American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Washington, Cascade Range, Mt. Buckner, Complete Southeast Ridge

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2007

Mt. Buckner, Complete Southeast Ridge. On my first climb of Goode Mountain two years ago, the striking southeast ridge of Mt. Buckner caught my eye, but I was sure that such an obvious line must have been climbed decades before. After climbing Goode again in 2006, I researched Buckner and found that the ridge remained unclimbed. From the east this ridge contrasts sharply with the halves of the Buckner Glacier, which it divides. Through the climbers’ grapevine, I learned that Gordy Skoog had been eyeing this climb since before I was born. We were soon in e-mail contact and planning our attempt. Gordy and I met for the first time at our rendezvous below the Buckner Glacier on August 5, Gordy having come in from the west side of the Cascades, and I from the hamlet of Stehekin to the east. We began the ridge at the bottom of the glacier and soloed several hundred feet of 4th and low 5th class to the end of the lower ridge. This natural break gives access to the last snow and bivouac spot along the route, the high point of a 1980s attempt. On the morning of the 6th we started up the steep ridge crest, apprehensive of gendarmes that we knew lie ahead. The rock was often loose and licheny, although none of the climbing felt dangerously run-out. Steep 5.8 crack climbing led to the top of one of the towers, from which we rappelled off the backside. We bypassed the summit of another tower on the left, via enjoyable, blocky climbing. We soon returned to the crest and, after a few more pitches, reached the summit (IV 5.8). The second day’s climbing had taken 12 hours, and we were rewarded with a beautiful scenic sunset during the 3rd class descent into upper Horseshoe Basin.

Blake Herrington

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