North America, United States, Washington, Distal Phalanx, North Arete
Distal Phalanx, North Arête. On September 6-7 John Frieh and I made the first ascent of the North Arête of Distal Phalanx, a remote alpine rock peak in North Cascades National Park. We approached from Thunder Creek Campground, traveling cross-country up the Neve Creek drainage to the base of the route and reaching the summit in 17 hours. Our route (1,200', IV 5.10) ascended directly up the ridge crest. We found easy 5th- class climbing down low and more difficult climbing near the summit pyramid. We spent several hours descending the south side of the peak and bivied on its southwest shoulder. The next day we climbed Styloid Peak via its west shoulder on our decent east back to Thunder Creek. Distal Phalanx has been relatively ignored since its first ascent, from the south, in 1981. Prior to our climb we believed the north side to be untouched but upon our return discovered that it had thwarted an attempt a month earlier.
Craig Gyselinck, AAC