American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Washington—Cascades, Mount Shuksan via Nooksack Ridge

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1961

Mount Shuksan via Nooksack Ridge. Although Mount Shuksan has been climbed by so many different routes, the bastion from Nooksack Tower to the summit plateau, between the Nooksack and Price Glaciers on the northeast face, was unexplored territory. The extension of the Nooksack logging road makes the region much more accessible. Ron Niccoli and I climbed to the alpine ridge at timberline above the river bottom and bivouacked by a fire. We left the smoke at four a.m. and were soon cramponing up snow and ice slopes beneath Nooksack Tower. After about 2000 feet of steep névé and ice with some step-cutting, an exciting alpine climb, we found ourselves in the chilly notch west of the tower. We climbed the crest of the very narrow Nooksack ridge for hours, occasionally avoiding fragile flakes by traverses but usually working along the top. The exposure was magnificent, with great walls sweeping majestically down to the glacial abysses on both flanks. Although one of the most alpine settings in the Cascades, the rock unfortunately ranks as some of the most unstable in the range. Though we never used a piton, some of the leads were quite dangerous, and we had difficult moments because of the rock. After reaching the final glacier, we climbed the east ridge to be on top at one o’clock.

Fred Beckey

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