American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Washington—Olympic Mountains, Mount Jupiter Cliffs

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1968

Mount Jupiter Cliffs. Daylight was just breaking in the east on July 19 when Gary Tate and I left the car for a 25-minute hike from the end of the Duckabush Road for a third attempt on the Mount Jupiter Cliffs. They are located on the southwest side of Mount Jupiter, a prominent 5700-foot peak in the center of the eastern skyline of the Olympics. Our route was to parallel the left side of a springtime waterfall bed that dries up when the snow on the upper slopes has melted. With a starting 60-foot exposure coupled with the combination dirt, vegetable and loose rock holds one finds at a 1400-foot elevation, we roped up as the better part of valor. Gary led up the first chimney which was capped with a rotten log; across a slight slope to a deep but narrow chimney and it was my turn to lead; out of here and onto a wide, moss-covered ledge which was to become the pattern for the day. Chimney, ledge, chimney, ledge and always forcing us towards the dry watercourse to the right. Finally, a ledge, at first wide, narrowed to a thin flake out onto a face with the only exit a ten-foot friction pitch leading to another ledge. Olympic rock seldom lends itself for piton placing, and this exposed lead was no exception; I declined my turn. Gary led this pitch nicely with the comment, “You have to commit yourself!” and then brought me and my trepidations up. This latest ledge dead-ended in a 60-foot chimney which in the spring is more beautiful as a waterfall. We were 2500 feet above the beginning of our climb. The top of the narrow chimney opened out on a steep grass-covered slope and with much awareness of safety, I placed a piton before testing the holding powers of the grass roots. One more lead into a cave, under and around a large chockstone, up a short but tricky pitch and we were on top of the cliffs with a long and gentle tree- covered slope stretching to the summit. Feeling no need to continue upward, we traversed to the east in hopes of a simpler descent. After much scrambling and four rappels on a down route that crowded us back to the creek bed, the last hundred feet of water-polished slab brought us after 12 hours to our starting place. We used one piton; NCCS II, F4.

Harold L. Pinsch, The Mountaineers

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