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Entries from North Cascades

Mt. Baker: Beren Recounts Climb of the North Ridge

Mt. Baker did not fail to impress our small team this week! We set out from Glacier, WA to make an attempt on Mt. Baker’s mighty North Ridge. Our approach put us at camp at the toe of the Coleman Glacier where we reviewed relevant climbing techniques and relaxed ourselves to sleep.

We awoke under the full moon and set out at dusk to begin the climb. A few hours of casual glacier travel found us at the base of the route. The forbidding clouds to the west stood down and we began our ascent. We gained the ridge and with some steep snow climbing and we were in business! Soon it was time to get into the meat of the route, the ice pitches. Under the snice (snow+ice) there was quality ice, so it didn’t take too much excavation to find good placements for our tools. As we topped out the ice pitches the clouds returned and soon we were relying on instruments to find the top. After a bit of thought-provoking route finding we navigated the jumbled glacier that guards the cumbre (summit) and celebrated efficiently before descending the Coleman route back to camp.

It was a great day with good company - all you can ask for in the mountains! Standing on top doesn’t hurt either.

RMI Guide Jake Beren

Congratulation Jake + team..Thx again support on Rainier ‘12
..Walter / IN

Posted by: Walter Glover on 7/26/2016 at 5:13 am

North Cascades: Frank & Team Change Plans Due to Weather

June 22, 2016 - 2:33 pm PT

Hey gang,

Here’s a soggy hello from just south of the Canadian border. Caleb and I are sitting in a coffeeshop in Bellingham pouring over radar maps and weather forecasts, while our boots dry in the parking lot.

Yesterday we were suppose to have climbed Mt. Buckner, but both the weather and route conditions shut that down. On Monday we made it to one of our potential camp locations after eight hours of climbing only to find that it was buried in snow.  We had to dig for 20 minutes to make snow platforms for our tents. It started raining later in the night and by the time we woke up at 3am to launch, everything was rimed over with several inches of ice. Because the first hour of the climb requires scrambling on six-inch rock ledges and the use of bare hands, we knew it wasn’t an option.

After checking the weather every 20-30 minutes until 8am, we gave up and went back to bed. The wind continued to blow and spit light precip. Around 10am, there was a clearing and we decided to capitalize on the opportunity by making a quick trip to the summit of nearby Sahale. From the top, we had incredible views of our camp and the surrounding peaks before the clouds obscured them again.

In the early afternoon we packed up camp and started the trek downhill. As a group we decided to focus our efforts of the next objective, Mt. Shuksan, and take a full rest day in Bellingham to dry our gear and prepare. 

Wish us luck and a drier next few days.

RMI Guides Eric Frank and Caleb Ladue

Mt. Shuksan: Walter & Team Have a Soggy Finish

It poured rain all night. It was still pouring this morning when we woke up. It took us awhile to work up the courage to get out of our tents and pack up but we did it. We packed our gear and booked it down the trail to find somewhere a little less wet. Now we are back in town, still soaking wet, but oh so happy to know we can finally start getting dry. Despite the soggy finish to our trip, we had a great time training on Mt. Shuksan.

RMI Guide Mike Walter and team

Mt. Shuksan: Mike Walter & Team Drying Out on the Sulphide Glacier

It rained hard all night last night, and we are currently in a very humid cloud with intermittent showers. We decided not to climb today because of the weather. Instead, we did some training and hanging out in our cook tent. We’re currently taking siestas in our tents in order to warm back up from the penetrating dampness and cold. Hopefully, if it clears up this afternoon, we’ll be able to take a climb up higher on the Sulphide Glacier.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

Mt. Shuksan: The Seminar Spends the Day Practicing Technical Skills

We had a good day of technical training yesterday on the Sulphide Glacier, with mostly sunny skies. We woke this morning to rain and snow, so we are still lounging in our tents before breakfast. Hopefully it dries up soon so we can continue our training today.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

Mt. Shuksan - Fisher Chimneys: Blais & Team Descend Through New Snow

We got back into cell service late last night after an exciting day of climbing on Mount Shuksan yesterday. New snow in the Fisher Chimneys made it prudent to wear our crampons all the way down to the talus field below the Chimneys. Our team had a great time descending this tough terrain and came away from the trip with an excellent experience. Fun climbing in this wild September weather!

Thanks for the inspiring attitudes everyone.

RMI Guide Zeb Blais

Mt. Shuksan - Fisher Chimneys: Weather Thwarts Summit Attempt

The guide team monitored weather conditions throughout the night, only to find snow and poor visibility each time we looked out of our tent. With our time frame and weather forecast, our plan for the day is to pack up camp and take as much time as we need to get down the Chimneys safely. We’ll send another dispatch from town.

Until then-

RMI Guide Zeb Blais & Team

Mt. Shuksan: Nugent & Team Summit!

Update 7:15 pm PT

Hi all…

We are safely back at camp after a long descent down a very wet and snowy central gully on the summit pyramid. The team stayed strong the whole way through and rounded out a great day after putting the whole team on the summit.

Now, it’s just a walk through the woods tomorrow morning and we’ll be back in Babylon!
2:07 pm PT
Hey everyone.  It’s Billy checking in from the summit of Mount Shuksan with our whole crew! Give a shout you guys,“Yeah!”  I will give you guys a call when we are back down at camp , safe and sound. We are about to begin our descent.

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

RMI Guide Billy Nugent calls in from the Mt. Shuksan summit!

Shuksan Seminar: Nugent & Team Ready for Summit Bid

Hey, it’s Billy here checking in from the Sulphide yet again on our Expedition Skills Seminar. We ended up not going for the climb today despite the perfect weather. There’s a ton of new snow up on the upper summit pyramid.  We figured we’d give that stuff a chance to sort of settle out and melt and see whatever it was going to do on the first truly hot day in quite a while. We let things just sort of mellow out up there, and we kept ourselves busy with ice climbing in and out of crevasses.  We went for a little walk around the Sulphide Glacier and then capped off the day with some belaying and rappelling practice.  Everyone is super excited for our summit attempt tomorrow. We’ll call and hopefully check in from the tippy top and let you know what we run into up there. Alright. All for now.

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

RMI Guide Billy Nugent calls in from the Shuksan Seminar.

Shuksan Seminar: Nugent’s Team Practices Mountaineering Skills on the Sulphide Glacier

Hey, Billy here checking in again from our Expedition Seminar out on the Sulphide. All is going well. Our team is enjoying a significant improvement in the weather. We spent the morning doing some anchor systems, and we learned how to move around, how to manage rope on rocky terrain- both blocky rock and more fifth-class rock.  That was pretty exciting and then we sort of changed gears for the afternoon. We headed out to a crevasse where the team honed their skills on crevasse rescue, so we had a great day.  We’re hoping to take a crack at the summit tomorrow, but we’re not super sure if we’re going to do it tomorrow or wait another day.  There’s a lot of new snow up on up on the summit pyramid and the next couple of days are supposed to be quite warm, so we might let some of that snow melt off. We’ll give you a call tomorrow and let you know what we ended up doing. Check in and let you know where we’re at. Alright. All for now. Talk later.

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

RMI Guide Billy Nugent checks in from the Shuksan Seminar.

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