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Le Piston

[TR] Clark Mountain - Walrus Glacier 9/1/2013

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Trip: Clark Mountain - Walrus Glacier

 

Date: 9/1/2013

 

Trip Report:

I had been smitten with Clark last summer when climbing Fortress and Chiwawa, and had no trouble talking my friend Rod into giving it a go even with his partially healed broken ribs. The weather forecast was favorable for the weekend, so off we went. We chowed down at our favorite breakfast spot on Highway 2, the 59er Café and headed for the White River Trailhead.IMG_06183.jpg The trail is the nicest, flattest approach trail I've ever been on. If someone would brush it out, it would also be the driest. At about 4 miles and a whopping 400 feet elevation gain, we turned off on the Boulder Creek trail. Rod, who hates icy river/creek fords, was happy that the water was low and Boulder Creek could be crossed without a ford. The ford though was infested with biting flies, so I didn't appreciate it as much. We found a nice camp in a basin below Boulder Pass, about 5000 feet elevation. Sunday morning we headed up over the pass to a basin on the east side of Clark. We scrambled up a heather and scree ridge to about 7000 feet and got our first sight of the Walrus Glacier.IMG_0446.jpg It looked pretty chopped up, so we roped up and started looking for a way through. IMG_04531.JPG Fortunately, we found tracks from one of the other three parties (that we know of) that were climbing Clark this weekend. The route in early summer is supposed to stay left on the lower glacier, but we had to weave quite a bit to avoid the bigger crevasses.IMG_04553.jpg There were a couple snow bridges that were getting pretty thin and my guess is won't last another week. One spot was a bit of a knife edge that we belayed on the way out.IMG_0500.JPG Once out of the lower glacier, it was smooth sailing to the col at 8000 feet. We scrambled down some class 3 rock to a snowfield and headed for a ridge on the south face, where easy scree (class 2) took us to the summit.IMG_04962.jpg The views were fabulous, with Glacier Peak dominant. We enjoyed our traditional summit chocolate bar and thought about heading over to climb Luahna.IMG_04791.jpg If we had been familiar with the Southeast Slope approach route, we might have continued on, but we were the only party silly enough to go back down the Walrus glacier.IMG_05041.jpg It was a little stressful in a couple of spots, but at least we got to see some interesting seracs.IMG_05031.JPG We were glad to get off the glacier and begin the walk back to camp. Besides the gorgeous scenery, one bonus was the delicious wild blueberries along the trail. This was a fun climb, but a bit more work than we expected with the Walrus glacier so broken up.

 

Gear Notes:

Glacier gear. We were glad to have a picket. Bring rain pants...the dew on the vegetation will soak you in the morning. Flies and mosquitos still out and hungry!

 

Approach Notes:

Very straight forward as described. Super nice trail, just needs some brushing out.

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Great work and fantastic images!

 

I'm actually surprised that the Walrus still went this late in the season. I'm also surprised that there was another party up there, let alone three! The three times I've been up on Clark, we've been the only party for miles.

 

The SE slope is pretty easy (mostly hiking), you can kind of just pick your way around the east ridge and back to the basin where you're camped without too much trouble.

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Thanks Jason. We saw a couple coming from the SE slope route when we were on the summit. It looks like it would have been easier coming down and taken us right to camp.

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