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[TR] Greybeard Peak - East Face 5/16/2009


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Trip: Greybeard Peak - East Face


Date: 5/16/2009


Trip Report:

Dan Helmstadter and I climbed and skied the East Face of Greybeard (on maps appears as eastern terminus of Ragged ridge just E of Easy Pass, elevation 7965’) on Saturday. I haven't seen any record of this being climbed or skied; would be curious to hear if any of you have heard tales. The climb alone as a moderate alpine objective is worthy and recommended; its proximity to the road makes it that much more appealing.


A few weeks ago, somebody had posted a shot of this face, unnamed, on a report from Cutthroat (I think)—looked intriguingly possible. Then last week a couple buddies and I were on Mt Hardy and noticed the east face looking pretty fat—perhaps probable. Greybeard East and North Faces:


The obligatory Scurlock photo:


On Friday evening I drove up towards Swamp Creek and saw that the face had melted out some from a week ago, but still appeared relatively do-able. What the heck, give it a try and if it’s not good, bail or descend some other aspect (the southwest is more mellow)… evening east face


We started climbing from 6100’ at around 3:30am after a solid freeze, and availed ourselves of a NE-facing couloir to gain a rib and ultimately the east face proper. Runnels in the couloir initially made for ready sticks with axes and crampons, but abruptly morphed into chunder-wonder variability. The climbing on the ribs and faces above was often steep and entertaining; I recall at one point left hand to rock hold, right hand to axe in snice, left foot post-holed, and right foot kicked into ice—what was next was a guess. Route-finding slowed us down a bit, as did two crampon failures for Dan, which he handily repaired. Luckily, clouds kept the sun at bay, urging us upward.

above the couloir difficulties IMG_6134.JPG


on the face

last stretch to summit




The views from the summit didn’t disappoint.

Goode et al


Dan and Black Peak


sunlit Mt Logan, Arriva foreground


Jack Mtn S Face w/ lenticular and Crater Peak


The skiing was classic “spring variable”. We had gained the summit at a bit before 8, and as it had been cloudy all morning, waited for the sun to come out and work some magic on the icy patina found on most of the snow we had climbed. When the sun finally came out full-force at 11 a.m., it was forceful, and our worry turned from too crusty to too soft. For the most part we enjoyed soft-snow turns on the face.

up at summit


We had to down-climb a couple sections due to either grave avy conditions or too-rocky chocolate-chip sections. We finally jumped a little step to finish the c. 1700'face, and skied a ridge feature to my bivy site at 6100’, making for a c. 1900’ run.



Perhaps this face will come into better shape (i.e., ski-able in full) in future years after a more robust snowfall for this area.

Taken later that afternoon with Rainier in hand:


route up in red, down in green


edit: guess I used the wrong "shortcut" for showing images. will try to fix later...if any of you mods have helpful suggestions...


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Casey had other obligations, unfortunately, & had to bail.


haha. Posted over there to hopefully get some news re: whether this had been climbed or skied before. Also the east face is a fun and accessible climb w/ or w/o skis. Seems the North Face gets all the attention, but with this so close to the road, who knows...

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Hey Pax! Yeah, that peak is pleasing to the eye.


We had some gear, and encountered some spicy sections where we talked about it, but never did bust out the rope on the ascent. The cruxes were mercifully short.


We belayed the ski off the summit to stomp on what appeared a big nasty slab. Fortunately, we were able to downclimb the dicy sections so didn't have to rap.

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Posted over there to hopefully get some news re: whether this had been climbed or skied before.

Not sure about who climbed it first, but it has been used as a (ski-less) descent route by parties climbing the north face.

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good eyes--the first 1/3 took us about 1/2 the time, methodical and mildly ponderous mixed climbing.


we took about 4.5 hours total, including crampon field repair. so i'd estimate that passing that last noticeable constriction (that i think you reference) took us nearly to the 2 hour mark.


would've taken longer if we'd roped up, which we were on the verge of doing.


(cbcbd -- thanks for the info.)

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