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Note 44.361 MOUNT-L 361 of 517 CUPIDO::STRITAR "Andrej Stritar,IJS,(61)-371-321" 61 lines 6-APR-1994 13:25
CUPIDO::STRITAR "Andrej Stritar,IJS,(61)-371-321" 61 lines 6-APR-1994 13:25
Subj: Mt. Shuksan
Shuksan will be a great climb, if the weather is with you. End of
June is summer in my book. You should have neither crevasse nor avalanche
problems at that time on the route you mention, Fischer Chimneys - Hell's Hwy.
You can do this from the parking lot above Mt. Baker Ski resort in one long
day (but make sure you have a light with you).
You will have a four mile hike in, with the first mile downhill.
The trail branches off down and to the right from the seemingly main one
shortly (within two minutes, I think) of the parking lot. It is easy to
miss. If you miss it, you will follow a long ridge without a trail to
the same point, it just won't be as fast (at the end you would have to
descend down a long rocky slope to get to Lake Ann which is where the
two "paths" meet back up). At the two mile point there should be some kind
of post. Then you will wind your way up to a lake (Ann) in 2 miles.
You will continue past the lake for about a mile? and switchback
several times. The trail has a tendency after this point to become indistinct
at times. If you take the low road, you will get to the lower Curtis glacier
(on your right). If you did that, you would eventually rise from it
to diagonal your way right to Fischer Chimneys. Faster is the high road,
which, if I recollect right, really starts ascending shortly after you pass
a stream which looks like its been washed out.
The idea is that you want to stay sort of close to the base of
the cliff that you are on which will rise rapidly to your right (as you
face the cliff). It's a
bunch of scrambling. Eventually, you will top out onto a slope of rocks,
probably 1/2 a mile long. If you follow a roughly level path it will lead
you to the chimney. The hardest part of the entire hike is the route
finding. You ascend up a long series of chimneys hoping you pick the right
one each time. You may be on some quite steep sections of snow for parts
if it has not yet melted. If anyone has gone before you there will be
great steps. Depending on which exact set of chimneys you choose, you may
find yourself out quite far to the right on a VERY EXPOSED path near the top.
Be extremely wary, as some sections are quite crumbly. It is easy to get
mixed up getting to the Chimneys, but it is just as easy to get mixed up in
them (it was with good reason that it took many years to find a way up).
Make certain you are remembering how to get down.
Once you are above this, you will shortly get to the top of this
ridge where you can have a nice rest, right beside the upper Curtis
glacier. If you didn't hit snow yet (in the chimneys) you will definitely
do so here as you will be on the glaciers from here. Crampons are
useful. You can see the top from here. Make a gradual circular rise
to get above a crevasse field, pass it, and then drop down (right) to the entry
onto Hell's Hwy. As you are passing the mentioned crevasse field, the
hourglass, looking like a tempting shortcut will be in front of you. It's
looked iffy to enter when I've gone, so I haven't. You'll climb up the
short Hell's Hwy to the hellish long slog up the Sulphide glacier
heading for the center of the summit rock pyramid. In mid summer there
are teency cracks that open up from Hell's Hwy to the summit pyramid, but it
shouldn't be a problem at this time of year. At this point you'll go up
any way you can (a scramble).
Make SURE you allow enough time to get off the chimneys before dark.
And get Fred Beckey's book, Vol. 3. I always photocopy the relevant pages.
On a good day, it's fantastic here. Less than sunny and it can be
treacherous. I'm presuming you have substantial mountaineering experience
going solo else I wouldn't even think of trying Shuksan alone. Have fun.