North America, United States, Washington, Graybeard, North Face Routes
Graybeard, north face routes. In November 2002, I climbed two separate routes on the north face of Graybeard, both of which I believe to be new. The first began from the prominent field of névé at the base of the 1984 Skoog-Skoog Route. From the right side of the névé I climbed a short 5th-class chimney to gain the rib immediately right of their couloir and followed that rib to the west ridge. The climbing was mostly low-5th- and 4th-class rock, with sections of steep snow. The second route was completed several days later and followed a large left-facing ramp/dihedral system that leads to a prominent gully/funnel on the upper third of the face. I found enjoyable but not overly steep water ice in the corner system, broken by steep bits of rock which I circumvented wherever possible. I back-roped a few times to pitons, which remain on the face. I enjoyed firm snow in the upper funnel, which led to a spectacular notch in the ridge. Both routes continued to the summit and descended via the broken west ridge to Easy Pass, and each was completed as a day-trip. I had excellent fall conditions, with wet October snow cemented onto the face by a cold spell that lasted for three weeks in late November and early December. Others expecting to repeat these routes should endeavor to find similar conditions, as the climbing would be loose and dangerous with less-cemented snow and boring with more snow (as in the spring).
Steve House, AAC