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legrigri

Best Alpine Climb around Seattle/Portland in Sept

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I'm going to be in the Portland/Seattle area for a weekend in Sept and wondering if anyone has suggestions on the best, most bad@$$ alpine climb (5.7 range or easier) that can be done with a one night bivy in the Southern Cascades? It might be too late in the season, but I would love to swing the ice axes up some WI 2 or 3 or gully equivalent. Cheers!

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You want alpine ice or rock? If you want snow / ice then volcanoes will be your only bet. If you want alpine rock in the southern cascades, you're SOL.

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Are you perhaps from California? The Cascades don't make the late season gully ice that you'll find in the Sierra, things just melt out or stay snow rather than transforming into water ice.

 

For that time of year, the best alpine climbs will be rock routes in the North Cascades or Alpine Lakes regions. The southern part of the range is generally mellower, and its offerings are better in early season. Hood in September is an ugly and dangerous horrorshow, and while I don't know much about the other Oregon volcanoes to the south, I'd guess they can be equally unsavory when the snow and ice that hold the choss together melts away.

 

If you're in the Seattle area, given your 1 bivy 5.7 and under criteria, I'd head to the Stuart Range near Leavenworth and either do the North Ridge of Stuart from the Ingalls Pass trailhead or the Gerber-Sink on Dragontail from the Mountaineer Creek trailhead, you'll find plenty of info on those peaks here.

 

If you're in Portland, sheesh, I guess I'd climb the SE Corner on Beacon Rock, or spend a couple days hiking and 3rd class peak bagging in the Goat Rocks. Maybe a rock route on Illumination Rock on Hood if you've got your volcanic choss merit badge.

 

best of luck

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Cool! Thanks all. Yes, guilty, I am a Californian! Pretty obvious eh?

 

Beckey's book says the Gerber-Sink on dragon tail requires some ice axes and crampons. Anyone have an idea if the snow's melted off? Or should I carry those just to be safe?

 

I thought about the North Ridge on Stuart, but the hike in or out sounds damn long.

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If you were visiting me in Seattle I'd probably take you to do the East Ridge of Forbidden. Long, alpine, and a reasonable two day trip.

 

 

Down in Portland, I think it would be Mt Jefferson - don't know much about the route, just that its alpine and involves some rock climbing.

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The W Ridge of Forbidden is the classic but that's N Cascades and maybe further than you want to go. Still doable in a long day from Seattle.

 

I'd do the Serpentine Arete on Dragontail if you're headed to that area. It sees more traffic than the Gerber-Sink and is probably cleaner. Definitely don't need cramps / axe for the approach but there could still be some snow on the descent.

 

Also, W Ridge of Stuart might fit the bill. Closer to Seattle consider W Ridge of Thompson or W Face of Vesper.

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Thompson is a short route on a pile of choss a long way from the road. I don't think it deserves classic status. Enchantments would be far better IMHO.

 

Vesper is an excellent outing, but getting on the lower part of the route late season involves crossing hard snow/ice and then crossing a potentially large and dangerous moat. Crampons and ax may be recommended. I think you can get on the route on ledges part way up and bypass the snow/ice but I've never gone that way.

 

E Ridge Direct of Forbidden is outstanding, but road closure may be an issue.

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I'm an ex-pat californian from way back, and I made a few long hikes in search of a sierra style summer ice gully before I figured out they just didn't exist up here.

 

You could get by without axe or crampons on the gerber-sink. The route will be dry, and while you'll find snow on the descent, you can most likely get down fine without tools. There's a thread on this subject in the Alpine Lakes forum.

 

Pete's right that the Serpentine is much more popular, I just preferred the Gerber-Sink as a whole. Potaytoes, potahtoes, whatever.

 

Direct East Ridge of Forbidden is a great recommendation too, if the access gets cleared up. I thought it had much more quality climbing and much less traffic than the West Ridge.

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from portland area, the se corner on beacon rock is, as mentioned, a great option (plus there are several other routes on the crag that are moderate and excellent) - 3 hours south lies the incredible wolf rock, which has some great easy routes like tyler's morgul vale and is alpinish (certainly far off the beaten path, very tall, and featuring a stimulating descent)

 

for a cool adventure, you might consider the deadhorse cave near mt adams too - some decent beta in here along w/ a lotta bullshit :)http://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=1042666

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