Mount Washington (Olympics) - Southeast Ridge, June 2007
Motivated by an unsuccessful attempt at reaching Washington's summit via the Winter Direct route earlier this year, Martin and I came up with the bright idea of returning to climb the Southeast Ridge. The ridge sure looks aesthetic from the pullout where we parked and especially from our previous vantage point on the East Ridge. Furthermore, this route has been likened by some to be comparable to the West Arete on Mount Constance which I thought was an enjoyable climb in and of itself.
From the pullout just beyond the fork with FSR014, we walked the road and began looking left for a climber's path shortly after an obvious waterfall. We followed this path as it ascends the forested rib extending from the lower Southeast Ridge until it dead-ended in a scree slope beneath some crags. Flagging seemed to continue along the left-side of the rib. Our beta suggested staying right, so we proceeded upwards (recommend cutting hard to the right at this point instead). Loose and unpleasant 4th-class scrambling soon saw us to a steep rock gully that seemed to exit onto the ridge above. Bruce and I anchored into a good tree near the base of the gully and belayed Martin as he led a pitch of low 5th kitty litter rock to the crest. A family of mountain goats also kept us on our toes by trundling rocks down on us while Martin was climbing. As expected, this pitch led us to a rocky promontory well before the actual start to the Southeast Ridge. We briefly scrambled the crest, then traversed steep snow at right into the basin beaneath the east wall of the Southeast Ridge. Turning left, we booted up steep snow to reach a saddle beneath the normal start of our route. Our shenanigans had already cost us about an hour (two-hours total from car). (more...)
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