North America, United States, Washington, Nooksack Tower, South Face
Nooksack Tower, south face. In July Ben Manfredi and I teamed up to try a beautiful new face in the Mt. Shuksan region. The face is the seldom-seen steep “back side”—the south face of Nooksack Tower. The route is directly above the East Nooksack Glacier. The face presents as much vertical relief as the north aspect of the Tower but is steeper.
We made camp on the shoulder that divides the Price Glacier from the Nooksack Cirque area. Downclimbing and one rappel took us to a small pocket glacier. A short couloir led down onto the edge of the East Nooksack Glacier. We ascended the glacier, climbing through icefalls of varying complexity. We started the climb on the right side of the south face. We front-point- ed for a short distance up a couloir and then exited left onto a sloping belay ledge, where ice tools and crampons were exchanged for chalk bags and rock slippers. The first several pitches angled slightly left and up, passing a short overhanging bulge and eventually leading into a depression. Simulclimbing led up and left out of the large depression to the left-center portion of the south face. The rock we encountered was extremely poor and afforded limited protection opportunities. From the left half of the face we pushed directly up, eventually reaching a small tower. After a rappel, an easy section of fourth-class rock led to the summit. The route (V 5.10- snow/ice to 55 degrees) was done in 12 pitches with a 200-foot rope and some simulclimbing. We quickly descended the standard north face route on the “front side” of the Tower and pulled into camp, drained after a 17-hour push, and enjoyed caramel candies from the local supermarket.