(all pictures are low res, for high res click here)
For this trip report, I highly recommend viewing the pictures in high resolution, as it is provides detail that will begin to demonstrate the immense beauty of this mountain range. This week, we decided that is was necessary to give Ruth Mountain another try since we had an unsuccessful attempt earlier in the year. Joining me on this week's climb was John, Diane and Michelle.
We knew from reading Fred Beckey's book Cascade Alpine Guide that this climb could be accomplished in a day, but it promised to be a LONG day. We started the morning early by awaking at 3 am to commence our 2.5 hour drive by 4 am. We arrived at the trailhead at 6:30 and sorted thru our gear for the upcoming hike , and by 7 am we were on our way. I've been asked a bunch of gear questions (i.e. what gear do you take on your climbs?), so here's an abridged list of gear for this trip:
3000 cu. in Gregory backpack
3 litres of water
1 Expedition weight top (Polartec 100)
2 snow picketts
1 10mm x 60m Mammut doudess dry rope
1 Black Diamond bod harness
1 ATC Belay device
1 Ushba Titanium iceaxe
1 pair Leki trekking poles
1 Pear shaped carabiner
1 Marmot Expedition shell jacket
1 pair of gloves
1 wool hat
1 pair of Charlet Moser 12 pt crampons
Sunscreen, pocketknife, map, compass and food
OK, enough of the gear talk. If you have questions, send me email. As we began our climb, Diane was going full force, therefore I had to beg her to stop for me to catch my breath :-), while doing so we got to see our first glimpse of the mountain . Michelle and Diane kept pushing on until we reached Hannegan Pass . The climb from the pass to the next rest point was very steep , but the views of the mountain were amazing. As we continued on, we got our first glimpse of Mt. Shuksan . At this point, I got a little paranoid about drop off on both sides of the ridge, so I asked everyone to rope up here. (same picture uncropped) As luck would have it, the skies cleared and the sun came out for our summit bid, damn was it beautiful. Here's the final few steps on the summit ridge before we reached paydirt . Finally we reached the summit!!! We climbed for about 6 hours before reaching these amazing views, here's Diane standing on one end of the summit ridge with Icy Peak in the background (notice how big everything is compared to her) . Here's a lone picture of Icy Peak as seen from the summit . Sitting on the summit provided us with an opportunity to watch the ice fall on Mt. Shuksan collapse little by little. It was 10 times better than watching television! Another cool thing we found on the summit was a USGS survey marker .
Finally, we started back to the car (a 4 hour trek), and on the way down we could see the approach trail we took (again, I recommend viewing this in high res to see the trail) . As the sun kept creeping down, the reflection off some of the prominent waterfalls was gorgeous . Finally, our first true summit of the year, and frankly one of the most beautiful climbs I've ever done. Though the climb wasn't technical, it was truly worth doing.