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North America, United States, Washington, Cascade Mountains, Mount Booker, Northeast Face

Mount Booker, Northeast Face. Unless you have climbed in Washington’s Cascade Pass area you have undoubtedly never heard of Mount Booker as it is greatly overshadowed in height by its neighboring peaks and the only routes on it had previously been just long but easy walks. An exploratory trip had earlier shown the northeast face to be a predominantly rock face over 3000 feet high and averaging about 70°. The rock seemed to be typical Cascade rock, (which I don’t feel is quite as rotten as most people claim,) with a prominent rib which seemed to present a reasonable route leading in a straight line up the center to the summit. Near the beginning of August from a camp near the head of Park Creek John Holland and I first worked our way up some easier cliffs to the small glacier at the base of the face and then ascended left up the glacier to an icefall, which was surprisingly large for the size of the glacier. We then made a frightening traverse to the right, through and under the icefall to a ledge leading onto the face. We traversed and climbed some steps in the ledge to about the second big tree, where the ledge made its first descent. Here we roped and climbed up and right for two leads to the rounded rib crest. Once on the rib we simply followed it as best we could, occasionally climbing on one side or the other. About half way up there is a prominent, crumbly red stratum which appears to cross the whole face. Here we were surprised to find goat tracks and assumed this ledge would offer an escape route. About three-quarters of the way up we wondered about how we would climb out of a 100-foot notch. Here there was another escape route in the form of a long, narrow gully which angled up the face and through our rib from lower right to upper left which required some very steep snow and ice climbing. The summit was reached early in the evening just in time for us to descend via the Buckner-Booker col and find our camp before it was totally dark. We did most of the climb class 4 and 5 although we could have done some class 3 if we had not had such heavy packs; we had been prepared for greater difficulties and a bivouac. (NCCS IV, F8)

Dan Davis