Mt. Shuksan

September 5-9, 1973

Our party left town Thur. noon, spending the night with relatives in Seattle, and arriving at the trailhead at midday. Here we met Bruce Utsey and his friend, Jim Winston, a U of O student from Portland. They had been hiking a section of the Pacific Crest Trail in Wash. and had then hiked over for the pre-arranged meeting with us. Jim did not have crampons along, so he had to stay in camp during the climb. After our group of six had hiked in to Lake Ann and had set up camp, Dave Chase and the leader went on a scouting hike as far as the Fisher Chimney. Sat. we started out at 5:20 and roped when we reached Winnies Slide. We crossed some ice as we went out onto the Upper Curtis Glacier and arrived at the Hourglass to find a difficult crossing of the moat, separating the ice from the rock. After this rock climb we crossed a part of the Sulphide Glacier to the summit pyramid, where we left our crampons and rope. We found our route here to be difficult and the Chases stopped while the others went on, arriving at the summit at 2 p.m. The leader then returned to the Chases., as they had already dome the worst of it. We were soon all on the summit and started down after a few minutes. The weather had been fine, but had clouded over and soon misted for awhile. We went down the Sulphide to the Hell’s Highway, finding a couple places where we had to descend on ice, then went up the Upper Curtis around some large crevasses. We started down the Fisher Chimneys at dark, using flashlites but found ourselves in a tight spot at 10:30, and decided to bivouac on the sloping ledge, roping ourselves to rock to prevent falling off if we should drop off to sleep. After very little, if any, sleep we got up at dawn to find that we were indeed in the wrong chimney, but thought we could continue downward. We rappelled off an overhanging rock, but before going far we decided to go back up to find the correct way off. We had a tough pitch along side the overhang, but easier going above. We soon found the trail and met Jim below the chimneys, as he had set out to look for us. He had food and water for us, and after a short time we went on down to camp. We were all out to the cars by 6 p.m. The Chases planned to spend the night in Seattle, but we were driving on through with the other car. After the leader drove to Burlington on the Freeway, Jim drove to his hometown of Portland. We were glad he had had a night of sleep, so we were relatively fresh. From Portland on, Bruce talked with the leader to keep him awake. We got back in time for the leader to sack out for 90 minutes before reporting for work at six Monday morning. We all learned a great deal on this climb, not only of what we should do, putting things into practice that some had only read about, but also learned of what not to do. The climbers were Wes Brooks, Dave & Lynn Chase, Bruce Utsey and leader Norman Benton.


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