American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Washington, Sloan Peak, Northwest Buttress

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2003

Sloan Peak, Northwest Buttress. In late September 2000 Mike Preiss and I completed what we suspect is a new route on Sloan Peak. The Northwest Buttress (IV 5.8 A0) starts at the lowest rock on the far left side of the broad west face and ascends the dark buttress to one-third of its height. We found rap slings to the top of the seventh pitch, but no other human sign until we met the north ridge. The first pitch climbs just right of the sharp crest, then crosses the crest past a dead tree. Pitches two to four climb through trees to a gully topped with large chockstones and finish at a detached pillar. Climb behind the pillar to a tree ledge and traverse right (unpleasant) until you can climb broken rock to the top of the lower buttress, a good bivy site. Climb a short rotten step and head slightly left onto the northern face. Two pitches of easy rock and heather lead to a nice chimney (5.8). Above the chimney, traverse to the right skyline on a narrow heather bench with an inspiring view down the vertical to overhanging section of the west wall. Climb left past a roof and blocks, then up a clean crack to a mantle onto a small, sandy shelf (5.8 and French free) to easier ground (fixed pin just above clean crack). From here we made a rising right traverse to more mid-5th class rock, with a 5.8 exit. Follow gullies and ribs to the north ridge, 200 vertical feet from the summit. We rapped and downclimbed the southwest ridge. A fast party that had the descent dialed could probably complete the route car-to-car in a very long day (we bivied once on the route). On the enjoyable 1,000m buttress we belayed 17 pitches on mostly good rock, with lots of running belays. Our rack included 8-10 wires and cams to 3.5"; pins are not needed.

Mark Bunker, AAC

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