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[TR] North Hozomeen - NE ridge 6/3/2013

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Trip: North Hozomeen - NE ridge


Date: 6/3/2013


Trip Report:

North Hozomeen!




The photo above was taken several years ago on a trip up the South Peak with Tim and Gord. It has hung on my wall in the intervening years and I have looked at that right hand skyline and wondered. Beckey makes it sound pretty mellow, and it was first climbed nearly one hundred years ago, but it is Hozomeen, and that name deserves respect in my experience. While not quite as hard as the South Peak, the North Peak does make an impression in early season, and we had a memorable climb.


It started with the deadline nearing for Scott's return to the Bering sea for a summer of sodden toil on the fishing grounds. He really wanted to go for South Hozomeen, but Gordo and myself couldn't be convinced, perhaps the North peak would suffice? With the destination set, we met at Timmy's across from Sumas and flew up the Fraser at the usual Gordo pace. The road to upper Ross lake went faster than expected as well due to recent grading, and we found ourselves stashing beer in the US before hopping across the bordering and following the swath up, up, up to our high camp. Around 5000' we left the swath for an obvious drainage that led to a high col very near the peak. We found a remarkably perfect spot to pitch the Hilleberg and settled in for a damper than expected evening. We really hoped for the forecasted clearing! It was about 5 hours to camp.


The next day came early, warm, and overcast. Hmmmmmm. We headed up, through the notch, and down into the basin on the north side of the peak. Here, we had a couple of options. The easiest way would be to go up the ski line pioneered by Sky et al., but we had a rope and rack and Gordo! We were going for something more fitting of our uber alpine guide, so we traversed left to the start of the NE ridge. I took a look at the slimy, loose, and unprotectable start and told Gordo he had this pitch. After he brought us up, Scott took the sharp end for a bit before coming back to the belay due to more of the above. I declined the lead, once again, and suggested that maybe the ski line would be not such a bad way to go after all? Gordo was having none of it. He promptly took that rack and set off, finding two somewhat OK pieces in 100+ feet of wet, slimy, fourth/low-fifth. I'm glad we had him along!


The rest of the ridge was lower angle, but very exposed with fine alpine flavor. A snow arete led to a very exposed 3rd/4th class section before another corniced arete that finished on the lonely summit. We dug around for a couple minutes and produced the brass register (unfortunately a rarity these days) place by Don Goodman in 1992. Interestingly, the last entry was by Colin and Dylan, from their aborted Zorro face trip last summer. We had a good time reading through the entries, about 1-2 per year or so, waiting for the views to open up. The clouds looked like they were going to lift, but never really did, making for a dramatic day overall. I would have like to see a bit more, especially a good view of the north face of South Hozomeen.


After an hour on the summit we carefully backed down the upper NE face, which was straightforward, except for a thin bit a third of the way down. We should have had our crampons on, but it went OK. Glissading and booting back to camp was quick and soon we were packing for the steep, hammering descent down the swath. This went pretty smoothly, staying in the swath itself (cleared in the last few years?) or on the Canadian side for most of the way down. The bugs were noticeably worse on the way down, and we hear that they are downright horrendous later in the summer. Early season is key for both peaks of Hozomeen, but you will have the peak to yourself regardless of your chosen date. Neither are "classic" in the traditional sense, but I certainly think both are well worth climbing for the Cascade connoisseur. You won't forget either.


Gordo, "We must follow this strange, very wide trail to 5000 feet"



Rain showers were the theme of Day 1.





Starting out on Day 2:



Scott, above the first step and about to tackle the second:



Topping out on the second step:



The alpine finish to the NE ridge in early season conditions:



The summit!



Ross lake in the mist:







The upper part of the SW buttress. Wild!



Carefully descending the NE ridge:



With apologies to Sky, bipedal "Hozone Pollution":



"You stay on your side, and I'll stay on mine"



The Sequester's effects stretch to Ross Lake:



Walking out on the dry lake bed to admire North Hozo:



6500' above the car, the top of Hozo's Zorro face rears above the trees:



Gear Notes:

60m half rope. Very light rack (you won't be able to place much gear). HELMET. ice axe, etc.


Approach Notes:

Follow Beckey

Edited by JasonG

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Wicked! I miss that Hozo already. Its great when you can find a true Euro Choss Guide like Gordo Fausto. And what a handsome man.

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Thanks! John, you probably know Hozo better than most anyone. I've always loved your images of both peaks, but especially this one.

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Cool to see a trip report in that area. There's a

lot of areas to explore in there.

You want run into anyone.


Fun trip I had up there with Sky and Drew

Skiing the line. I mountain bike raced with

Gord in 90's. Now I realize how bad of an idea

It was to do a race and then slog in for the descent.

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