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Collin coming up the last pitch. Fun easy climbin...
The Crux of this route is definitely the approach, although it is a fairly easy one. Once leaving the PCT on the climbers trail (see main page for approach). Follow this trail and/or snow fields, depending on the time of year, east and slightly north till you top timberline on the north-ridge proper, then follow the obvious climbers trail along the ridge top scrambling though scree and some loose boulder fields till you reach the notch between a small false summit/spur and the real summit plug. Then pick your way up very loose and crumbly rock pseudo chimney and set you first belay wherever convenient/rope-drag becomes to much, you should be able to see the first and second rap stations at this point. Continue on up through easy climbing and scrambling till somewhere just past the second rap station and set your second belay. The third and final pitch head up the most verticle section of rock to the right and once the terrain eases set you final belay. You'll see the highest rap station above you and to climber's right, at this point it is a short scramble to the summit. Descend the route via three raps back to hiking ground, watch out for rock fall when pulling the rope and throughout the climb, helmets are necessary. And as with any chossy alpine routes remember the mantra of the leader must not fall, and be comfortable with the grade and exposure because much of the protection can be runout/suspect, although good belay stations were easy to find.
North ridge, always stick to the most defined climbers path and make sure to stay on the west side/top of the north ridge
You can bring a lot or a little, I felt like I had more then enough protection with one set of metolius cams (1-8) one set of nuts and various slings and quickdraws. The rock would have taken hexes very well too, and those could be substituted for the cams. Don't forget jackets and at least 3-4 liters of water. And if exposure makes you nervous then bring more pro, small cams most useful on this route.
scrambling the North Ridge
BETA PHOTO: Mt WA, as seen from Big Lake. North ridge on left.
BETA PHOTO: Photo topo of Washington's North Ridge (OR).