North America, United States, Washington, Castle Peak, Herrington-Hirst

Publication Year: 2009.

Castle Peak, Herrington-Hirst. Inspired by tales of steep, clean granite and impressed with the attention given to Castle Peak by the likes of Fred Beckey and Alan Kearney, I recruited Peter Hirst into joining me for Castle’s north face, which is approached from Canada but lies barely south of the border in the North Cascades. We’d intended the second ascent of the so-called Colorado Route, a line scoped by Beckey and climbed by a trio of Coloradoans whom he’d recruited. However, detached snow patches above the main glacier kept us to the left. On August 3, following cracks and corners up the cleanest granite above the hanging snow patch 80m up, we climbed 14 pitches, including some simul-climbing, in a direct line along the left margin of the central buttress. We left one pin fixed on the first pitch above the snowpatch, the third pitch of the route. About half the pitches were 5.10, with clean rock on the bottom half. High on the route, to escape dirty crack systems, we followed a long yellow-colored quartz dyke. We both found the setting beautiful and the route worthy of repeats, with no loose rock. We descended to camp via the east ridge to an obvious col and snow finger. The route (1,400', IV 5.10d) took 13 hours.

Blake Herrington, AAC