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Trip Report    

Intermediate Alpine Climb - Observation Rock/North Face

Route is in OK condition, first 3 pitches are consolidated snow with solid pickets, ice is coming in on the last pitch though it's a bit patchy.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Solid consolidated snow for the first 180 meters and then patchy ice and snow for the last 60 meters.  The consolidated snow makes for quick and easy movement.  The pickets are solid but it takes some work to pound them in.  Make sure to bring plenty of pickets and a tool with a hammer.  We placed our first screws three rope lengths from the base of the climb.  Some of the ice is a little soft so longer screws are generally better, though you will occasionally find bits of solid ice where a shorter screw would be OK.  The last 60 meters are slightly steeper than the lower part of the climb, there you'll finally be able to place some screws on lead and get some proper ice sticks and front pointing.  

    The route is roughly four 60 meter rope lengths if you pitch it out from the rock band and use the full rope on every pitch.  Depending on skill and comfort level it's possible to simulclimb a ways as the route starts out on easier terrain (piolet canne and pied en canard), transitions to hybrid technique, and then finally to mildly steeper ice climbing (piolet traction and front pointing) for the last 60 meters.  We split the final pitch in half so both team members could lead on ice while placing screws.

The last 10 miles to Mowich TH is bumpy and washboarded dirt road, generally OK for all vehicles and plenty wide for 2-way traffic.  Make sure to budget a little extra time for driving slow if you are in a lower clearance vehicle.

There was a bear enjoying berries where the trail enters the meadows, so keep an eye out and steer clear.

There is water along the maintained trail and if you are fallowing the higher cairn approach there is water at the 7000’ bivy.

Trail shoes are fine all the way to the snow finger below the ice sheet where you’ll want to harness up and put on crampons.