American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Washington, Mount Baker, Northeast Face

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1959

Mount Baker, Northeast Face. On June 22 Fred Beckey and Don Claunch started from Kulshan Cabin, climbed to Heliotrope Ridge and crossed the Coleman Glacier through several crevasse patterns to the north ridge. Staying below the ridge, we headed east under the huge, impressive, previously unsealed northeast face, a spectacular cirque, broken by enormous bergschrunds. This is bordered on the east by the Cockscomb ridge. We climbed upwards for a few hundred feet and then cut left across a 45° ice slope to reach the left side of the glacier. We followed this side, bypassing several touchy crevasses and bridges, and finally reached the lower lip of the great upper bergschrund, which slits the whole face. Crossing this on avalanche debris, we chopped our way up the upper lip, using ice pitons for safety. We then continued diagonally up to the left on névé to the ridge and up the Cockscomb just below the summit. The whole ascent took about ten hours. Later in the year crevasses and bergschrunds would block any hope of progress.

Don G. Claunch

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