A truly classic Wind River adventure on pleasant golden granite for a long long way at a moderate grade.
As you're looking at the West Face of Mt. Helen from Titcomb Basin, the Tower Ridge starts by ascending the gentler ridge on the right side of the steep West Face. This involves about 1,000' of climbing, with lots of 5.7 sections in the middle and some 4th class to easy 5th in the beginning and near the top of Tower 1. Pass Tower 2 on the right (to the south). Pass Tower 3 to the left (north) and climb a short section of steep, exposed easy 5th class rock (which often holds snow/ice) to get to the knife-edge saddle between Tower 3 and the summit of Mt. Helen. The summit ridge provides another 500' of entertainment, including the crux climbing.
The entire climb is on excellent rock.
The technical climbing starts a few hundred feet above the base of the ridge, on a prominent large ledge below slabs. Access this ledge from the steep talus gully (or snow early season) immediately south of the ridge.
Descent options are many. Frequently, parties will make a shorter outing of the climb by descending from the summit of Tower 1 instead of continuing to the top of Helen. The mountain is a complex collection of spires, towers, ridges, gullies, ice couloirs, and talus fields. Invest some time in scouting out your options for descent.
Set of nuts, set of cams from fingers to hands, 2 - 60 meter ropes, lots of runners. No bolts here.
BETA PHOTO: Mt. Helen. Tower 1 (with its steep West Face and ...
BETA PHOTO: Standing on the large ledge where the climbing beg...
|By adam tschida|
Aug 9, 2009
Not possible to pass Tower 2 on the south anymore, have to go over. We climbed the right crack of the west face, very licheny, but very cool climbing with chickenheads.