Peak(s):  Pacific Pk  -  13,950 feet
Date Posted:  07/16/2009
Modified:  07/25/2009
Date Climbed:   07/12/2009
Author:  Carl
 Pacific Peak North Couloir  

Pacific Peak, 13,950ft
Route: North Couloir
Group: Carl (wesley), Kiefer, Sean (sstrauss), Anton (anton_solovyev), Marc, & Stephanie (slynn4_13run)
Trailhead: Spruce Creek

Marc, Sean, Anton, Kiefer and I take off for Rainier July 18th. We've been practicing crevasse rescue and glacier travel but hadn't all 5 climbed together. We wanted to climb a route the weekend prior that was relatively close to home, not very crowded or too long of a day, and excited everyone. The north couloir on Pacific Peak fit the bill perfectly.

The trailhead is at 11,000ft so you're quickly rewarded with amazing views as you near tree line and skirt a series of lakes. This is also our first glimpse of Pacific Peak on the left.

Looking back at Lower Mohawk Lake.

Kiefer negotiating his way across one of the numerous small bodies of water.

You get pretty close to Pacific before the first half of the north couloir is visible in front of you. The route climbs towards the cornice but then doglegs left. This is also where Stephanie split from the group and climbed the ridge partially visible over my left shoulder.
photo by Kiefer

When approaching and climbing the couloir you never are presented with a good view of the entire route. I found this shot on Google (albeit with a little more snow) and drew the route in.
photo by dsunwall

Starting up the snow.
photo by Kiefer

Anton in the lead followed by Marc. The north couloir is known to reach about 60 degrees in steepness and this time of year could have presented us with a little ice. We decided to error on the side of extra training weight and brought ice screws, a second tool, pickets, cams, nuts, hexes, and a 30 meter rope. With the exception of a second axe, none of it was used.

Me and Sean looking back at Kiefer after the dog leg left.
photo by Kiefer

The couloir is getting thin. A little ice has formed but it's mostly avoidable. This route would not be much fun if portions have melted out (especially for those below you) so it's maybe got another week left, tops.

We took a couple measurements and the steepest my inclinometer read on this day was only 55 degrees. Here, Kiefer pulls out the second tool to get around a little of that ice during one of the steeper parts of the climb.

As we neared the top of the couloir Stephanie gave us a wave and proceeded to play photographer as everyone finished.
photo by Stephanie

Anton making his way out of the north couloir.
photo by Stephanie

Kiefer on the last few feet of the climb. Typical early July snow conditions visible behind him.

After topping out from the north couloir it's only a short easy scramble to the summit. Stephanie joined us for a summit shot.

The purpose of the day was to enjoy a somewhat challenging climb as a team. I thought it worked out great. The weather was holding so we set down for hour on the summit and went over our gear lists and assigned group gear responsibilities among each year. Hopefully we get a similar shot on the summit of Rainier next week.
photo by Stephanie

Marc, Sean, Anton, I headed for a snow filled gulley we eyed on the way up while Kiefer and Stephanie stayed high and climbed a few more 13ers.

Anton glissading his way towards Smash Burger.

See you guys at the airport Saturday morning!!!!

Tenmile and Mosquito Range beta
Quandary Peak

Father Dyer Peak & Mt. Helen

Crystal Peak, Peak 10, and more of the Tenmile
photo by Kiefer

Atlantic Peak, Fletcher Mountain, Mt. Democrat, Mt. Lincoln, etc...
photo by Kiefer

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Lets hope...
07/16/2009 18:00
the weather is just as good and we are all smiling like idiots in a few days.


nice climb
07/16/2009 19:33
sorry about the slow response on the photo request, I think I finally replied last week. We climbed it fairly early this spring in lots of soft snow, it looks like a better climb now.

I dropped a new MH glove that slid a long way down, I didn‘t want to drop back down to find it, its probably in the river by now.

Ridge runner

nice day
02/01/2011 00:24
It was fun watching you guys come up that last section. Looked like a nice climb! Good luck on Rainier!


Beauty of it all...
07/17/2009 07:27
Great day up there with everyone.
Surprisingly ‘decent‘ snow. Long day but definately one of the best.
Nice report Carl! Bring on Washington!


07/18/2009 03:26
Best of Luck on Rainier
Which route?


05/02/2011 14:23
Most likely we‘re doing the Disappointment Cleaver. This will be our first trip to Rainier. Our main goal is to safely reach the summit. With no guide and no moon, the DC route seems to make sense.


07/19/2009 23:03
Good luck on Rainer.
that Pacific N is one of my favorites. Snow looks surprisingly good! My undertanding of credible ratings of up to 65 deg is that sometimes a large ice bulge forms in the crux... Also blown in snow can make the top pitch steeper. Good choice for training... BEST OF LUCK


Good meeting you guys.
07/22/2009 18:30
Enjoyed watching you guys climb that colouir. I hope to do that climb some day. Hope Raineir was awesome. I have to say that is a really nice group shot with stephanie awesome camera work... just kidding.

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