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[TR] Ruth Mountain and Icy Peak - Standard Traverse 9/14/2013


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Trip: Ruth Mountain and Icy Peak - Standard Traverse


Date: 9/14/2013


Trip Report:


The days are shorter and the immaculate weather of summer is deteriorating right quick. Alpine options narrow. What to do? What have I not done yet? Partners?




Fuck yeah, motherfucker.


T-storms and 70% precip are forecast Sunday, but Ruth is doable on the first day, and that campsite with Shuksan's huge full-frontal nudity is hardly a consolation prize. We go for it.


We march march march up the low angle trail to Hannegan Pass, treading on mounds of horse shit - sometimes fresh and almost runny. It's fucking hot out.


Ruth looks good. Yeah a bit worn and used up, but still quite "doable". A mighty gash is visible, but so is a snow bridge, even from afar.


From Hannegan we pass the half-dry pond, and ascend the mud gully from hell. Some of us fall, ignominiously, on our keysters. Eventually we emerge from this poop chute onto open, rocky, bone-dry slopes. It's hotter. I sweat like a whore in church, wringing a few ounces of sweat from my bandana repeatedly.


We round the ridge, Baker appears like a ephemeral ghost. Ruth, Shuksan, Nooksack tower, the Price Glacier... it's like a row of Playboy Centerfolds.






We ascend a dry ridge to snow, rope up and head up and climber's right in a great arcing traverse, avoiding a few cracks that are visible. Eventually we hit the Bergschrund, make a hard left and cross a mammoth snow bridge. The snow is firm, as befits the surrounding mountain porn, right up to the top, despite the heat.




We are alone on the summit of Ruth. We savor the moment and drop to camp along the ridge. There's still a snowfield, a trickle of water, and glorious, glorious mountain porn. And the sunset provides an explosive, orgasmic, kaleidoscopic finish to it all. We are truly blessed.


The winds are bad all night. Both outside the tent and inside. Backcountry Pantry my ass... more like Backdoor Flatulantry. But I digress... I imagine we will be in a white-out for sure come dawn, as forecast. So let it be written so let it be... But wait, no. At 5 am, it's completely clear and starry. FUCK YEAH MOTHERFUCKER!! We arise. My share of a coveted bottle of Stumptown cold brew hits the spot and starts both my motor working, and my bowls to set in motion. We avoid the shitty-gully-from-hell by staying just left of it, find the climber's trail and do the long, dry rocky traverse to the base of the glacier on Icy. En route, thanks to Stumptown, I release the Brown Hostage.






We enjoy similar conditions to our previous day - fine firm snow, a few easy to avoid cracks, and easy routefinding to climber's right to end run a gaper, and find a huge snow bridge up across the schrund.




We round the rocky ridge and scramble to the base of the final gully. My favorite partner MM solos up it. I drag a rope (glacier) for others and place two pieces on route to the rap sling.




We are treated to perfect weather and views. No storm in sight.

This. Is. Fuck-ing. Awesome.




We reverse our path down, becoming progressively more tired and insistently eager for the beer in the car. We fail to beat the clock by only a few minutes with about an hour of rain, Donner und Blitzen. We headlamp a few minutes too. It's all good. Except for maybe the shweaty balls and swamp ass.


Fuck yeah, motherfucker.



Gear Notes:

Ice Axe, Crampons. C4 #1, #4 BD stopper.

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I've recommended this traverse to friends looking for a technically mellow but still adventurous outing, and everyone who does it is suitably impressed.


Well said. This route is great not due to the challenges but because the position in the range makes these views unreal. Ditto with Black Peak. Sitting on the summit of Ruth on a hot August day and watching ice fall on the Price Glacier was memorable to say the least.


Then I promptly snapped out of my trance when I sweated through unrelenting heat while being tortured by black flies on the way down from Hannegan Pass.

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