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

North America, United States, Washington-Olympics, Mount Constance, Northeast Face

Mount Constance, Northeast Face. In September, Richard Hebble, Jim Richardson and I wandered in over the ancient terminal moraines of the Constance valley and excavated a camp from the detritus left by a now extinct glacier near the valley’s head. On the following morning we ascended to Crystal Col with the help of the first eastern glow. Descending the pocket glacier to the north, we were forced by a huge bergschrund into a moat where the ice gave us a temporary start by dropping a several-ton chunk of ice right in our path. Near the lower section of the glacier a prominent red dike led us up the wall. The first pitch yielded no piton cracks, and Dick looked nervous as he negotiated a bulge about 100 feet up on small holds. Above, a moderately interesting pitch brought us to a ledge where a piton protected attack on the next section of the dike. Our enthusiasm was dampened for a short time when a very rotten section was found to be the key to entering the narrow chimney above. A few pitons were driven, but after insertion proved to be only good as wedges to loosen more rock. Finally a good piton gave me a chance of surviving, should the whole vein peel away from the face, as it threatened to do. Considerable scrambling and several enjoyable pitches of class 4 were encountered in the next 1000 feet before we joined the main ridge and raced to the summit, lashed by a bitter wind.

Don Anderson, Seattle Mountaineers