Buckner Mountain - North Face, July 2002
There was some sort of disturbance brewing down the street. I became increasingly anxious, hoping Tom would just hurry the hell up and finish loading his gear into my car. A punch was thrown and I ducked for cover, expecting bullets to start flying. Oh shit, oh shit... Tom then descended the stairs with his last load of gear and assured me that he "had my back" should anything...you know, get out of hand. Tom slid the pistol under the passenger seat and we slowly drove away without incident. With the ghetto comfortably in the rear view mirrow, I began to breathe easy again. Soon we were on I-5, happily on our way to the North Cascades National Park. We would rendezvous at the recently opened Cascade Pass parking area with Aaron Misiuk (Aaron and I, among others, climbed the North Twin Sister back in April that same year). The usual ritual of sharing climbing stories over a few beers was had before we retired for the night in the parking lot.
We opted for the Sahale Arm approach instead of Boston Basin so as to avoid the double rope rappel onto the Boston Glacier from Sharkfin Col. No sense in packing around an extra rope just for that. Since the return would also be made via Sahale Arm, that sounded like the logical place to start. It's hard to beat the views-to-effort ratio of the Sahale Arm approach. Eldorado Peak rose prominently to the northwest. We slogged up Sahale Arm, made a few 4th/5th class moves onto the summit of Sahale Peak and were rewarded with outstanding views. We would also first set eyes upon our objective. Aaron makes the final steps onto the summit of Sahale with Johannesburg Mountain in the background. About every five minutes massive chunks of ice could be heard calving off the hanging glacier and roar down into the valley below. A seemingly improbable chossy traverse on the lower flanks of Boston Peak stood between us and the Boston Glacier. Numerous boulders were sent blasting down the face. We took care to be nicely spaced apart so as not to dislodge any rocks onto each other. (more...)
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