Trip Report    

North Twin Sister/West Ridge

Terrific early season climb - snow on ridge and in the air made it feel like mountaineering

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Approach route on the forest roads was just as described here on the Mountaineers site. In addition, we found Steph Abegg's annotated version of Beckey's area map to be helpful.  Roads were bikable to about 3100 feet, then snow blocked the way (we stashed bikes there).

What a splendid, under-appreciated route.  We had just enough sun breaks to keep our spirits up, and just enough rain and snow falling to raise the adventure level.   The route on the ridge is probably 85% snow free, and that other  15% is quite manageable with an ice axe, though a few places are a bit exposed, and so you either need to be confident on steep snow with exposure or else willing to stay on the ridge crest and make a few more 4th-class moves than you otherwise would.  So, at the moment, it's a bit stiff for a "basic" level alpine climb, but with just a bit more melting will be in prime condition.  The rock is grippy and highly featured which makes it great practice for moving quickly on 3rd class terrain.  (The ridge is very consistently third class, at least if you want it to be. Options for easier walk-arounds or stiffer 4th (and some fifth) class moves exist if you want them.)  We took two ice axes each and crampons, but we never used the crampons or the second tool in these warm(ish) cloudy conditions.  The glissade down the north side was long and easy.  6 hours up, 15 minutes on summit, 2 (!) hours down, for 8.25 hours car to car.  

Photo here is of the final few feet to the summit.  The view photo is taken from the summit of North Twin, looking at South Twin.