On Sunday, Sergio and I found ourselves looking for an objective for the day. Graybeard Peak came to mind and, seeing as how neither of us had climbed it, we decided to give it a go.
We set off from the Easy Pass TH at 8:15AM, trudging up a trail I had traveled 5 times prior (Sergio 3 times). There is some avalanche debris covering the trail at about mile 2-2.5, but nothing major. Snow begins at about 5000' and is fairly solid all the way to Easy Pass.
We arrived at Easy Pass at 10:15, and began traversing the ridge to the SE, towards the prominent basin W of Graybeard. The traverse is mainly on heather, but there is some annoying scree as you descend into the basin. We traversed the basin and gained the W Ridge via a class 3 ramp. The W Ridge is class 2-3 and is loose in places. There is one class 4-5 move near the summit, but it is quick and easy. We topped out at 12:10, just under 4 hours from the TH. The views from the summit are excellent. There have been only 3 parties who have signed in since Fay Pullen placed the register in 2006 (there have been ascents of the N Face when the register would have been buried). This thing doesn't get climbed much despite its close proximity to HWY 20.
We spent about an hour lounging on the summit, soaking up the sunshine and admiring the views. At 1:15, we headed back down, this time taking a gulley on the W Face instead of the ridge. This saved us some time.
The remainder of the trip out was uneventful, and we got back to the TH at 3:10, less than 7 hours after we started.
What a great weekend to be out in the North Cascades. It was good to get out with Sergio again.
Sergio heading up the basin (our descent gully in background).
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