Trip Report    

Basic Alpine Climb - Whitehorse Mountain/Northwest Shoulder

Successful 1-day summit climb during the first warm-up of spring.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Snow on Neiderprum trail started at about 2500 ft and was consolidated up to about 4000ft. Wet loose slide debris on traverse between 4000 ft and Lone Tree Pass. The traverse on the south side of the ridge between Lone Tree Pass and High Pass had evidence of some wet loose slide activity, but the rock faces above are melted out and the snow is becoming consolidated. Summit block was steep with a long run-out, we opted to unrope for this section of the climb. The moat was filled in, but is starting to open requiring a big step to gain the upper lip. Snow above the moat was firm/icy despite the warm/sunny conditions and we were glad we had crampons. The rappel anchor was either covered in snow or we didn't find it. I built an anchor on the prominent boulder on the summit consisting of 2 pitons and a tricam and left the gear to avoid down climbing the steep icy section at the top. 2 30m ropes were used on the rappel and got us back to the bottom lip of the moat where were we then down climbed. The snow warmed up considerably throughout the day and was quite soft requiring snowshoes on most of the descent.

Our group of 6 departed Neiderprum trail at 2:30a and arrive at Lone Tree Pass at 8:30a. The traverse between 4000ft and Lone Tree Pass took longer than expected and was a slog with the snow conditions (post holing in boots). We saw wet loose debris from the previous 2 warm days on the slope, but did not see cornices and much of the snow from the rock faces above had already come down - we made a decision as a group to continue past this point.

On the second traverse between Lone Tree pass and High pass, we were expecting more recent avy activity, but the rock faces above were completely melted out and the snow slopes were more consolidated than the lower elevation north facing slopes we had passed earlier. We made another group decision to continue past this point up to High pass.

The traverse across the glacier was straight forward and there were no crevasses open or beginning to open, but we opted to rope up and crossed on snowshoes. We left snowshoes at the base of the summit block and decided to unrope as the steps from a party the day before were prominent and the team felt comfortable self belaying. The moat was beginning to open from both sides of the summit block, but was still filled in towards the middle of the slope. Crampons were helpful above the moat as the snow was firm/icy. 

We rappelled from an anchor that I built (and left) and were able to reach the bottom lip of the moat. We down climbed from the moat back to where we stashed our snowshoes.

The snow was softer on the descent and snowshoes were critical for much of the descent. The decent was long but otherwise uneventful and the team was happy to be back to the cars about 18 hrs after we stepped off.


Trailhead to Lone Tree Pass: 6 hrs

Lone Tree Pass to Summit: 4.5 hrs

Summit to Lone Tree Pass: 4 hrs

Lone Tree Pass to Trailhead: 3.5 hrs