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Mt. Clarke, Chehalis Range - North Ridge ascent in 1995
Timestamp Free: 2021.01.22 - 20:08:58
Ranges: North America Ranges / Pacific Cordillera Range / Coast Mountains / Pacific Ranges / Chehalis Group / Clarke Group
  (2 days)
Participants: Eric Clemson; Drew Brayshaw
Difficulty: 5: 25 pitches of rock up to 5.10a.
A climb of the north ridge of Mount Clarke in the Chehalis Range - 25 pitches of rock up to 5.10a.
The Chehalis Range has got to be one of the best alpine rock climbing centres in all of Canada, never mind SW BC - and yet many rock climbers have apparently never heard of it, heading off to the Bugaboos or (god forbid) the Rockies for their dose of alpine rock. Eric Clemson and I were totally happy with this state of affairs as we headed into the Chehalis for Labour Day weekend - it meant no crowds around for our planned ascent of the North Ridge of Mt. Clarke, a Grade IV, 5.10a route of some 25 pitches' length.

We headed up the Chehalis mainline from the Sasquatch Inn, past the weekend "4X4 and beer" crowds, and parked Eric's truck on the last spur leading to Nursery Pass. From the end of the clearcut we dove into the avalanche swath, headed for talus and grunted up the seemingly endless scree slope to the pass, taking about 3 hours to reach it. From there we dropped down slightly and traversd ledges to a nice bivi site on the moraine cleaver splitting the two ice patches below the north face of Viennese - one of the only spots below this huge wall that does not have ice blocks raining down on it throughout the day. The only other people in the whole cirque were two Yanks who showed up after climbing Crescendo while we were cooking dinner.

The next day, with perfect weather, we left camp at 5 AM and traversed over to the base of Clarke's north face. Getting through the snow and ice patches blow the face without an ice axe was quite tricky and the serac blobs guarding the toe of the ridge were impassable, so we roped up some two pitches right of the toe. Climbing an ascending, leftwards traverse, we did a 5.7 and a 5.9 pitch, hitting the crest right at a rap station at the base of the first crux pitch. Eric got to lead this long 10a corner crack,...

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