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Shuksan - West Face
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SW Couloir and Face T 

SW Couloir and Face 

YDS: 5.2 French: 3 Ewbanks: 8 UIAA: II ZA: 8 British: D 2c WI2-3

Type:  Trad, Ice, Alpine, 3300', Grade III
Original:  YDS: 5.2 French: 3 Ewbanks: 8 UIAA: II ZA: 8 British: D 2c WI2-3 [details]
FA: 8/16/1980
Season: late summer
Page Views: 238
Submitted By: applewood on Dec 18, 2016

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On Lower Curtis Glacier in 8/80 (no that's not...


SW Couloir and Face WI3/5.2 *** (Grade III, 3300')

Approach from Lake Ann. From below the Fisher Chimney traverse right (east) onto the Lower Curtis Glacier and traverse this to the upper SE corner. Begin technical climbing at the base of the ice fall that leads to a narrow gully at the right of the main wall.

Climb 600' of steep snow (45 degree at the top) in the lower icefall to a large transverse crevasse (crossed via a snow bridge), and a short (40') section of vertical ice above - climbed via an open book corner of rock which formed a sort of chimney of ice in the middle - with 20' more vertical ice above, then another 150' of steep snow to the top of the icefall. Climb a 60' section of unprotected 5.0 rock to the narrow glacier tongue above. 100' of steep snow leads to a 2nd large transverse crevasse (crossed easily on the left). Above, climb 300' of steep ice then snow (60 degrees at the bottom, 70 at the top) to the base of the headwall.

At the base of the steep headwall traverse left to a less than vertical weakness in the wall. 100' of this (4th class) leads to a ledge. Traverse left on this around a corner to a long easy 5th class buttress with good rock and holds. Climb this for about 1,000' to the crest of the main SE Ridge (south of "The Hourglass" and/or "Hells Highway" as it's labeled in Becky's guide). Descend the east side of the rocky crest to the Sulphide Glacier which is then followed north to the south side of the summit pyramid. From here about 800' of easy 5th class leads to the summit or you can take the easier regular 4th class route.

Descend as for the Fisher Chimney route, via The Hourglass and Upper Curtis Glacier to the Shuksan Arm. 8 hr round trip from Lake Ann.


Climbs the right side of the large west face from the upper SE corner of the Lower Curtis Glacier. Begin on the snow slope leading to the icefall below the obvious tongue of the glacier that extends almost half way up the face. Climb this to the top of the snow where it is possible to access the rock buttress of the West Face. From the Upper Sulphide Glacier continue north to the summit pyramid. Descend from the summit via the Fisher Chimney Rt. (be careful in low visibility conditions to stay high and traverse directly below the Hourglass and so avoid the Upper Curtis icefall).


Minimal rack of nuts with extra long slings, crampons, a couple of ice screws and pickets, ice axe and tool.

Photos of SW Couloir and Face Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Route finding in the icefall of the Lower Curtis G...
Route finding in the icefall of the Lower Curtis G...

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