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North America, United States, Washington—Cascade Mountains, The Blockhouse, South Face

The Blockhouse, South Face. High on the edge of the Cashmere Crags sits The Blockhouse, one of the Crags’ largest and sheerest rock formations, seldom visited since it is not near a trail. John Brottem, Dave Beckstead and I climbed a most pleasurable new route, the south face from the south notch, on September 21, from a camp near timberline just east of the peak. Leaving a couloir on the southeast side was a problem because of overhanging rock. Three bolts were needed here, and after some difficult aid, three more to avoid a balanced loose rock, later dislodged. Once above the notch, the granite was the very finest, with excellent cracks for direct aid and adequate holds for difficult free climbing. On the fourth pitch a nicely exposed piton traverse led to an overhanging traverse at a corner, really the crux of the route. A delicate openbook led to a final open chimney which worked upward to the summit block. In all, we used 36 pitons and 7 bolts.

Fred Beckey