American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Washington—Cascade Mountains, Mount Rainier, Willis Wall

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1972

Mount Rainier, Willis Wall. On May 12-13 Ed Boulton and I made the second ascent of Willis Wall’s Central Rib. The climb was highlighted by numerous leads of continuous front-pointing on hard ice, a good-sized ice avalanche down the couloir paralleling our route which rained ice chunks upon us and a rather severe late spring storm which pinned us down for two nights above 13,000 feet. Rob Schaller and Lee Nelson who had bivouacked with us at the base of the wall in the hope of doing the East Rib (but turned back above the schrund in the face of sustained rockfall) came back in mid-June and climbed a new variation of lower Willis Wall and upper Curtis Ridge. They made the second ascent of the East Rib route to the point where that route traverses inward to the Central Rib and then up through a break in the summit ice cliff. Instead of making the rightward traverse, the two climbers traversed left several hundred feet to Curtis Ridge, joining that route below the uppermost rock bands and gullies. Although exposed, the crossing was not difficult. Two days were spent on the route variation.


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