American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Washington-Cascades, Johannesburg, Northeast Face, Winter Ascent, North Cascades

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1987

Johannesburg, Northeast Face, Winter Ascent, North Cascades. In mid February Josh Lieberman and I took advantage of perfect weather and low snow cover to drive 18 miles up the Cascade River road. We walked the last four miles up the road. Johannesburg was nearby. We traversed out onto the glacier beneath the northeast face to the bottom of the prominent couloir on the left side. This couloir is described by Mark Bebie in A.A.J., 1986. We were drawn upward. Instead of traversing right as Bebie and Stoddard did, we stayed in the couloir. Most of the climbing was third class. Large chockstones occasionally blocked the parallel-sided gully, forming vertical steps. Snow beneath the chockstones was unconsolidated and so these steps entailed climbing on one of the walls on thin ice and rock over the abyss. Once we followed a tunnel beneath a big block. As darkness fell, we dug in under another block. The couloir reaches the top of the face several hundred yards east of the summit. After traversing the horizontal crest toward the summit for some time, we saw the last few hundred feet: jumbled gendarmes and crazy cornices. We decided not to proceed. As it was, we were benighted in the “wrong” couloir as we descended the south side of the east ridge.

Peter Keleman, Fourth Avenue Alpine Club

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