Buck Mountain, Buckshot
Washington, North Cascades
Rolf Larson’s and my route, climbed on December 4, begins up the central ice flow on the north face and eventually moves up right around steep iceless rotten rock. The first four 60m ropelengths went at WI3, WI4, WI4+, WI3. Three simul-climbing blocks followed, with several WI2/3 sections and mixed climbing, separated by steep sugar snow. Late in the day we were at the head of the main gully below imposing shattered overhangs. Overcome with alpine chicken syndrome and a lack of ice and viable protection above, we downclimbed a few hundred feet and simul-zigged right, out from under the looming cornice, and continued up steep sugar snow and névé to a belay. Here we zagged left and up for two pitches (a bit of M4/5) in the dark, which brought us to the ridge. I was unwilling to slog up the west slope to contrive the summit into the line, so we descended the west slopes to the tent on the moraine. A more aesthetic finish would be to continue up the ice- less rock where we chickened out and proceed to the ridgetop.
A rock climb was done on this face a few decades back and is assumed to go up slightly less crappy rock to the left, leading more directly toward the summit tower.