Recourse Peak - ESE Ridge, July 2018
Unbelievably, 11 years have elapsed since my previous trip to the Chehalis Range. This time I was indifferent to going whole hog on the Viennese-Recourse-Clarke Traverse, as classic a route as it is reputed to be. Mount Clarke, the highest in the area (Grainger Peak to the north excepted) and typically the last of the three summits climbed on the traverse would be reward enough. Besides, the description in the Scrambles Guide speaks very favorably of Clarke's standard Southeast Ridge route, an endorsement worth acknowledging IMO. So, with all that said one might ask why this trip report is for Recourse Peak then?
Recourse is the middle of the three summits and the second highest. Unlike Clarke and to a lesser extent Viennese, the route to Viennese-Recourse Col and start of the ESE Ridge is by far the most direct of the three. Factor in especially warm weather, a brutally steep and somewhat brushy grunt up from Lower Statlu Lake the previous day and an ugly vertical bushwhack in order to gain the upper basin and suffice it to say that certain member of this party simply had had her fill. For the third consecutive outing I was to complete the climb solo, oh and "please hurry" because there's no shade (in the upper basin).
Recourse, as it turns out is a worthwhile climb unto itself and presents its own challenges and excitement, albeit short-lived ones. It's position and perspective on the knife-edge WSW Ridge of Viennese is incredible. I'd be lying if I said I didn't briefly consider running the ridge over to Clarke from Recourse's summit and back, a kind-of half-traverse, but then there would surely be hell to pay for such indulgence! All-in-all a beautiful place and well worth a visit, but I might be another decade before I attempt a Chehalis Range hat trick!
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