Boeing Alpine Club (Boealps) Intermediate Climbing Course (ICC)
Alpine 2 outing – Maude Squad / North Face of Maude, June 2004
Instructors: Gary Hehn, Tom Ryan
Students: Ben Leishman, Mike Elsbury
Tom needed a trail park pass so, we left the 65th park and ride at ~7am, Sat with a pass that we found lying in the parking lot. Topped out over Stevens Pass to meet a long line of stopped traffic. We were told that it had been stopped for an hour and a half and was expected to be the same for another two hours. We had no Washington map; who needs a map when you can follow road signs? So, went searching for someone with a map and/or info regarding the possibility of another reasonable way to Lake Wenatchee. One certain fellow with the look of a local first said, “no, there’s no way” then, slapping his forehead “Wait a minute, it’s been about twenty years but, there is this four wheel path” — off we go in his wake; he’s on a mission as well – has a meeting to attend in one hour. The mystery road was the ticket and much improved, four wheeler no longer required. The vibes for the trip are feeling good!
The hike from the trail head (~3500′) to camp (~7200′) took six hours. Had a relaxed evening at camp. Clouds to the west threatening to build and break over the crest.
Up @ 4 -> Glacier Peak out full -> not so quick breakfast -> clouds forming quickly around peaks. We head for the Seven Finger Jack / Maude col. A bit chilly, but no rain/snow/sleet/hail. Blue sucker holes actually forming in the sky – on weird. Two running belays on the traverse to the north face proper, including some creative pro placements got us through the crux of the climb to the north face snow slope. From camp to summit (~9040’/9082′) took seven hours.
Summit to camp was a tedious 2.5 hr descent down a gully with a narrow line of snow that at times approached an angle of 45 degrees. We had scoped out the gully on the hike in and while it wasn’t particularly pleasant we are certain it was the best way down. Note: there are numerous reports of 22 hr epics getting off this thing! Begin the descent as described in Selected Climbs of the Cascades Volume II but, soon after starting, maybe 200 vertical feet down, scoot over to the gully on the right as you are looking down (simply a walk over a small ridge) and follow this gully all the way down.
The hike from camp to the trail head took 2.5 hrs.
Wrap up: Both students made good climbing companions. Both traveled safely and efficiently. Everyone’s pack weighed around 40 lbs with the group gear (2 ropes, 1 small rack, 6 pickets with runners, 4 ice screws, 2 stoves, fuel, 2 pots).
It was a good trip and a pleasure and comfort having Tom, with all his knowledge and experience, as the second instructor along for the outing.
belay off! gary
Tom added the following generous note to my trip report:
–Although we like to have students lead when they are comfortable we should keep in mind how much can be learned by following an experienced leader. Gary led the most difficult section of the route, traversing across snow and rock to the base of the climb. His choice of route and creative use of pro extended the lead right to the base of the climb. He even used a picket in rock (like a tri-cam) to help anchor the belay!—tr