Ice climbs in Washington
The climbs here are covered in the
Washington Ice: A Climbing Guide with the
exception of Here Today Gone Tomorrow (see below).
A word about ice grades in the PNW. These can vary a lot. Routes,
especially in Western Washington, typically come in for very short periods
during clod snaps and don't have time to form up well. They may feature a lot of
very soft, wet, hollow, or mushroomed ice. While the guidebook grade may give an
idea of the overall steepness of the route it will not take into account the
likely condition of the ice. For example grade 3 usually means
"70-80 degree ice with short near-vertical sections. Usually thick and solid,
with good rests, protection and belays"
-- West Coast Ice, Don Serl
For a grade 3 in Puget Sound the first statement might hold true whereas the
comforting part where it mentions "solid" and good protection... not so much. If
you find yourself at the top of a 60m pitch with nothing but a whole rack of ice
screws good that wouldn't hold a fall don't say you weren't warned.
Exit 38 - Here Today Gone Tomorrow (WI 3+)
This route is accessed from the Iron Horse Trail just east of where the power
company access road joins the trail. Take the 38 exit from I-90 and park at the
bottom of the access road (it's usually ploughed but is gated). Hike the road to
the Iron Horse Trail. At the trail walk about 100m east until ice can be seen
through the trees a 100m or so above the trail. There is an obvious drainage or
slide path below and just east of the route. Thrash up through the trees and
loose brush to reach the base of the climb, this may be hard work if there is
lots of new snow./p>
Pitch one climbs easy ice for 20m before the crux -
a fallen tree. Another
short 20m pitch leads to another tree belay. Rappel the route to descend.
Details of the
first ascent are on Cascade Climbers.