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Ascent of Morning Star Peak on 2014-12-13

Climber: Evan Battaglia

Others in Party:Miki Kanada
Date:Saturday, December 13, 2014
Ascent Type:Unsuccessful - Turned Back
Peak:Morning Star Peak
    Location:USA-Washington
    Elevation:5000 ft / 1524 m

Ascent Trip Report

Left TH late for winter -- at about 9. Decided to take the NW face / north ridge route. After taking a gully to the right of an outcropping (about 4650 ft) we were unsure of the ascent route. Another hiker came up behind us, but he didn't even really know where he was (he was going for Vesper or Sperry). Judging from the Summitpost route description I planned a route going just below a large noticeable cliff face -- towards the summit but much closer and a little to the right -- and then heading up to the left behind some nearby trees, and taking it from there.

The ramp up behind the trees worked OK, and we got to a small flat area, but beyond 100 or 200 feet that was a steep, icy slab (with a steep rock wall to the left... sort of a chimney/gully). There was not enough ice or snow on the rock to gain any traction. We went back to the flat area and, while my partner stayed there, I tried a last-ditch attempt to bushwhack up through the trees. That turned out to be miserable, as the trees were laden with snow, and crawling in and under this jungle gym I ended up soaked. I termed this a "snowwhack". I made it up the steepest part but there was no end to the trees so I gave up, defeated.

I didn't want to go back down thru the snowwhack so I went down further to the NE in a open area. From there I noticed a gully to the NE. I descended into the gully. Looking up, this looked like a promising ascent route. However, at this point it was about 2pm, a half hour before our planned turnaround time, and we were still 1000ft below the summit. In addition, my partner was out of earshot. I descended the gully -- there was one 6-8ft step that was a little tricky -- and ascended back up and over, under a cliff, back to the flat spot where I had separated from my partner. We descended and made it back to the car at about :4:15, I think? I can't remember exactly.

If I were going this route again, from point at 4650 ft., I would ascend a treeless area way to the left of my route under the rock wall. I think from there I can swing a right and catch the gully I discovered... but I am not sure, is hidden beyond the terrain from this vantage point at 4650 ft.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2900 ft / 883 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Snow on Ground, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2900 ft / 883 m
    Route:NW slope
    Start Trailhead:2100 ft / 640 m
Descent Statistics



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