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North America, United States, Washington—Cascades, Mount Baker, Cockscomb Ridge

Mount Baker, Cockscomb Ridge. This long, prominent ridge was ascended in its entirety for the first time on July 4 by Chuck Murley, John Musser and me. Although this ridge forms a prominent skyline on the north side of the peak, it appears that the last recorded attempt was made by a Mazama party in 1906, which finally climbed the Rainbow Glacier and the portion of the ridge above the 300-foot high Cockscomb Tower which had thwarted its original ridge attempt. We left the road the day before at 3700 feet and followed the trail to Kulshan Cabin and the moraine above to the edge of the Coleman Glacier. This and then the Roosevelt Glacier we crossed in a northeasterly direction to the foot of the objective ridge at 7800 feet. Here we stopped to cook dinner and rest. At 9000 feet thin bridges led across a maze of crevasses and a long contour to the east was made to bypass a schrund on the ridge. The climb continued in moonlight on abrupt slopes to gain the steeply rising ridge crest. A rocky, exposed bivouac was made at 9500 feet, where a splendid view of the lights of the cities of Bellingham and Vancouver added beauty to an otherwise cold night. After four hours of rest the climb resumed at sunrise and we turned the tower in the most direct line by steep snow on the east side. Above, the ridge broadened and merged rapidly into the summit snow plateau. We reached the summit at 10,778 feet in less than 14 hours of climbing, thus completing a route which should become popular thanks to a safe traverse under the spectacular west and north ice faces, and a long, interesting ridge climb of great beauty.

Klindt Vielbig