July 20 & 21: Mount Shuksan
At the time of our first Shuksan climb (in a party of 5), I was a baby, crying & shaking in my boots on the summit pyramid. For a variety of reasons, our team turned around about 200 feet from the summit. Every year since then, Andrew wanted to try again, but weather and time never lined up. Well, now is the time!
We didn’t want to drive to Marblemount to get a permit, so we planned to either do it in a day, or split it into two days by camping ~5 miles in, at Shannon Ridge, right outside North Cascades National Park. After intense analysis paralysis at the TH, we decided on the two day itinerary. We downed some burritos, loaded our packs, and started the buggy, wet, and hot hike up Shannon Ridge. No pictures because it was terrible and I couldn’t fathom documenting it.
1800 feet up and 3.5 miles in, Andrew asked if I brought the fire starter. WHAT. No, we both forgot it. Meaning, we could not melt snow at camp, and we couldn’t cook food. We gave up and camped next to last running water source- the river of a trail. We set up the tent, ate the other burrito, dehydrated tofu, and dried ramen, and went to bed. We only had one sleeping pad instead of the usual two for snow camping (bad choice), so the nap was cold and awful.
At 2am, I discovered that Starbucks Via shaken vigorously with powdered milk and cold water isn’t so bad. We ate a lot of Trader Joe’s granola, and with a long day ahead of us, started hiking at 3am.
We got to the Sulphide Glacier by 5am. We were surprised to see basecamp completely empty. No people in sight!
I lead the glacier. We took a break half way up, and after seeing nobody all day, I lost it when these two tiny gliders flew over us. Pardon my expletive at the end.
We traveled on the glacier for 2 hours.
When we got to the pyramid, Andrew lead 3 pitches to the summit. The snow gully did NOT have a lot of snow, which resulted in some very awkward rock pitches. Not pictured: Angie beach-whaling it on several slabs and rock steps.
We summited after 3 hours on the pyramid. Did that really just happen? OMG.
We began the long rappel extravaganza down the pyramid- 4 rappels in 2 hours. Climbing is clunky and slow! Videos and pics below because that’s a lot of waiting around.
Also, we didn’t know we talked like this while climbing. We got a good laugh watching this video. I guess that’s just how we are. 🤷♀️
When we got to the glacier, we took a snack break, sat on a rock exhausted for 10 minutes, and made our way down.
We got to our campsite at 6pm, packed up the tent, ate cereal, complained, and hiked the longest 3.5 miles ever to the car.
Mount Shuksan Totals
Total Moving Time: 10:28
Total Distance: 17.2 miles
Total Gain: 6,668 feet
July 23: Black Peak
The snow pitch near this gigantic moat, as Andrew would say, making fun of ourselves and all climbers, was “THE CRUXXX!” (With a really, really silly scrunchy face.)
While eating snacks, we familiarized ourselves with the surrounding peaks using our map and compass. Actually, who am I kidding- Andrew did that. I don’t know how to do that.
The descent was long and we ran out of food, so we were super cranky. But the views were amazing!
Black Peak Totals
Total Moving Time: 7:17
Total Distance: 13.1 miles
Total Gain: 5,033 feet
July 25 (Angie’s Birthday): Watson Peak
After Andrew lowered me down the “practice gully” off a picket, we started our ascent up the main gully to Watson peak. Little did we know another climber was above and took photos of us. Amazingly, a mutual friend on facebook recognized us in his post. Thanks for the awesome photos, Nikita Kozhekin! If you look closely, you can see Andrew and me (the size of ants) in each picture. The last photo is with Bacon behind us.
WHAT IS THIS, A CENTER FOR ANTS?
After seeing Nikita begin scrambling Watson with his awesome dog Cookie, we decided to take a break at the base of the rock. We wanted to give Nikita some space- it’s a tiny summit block. No prob- we gladly ate a whole bag of Sour Patch Kids.
After Nikita descended and we said our hellos, Andrew and I started the scramble. It was SO silly. We had to basically climb a tree, squeeze through a tiny chimney, and awkwardly sit at the miniature summit bench before getting our butts off. On the way down, a dead tree fell on me and pinned down Andrew’s pack. My pack went tumbling down the rock into a moat. It was SO silly.
After I retrieved my pack, we started the journey back to the car, admiring cute birds, looking at crazy cornice fall debris, and cursing the terrible forest descent.
Mount Watson (and Shenanigans) Totals
Total Moving Time: 6:24
Total Distance: 9.8 miles
Total Gain: 3,701 feet