move down and left from the belay to a hidden corner, and work your way back up and right to a spot above the belay. 30m 5.7




P6. Left and up to the bottom of a long seam/ finger crack. Move left at the base of the crack, and up around a series of corners and roofs. We belayed down near the chimney. 45m 5.10




P7. Up the featured arête to the right of the chimney/gulley, then up a perfectly white shallow dihedral, undercling right, and belay. Small TCUs usefull. Some may find this pitch runout. 5.10 30m


P8. Climb left and pull into fantastic hidden finger crack in left-facing corner. Move right at the top. 40m 5.10-


P9. Traverse right along a ledge and pull up in a long corner/dihedral with two trees in it. The cracks here became mossier but good flakes and edges abound. 75m 5.7

p.10 Move left into a corner choked with moss. Follow this upward ~10m until you can move left onto the amazing golden stripe of quartz. 75m 5.8




p.11 Follow the golden stripe upward and leftward, near the gulley/chimney again. End at a ledge and amphitheatre below many overhanging walls. 80m 5.8





P.12 The best option would be to move left up a finger crack/corner to the crest on the left, and follow it to the top. We went up the gulley, across snow, then up a weird V1 boulder overhang and rightward to the top. 80m 5.7





The scenic de-proach




Gear to 3” with small cams and pins (knifeblade, Lost Arrows) useful. Descent is down the E. Ridge to snow slopes.

Edited by Blake
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