American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Washington, Inspiration Peak, First Winter Ascent

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2004

Inspiration Peak, first winter ascent. On February 7 Forrest Murphy and I left the Goodell Creek trailhead early and, using snowshoes, made it to a camp midway up the Terror Glacier that afternoon. The unusually low snowpack helped make the approach reasonable. On the 8th we snowshoed the rest of the way up the Terror Glacier to the base of Inspiration’s south face, at its far left side. We climbed the south-facing gully, which was mostly steep snow, to the col between Inspiration Peak and the Pyramid. Halfway up this gully, we were pleased to find that a flow of water-ice came down the right side of a chockstone that otherwise would be the crux of the route. From the Inspiration-Pyramid col we climbed the West Ridge in three 60m pitches. The rock was covered in rime ice which was, in places, thick enough that we could gingerly swing our ice tools. We downclimbed our last pitch and made three single-rope rappels, off of pitons and a chockstone, back to the Pyramid-Inspiration col. As the sun was now shining on our ascent gully, we hurriedly downclimbed most of it, but made one rappel over the chockstone and one directly below it. We returned to camp on the Terror Glacier, packed up, began the long hike out, and reached the car at 10 p.m.

Colin Haley, AAC

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