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I just climbed the Gerber-Sink on Dragontail this week (see the TR if you want). It was definitely a level-up from what I've climbed previously in winter.


My question is, what other routes should I consider to challenge myself and expand my abilities/experience?


I know I need some more ice and mixed cragging experience, but what are some bigger alpine routes I might build toward? Both the Black Spider and Yocum Ridge are on my radar already but are highly conditions dependent. Living in Bend it's hard for me to access some of the more remote stuff in North Cascades due to time limits and variable conditions, so please consider the added drive time.


P.S. I know that there are plenty of great moderate routes out there and I don't need to always be pushing my limits, etc. etc. I do intend to enjoy easier routes and this is not about me pushing myself in some mad desire to become a high-level alpinist, but goals and progress are nice and I feel a little unsure of what to target after this climb. Thanks for the suggestions.



Edited by bedellympian
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P.P.S. I'm in grad school right now and probably won't be able to get on anything big again until May, so please don't tempt my homework-ridden self with climbs that are in condition "right now." This is more for me to think about potential goals and objectives for next winter and beyond. Thanks.

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In the near future Cauthorn-Wilson route on Cutthroat Peak, Early Winters' Couloir, West Face of Silver Star, Curtis or Ptarmigan Ridges on Rainier. If access to Cascade Pass remains open next winter then NW Couloir on Eldorado, NE Buttress of J'Berg, The Misunderstanding on Mixup, the route Kurt did on the East Face of Sahale, or TFT would all be solid objectives. Cosley Houston on Colfax, North Face, NW Face of Mt Shuksan further north.

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it's a big, big world out there but if you want to stay localish the gems to get hard for, in my humble opinion are:


- n side routes on rainier

- nooksack tower

- johanessberg

- index traverse

- big wall cool things at index like davis-holland, green dragon, town crier, etc.

- bear peak

- darrington cool shit

- liberty crack


that's a good start :)

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Thanks for the suggestions guys! Several of those were already on my list but a bunch weren't so now I have some research to do.


Ivan, I appreciate the nod to some aid/wall routes, that is an area I could use some practice that I'm sure would pay dividends.


keenwesh and christoph, thanks for the push to get on an expedition. Unfortunately the Ruth is probably not going to work out as I work in schools and April/May is not really an option with that job... unless I substitute next year :)...


I have been thinking that routes in the Canadian Rockies, Waddington, Cordillera Blanca, and Denali (higher altitude routes) in the next few summers would be good goals but I feel like I need a few more stepping stones to prepare for that sort of trip... or maybe I just need to train my ass off and go big like keenwesh :grin:

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bdellympian, I don't know the mountains on the washington side of the border nearly as well as I should. But although it's a bit further to drive, routes on the E and N sides of Slesse are good candidates for expanding your experience. The ratio of length and seriousness of the climbs vs length of approach is pretty favourable.


A route I'd recommend in the Wadd is the South ridge of Serra 2. 1500 meters of granite from easy 5th class to 5.9. The big routes in the Waddington are really big, its an awesome place.





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I'd start by really making use of the terrain that you have nearby. Become a good rock climber at Smith, plug cracks at Trout, do the Jefferson Park Glacier, Leuthold, Reid HW, North Face of Hood, Three Sisters Traverse, and anything else that you can do on your school schedule.


Learn to love driving late on Friday and Sunday nights. That's how I got through grad school!


A few more ideas:

Snoqualmie Mountain—New York Gully, Pineapple Express

Chair Peak—North Face, NE Buttress

Stuart - Stuart Glacier Couloir, NW Face Couloir

Hyalite Canyon

Hood - Leutholds, Reid HW, North Face, Illumination Rock


The key is to be motivated to get out climbing, in any form, as much as you can. It's all mileage!



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Yeah Marc, I would love to get on Slesse but it is an 8+ hour drive for me through Seattle area traffic :(


I will definitely get on Slesse one summer at the very least, and keep that South Ridge in mind for a future Wadd trip! Sounds sick!


Kurt, I've already done a bunch on Hood, including an I-rock route, N Face, DKH, etc. It's definitely the best alpine crag in OR and I'll keep going back. And yeah, I live in Bend so I spend plenty of time at Smith and the other areas you mentioned (Jeff Park is a sweet route).


I appreciate the nod to Snoqualmie routes since I always pass them by for the Stuart Range, I've always thought about NY Gully as this hard test piece but after last week it sounds really reasonable, and Stuart Glacier Couloir will be a good one too with the mixed ridge and more complex descent.


Thanks guys!

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Just a heads up, it's Sierra. Good to know before you unnecessarily pluralize it and betray the fact that you're not a "local" from the bay area.


hey buddy, I actually grew up in the sierras in a small town called shaver lake, lived in mammoth lakes for many years, and i'm currently living in tahoma on lake tahoe's west shore. everyone calls it the sierras.


nobody says "im going to the sierra" that would sound dumb.

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Yeah, the Sierra/s are on my radar (grew up in Reno where most people say Sierras, but met plenty of sticklers for s-less Sierra too). Got plenty of alpine rock objectives (Winds, Bugs, Tetons, Sierras, Cascades, Sawtooths, etc.), probably too many given how short life is, but alpine rock is only climbable a few months each year and I'd rather go alpine than crag... thus the request for alpine routes to progress past this last ice/mixed alpine climb.

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