American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Washington-Cascades, Colonial Peak, New Route in Winter

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

Colonial Peak, New Route in Winter. On February 8 and 9, Marc Twight, John Stoddard, Monte Westlund, and I climbed a direct line on the north face of Colonial Peak. Having seen this face towering 2000 meters above the North Cascades Highway for many years, many climbers speculated about the possibility of a cold-weather route. Instead of using the left-trending gully at the head of the basin that Bill Pilling and I climbed on a previous attempt in December, we paired off and opted for two different lines of ice which led from the basin up to our bivouac at about 5000 feet. Our routes involved five or six pitches of ice. The next morning, we aimed for a 50-foot-high ice curtain in mid-face directly below the summit. Above and to the right of this feature are two prominent ice pillars. We climbed these, interconnecting snowfields and one short mixed chimney to gain the summit. Access to the second pillar was tricky, but Monte found a traverse into it from the left. Marc and I climbed a spectacular direct finish under some huge pillowy cornices. This last pitch was composed of the same scary shallow sugar snow John and I had found on Johannesburg in December. We reached the summit five hours out from our bivouac. Since Monte and John third-classed the route, they did not do the direct finish and summited an hour earlier. We descended the west face and reached the highway by 4:30 P.M.

Mark Bebie

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