American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Washington, Cascade Range, Mt. McClellan, Granite Mountain, and Pernod Spire, Various New Routes

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

Mt. McClellan, Granite Mountain, and Pernod Spire, various new routes. On the east face of Mt. McClellan, in the Enchantments near Leavenworth, Rolf Larson and I climbed a new route in July. The Madcap Laughs (IV 5.10+ C1) starts with four pitches on clean rock at the toe of the lower buttress (5.8). Several hundred feet of 4th and 5th class gain the upper pillar. From the notch three steep pitches right of the arête gain the summit blocks (5.10, with a C1 move freed on second). Downclimb west then follow the goats to the north.

Larson and I made the first ascent of The Central Pillar (IV 5.10+ C1) on the north face of Granite Mountain in the Stuart Range (also near Leavenworth), in August. Begin just right of the central pillar’s toe, turn the lower roof on its left and continue up the buttress, remaining close to its arête for five 5.10 pitches with one C1 offwidth move (second freed at 5.11-). Stay on the knife-edge arête (5.9) for one long pitch. Several hundred feet of 4th and 5th class gain the summit. Walk off southwest.

Also in August, on the west face of Pernod Spire (Washington Pass), for Peter Hirst’s birthday, he, Rolf Larson, and I established Birthday Party (IV 5.10+ C2.) From right center on the lower northwest face, follow the obvious weakness up and left for two pitches (5.8 and 5.10) to the beautiful crack midway up. Climb this crack (5.10). Continue up the steep, clean face (5.10). Trudge up to the spire and climb its apron (4th and 5th). Climb two steep furry pitches (5.10+ C2 and 5.9) directly up to the knife-edge. Follow the knife east to just below the summit blocks. Bail to the gully (like we did) or take the original West Face (Nelson) finish. In hindsight we should have summited, via the last pitch of the West Face line, and rapped east as per that original line. Instead we rapped the West Face, scurried down, went north through Sandy Gap, and rapped the lower northwest face…highly discouraged, as our descent blows.

Daniel J. Cappellini, AAC

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