AAC Publications - http://publications.americanalpineclub.org

North America, United States, Washington, Cascades, New Climbs

New Climbs in the Cascades. For those who tire of sea-level recreation in the Pacific Northwest there are always the ice-crested Cascades to beckon the adventurous, and to those adventurers not fully satisfied with following established routes there are still untouched summits and walls. One wall that marked the progressive quests of climbers this summer was the northern exposure of Mt. Goode, climbed from the northwest notch and over the hitherto avoided north summit by William Fix, Jim Henry, John Parrott, Don Claunch, and myself. The route, on steep fractured granite, was quite enjoyable, requiring the use of only two pitons. The nearby west tower of Goode was scaled on another trip to the area by Claunch and me. Insecure rock mitigated the usual reward expected from such a striking peak, but the ascent is quite worthwhile if one is already in the area.

Most of this year’s exploratory climbing efforts were consummated on the far east side, in the Methow Range, north and east of Lake Chelan, amid a cluster of towering granitic spires surrounding Mt. Silver Star. One venture to the area resulted in new ascents of various towers on Snagtooth Ridge; another, the ascent of Silver Horn, by Joe Hieb, Art Maki, John Parrott, and myself. The principal quest, which after some preliminary probing, finally consumed almost three days of sustained piton climbing, was Burgundy Spire. John Parrott, Michael Hane, and I established camp on a rock outcrop of the Silver Star Glacier and in successive stages worked up the north face, leaving fixed ropes for faster renewed progress. A grim 200-foot face took almost a day to scale, and higher up, confused by various escapes from difficulty which led nowhere, we “direct-aided” up most of a 70-foot step which virtually overhangs the glacier. Late the second day we arrived at the first of several summit teeth, the highest, of course, being at the far end. Parrott, who had been coaxed into climbing to a small vantage point, announced that we should make the summit shortly on the next day. His plans for the quick conquest were not revealed, however; the next day when we returned, after further exploring we found no bypasses around the “teeth.” His optimism was forgiven when he finally piloted a well-aimed rock, with a thin line attached, over the second tooth, and in time we were able to make a prusik-knot ascent to its exposed crown. From here the summit itself was reached in about an hour via a knife-thin edge and a summit-block overhang requiring the use of a bolt for aid (6 Rawl drives were used on the climb). It had been a fascinating and stimulating problem, involving virtually every tactic of the rock climber; and to give just a little variety, Burgundy has a steep 300-foot frozen névé couloir leading into the face off the glacier.

Fred Beckey