YocumRidge Posted July 27, 2009 Share Posted July 27, 2009 (edited) Trip: Mt. Shuksan - Fisher Chimneys/Southeast rib extravaganza Date: 7/18/2009 Trip Report: I have always been attracted by the rugged beauty of Mt. Shuksan, so a plan of attack was devised between Dinamyte, Robert York and myself to climb Mt. Shuksan via Fisher Chimneys/Southeast rib variation in a day and half. Our drive from PDX to the Austin Pass trailhead took us 6 hours and so we hit the trail at about 1 p.m. on Saturday 07/18/2009. The approach is currently in a good shape with snowfields en route to the lake Ann where we met with another team member - Brian Lavin from CO - who was bivying at the lake for a couple of days. He provided us with beta on the route finding to the base of what is supposed to be Fisher Chimneys but was not very enthusiastic to join us to climb FC with full packs on. And the full packs mean full packs, i.e. stuffed with a rope, pickets, tools, crampons and a rock pro. The three of us did head to and up the Chimneys to realize a little too late that the route is NOT pack/3 feet picket friendly at all and even more so on a way down. Oh well, too late to change our minds. In my humble opinion, the Chimneys stand as a crux of the whole climb! After topping out the Chimneys at 7 p.m., we headed across the snow and the boulder fields to the base of the Winnie’s Slide where we set up the camp. Dinamyte at the camp Dinamyte’s alarm went off at 5 a.m. and at 5.30 a.m. we reunited with Brian Lavin who made his way up the Chimneys in the morning. We all traversed the Winnie’s slide to the steep moat/rock section and crawled across the moat on the Upper Curtis glacier (not the most efficient way). The best way turned out to be to continue scrambling up this rock section until arriving at a cairn that marks the best place to cross the moat onto the Upper Curtis Glacier. Traveling up the Upper Curtis glacier was uneventful except a few end runs of the crevasses before reaching the Hourglass and the Hell’s highway which were both crevassed as well. Ascending the Upper Curtis glacier Hourglass The Hell’s highway crux pitch was sweet, steep and short and did not call for the extra pro we brought. One axe in Piolet ancre and front pointing were all we used on the firm snow of the pitch. Brian topping out the Hell's highway We topped out, and then merged with the masses slogging up the Sulphide glacier. Our plan was to climb the Southeast rib of the Summit Pyramid. By the time we reached its base, we realized too late that all the rock pro for simul climbing ended up in the Brian’s pack whose preference was to take the main gully up to the summit. To make the plan work, Robert York pretty much soloed the route with one or two rock anchors along the way. Myself and Dinamyte followed. About half way up, I traversed eastwards to complete a 5.8 variation (the overhanging roof) which was fun and unexpected for the otherwise low class 5 route. We had the summit to ourselves before starting rapping down the main gully. Dinamyte on the summit Robert York and myself on the summit Summit views Wearing rock shoes and getting entangled in the moats was not fun though. We had another shoes/boots change at the base and headed down the Sulphide glacier. A few minutes later, my crampon hit the strap of the other one causing my face down fall and excruciating pain in my left knee. For the moment I was debating whether I had a torn ligament or just a sprain. After lying in the snow for 30 min, I managed to get up and slowly cross the glacier. Dinamyte and Robert York were very accommodating and trying to cheep me up. The knee was swollen and did not bend much so I had to use my second ice tool for downclimbing the Hell’s Highway pitch. Anyhow, each of us brought the second tool so we might have as well used them. Downclimbing the Hell's Highway Hell's Highway amphitheatre Thanks to my injury, we lost considerable time trying to get back to the camp that we reached at around 8 p.m. It became clear that we had to spend one more night on the mountain before heading back to the car. Heading down the Chimneys the next day (Monday) was extremely slow before we had to negotiate a few dodgy class 4 sections/moats on the approach back and so we were back to the car at around 5 p.m. Dinamyte was a great partner, and very understanding of the situation, who made us laugh all the time and graciously provided us with water every half hour on our way back when I was simply hurting of a thought to refill my camelbak! Jon, go ahead and pitch in with whatever I missed. NB on the approach to the base of the Chimneys: Do not take the trail down to the Lower Curtis glacier but get on the gully that veers up and right off the main trail after crossing the first talus field. The good navigation points are a sketchy 50 degree snowfield to traverse to get to an equally sketchy moat linked to a loose class 4 step up to an awkward rap station off the tree. Then continue to a knoll with 2 superb bivy sites (would have been ideal for us), traverse another talus followed by a snowfield and a moat to get to the base of the so-called “Boulder” (currently wanded). The gully begins to the right off “The Boulder” and one could spot a 20 foot, brown perlon rap sling we set up 80 feet up off the base. Watch out for the loose and airy class 4 sections! Gear Notes: Axes, crampons, rope, webbing, rock pro (not used), pickets (not used), second tools (optional) Approach Notes: Rugged with unwanted surprises Edited July 27, 2009 by mitochondria100 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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