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Northeast Ridge of Silvertip - June 1997
Timestamp Free: 2021.01.25 - 22:46:24
Ranges: North America Ranges / Pacific Cordillera Range / Cascade Range / Canadian Cascades
  (2 days)
Participants: Cam Cambell; Graham Quan; Drew Brayshaw III 5.7
An ascent of the infrequently climbed northeast ridge of Silvertip Mountain, south of Highway 3 in the Sumallo Range.
The Northeast ridge of Silvertip sounded like a good early-season rock climb to try. Various guidebooks mentioned 2 pitches of rock above an easy snow approach, described as 4th or easy 5th class, and the rock was supposed to be good for the area. Seeing as how the FA was in 1950, we figured we wouldn't be in for anything too technical.

Cam Cambell, Graham Quan and I took off from Vancouver Friday night, the first weekend in June. We tooled out to the Sumallo road in Graham's VW Westfalia and camped at the end of the 2WD-able road section, just past the Silvertipped (AKA Sunshine) ski area turnoff. Knowing the climb was supposed to take "a full day" we decided to get an alpine start - 7 AM was the wake up time...

The next day we hiked down the Sumallo road to the Silvertip-Rideout cirque, taking about an hour. Crossing a bridge, we bashed through some second growth and gained avalanche debris below Silvertip's north face. From here a long, low angled snow gully took us up to a bowl below the lower NE ridge.

From the bowl, we could have climbed some 60 degree snow to a notch on the ridge, but there seemed to be difficult pinnacles above the notch which would require lots of time to traverse. Instead, we contoured along a snow ledge on the N. side of the ridge, then gained a broad couloir which climbed back to the ridge immediately below the final summit pyramid. Snow quality was poor and trail breaking was hard work - by the time we had eaten lunch and racked up it was already 2 PM.

We thought we would have only 2-3 pitches of technical climbing to go to reach the summit - wrongly, as it turned out. 9 pitches of 4th and 5th class climbing, on narrow snow aretes and crumbly rock faces, later, we pulled onto the summit - 6 PM and 11 hours after leaving the...

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