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Improbable Traverse 

YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c

Type:  Trad, Alpine, 6 pitches, 800', Grade III
Original:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: Dave Hiser and Mike Borghoff, 1960 first winter ascent Kit Lewis, 1975
Page Views: 2,783
Submitted By: Evan Jewett on Oct 5, 2011

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The final ramps leading off the wall and into the ...


The west face of Guye Peak is easily visible from the interstate when driving from the west. With the exception of the traverse pitch, the rock is generally poor in quality and can be very lose.

Approach: Start by hiking up the talus cone beneath the face and scramble a couple hundred feet of loose, mossy, dirty slabs to the the start of the roped climbing.

Pitch 1: wander up 100 feet of low 4th/low 5th class, occasionally crumbly and dirty rock to a tree, belay at the tree.

Pitch 2: continue for another 100 feet to a slung block belay, again low to mid 5th.

Pitch 3: continue up similar terrain to a large ledge, known as "Lunch Ledge". A second option is to climb some steeper and more difficult, but probably more fun cracks to the right, to a smaller sloping ledge at the start of the traverse pitch.

Pitch 4/5: The rock quality improves significantly here. If you start the traverse from the Lunch Ledge, you should climb a short pitch (~50 ft) right and up to the small alcove at the top of the cracks in the option for P3. If you start at that alcove, one pitch will suffice for the "Improbable Traverse." Climb 5.8 moves straight out to the right, being careful not to go too high following an off-route piton. There should be good ledges for the feet and several old fixed pitons for protection. Make sure to protect the traverse for your follower as well.
At the end of the traverse climb down slightly to the base of the 4th class ramp that visibly cuts across the face from the highway.

Pitch 6/7: Climb 4th class up the ramp to the top of the ramp. Here the primary difficulties cease and a route to the summit can be found that avoids 5th class terrain.

Descent: From the summit traverse north up and over two subsummits. There is reputed to be a climbers trail descending from the Guye-Snoqualmie saddle, and descending to the west, but it was snowy when I was there so I never found it.


The route is located on the west face of Guye Peak. It begins at the top of the talus cone below the face, which is accessed by walking up through the houses on Ober Strasse Road.


A standard medium sized alpine rack will suffice. There is some fixed pro on the traverse pitch.

Photos of Improbable Traverse Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Me on the "Improbable Traverse" pitch
Me on the "Improbable Traverse" pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: Me at the start of the 4th class ramp, P6/7
Me at the start of the 4th class ramp, P6/7
Rock Climbing Photo: Obadiah leading the Improbable traverse pitch
Obadiah leading the Improbable traverse pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: Obadiah climbing the cracks leading to the small a...
Obadiah climbing the cracks leading to the small a...
Rock Climbing Photo: Obadiah on the first pitch
Obadiah on the first pitch

Comments on Improbable Traverse Add Comment
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By Ian Dickson
Apr 5, 2015

The traverse was a river when we went up to do it one year, scope it from the road and if it looks wet you might want to come back later in the season after the snow has melted out.
By Pawel Janowski
From: WA
Oct 6, 2015
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

It's a bit before you can get gear in after the initial 5.8 moves on the traverse, so the follower should be fairly solid on this one.

At the end of the traverse, instead of stepping down to get to the ramp, you can also diagonal up and right on crimps. Fun, about 5.7.

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