American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Washington, Cascade Mountains, Castle Peak, Left Side of North Face

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1988

Castle Peak, Left Side of North Face. The north face of Castle Peak features six distinct granitic buttresses. Our climb ascended the last buttress on the left side of the face. On September 12, Sue Harrington and I climbed two pitches of slabs to gain a prominent small corner system in the center of the face. We followed the corner for one long lead which involved difficult stemming (5.10) until we could exit leftward and climb a thin crack through a small overhang to a belay stance. Directly above the belay are large roofs with less formidable roofs up and to the right. We jammed up a tiny left-facing comer for 20 feet (5.10b) to a small ledge. We pulled through a small overhang using a thin crack, moved right slightly to an alcove and then climbed up and left on face holds to surmount a second overhang (5.10c). From a semihanging belay stance, we jammed a beautiful long finger-and-hand crack which ended on a ledge. We traversed right for 50 feet and then climbed up and right into a large comer system on the west side of the buttress. We climbed 1½ pitches to the top of the steep portion of the buttress. We scrambled up and left four pitches to gain easier ledges that led to just below the summit of the buttress. We climbed a squeeze chimney on the right side of the summit block and then followed the east ridge to the true summit. (IV, 5.10c.)

Alan Kearney

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