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Welch Peak, South Ridge
Timestamp Free: 2020.03.28 - 02:40:33
Ranges: North America Ranges / Pacific Cordillera Range / Cascade Range / Canadian Cascades / Skagit Range / Cheam Range
  (1 days)
Participants: Todd Ponzini, Barb Meier, Ben Mortenson
Difficulty: 3: Class 3. Climbing getting progressively more dificult and exposed, but never exceeding class 3.
Welch Peak was climbed by the South Ridge, and descended by the East Ridge.
The Thanksgiving weekend forecast indicated that only 1 of the 3 days would be pleasent, so it was decided to make a day trip to Welch Peak. The road information proved very precise, and we parked my frail Honda at 1.2 KM on the spur road leading up to the Williamson basin, just past the open gate. We quickly walked up the road and found the new trail across the bottom of the avalanche track and up through the forest - the key is to walk up the deactivated road before you cross "Williamson creek". The old trail was joined and followed to the lake, where we made a direct ascent to the South Ridge.

The ridge was exactly as described, with the climbing getting progressively more dificult and exposed, but never exceeding class 3. As the route description mentions, we found that climbing the face on the climber's right avoided any difficulties on the ridge proper. Some snow on the shady side of the subpeak (approx 7750 ft) made descending the ridge to the final summit ridge quite tricky, but careful footsteps took us to the final climb to the top. There were great views in all directions, especially straight down to the cravassed glaciers on the north side. To our surprise, we could see climbers on Foley Peak - it turned out they battled their way up the old trail, and were interested to hear of the speed of our approach.

We started down the east ridge, which was steep and loose. Instead of continuing down the ridge, we descended directly south down a gully that lies between the summit and gendarme on the east ridge. This was steep and rubbly, but took us quickly to a permanant snowfield which lead to the long talus slope above the lake. Oh, for some snow to glissade on! We reached the lake and returned to the car, with the climb taking 11 hours return. Welch is a...

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