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North America, United States, Washington–Cascade Mountains, Mount Johannesburg, Northeast Face

Mount Johannesburg, Northeast Face. On December 22, John Stoddard and I climbed a new route on the northeast face of Mount Johannesburg. From a bivouac under a sérac on the hanging glacier, we climbed the couloir formed by a fault on the left side of the face to about one-third height. Just after the first water-ice bulge, we exited right out of the couloir over mixed ground to a small hanging snowfield. From here we ascended steep snow and some water-ice to the large snowfield high on the northeast face. Deep powder snow over rotten rock, and the late hour made a continued ascent unreasonable about 200 feet from the summit. Since we had been climbing in clouds all day, we were anxious about finding our descent couloirs in the dark. As we crested the east ridge at sunset, the clouds dropped bathing the whole of the North Cascades in a magnificent orange glow. As the full moon rose, we started backing down on névé to the Cascade-Johannesburg col. The stunning moon-lit Mount Formidable made me pause several times to reflect on the origin of the peak’s name. We reached our bivouac at eight P.M.

Mark Bebie