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Ascent of Raven Ridge on 2018-07-01

Climber: Patty Cokus

Date:Sunday, July 1, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Raven Ridge
    Location:USA-Washington
    Elevation:8572 ft / 2612 m

Ascent Trip Report

Weather was not working for the planned Mt Buckner N Face plus Horseshoe climb...plus Jared had a little trouble with interpreting the dates of the Sahale Glacier Camp permit he won in the lottery...so it just helped make the decision that much easier. Breakfast at Mondo's (my first this season and they still recognize me :-) to assess our options and figure out what we should do. A few cups of coffee later and we have a new plan.

Hoodoo and Raven Ridge. A first for Jared, Mike B and Alexander Fedora but a repeat for me. Drove over the pass and to the TH (4400ft?). Left the second tools, ropes, pickets, ice screws, alpine rack and a bunch of food in the car. Nice to be lighter! Hiked in, saw Nik Jensen and wife Aggie at the shelter, setup camp at the same large and lovely spot near the tarn my group was in on the previous trip and Jared's attempt with Suzanne, then headed up Hoodoo. Wind was blowing and dark clouds were a swirling towards the Cascade Pass area...I think we made the right call. Just a few snow patches near the base of the peak which could be avoided. Saw Nick and Aggie up top, didn't stay long and headed down for some dinner.

Wind was definitely blowing overnight and trees knocking a bit but we were fairly protected and mostly just heard it above us. Jared and I laughed ourselves to sleep especially after I shared the flooded kitchen story with him from just the Tuesday before this trip. We decided to sleep in a bit to let the snow in the gully going up Raven Ridge perhaps soften a bit. Go time was determined to be 7am.

Left camp Sunday am with clear skies at 7:15am and made our way to Libby lake. Saw a couple on the right camped and what looked like Nik and Aggie traversing the snow on the left of the lake towards the farther gullies near the end of Libby peak.

I had described to all which gully I had taken previously which was the left one of a V shape made by two gullies which is the narrower of the two. We decided it looked pretty good this morning as well even though our snow was pretty hard. We had planned to do a steep snow/ice climb after all! Our steel crampons and single ice tool (or regular ax) served us well. We only left crampon point and pick marks in the snow and I for sure took advantage of all suncup dips and a little rest on rocks about half way up on the left. I felt secure and never slipped but it was attention getting and weird to have one hand just lay flat on the snow when pulling out/placing the pick. Took us about 20 minutes to ascend the steep snow finger in the gully to the top of the ridge (maybe 1.5-2 hours from our camp?). Then it was traversing left to the summit boulder hopping. Lots of black lichen as I remembered. A fun little peek a boo through a tunnel spot and up some fun rock scrambling and we joined Nik and Aggie at the summit. I luckily had a pencil so we could all sign the register which was missing a writing instrument. After a few photos we headed off to traverse down to the Libby peak end of the ridge. Nik and Aggie confirmed their gully had soft snow with giant bucket steps so yeah...that sounded a lot better for descending instead of our very steep/hard snow gully.

After a snack on Libby peak and giving Nik and Aggie a head start down the gully so we wouldn't be on top of them we headed off. Their gully was reached by coming off Libby, bypassing one gendarme and then down some rock/sandy loose choss stuff (very carefully) and then traversing skiers left a bit below some slabs to the snow. Nik had kicked some seriously awesome bucket steps and we all downclimbed for awhile face in feeling super solid and easy. After perhaps 3/4 of the gully (probably could have earlier but the steps were nice) we could face out and plunge step down to the traverse trail around the lake back to the outlet.

Back to camp to pack up and head out. Dinner at the Schoolhouse Brewery in Winthrop and the P&R then home by 10pm? I forget. Sean got home about 1:30am after doing 4/5 of the Liberty Bell Traverse just missing SEWS. Awesome!
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