Joined: 30 May 2007 Posts: 2456 | TRs | Pics Location: The 'Snatch
Sun Sep 16, 2012 12:24 am
Jeff H and I had a great trip up AmericanBorderPeak this weekend.
We left Seattle at 9:30AM on Friday and made our way to the rustic Twin Lakes road, where we were glad to have a high clearance vehicle. Along the way, we passed dozens of cars lined up at the Yellow Aster Butte trailhead. The road beyond Yellow Aster Butte TH is rough, and high clearance is recommended, although we did see a few low clearance vehicles up there (Saturn Sedan, and Pontiac Vibe).
We saddled up and left the trailhead at 1PM. The trail to High Pass is in great shape, and we were able to make pretty good time up to the 5960' pass.
From High Pass, the trail descends to Gargett Mine, then peters out. From the mine, we descended about 200' to 5600' where we began a descending traverse to 5400'. Here, we entered the timber and crossed the rib leading to the basin W of Mt. Larrabee. This basin is primarily open huckleberry, wildflowers, grass, and scree. Traversing this second basin, we aimed for a notch at ~6200' which led us into the third basin and camp (3 hours from the TH). There is space for a couple of bivy sacks at camp, but not much more. There is running water ~50' below camp.
The next morning we awoke at 6:30 and were moving by 7. Tedious scree and steep grass slopes led up to a col on the S Ridge of AmericanBorderPeak. From the col, we ascended the ridge crest for ~200' before splitting off to climber's right across red slabs littered with pebbles. There is a good ledge here though which makes for easy travel. We aimed for a weakness on climber's right where a short class 3 section was encountered. Someone had apparently gotten their rope stuck while trying to retrieve it after rappelling the class 3 (or 4?) step. On the way back down, I retrieved the rope (~25m of 8.3mm) and packed it back out.
Above the class 3 section, 100' of easy scrambling brought us to a notch. From this notch, we traversed along the E face of ABP on exposed mud/gravel ledges, crossing several riblets along the way. The final riblet was surmounted via a gully guarded by a snow patch, but we easily avoided the snow by staying in the moat on the right (class 3).
From the top of the snow patch gully, another short ledge traverse brought us to the base of the 50m roped pitch. The climbing in here is fairly solid with good stemming and positive holds (5.4 max with a lot of class 3). I clipped one fixed piton and two slings for pro, and didn't need to use the cams I lugged all the way up there. At the top of the chimney, there is a pretty tight keyhole slot we had to squeeze through. I brought some Crisco just in case Jeff had trouble, but thankfully I didn't need to use it.
From the top of the roped pitch we scrambled class 3 rock about 20 minutes to the true summit. The views from the summit are impressive over to Tomyhoi and Slesse, and of course the rest of the Northern N Cascades. I especially enjoyed seeing the international border swath stretching out in both directions. It was apparent that the Canadians really pride themselves on their clearcuts as the U.S. side is all forest, and the Canadian side is all clearcuts and logging roads. Oh, Canada.
The descent was straightforward, and we made two rappels to the base of the roped pitch. An abundance of tedious scree slopes kept us entertained all the way back to High Pass, and a short trail walk led us back to the parking lot where nearly 100 campers greeted us. Car camping.. it's the 'merican way!
Overall, this was a great trip with unique and excellent views into the northern reaches of the N Cascades. The approach is pretty short and the climbing and scrambling is fun. Thanks to Jeff for sacrificing his car for the journey up the Twin Lakes road, and especially for another fine adventure.
Joined: 21 Jul 2006 Posts: 784 | TRs | Pics Location: on (& off) the beaten path
Sun Sep 16, 2012 4:37 pm
your buddy Jeff looks more like he's dressed for 'drinks at the country club' in his white button down, as opposed to climbing.
I used to wear a white oxford on glaciers all the time until I replaced it with a high tech synthetic version.
oxford cloth is tuff stuff!
-------------- 'we don't have time for a shortcut'
Joined: 12 Oct 2006 Posts: 638 | TRs | Pics Location: Edmonds, WA
Tue Sep 18, 2012 10:03 pm
This peak is rarely climbed as you must have noticed from the register. A friend and I turned around 950 feet below the summit a few weeks back but the other two in our group made it. Considering the time of day and my slower speed due to lack of comfort, I decided to call it.
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