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[TR] Colchuck Peak - Holsten-Hilden (new link-up?) 4/17/2016

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Trip: Colchuck Peak - Holsten-Hilden (new link-up?)


Date: 4/17/2016


Trip Report:


Jeff Wright (scribe/photos)

Priti Wright (photos)


Spent 3 glorious weekends on Colchuck Lake in April climbing ice.


While climbing Gerber-Sink the previous weekend we spotted this sweet ice line on the NE Face of Colchuck between the North Buttress Couloir and the NE Couloir (commonly incorrectly referred to as NE Buttress Couloir). It connected to an upper snowfield to the North Buttress. The following week, we scoured our books and the web if it had been climbed, and no sign of any activity... ever! Stoked on our potential first ascent, we went back to Colchuck Lake for the 3rd weekend. From the trail, we could see that the upper snowfield had an easy snow gully to get up onto the North Buttress. From there we could hopefully traverse out onto the NW Face to the summit. Everything was spectacular. Great ice! Turns out it's really fun to climb with no beta sheet and no beta.


The 2 lower ice pitches were 2 sustained 60m pitches of AI3+, the snowfield was cruiser, the snow gully exit onto the North Buttress was a non-event, the traverse onto the NW Face was cautious but straightforward (with less snow, it could be tricky mixed climbing), and the staircase to the summit on the NW Face (connecting to the North Buttress Couloir route) was exposed, fun steep snow. Descended via normal, East Route.


After the climb, we asked Jens Holsten if he knew if it had been climbed, and in fact he and Dan Hilden climbed the 2 lower pitches in 2011 but then veered left onto hard mixed terrain to the summit (instead of the snowfield we took to the North Buttress). Their report is here:




Perhaps this is a new linkup? If you can't climb M6, but are looking for AI3-4 ice, and Gerber-Sink is packed, then this is a really fun, cruiser, elegant line with sustained ice. Alternatively, you could just climb the first 120m of ice and bail. It will likely consistently come in, so look for it next year!















Approaching the base




First pitch



Second pitch



Higher up on the Second pitch. Lots of great options. We went right around the corner.



The upper snowfield



Near the top of the upper snowfield. The exit snow gully is visible leading to the North Buttress









Colchuck Col, Dragontail Peak, and Pandora's Box



Gear Notes:

2 stubby's, 6x 10cm screws, 3 KB's, 1 picket. You can probably unrope at the base of the upper snowfield. Route does not take rock pro well (flared cracks).


Approach Notes:

Snow on road from last bridge to trailhead (approx the last 1/4). Likely no more snow on the road. Colchuck Lake Trail. Up towards Colchuck Col, head up to the moraine and continue directly to the base (don't follow the moraine).

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