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[TR] Shuksan - Circumnavigation + Summit 1/21/2013

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Trip: Shuksan - Circumnavigation + Summit


Date: 1/21/2013


Trip Report:

In our eternal quest to get a sunburn in every month of the year (turns out you can get burned in January in the North Cascades), Gord, Kit, Chad and myself made plans to spend a couple of days on Mt. Shuksan. Chad had driven all the way in from southern ID for a N. Cascades sampler, and the conditions lined up nicely to get him way up high in the range.On the way out of the lot on Sunday morning we ran into the one and only Daniel Helmstadter, newly back in ass-kicking action. He promptly dropped us like we were standing still (which we did frequently based on the silly overnight loads we carried), and we never saw him again. He had a First Descent on the south side of Shuksan to get to, but I'm somewhat certain he has teleportation abilities as well. That man can move!


We, however, took our time getting to camp at the top of the Fisher Chimneys, but still arrived with time to watch a spectacular afternoon. We didn't even need to level a spot for the Megamid- fantastic! In the late afternoon we saw Jason4 and a group head down Winnie's slide :wave: The night was as long as expected, but not too cold. We were reluctant to leave our sleeping bags and camp in the morning, not rolling until around 0800. Up the Upper Curtis, through Hell's Highway, and up the Shulphide to the summit gully, we found ourselves booting up to the tippy top around noon. We ended up belaying a short bit from the gully to the summit ridge, mostly on the way down. Dan had kicked some great steps that made a lot of it easier. Unlike him though, we left our skis at the base.


What a view! The summit of Shuksan never disappoints, but especially in winter. Wow. Chad was suitably impressed as the view was a bit different than the Tetons (his home range). We had the summit to ourselves, naturally, but couldn't stay too long due to the short days. We returned to our skis at the base of the summit pyramid and proceeded to circle the mountain's north side via the Crystal and Hanging Gls. A scenic way to complete the tour, and we were back at camp without too much delay.


Packing up camp went quickly,and soon we were faced with the unpleasant ski down the VERY firm White Salmon with full packs. That was certainly a theme on the trip- great climbing conditions but generally poor ski conditions. Ski crampons were very useful. We battled the usual shenanigans in the valley bottom, getting back up to the parking lot around 1730. The gate wasn't locked, and we were soon in Kendall wishing Gord well on his way back across the border. Another North Cascades adventure complete!





Skinning up the White Salmon






Chad admires the view north



Gord exploring above camp



Baker from camp



Lower Curtis Icefall



Dan, you are THE MAN. I think there are two of his First Descents visible, maybe more.



Topping out on Hell's Highway



Skinning up the Sulphide





In the Summit gully



Kit topping out on the summit ridge



On the summit



Looking east to Icy, the Pickets, and beyond



Dropping onto the Crystal Gl.



Pausing at the transition between the Hanging and Upper Curtis Gls.



Skiing the Upper Curtis



Gord hanging on near Winnie's Slide



Gordo Fausto always leads the way for his North American clients. What a handsome man!


Gear Notes:

Ski crampons, whippet, boot crampons, axe, helmet, rando rope- all useful and used.


Approach Notes:

Park at the White Salmon Lodge. You can't miss it.

Edited by JasonG

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Excellent pics. And your secret weapon for tanning in winter is obviously to go to beautiful snowy areas and get radiation from the top and bottom.


Thanks for sharing.

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Sweet trip Dudes! looks stellar.

How do you keep being able to get Gordo Fausto to guide your trips? I have not been able to get him to even answer my calls!

My Himmelhorn bid remains a fantasy until Fausto commits!

And is that another new set of planks on Kits feet?

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Nice report and great pictures! It's reassuring to know that someone else thought the skiing was a bit challenging and also that we weren't the only ones that Dan flew by. He really does move at an astonishing speed. We watched him do a kick turn on a hard, steep slope above an open crevasse and I blinked and missed the other two that he did...

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Awesome photos Jason! Chatting with you guys gave me a positive vibe that lasted all day. Great that Chad got to experience the cascadesin winter bluebird conditions!

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Jason, thanks for another fantastic trip and stunning photos.


Daniel, it was good to meet you Sunday morning. Congrats on the success of your day and your improving health!


Chad's mind is sufficiently blown. He's now been here five days with two sunny summits plus a sunny fresh-snow day inbounds. It’s always like this here!


I'm not going to sugarcoat it. That is one Very. Handsome. Man.

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Thanks for the compliments on the photos everyone!


Mr. Sepultura, Fausto is probably just intimidated by you manly commercial fisherman types. Don't worry, I'll get you two together when you get back from AK.

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