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Climbing the summit pyramid on Mt. Shuksan

A perfect Shuksan summit with weather and conditions providing a beautiful climb as reported by climb leader, Garrett Madison:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the Mt. Shuksan climb in the North Cascades. We had a wonderful summit day today on Mt. Shuksan. Steve and I left our high camp about 4 AM and climbed up the Sulphide Glacier in the dark, watched the sunrise over the North Cascades and illuminate the summit pyramid as we approached the base of it.

We got up to the base of the summit pyramid and started climbing the rock. It was about four pitches of rock scrambling up to the summit. Great view from the top of Mt. Shuksan over Mt. Baker, Baker Lake, and the North Cascades. A little bit of smoke to the south which actually accentuated the ridgelines between all of the peaks.

So, a wonderful day! We made it back down and a very, very successful climb. All’s well! Heading back home from Mt. Shuksan.

Smoke accentuating the North Cascades ridgelines

Smoke accentuating the North Cascades ridgelines

Climber on the rock pyramid of Mt. Shuksan

Climbing the rock pyramid of Mt. Shuksan

Joyful climbers on the summit of Mt. Shuksan

Steve M. and Garrett Madison on the summit of Mt. Shuksan

Garrett Madison on the summit of Mt. Shuksan

Garrett Madison enjoying the view from the summit of Mt. Shuksan


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow our teams as they make their attempts on the world’s most formidable mountains on:

Amazon Alexa devices with the Madison Mountaineering Flash Briefing skill:

  • Enable the skill and add to your flash briefing to hear Garrett Madison’s daily audio expedition updates

Instagram:

Triumphant climber at Mt. Shuksan high camp

Under great conditions, expedition leader Garrett Madison calls in this audio dispatch from the slopes of Washington State’s Mount Shuksan:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the Mt. Shuksan climb with Steve!  We are up here at high camp.  It is a beautiful day!  We just feel like we are spoiled rotten because the views are as-far-as-the-eye-can-see, there are no clouds, no smoke in the sky… Just a perfect evening temperature here as we have diner and get ready to go to bed early in preparation for an alpine start, pre-dawn start to our summit climb tomorrow.

Our plan is to climb the summit pyramid on Mt. Shuksan – some 5th class rock scrambling.  Then make our way all the way back down.

Having a good time up here, looking to the climb tomorrow!


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow our teams as they make their attempts on the world’s most formidable mountains on:

Amazon Alexa devices with the Madison Mountaineering Flash Briefing skill:

  • Enable the skill and add to your flash briefing to hear Garrett Madison’s daily audio expedition updates

Instagram:

Garrett and Don on the summit of Mt. Baker!

We closed out August with a great one-on-one private climb with awesome conditions on Mt. Baker.

Mt. Baker is the most heavily glaciated peak in the lower 48 contiguous United States and the second most active volcano in the Cascade Range after Mt. Saint Helens.  Its location near the Canadain border and the Puget Sound of the Pacific Ocean combine to make it one of snowiest places on Earth – in 1999 it set the world record for recorded snowfall in a single season, a remarkable 29 m or 95 ft.!

This year’s snowfall and cooler than normal spring and summer have created excellent later climbing season conditions.  Over the weekend, Garrett led a private client on glacier travel and expedition camping skills reinforcement culminating in a perfect summit on this 3,286 m / 10,781 ft. jewel of the Pacific Northwest.

There is still time to book your Mt. Baker climb for this month of September while the awesome conditions continue!  Please contact our office to join a group climb or arrange your own private climb with one of our excellent guides that specialize in Cascade climbs.

For more inspiration, here’s Garrett’s recap of the weekend’s climb and stunning photos.  Enjoy!

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the Mt. Baker climb!  We got back yesterday from Mt. Baker.  We climbed the Easton Glacier route and it was in fantastic shape.  Great snow conditions for this time of year, not too many crevasses, and really good weather we had on our summit day.  We had views of the North Cascades, of Mt. Rainier, and of the San Juan Islands.  So a fantastic time up on Mt. Baker, great shape for this time of year and looking forward to more Mt. Baker climbs in September!

Mt. Baker approach hike in

Mt. Baker approach hike in

Beautiful sunset on Mt. Baker

Beautiful sunset on Mt. Baker

View from high camp of the awesome conditions on Mt. Baker

Gorgeous view of Mt. Baker from high camp

View from the tent of a Mt. Baker sunset

View from the tent of a Mt. Baker sunset

Excellent Mt. Baker climbing conditions

Excellent Mt. Baker climbing conditions

Climbing above the clouds on awesome conditions of Mt. Baker's glaciated slopes

Climbing above the clouds on Mt. Baker’s glaciated slopes


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow our teams as they make their attempts on the world’s most formidable mountains on:

Amazon Alexa devices with the Madison Mountaineering Flash Briefing skill:

  • Enable the skill and add to your flash briefing to hear Garrett Madison’s daily audio expedition updates

Instagram:

Climbers on the summit of Mt. Rainier for the sunset!

We have returned to the mountains in style with 100% Sunset Summit Success on Mt. Rainier!  Here’s climb leader Garrett Madison with the details from Camp Muir as the team makes it’s way back down to Paradise:

Hello! This is Garrett calling in for the Madison Mountaineering Mt. Rainier climb! Today is July 29th, and we are heading down from high camp at the Ingraham Flats on Mt. Rainier.

Yesterday we had a wonderful sunset summit at 8:30 pm. We stood on top of Columbia Crest and watched the sunset over western Washington. The whole team made it – 100% success. Beautiful evening weather and great route conditions all around. We made it back to camp late last night, had dinner, and went to bed around midnight.

Today we are just savoring the summit and the views as we head down Mt. Rainier. We are all very fortunate to have had a safe and successful climb, and we’re looking forward to getting down for a nice celebratory meal.

Terray and team approaching the crater rim near the summit

Terray and team approaching the crater rim near the summit

View from Columbia Crest, 14,411 ft.

View from Columbia Crest, 14,411 ft.

Shadow of the mountain at sunset

Shadow of the mountain at sunset

View from Camp Muir looking up at the route

View from Camp Muir looking up at the route

It’s official:  we are finally back in the mountains, Rainier 2020 is underway!

Following all of the protocols of Washington State’s Safe Start and the CDC guidelines, our first climb since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has begun.  Climb leader, Garrett Madison, and the team excitedly began the hike up to Camp Muir (3105m / 10,188ft) on Mount Rainier yesterday morning.

The group hiked in style up to Camp Muir and captured this photo just before sunset with the peaks of Mt. Adams and Mt. Saint Helens in the distance.  Today the team will review and practice climbing skills including crampon techniques, ice axe use, self-arrest techniques and rope-team travel.  In the afternoon they will ascend up to Ingraham Flats (3383m / 11,100 ft) and hit the sack early to catch some sleep before the very early morning alpine start of the summit attempt.

Stay tuned!!

Guide Jayar Storms provided this trip report on our recent 1:1 skill building and training outing to the Boston Basin area of the North Cascades National Park:

We began our trip early Tuesday (9/3) morning on the Boston Basin climbers trail. By that afternoon, we had reached Boston Basin and set up camp. We had just enough time to set our tent and square our equipment away when a freak hail storm struck. We took shelter from marble-sized hailstones in our tent for about 20 minutes before it turned to rain and then died away. We ate dinner and got to bed early for an early start at Sahale Peak the next day.

In the morning, we left around 6:30 AM and hiked up and right of the normal route which goes up the moraine, left of the Quien Sabe Glacier. About 500 feet below the glacier we noticed that we could traverse below the glacier and access it at a point closer to our objective instead of getting on the glacier itself and traversing across. We chose this lower traverse so we could avoid navigating most of the crevasses with this route. We cut across the talus and low angle slab to the other side and gained the glacier from there. After a few hundred feet of travel, we did not like the steepness of the terrain and turned back for camp.

The next day we tried Sahale again but from the normal route instead. After a walk up the same moraine from yesterday and a scramble up some low angle slab and loose rock, we gained the glacier once again, this time all the way on the left side of the glacier. With snow condition on our side and crevasses in manageable condition, we topped out at about 8,200 feet. We descended safely and enjoyed the rest of the day in Boston Basin.

We had the remaining day to pack up camp and descend back down the Boston Basin climbers trail and back to the car. We had a very enjoyable trip with Patrick and were thrilled to provide an excellent experience to advance his climbing skills and techniques. We can’t wait for our next adventure!


 

Mt. Baker

Jayar and Winter Storms checking in from Mt. Baker.

We met with our clients Chris and Karen at their hotel in the Greater Seattle area on Sunday the 25th, and proceeded to the trailhead from there. At the trailhead we were met with some light rain. Rain continued for the majority of the approach but was never more than our rain layers could deal with. We found a comfortable location to camp that was close to fresh water and out of the wind.

Monday morning we all got up early, enjoyed a quick breakfast and headed up the glacier for snow school where Karen and Chris very quickly picked up the basics of snow travel. Unfortunately due to a recent injury to her foot, Karen opted to stay behind for the summit attempt. We commend Karen for making a hard decision and listening to her body.

The remainder of our party left camp at 1:00 am on Tuesday morning for the summit attempt. An unexpected amount of crevasses on the glacier slowed our pace and left our route rather circuitous. We used many techniques to get up the route including short roping, running belays, short pitching, and some rappelling to maneuver a crevasse. The added crevasse work effected our schedule and we decided to turn around at 9,700 ft, just at the top of the pumice ridge. Our descent was swift and smooth with Chris handling some technical terrain incredibly well. We returned to high camp before 2:00 pm and rested for the remainder of the afternoon.

Wednesday morning we all got up at 6:00 am, packed our things and made quick work of the return to the trailhead. Everyone is in high spirts! Karen is off to the airport and Chris is preparing for our next adventure. We will be leaving for Eldorado Peak tomorrow.

We will check back in after we get back from Eldorado!

Mount Rainier

Driving up through a hazy smoke lining the valley near Mount Rainier, our 2019 Climb for Conservation team launched from Paradise en route for Camp Muir (10,188 ft). After a enjoyable day learning climbing skills with Garrett Madison, including techniques for cramponing, use of the ice axe and self-arrest, rope team travel, we tucked into our sleeping bags at Camp Muir. The next morning we woke up at 7am, ate breakfast and moved up toward Ingraham Flats at 11,100 feet to set up high camp. Around 2pm we geared up and started our summit ascent, first challenge being the rock climb over the Disappointment Cleaver. While the sun came down over the mountain the temperature quickly dropped below freezing as we continued to move higher on the mountain.

As the sun was setting across the horizon we reached the summit at 4,392m / 14,411ft. Climbers quickly made their way to sign the summit book inside a large metal box before roping up again and making our descent. The wind picked up to 25mph or so and all climbers were ready to move toward our warm tents and dinner back on the Ingraham flats.

To view our Washington programs for summer 2019, please click HERE.

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Please enjoy a few of our top photos from this climb! 🙂

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Photo by David Kernan

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Photo by David Kernan

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Photo by Jason Korb

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Photo by Christiane

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Photo by Christiane

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Photo by Christiane

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Photo by Christiane

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Some shots from head guide Billy Nugent on the gorgeous day in Washington’s North Cascades!

Mt. Baker

Head guide Billy Nugent reports:

Billy here checking in from the Hogsback Camp on the North side of Mt. Baker after a safe and successful climb!

We started the morning off with an alpine start making our way up onto the Coleman glacier through some thick clouds that gave us some pretty lousy visibility. Fortunately for us, we climbed up above the thick layer of marine clouds right around the first hint of dawn.

The rest of our climb we enjoyed perfectly clear skies, light winds, and an almost empty route. It’s a rare treat on Mt. Baker to see so few other climbers. The climbing route itself was also in pretty good shape with few crevasse problems and generally good snow conditions.

The only thing worth noting was a massive icefall that came down off Colfax peak (a satellite peak of Baker) that left a massive tongue of debris across the climbing route. It’s definitely the biggest icefall I’ve seen come off Colfax. Ever. All the same it didn’t really pose much of a problem for us beside a few minutes of uneven footwork as we crossed the debris pile.

All in all it was smooth trip and we are stoked to have tagged the top! We’re gonna finish up packing our camp and hoof it back to the trailhead this afternoon. Pizza and beer is calling our name!