|Mt. Washington from the PCT trailhead after I got back to the car at 1pm. The North Ridge descends toward the viewer, the rock section follows the left hand skyline of the summit pinnacle.|
|Three Fingered Jack (L) and Mt. Jefferson (R) while approaching Mt. Washington.|
|Custom approach shoes (lightweight Merrell hiking shoes with dot rubber soles), with BD strap-on crampons.|
However, some things were the same. There were still huge drifts of snow. The climbers trail was totally hidden and I missed it again, ending up on the West Ridge again. Navigating in thick trees was difficult and time consuming.
|Coming off the West Ridge and making my way toward the North Ridge (L skyline).|
|Heading toward the NW bowl and the North Ridge.|
|Looking up the NW bowl toward the summit pinnacle.|
|Cruising up 40 degree neve in the custom tennies. Sun starting to hit the face.|
When I reached the base of the pinnacle I broke out the rock gear and harness. From the snow ridge I moved up a left leaning snow ramp which traversed over the exposed East Face. The rock climbing started here and was broken up with snow covered ledges. This east facing snow was soft from the sun so I backed down the ramp and stowed my crampons and ice axes. I kick stepped back up and started climbing rock. It was definitely chossy but there were solid holds to be found. The snow was scary but easy. The hardest part was negotiating shaded alcoves with ice still covering the best rock holds.
|Looking up at the summit pinnacle from just below the North Ridge.|
|The left leaning snow ramps takes you to the start of the rock climbing.|
The top came suddenly and had amazing views of the Sisters to the south. I loitered, taking photos and rehydrating for several minutes before descending. I rappelled off the first slung horn, removing some old tat and trusting a very new looking piece of cord that was already there. I then down climbed to the last slung horn. I removed a couple pieces of faded tat here too, then rapped back to the snow ramp.
|Looking down the North Ridge from a snow field part way up the summit pinnacle.|
|(L-R) Broken Top, North Sister, Middle Sister from the summit of Mt. Washington.|
|Setting up the first rappel. I backed it up with a prusik as I was using a thin 8mm half rope (30m).|
I had seen from above that the North Ridge went almost to the burn where the trailhead was. Wanting to try find the actual climbers trail I followed the ridge. I was soon following a boot pack and was confused when it dead ended on a small pinnacle. As I turned and looked back I saw beautiful ski tracks diving off the ridge and down the East Face. Kudos to the skiers who have been slaying the gnar out there recently.
|Looking back at the upper North Ridge and the summit pinnacle.|
|See those ski tracks? Someone shredded the gnar.|
Eventually I hit a cairn and started following switchbacks off the ridge. Within 100 feet the trail was covered in snow and I lost it. I guess it really doesn't want to be found this time of year. I trended north and west, eventually reaching the burn. I hit the PCT soon after. A short walk later I was back at the car. It was 1pm. I stretched and sorted my gear before driving home for a late lunch and a swim in the Deschutes River.
|Mt. Washington's East Face from the highway on the drive home. North Ridge is the right hand skyline. The rock section of the route ascends the middle of the summit pinnacle.|