AI3 Steep Snow
Avg: 3.3 from 29 votes
|Type:||Ice, Snow, Alpine, 2500 ft (758 m), Grade III|
|FA:||Gordon Facer, Marshall Cronyn, R.J. Corruccini. 6/12/38|
|Page Views:||12,410 total · 118/month|
|Shared By:||William Carson on Feb 3, 2013|
|Admins:||Roberta Zouain, Nate Ball, Micah Klesick|
Route-finding seems to be the biggest difficulty climbers have on this route. A number of parties have gotten lost and stuck on or among the towers on the upper section, primarily when trending too far south (climber's right) and running into dead-ends at the sharp, jagged ridge of the far western rim. Climb in good visibility, if you're unfamiliar with the route... and if in doubt, go left.
The west-face is the mountain's windshield, taking the brunt of the frequent storm systems blowing in off the Pacific. The snow field above the headwall is often covered in a thick, heavy blanket of rime feathers. Once disturbed, these break off and crash into all the feathers below, creating literal ice avalanches running down the west face. It can be a major bowling alley. The numerous couloirs and towers were carved out by these frequent barrages of shit. It's not uncommon to see actual rivers of debris cutting deep runnels into the snow in the low spots of the couloirs- several feet wide by several feet deep.
From here, it's basically just a matter of picking your path, trending slightly diagonal to the left. Once above the first step, you'll note more gullies/towers directly above, and a small hogsback diagonally left. crossing over the hogsback and cutting up the couloir to the left will put you in good position for finding the rest of the route and topping out on the upper rim (summit ridge) instead of ending up stuck on the lower western rim.
Keep going up. Eventually, you'll come up out of the towers to a steep snow field... You're now above the headwall and ascending the upper western rim. Keep going up and left, and the mountain will pull you to the "knife edge" of the upper western rim. You'll see three prominent high points- the last one is the summit. Traverse, and enjoy.
Descend the "Old Chute," which will be the obvious, easy ramp heading down into the crater from the knife-edge you traversed to get to the summit plateau.
Otherwise, a basic alpine ice rack- handful of screws, two or three pickets, and some alpine draws from single to double-length. Good ice should be abundant, but not always right where you need it, when you need it.