American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Washington—Cascade Mountains, Three Fingers Mountain, West Ridge of North Peak

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1966

Three Fingers Mountain, West Ridge of North Peak. This enchanting mountain on the skyline east of Everett is always carefully watched by local climbers, because by regularly observing the vertical black cliff of the North Peak one can soon learn quite accurately to judge the mountain snow and avalanche conditions for the coming weekend. The usual north- peak route ascends the south ridge just right of the black cliff, but left of the black cliff lies a narrow rotten ridge never before considered as a "route” because of a 150-foot vertical rotten step where it passes the black cliff. On July 24 our team of Bob Briggs, Don Johnson, Paul Bergman and me traversed from the Goat Flats shelter northwest to the distant west ridge. A bivouac at 6000 feet on a five-foot-wide heather ledge was one of planned pleasure; we dined on hamburgers, toasted cheese sandwiches, and barbecued chicken, all foil-warmed with firewood hauled up the last 500 feet. The following day the 150-foot rotten step was climbed in three hours on pitons not even good for confidence, and in retrospect this still cannot be considered a "route" on the mountain, but more aptly just a ridiculous way to get there. Beyond the step, the ridge is merely rotten and airy, and the summit easily reached in another hour. Descent was by the normal south ridge.

Kenneth Carpenter

This AAJ article has been reformatted into HTML. Please contact us if you spot an error.