Johannesburg Mountain, The CK Route. On August 27, we climbed a new direct line on the 4,600' north face. In 2002 we had retreated after underestimating steep, unprotectable rock sections.
The route begins in a vertical cleft with a waterfall, midway between the 1985 Desvoigne-Kloke and the northeast buttress routes. We climbed six pitches of rock, from 4th class to 5.9, to a steep, overhanging, blank wall. After an hour of scouting we skirted under this to the left to gain a ramp from which Jens led a long, overhanging, stemming pitch (5.10b) in a chimney next to a prominent eyebrow overhang, to gain easy slabs below two large ice cliffs. Above the slabs, we soloed three pitches of exposed, unprotectable rock, to 5.7, between two cascading waterfalls, to gain the amphitheater rim below the right-hand ice cliff. Shortly after we were out of the way, a large portion of the right-hand ice cliff calved and scoured the pitches we’d just soloed. After 4th class scrambling along the rim of the amphitheater, we belayed one final rock pitch along a horizontal seam and then downclimbed, to gain the glacier above a seemingly impassable crevasse. Ascending to the head of the unclimbed glacier was technical, requiring many hours of complex navigation while weaving back and forth anddescending into and climbing out of many crevasses. Loren led a pitch of AI3 to pass the final obstacle. A rock ramp gave access to the base of the northeast buttress snow arête. Three simul- climbed pitches of AI2 led to its crest, where we joined the 1951 and 1957 Northeast Rib routes. We reached the summit at dusk and made our descent under headlamp, via the East Ridge route. Just below the Cascade-Johannesburg col, after 22 hours of continuous climbing, we made an open bivouac. Forecast rain held off for 18 hours, and we enjoyed a cold but dry bivy and descent via Doug’s Direct. We rate the route V 5.10b AI3. Pictures and a trip report are available at www.cascadeclimber.com/theckroute.htm
Loren Campbell and Jens Klubberud