TR - Mt Shuksan via Sulphide Glacier
Mt Shuksan via Sulphide Glacier
Views: 👁👁👁👁 so good! Kulshan in the background was a lovely sight!
Snow: ⛄mashed potatoes + boots = heartbreak
Rock: 🧗♀️🧗♀️ the little bit of "mixed" climbing felt solid!
Suffering: 😈😈😈 big day, but overall quite fun with a good partner
Routefinding: 👣👣 we were breaking trail most of the time and made a few mistakes
Timing: ⏰⏰⏰ ideally we should've reached the summit pyramid a bit earlier
Exhaustion: 😴😴😴 we were orignally planning on climbing Kulshan the next day
Crowds: 👯♀️👯♀️👯♀️👯♀️ saw a few parties as we descended, not much compared to summer
Started around 3:30a and didn't make it to the summit until noon due to mediocre snow - two inches of powder from the past week's precip on top of increasingly creamy mashed potatoes. Some loose-wet slides were released during the day as solar aspects warmed up, estimated D1-D2. Luckily our early start meant we missed all of this activity. We took turns breaking trail across most of the glacier with views of Kulshan in the background, truly an astounding location. There were no visible crevasses on the route.
The summit pyramid is still very much snowed in and in what I can assume is decent condition having never seen it before. We climbed a line a bit west of the ridge, more centered on the face of the pyramid. To save time and ensure a climbing partner in the afterlife, we decided to simul-solo the ascent which did not feel overly sketchy. Pretty sustained 650'/200m of 35º-50º snow climbing on variable texture with a short step of AI2 towards the end. Getting off the summit proved to be the crux and was the only section we belayed. Two rappel stations are rigged with tat and rap rings. We used the first one to avoid some downclimbing, but the second would've put us in worse terrain with our 30m rope so we downclimbed the remainder.
I would not have wanted to be on the summit any later than noon, it was beginning to get pretty slushy and small natural releases (pinwheels & roller balls) were happening. I used one ice tool and a whippet, Nastassia opted for an ultralight glaicer axe and approach shoes which is a good reminder to follow your heart when it comes to gear choice.
The return slog was slushy and uneventful. We both wished we enjoyed skiing more. Car-to-car time of ~13hr.