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Shuksan - North Face
Timestamp Free: 2021.01.25 - 21:04:53
Ranges: North America Ranges / Pacific Cordillera Range / Cascade Range / Washington Cascades
Participants: Cam Campbell; Drew Brayshaw 50 degree snow and 3rd class rock
Ascent of the North Face of Mt Shuksan with descent via the Fisher Chimneys.
The North face of Shuksan was climbed back in the 20's, and is a classic 'big snow route' on a nice summit in Washington's Cascades - one of the highest non-volcanic summits in the Cascades.
The route is supposedly one of the classics and has recieved a lot of guidebook coverage (Beckey's Cascade guide vol. III, and Selected... North Cascades by Nelson & Potterfield). However, one can still be decieved by some mentions in those books -read on if you feel like ruining the aura of mystery, or just avoiding an epic.
Cam Campbell and I did the route in July of 1997. The 96-97 winter was a good one for snow and the conditions were more like June of a 'normal' year. We headed down to the Baker ski area and took the White Salmon logging road as outlined in the guides, parking where the road turns into an overgrown trail.
Here's where the guidebooks err. Both describe the valley of the White Salmon as having hellish bush and taking 6 hrs to a bivy below the N. face. Well, from where we parked we headed straight downhill along the clearcut boundary to the creek, crossed the creek, and then straight up to the ridge on the other side, then followed the ridge to the bivy. Bush was minimal (go right when encountering a big vine maple patch), mostly open forest hiking, and there was one little cliffy bit to scramble through. It took 4 hours to the bivy.
The next morning we were up before dawn and on the snow by first light. Conditions were excellent - the snow had frozen up overnight, and was dream-quality neve. We had all sorts of pickets, screws and assorted widgets, but didn't need anything more than crampons and 1 ice axe each. We roped up but only belayed across a few slots that were just starting to open up. The route zig zags around some, but is mostly free from...
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