Mt. Washington

July 31, 2004

A Forest Service officer stopped by the trailhead Friday evening looking for the car of a couple missing climbers, so when we reached the north ridge, we weren’t surprised to see a helicopter flying over the west ridge. Clear skies, few mosquitoes and no group ahead of us made for pleasant climbing.

We followed the north ridge most of the way, skirting west around the last obstacle and coming up the gully to the saddle. Doug belayed me up the first pitch—the loose hand-hold at the crux that I had noticed the previous year was still there. (Mark Slipp later told me that it was there a couple years before that.) While the rest where following, I placed roped on the other two pitches.

By noon all were on the summit, which we shared with swarms of bee-like flies, and a few ladybugs and butterflies. During our stay there, the helicopter was hanging around, out of sight, down below to the west. A Danish couple followed us up, belaying each other on their own rope.

After our hour on top we down-climbed the first two pitches, then had to wait a while at the rappel point for a man to belay his 11 year-old son up the first pitch. By then the wind had picked up, and the rope ends blew off to the east when thrown. A Corvallis Mountain Rescue person was resting at the saddle—he gave us some details on the unfortunate missing climbers. We descended via the scree field, and hiked back out to the cars.

Many thanks to Doug for his invaluable help and encouragement on my first lead of this beloved rubble-heap of ours. Climbers were Brian Dickerson, Larry Dunlap, Justin Rolfe-Redding, Doug Nelson and Wayne Deeter.

Searching . . .

Brian, at the crux

Justin, at the rappel point

Larry, near the top


Butterfly on top

View south

Group back at the saddle

—photos by Wayne Deeter

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