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Ascent of Storm King on 2017-08-24

Climber: Eric Gilbertson

Date:Thursday, August 24, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Storm King
    Location:USA-Washington
    Elevation:8520 ft / 2596 m

Ascent Trip Report

We took the ferry on Lake Chelan to Stehekin on Tuesday and spent the afternoon resting in town, still recovering from lack of sleep on our Sherpa Peak trip and attempt to drive down to see the eclipse.

On Wednesday morning we caught the first scheduled NPS bus up to the end of the road at High Bridge at 8:15am and started hiking. Up until 2003 the road from Stehekin went far into the park, but a big washout closed the road and there are no plans to repair it.

We hiked on the PCT northbound with thru-hikers for about 8 miles, then up past park creek and 2-mile camp until we reached the southwest ridge of Mt Goode. From here we hiked steeply up the ridge in recent burned areas, reaching a small level area at 7,400ft just before sunset. Our plan was to use this as a basecamp to climb Storm King and Mt Goode.

The next morning we slept in and left camp around 10:30am for Storm King. We traversed left at the same level as camp through talus, scree, and snow slopes until we got to the base of the mountain. There’s a bit of confusion about the standard route, and our guidebook did not help.

The book has a picture of a certain gully to climb up, and one of the peaks labeled as summit. However, the summit is incorrectly labeled, and the route description is from Fred Beckey’s book, and he climbed up a different gully. We only pieced these discrepancies together after the climb, after noticing nothing in the guidebook matched reality.

We scrambled up some slabby scree, and roped up just below the prominent gully south of the true summit. From here I led up a pitch of low 5th class rock aiming for the incorrectly-labeled summit from the guidebook, but eventually encountered very difficult terrain and figured something was wrong. So, I downclimbed, and traversed left into a small cave and belayed Katie up. From there I climbed up and soon found rappel anchors in the notch. I wrapped around left and climbed up easy ledges to the summit.

After belaying Katie up and verifying by the summit register we were indeed on the summit, we made two rappels back down to the scree. Unfortunately, with all the loose rock one of the ropes got cut (near the middle!), but we were luckily done with rappels by this point.

We then scrambled back down the scree and around to camp, arriving well before sunset. Our next mountain would be Mt Goode the next morning.

Link to full trip report and pictures.
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