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Trip Report    

Black Peak/Northeast Ridge

August 1-2, 2015

The hike up to Heather Pass was beautiful and scenic with abundant wildflowers and a well-groomed trail. After the turnoff at the pass we were exposed to direct sun, which was blazing. It was forecasted to be in the 90’s in Seattle that weekend, and I felt like a wilted flower the whole weekend. The turnoff to Lewis Lake is heavily braided with reveg projects everywhere. Stay on the marked trail till the boulder field begins. There, you will have a choice to either traverse high in a gently descending glide path around a large bowl or drop several hundred feet following a faint trail that fades in an out. If taking the trail, you will need to regain about 150’ of elevation to get back up to Lewis Lake. There is a trail counterclockwise around Lewis Lake that begins to climb in elevation once on the other side. Total travel time was 4 hours from car to camp at Wing Lake.

We woke at light next morning and made it onto the ridge at the col in about 90 mins, then scrambled Class 3 from the v-notch till we felt the need to rope up. The team was new to simul-climbing and a double rope system which we fashioned by folding over a 60M rope. There was one traverse around the second or third gendarme that was marked by a small cairn and a pretty obvious footpath. Otherwise, it’s a very exposed climb directly over the thin fin of the ridge, that’s quite exhilarating.

The descent was marked with cairns that rotated clockwise off the summit to gentler terrain that led to the south ridge route. We took the second gulley down after exploring all of the possible entry points short of the large bluff. It was steep and quite dirty with scree over a hard bed. I wasn’t crazy about that, but the team agreed it was the best of not great choices. Total time from Summit back to camp was 2 hours.

Gear notes, we should have brought more long slings and smaller cams (or a second set of nuts.) We were doubled up in the larger end of gear, 1”-2”, which we didn’t use much. Be wary of loose blocks and holds. We didn’t end up needing ice axes or crampons, but this was the heart of a very hot summer.

 

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