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N Peak of Mt. Index, N Face (winter) 12/29/2010

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Trip: North Face of Mt. Index's North Peak

Date: 12/29/2010


Trip Report:

Attempted this a couple of days ago and wanted to post some Beta since it was hard to find much.



-The Climb: Lots of opportunities to simu-climb and save time given the easy but exposed terrain. We found the climb to be, in its current condition, very run out. No joke, not much pro at all. There also seems to be several options to climb to get to the bowl depending on conditions.


-I would say late winter / early spring would be your best bet for success. More day light and better Ice. During a cold snap (a must for safety) and if the stars align… a full moon and clear skies.


-I would avoid a decent in the dark I see an epic happening there.


-As the guide says the crux pitches are getting out of the bowl. You get out of the bowl by going to the upper left side of the bowl (the highest part) and then climb up and right up a slaby coulior for two pitches. The crux is not the difficulty of the climbing but the exposure and total lack of gear. This is what turned us back. With some decent ice in on this pitch it would be child’s play, but if not your dancing with the devil.


-Even with us bringing bivy gear including a stove for water and a tent we only brought one pack and it weight only 20 pounds. We each had an insulated water bottle, puffy and belay gloves clipped to our harness. and just swapped the pack to the follower.


-I have some picture that would be great to share for good beta but I can't figure out how to post them! Can some one throw me a fricken bone here?


For now you can check out the video...





Gear Notes:

I did/ would take:

-Bivy gear (we were able to use a small tent)

-Food for 3 days (2 nights on route)

-Tag Line for decent (we almost got cliffed out with two ropes so a single would be a bad idea)

-Tibloc's and grigri for simu-climbing (didn’t bring but would probably use in the future)



Our rack for reference:

3 pins (use full)

6 ish chocks mid sizes

4 tri cams (covers large chock sizes and small to mid cam size)

#1+2 link cams

#3 C4

10 ish slings plus some double lengths.

2 pickets (the most use full pro for us... scary)

2 13cm screws

...and you know the other standard stuff...



Approach Notes:

Trail in:

-the "rough" road referred to in the guide, Selected Cascade climbs Vol. 1 is closed and you are forced to walk it. this turns the approach just to the lake into a 5mi hike. No biggie because the trail was well built. For reference it took us 1hr and 50 min.


- Yes a NW forest pass is required for the parking lot.


- Currently the trail is well packed and snow shoes are not necessary


Edited by Going up?
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Full-on guys. Nice effort. I climbed the N Face this summer for the second time (first time was about 30 years ago) and joked with my partner that it would be a lot easier in winter. There is a post here somewhere from a couple winters ago of the Index traverse done in a push. Interesting reading if you want to know how the pros do it.

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We were hoping for a little more ice or at least a little more solid and well adhered ice on the pitches out of the bowl. For the rock portions we were also hoping for more pro. But any cracks were covered by snow and rotten ice. But the occational shrub to sling and moderate climbing made it dooable.

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Since I'm computer challenged i couldent write anything under the last two images. So here it is...

-The second to last image is the wall you are to climb left and under but with the ice there it is possible to climb up, into and through the snowy icy corner.

-The last image is simply a photo of the start of the hidden traverse

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Good effort, Brice and Jeff. Back in the days when I was young enuf, tough enuf, and foolish enuf (?) to climb this sort of stuff, I used to think it would take 2 - 2 1/2 hrs to lead a summer-5.7 pitch, so you're right, longer days in later season would make this more feasible. Plus you might find more/better ice here and there.


Fyi, re: pro, snowstakes won't really take much load, but the guys in the Rockies (where the snow is fluffier and less dense) bury them sideways and sling 'em like a deadman. And I'd double the number of pegs, esp thin stuff like blades and thinner LAs...


Good luck next time!

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Jason S and I climbed this yesterday and today. I agree that the protection was essentially non-existant. We had trouble finding a feasible way out of the N bowl but found an escape through a fairly direct gully a little left of your high-point anchor. There was no protection in this gully but there was enough climbable snice to make it realistic. I felt the crux of the route was the second pitch on the upper ridge where snow had covered the cracks and holds. We had a great time on the route but wouldn't consider it "in" condition at the moment.


Also, saw some tracks heading out to the East Face... story?

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