American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Washington-Cascade Mountains, Mount Goode, Northeast Buttress, First Winter Ascent

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1985

Mount Goode, Northeast Buttress, First Winter Ascent. On February 26 Cliff Courtney dropped Steve Mazzioli and me at the end of the plowed Stehekin River road, where we began the ski-in to Goode. Three days later we reached the valley beneath the peak. On March 1 we skied up a huge avalanche slope to the highest clump of trees below Goode Glacier. Our suspicions about the slope were confirmed that night as we were awakened by the blast of an avalanche wiping out a big portion of our tracks, spreading debris within a few hundred yards of the creek. On March 2 we spent the day in the tent, waiting out a storm. The next morning was clear, an airflow from the northwest indicating a high pressure cell off Vancouver Island—ideal winter weather in the North Cascades. After four hours of laborious skiing, we started up steep ice gullies to the west of the “elegant and unmistakable” buttress, third-classing up 70° bulges as spindrift slides broke over us. We. diagonaled left over steep, icy snow to the ridgecrest, where Steve led a hard mixed pitch up and around the comer. We continued up the east side of the rib, digging and wallowing up steep snow flutings. At the base of a rock barrier we dug a snow cave. The next morning, we turned the rock step on the east, then climbed to a steep mixed wall near the buttress edge. I led a hard pitch directly up the slabby crest to an icy ledge. Steve led through up mixed ground to a strenuous vertical dihedral. We climbed a wide water-ice gully to the right of the buttress for several hundred feet, then rejoined the buttress as it faded into the summit mass. We traversed the north side of the summit, and reached the top at four P.M. The established routes were evidently poor choices for descents, and Steve suggested we descend directly down the north face, following gullies between the buttress and northeast-face route. Conditions were perfect for descent, and we were within a few hundred feet of the bergschrund at dark. We dug an ample snow cave and celebrated until very late. In the morning we rappelled once and skied to the creek. On March 6 we rose early, aware that we were due in Stehekin that night. We skied fifteen miles to the end of the plowed road, then staggered on foot for six more miles, where the Stehekin Tuesday Night Ladies Bridge Club picked us up and gave us a ride to the boat dock.

William Pilling

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