Mt Shuksan 9720 ft
August 10-11, 2000
If there is a prettier mountain, I haven't seen it. Mt Shuksan is said to be one of the most photograped mountains in the world. There is a massive mural of it in New York's Grand Central Station. Art Wolfe, Lee Mann and countless other photographers certainly haven't been hurt by their beautiful images of it!
Kim and I again had been hoping to climb Mt Rainier this weekend, but the weather wasn't cooperating there, so we decided to climb Mt Shuksan. Although I've been on the Boulder Glacier on Mt Baker and hiked to Baker Lake and Blue Lake several times as a camp counselor at
I totally underestimated the mountain. It is really massive. The scenery was inspiring, as always! We camped on the edge of the glacier and around 4am, I heard some climbers starting out, so I poked my head out of the tent and saw the stars as clear as a bell, and when I looked toward the climbers, a shooting star raced over their heads. The sun was starting to rise in the east, silhoutting the mountains. Just awesome!!! Right there made the trip worth it.
Kim and I started out a bit later, 6am, and reached the 900 ft summit pyramid around 9:30am. The other climbing parties were just decending as we approached. We started the "3 class scramble up the obvious gully" and found it to be much more difficult and obscure than advertised. We were unroped at this point so slips or falls were not an option. As we were searching for a safe route to the summit, lenticular clouds started forming and within 5 minutes we couldn't see the glacier below or the summit above.
That was pretty much the clincher for me. If there wasn't going to be a beautiful panoramic summit shot waiting for me at the top, then there wasn't much use in risking my neck getting there!!! So we started the diffcult descent about 200 feet short of the summit. It was disappointing, for sure, but it was the only choice to be made under those circumstances. So we got back down safely to the base of the pyramid, glad for the experience thus far, roped up and climbed back down to our camp.