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Mr H dreams of Heather and meets the Big J…”

Johannesburg Mt (8200', p1560')

NE Rib, 1951 variant

The Triplets (7240', p400')

East Face

July 27-28, 2013

Julian Simon and Franklin Bradshaw (MR H too)

Weather: Hot sun, clear skies and night in the mid 40s






Work swamped and one on vacation.  We managed to arrange a five day trip.  And an alternate.  We watched the weather forecast.  The chances of dry weather started to deteriorate.  A shift to leaving later in the week was running us up to a wall of a change in the long dry weather window. 


Option A (5 day trip):



Option B (4-5 day trip):



Option C (2 day –Cascade Pass area):


 -Hmmm, Looks like we go after Friday…



Several groups had been reporting routes out due to rapidly opening moats. What to do.  Maybe get three days?  It ended up that we would pick a two day trip.  Beyond that the weather would change to clouds, thunderstorms…  Several options and Julian had one I liked –Johannesburg NE Rib.  I’d not done research on it and with working 14 hour days I had little chance to check much into it.  Dave had summited a different route and after his research decided not on his list.  I have to remember Dave’s wisdom.  The little I read on the route didn’t say much and seemed like it was fairly straight forward.  Ha! I’d learn.  Rather than camp at Cascade Pass TH we slept comfortably and home and met to carpool at 3:30am –Yawn…


Johannesburg –a long name that I’ve abbreviated for years to Jberg deserves its full name.  A massive and impossible looking set of cliffs, gullies and snowfields letting its presence be known to all those passing to Cascade Pass.  I’ve slept nearby and a few times been hiking in the dark to hear massive rock and ice falls roaring down the north face.  Deep, thundering and enough to scare the crap out of me wanting to do the north side.  A matter of timing conditions and energy. After years of contemplating ascents of this mountain, it was time.  Not the fastest, not all eloquent, a true worthy cascade adventure and one of the toughest weekend trips around.




The short version

This was a bigger trip than I expected.  Knarly, fully committing, taxing and a lot of grunting.  At times the hardest, at times wondering what the hell we were doing here.  And other times pondering how we’d get off this berg if needed. Even from the start I knew this was not the average Cascade mountain experience.  Don’t take the trip reports lightly that make it sound golden.  It is a lot of work to get the lower part of this route.  Am I repeating myself?  Well, it is worth hearing…


It was a busy morning at Cascade Pass Trailhead.  A group of several carloads heading to Sahale.  Three on route up the CJ and two more from Portland also heading for the NE Rib.  Our intent –NE Rib crossing to 1957 route. …


Oh heck with it, you’ll have to suffer through my long winded version…


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Triad and Eldorado



Getting started

People were stirring as we passed the Eldorado TH.  The Boston Basin TH was packed with cars and vans.  We paused in several places to get out and take a look at the route.  “Gees, Julian, that’s the route?  How the H#$@ do we get up that?”   Looking across the basin a tendril of snow heading up to a col (C-J Couloir).  To the right of it at the bottom, bare rock with waterfalls ending onto the snow fan of the Couloir.  Above the waterfalls steep trees.  Really steep.  Not like steep, we can scramble.  Steep like, that can’t be the route.  We could see above that the snow patch mentioned and the steep ridge leading upward.  Yikes!  Well, it is said to go, so we’ll figure it out.  Most likely the flattening effect.




Another stop and letting a few cars pass. Another look.  Hmmm, this will be interesting.  Just above the bare rock/waterfall area was a group of three climbers working their way up the CJ Couloir.  The Cascade Pass Parking lot was very busy with climbers.  All with large packs, pickets, ice axes…  I asked and they were heading to Sahale. 


Our packs felt heavy.  I dumped a liter of water (now to carry 3 liters).  Great weather, so leave bivy sack.  Only one night so out with the second dinner.  We added a stove in case we needed to melt water.  Looking at the route Julian reminded that reports were that there was little pro on the pitches.  Off with the big and small, no nuts.  Our full rack would be four pieces.  #1, #.75, #.5 and a #.4 and two long ice screws.  I added a second tool for steep hard snow. Still I was hauling what felt like a 36 pound rock on my back.



Crossing the bottom of CJ toward the waterfall  (Photo by Julian)


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Crossing to the waterfalls


We headed downhill from the parking lot at 7:00, the last car two climbers with small packs.  They said they planned the NE Rib.  Julian told them, see you up there.   Down road, at hairpin down the bank and walk over the now “stream”.  No brush by walking the bank, then up the rock of the east moraine.  Sidehill sans crampons to the left side of the left waterfall.  So far, all was great.  But that was quickly to end. 


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The lower waterfall area


7:23am, 0.6m, c3830 -

Across moat and up left side of slab –bad idea.  It started well enough then not 50’ off the deck started to fall apart.  Wet moss and few features.  I worked a right traverse and Julian soon found himself on slippery mud.  A place he truly was not happy being.  It took some time and nerve to extricated from that.  After that delay we managed to clear that issue and headed up sticky clean angled slab.  Moving to the right toward a constriction at the waterfall looked the obvious route.  At the narrowing spot the route had a cl5 move.  Nothing hard, but everything to grab was movable.  Hmmm, a 36# pack, pulling me off balance, an awkward move over a near vertical waterfall and portable holds.  Sounds rough?  Well, it would prove a better part of the route.  The other two climbers (Chris and Drew) caught up with us by the constriction at the waterfall. 


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We pulled out a rope for one short crux                                                                           The upper waterfall area   (Photo by Julian)




I wimped out and voted a rope.  On rope I whimpered and whined before making the move that proved easy enough and brought Julian up. 




At the flat (9:20a, 0.7m, c4310, 810vert), crossed streams and dodge snow in moat to find a weakness (sucker-hole) through greenery up a dry waterway.  Yee haa, going good.  Yikes, too slippery and only grass for green belay.  Looked like into the trees would be a better bet… OMG NO! don’t do it!  Okay, I didn’t hear that, but now I do.  So, here we go.  Off to the right, seemed right at first. 


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At first we made progress, then ground to a crawl.  Progress measured in feet and inches.  Hill so steep feet just slipped like snot on glass.  Branches so tight and close packs and everything snagged.  Not just a snag, too tight to push through. Pack off, pull behind, push ahead.  Crawl over and under branches.  Great, making progress, 10’. Dang! This is a bust. Look, a prussic look tied to a tree –did someone rap from here?  Weird, why not just walk out?  I’d like to hear their story.  More crawling and a brilliant discussion with the offending trees, I pushed my way back to the dry(ish) waterway.  How demoralizing. We’d exited right to our doom for over an hour of being abused by trees and gaining a paltry 80+ feet. Now back to progress (?).


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Are we on route

Grasses, brush and devils club.  Nothing you’d want to touch.  Finally we were moving.  Then the waterway ran into a cliff wall (10:20a, 3h30min, 0.8m, c4665’, 1165vert).  Left an overhang, right a drop steep slab to cliffs and waterfall.  I thought the left could go.  Working over loose falling apart muddy crap I worked up and decided a bad idea.  Careful back to the right side.  Julian had found a way through.  I worked up and crawled out on a tree branch to get a look.  North was a large slab area and a waterfall.  I worked across the bottom of the cliff to see if we could traverse.  It looked like going that way would lead to the waterfall and even steeper slab.  Now what?  There were no signs others had been this way.  Even if a year or so ago, you’d think there would be a bit more indication which way others had gone.  We studied the topo and photos.  It appeared we were just below the snow patch we hoped to gain at 4400’.  One more shot to check out the possibilities of going to the left. 



Into the tree and up the vertical on left –im in the tree somewhere (Photo by Julian)


I dropped the pack and did the left overhang/vert using full assist of small trees and brush.  No finesse or grace as I pulled up though thick devils club.  I found a little ledge, green devils club and a few evergreen branches to hold onto. Wallowing in devils club I pulled packs up with the cordellette.  Hung onto small tree branches for pro to traverse the small ledge (11:20a, 4h40min, c4775).  I noticed boot prints up ramp into tight branches, we followed and the fun continued.  Vertical climbing pushing pack ahead.  Jamb it into branches and wedge up higher, repeat…   Are we having fun yet?  How long will this last?  Boot prints at times?  Hmmm, the Portland crew must have missed our tree and cliffout delays and blazed ahead –cool (for them).



Above Waterfall to snowfield



Ridge up is on the left…


Eventually the branches gave way before our determination waned.  The slope eased a little (wouldn’t take much) and a slight opening was enough for me to plop my sorry ass on the duff to catch my wits.  It’d been hours and we are only at c5060’, 1560’vert of gain and 0.8 miles was taking way too long (5h20min).  What to do it this continues? … 


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Views across the way of Torment and Forbidden


1951 Ridge

Off and up, steep firm slippery needle bed.  Ax and crampons may have been smart, but we aren’t.  Rightish to locate snow patch at 5100’, then up to gain a narrow ridge and start even steeper heather (12:40p, 5h50min, c5236’, 1736vert, 0.9m).  That Ax idea becomes reality.  Some vertical sections and a lot of hanging on to heather.  Many places no features and Julian takes to emulating Tarzan.  His pays off as I try clinging to bunches of heather not wanting to look down at the exposure.  Saving grace is good ax sticks. 


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Whatever was thrown at us on this route, Julian was smiling –a real adventure being had



On all fours heading up  (Photo by Julian)


A detour to the left to a flat protruding ledge/knob with views of the Sill Glacier and the CJ couloir are a welcome distraction.  Far below, but not far away is the parking lot and the car.  Very inviting to just return tail tucked in, but, but… Even having passed several rap slings, I don’t want to go down what I came up.  Hmmm, what’s the story on the new rap slings in the small trees? 



Julian and the CJ Couloir


The CJ party of three had topped out. We take posed pics to commemorate getting as far as we have.  Or maybe to delay a return to the steep heather.



Sahale, Cascade Pass, Triplets and CJ Couloir


More up and eventually the pitch lessens, cl4 heather morphs to cl3 sticky fun rock.  We are on the far left east ridge.  Massive exposure to our left, a wide shallow gulley forming to our right.  Up the ridge, happy to be making progress.  The day has flown by and I’m guessing seven or so to the bivy site at our new rate.  No speed records here.  Several stops to scope out the route ahead.  Occasionally a boot print.  Where are those guys?  I don’t see them ahead.  Sweet, options must be good and obvious for them to make great progress.  We hope their boot steps in the snow aręte will be there in the morning.


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Out of the heather, looking for the chimneys and a route…


Choice is up the east side and look for a crossing at 64-6600’.  The west rib has Gendarmes that look impassable up higher from our vantage.  Some good crossing places, but not looking good once we get over there.  Maybe more apparent up higher.  A middle rib is forming with a lone c15’ tree.  Looks like a good goal for accessing next steps.  We cross to 100’ above the tree on good traversing (1.1m, c6600, 4:05p). 


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Julian at the double chimneys.                                           Climbing out of the heather onto the loose rock                             Julian taking a lead up around a little buttress


Above left is a double chimney.  Midway on the right of it appears a ledge system.  Off balance from the pack weight and pour traction from worn out boot soles we eventually rope up.  Cl4 with some cl5 moves added in.  I lead off, then Julian takes a turn.  Hmmm, the loose holds are not making this easy and often a lack of pro.  The moves are interspersed with areas of easier scrambling.  I lead off an easy walking ledge right to the west, then a brief left and up.  Not the easiest choice, but the option was slab with no holds.  No holds bugs me.


A pause for scenery…

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Eldorado                                                                                                                                Klawatti


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Far below the parking lot


Back to the climbing…


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Route from snowfield to cross-over                                                                   upper rock zoomed in to cross-over


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From up high on the middle ridge with the entire route below, all the way to the car.  A few steeper sections


Our rack of four pieces doesn’t go far and I use a knot in a web sling as a stopper.  Far right and into some loose crap I find a tall horn and perch to belay from.  Julian’s lead.  Straight up looks quick to exit this mess, but the move is not going to happen.  A traverse left along a wall then up a steep depression with some green decorating the ground around the rocks takes us to another wall on the right rib. 



Is the mountain really flipping us off?  Just felt like it at times


Julian pauses to look around a bend to the west.  A joyful pronouncement of the promised land beyond.  Snow aręte, bivy area, sunshine and dancing women… Okay I figure three of four.  His lead up comes short of a route.  I’m brought up and decide to explore more his route west under a wall.  High rope drag, a little ledge and blinding sun.  I loop over a flake and proceed on a small exposed ledge.  I see the grail beckoning, I venture further and further.  Rope drag is keeping me from progress, but the lure of the grail is strong.  15-20’ around the corner is a small alcove and a cl3+ step up a chimney.  Above looks like solid easy travel.


  -- 6:12pm, 11 hours 38 min, 1.2 miles and 3420 vert.


I retreat, placing pro and tying myself in.  I have to return around the rock to be heard.  As Julian comes back to the route from the dark side I see a movement below.  A yellow helmet.  It’s Chris and Drew.  Somehow they are below us and worse in the firing line.  So, whose tracks were we seeing earlier?



The Portland crew, making good progress on the rock (Chris with yellow helmet)


We yell a hello and head around west of the ridge crest.  Further west, not far away, is another ridge that leads to the bottom of the snow aręte, the flat at the bottom is wet heather.  And not accessible from where we are. 



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Julian “around the corner” from the face route ready for the last pitch to camp.                      Am I smiling? (Photo by Julian)


I head up the move from the alcove and am greeted by the most solid clean rock of the entire trip.  I have reached the “promised land”.  The skies are clear, light breeze and any moment I expect the angels to sing. I drag the rope just in case.  Not needed, but lower we were happy (lucky) to even find a spot to anchor.  If not for the rope I could have practically run hoping to make up some progress after the earlier head bashing for inches and feet.  Passing a notch Chris and Drew were some 50-70’ straight below.  Hopefully they saw our route and would follow soon.


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Julian at the bivy (c7120’)                                                                                                  Franklin at bivy with aręte behind (Photo by Julian)



Looking up to the aręte from the bivy


The rock continued, but where it met a bump of the snow aręte we stopped at a perfect bivy -7:53p (c7120’).  It had taken 13 hours to go a mere 1.2 miles (and 3725 vert).  Views north of the entire Hidden Lake to Goode areas.  Boston Basin spread out like a palette of green, gray and whites below us.  I venture up the moat between the ridge wall and snow about 400’ to scout.  One possible nice, but viewless bivy spot and at some spires the moat closed out.  Back at the bivy, we collected water from the snow drips.  We’d arrived with what we figured barely enough time to reach the summit by sunset.  It had been a long day and no need to push more.  If we went on, where would we bivy?  Anything better than this?  We parked and took in the view.  An hour and no other crew.  A large rock fall seemingly below us.  Crap, I hope they didn’t get tagged.  Should I go see?  Maybe they found that path I saw on the east side if the ridge crest that goes easily up.


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Quien Sabe Glacier –Sharkfin, Boston and Sahale peak                                                                Deep into the Ptarmigan Spider Mt center –Red Ledges below


360 degree interactive 7100' bivy site pano. click and drag in viewer -also zoom in (shift/scroll) and out (ctrl/scroll)





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Stormking                                                                                                                                              Mt Goode



Sunset behind Mt Baker


The sun was starting to drop behind distant hills and no new arrivals, we hoped all was going good with them.  Soon one head popped up, set an anchor and brought the other up.  Wheh! The sun had set (8:49p) and everyone was safe at the bivy.  Both Chris and Drew had no problem accepting of some of Julian’s fine whiskey on arrival.


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A great buvy                                                                                                         Chris and Drew found a small spot


We cooked dinner, chatted and shot pictures as the daylight waned and darkness enveloped the area.  Across the valley was entertainment like watching the grass grow.  Some questions…  What was the story with the headlamps in one place up right in the east Forbidden col?  And the set coming off Torment and another in the Forbidden West Ridge Gulley?  It was getting pretty late at night and still many groups over there trying to descend in the dark.  Temps were dropping and the wind picked up.  All was good until  until  Noooooo……! My mattress was not holding air.  I guess all the tree snagging had punctured it.  So, a long night of sleeping on rocks.  I didn’t find on my back felt less hard than my side.  At least the view and stars were stunning. 


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Pre sunshine on Mt Baker                                                                                                   First light on Eldorado


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First sun on Eldorado                                                                                                           Shadow climbers…



Day 2, the Aręte and more

My 35 degree bag was fine except cold feet that were out in the wind.  A cool morning at 7100’. Morning sky starting to glow.  Far below in the shade the parking lot and the car.  Out east it looked like smoke from a fire.  The lenticular that had been over Spider last night was gone and the skies around were clear –so far.  Forecast had the weather changing around 4pm.  Time to get a move on. 


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Morning at the bivy  (Photo by Julian)             Chris and Drew at the bivy                  Heading up the ridge before crossing up to the aręte


Packed and off (6:50am again) we went as a team of four.  Up the rock between the ridge and aręte.  At a gap we could see a path on the east side of the ridge leading up.  


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A long ways down to the parking lot                                                                                                Julian on the aręte –Chris and Drew following


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A precipitous drop to the right (west)                                                                               And the summit ahead


Crampons on, we gained the knife ridge of the aręte.  Walking on its peak was airy.  Soon the sides steepened.  I wanted to take a picture, but wasn’t feeling great about turning around.  Past a notch the east side path lead to –that would have bypassed most of the aręte.  Looking left thousands of feet to rock and the Sill Glacier.  To the right similar drop to gaping crevasses.  Maybe a little safer a little lower on the side than on the knife edge.  A wind and cool, yet I was sweating.  Oh, I had a coat on ; -). 


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Clearing the Aręte…  Julian, Chris and Drew


The aręte ended, looking back it was beautiful in the morning light.  A flatter area of snow to regain composure.  Ahead several shrunds. 


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Summit col ahead                                                                                War wounds from yesterday’s tree schwaking


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Drew and Chris                                                                     What to do at the Shrund


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The moon over the  Johannesburg summit                                                                                      Moon heading to Johannesburg summit col  (photo by Julian)



Drew, Chris and Julian are all smiles with no bushwacking on the schedule and the aręte behind us.


A little zig/zag and now a wider steep pitch with a shrund on the left and a narrow sliver heading up to a col.  Which was right?  Well, the sliver was my choice.  Into the shade onto semi frozen snow.  Very glad to have two tools.  Once I topped out, I lower one to Julian.  I’d not have liked that climbing with only one. 


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Chris gaining the summit col                                              Drew doing a last pullup


Right or left/ east or west?  Obvious people had gone right and west, so up the cl3 30-40’ to the summit.  Yippie!  What a feeling. We’d made it to the top.  Deep down I knew it was only a stepping stone.  But after so many years thinking about J’burg. Here I was –on top.


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Are our cars still there? Odd seeing the car the whole route up.                                      Mr H makes his summit appearance


It was a great morning, a breeze to keep it from being too hot, stunning views in all directions.  Looking down we were seemingly hovering over the parking lot.  We were on top of the world.  North Boston Basin, Baker, Slesse, Hozomeens.  East Goode, McGregor, panning south the entire Ptarmigan traverse spread out in relief.  The south side of J’burg looking as un-inviting as can be.  Further of more and more peaks we could name from previous ascents and future plans.  It was a short morning, I was enjoying hanging out, top of the world.  Does it get better?  Mr. H had come out at the bivy, but with a Ptarmigan hanging around didn’t venture far.  Seems that Ptarmigan wrecked havoc on Julian’s pack waist strap.  Now on the summit Mr. H came out.  Register signing, smiles and a little relaxing didn’t last nearly long enough. 



SE Along the Ptarmigan Traverse and Glacier Peak


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More big peaks – Rainier and Baker



Forbidden Ridge


360 degree interactive full summit pano. Click and drag in viewer -also zoom in (shift/scroll) and out (ctrl/scroll)


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Everybody has what they do on a summit.  Some eat, some take in the views


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The Aręte up from the bivy                                                                                 Parking lot as seen from the summit



Ridge runners and descent

How are we getting off this Berg? 




The ridge ran on and on to the east.  No sign of route.  We dropped east to the col and started a traverse east.


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The ridge heading east                                                                                                        A rare cairn


Many ledge options and many closed out. We followed a series that was 50-75’ south and below the ridge crest.  Forward looked implausible a route, looking back even more so.  Looking down I saw I was standing at a mini cairn (~5” tall).  Around a rib and another, 20’ down a mini gulley, and more traverse.  Up an area that looked like goats had been busy. 


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Traversing the ridge                                                                                                             From the false summit looking down and east toward Cascade Peak


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I explored up to a point in a small short chimney.  This was the route.  Now on the ridge proper we passed a sweet bivy with a snow patch nearby.  Soon ridge walk turned to gulley descent.  Rather than continue the gulley we exited to a party ledge with a rap station. 


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Traversing the south side of the summit ridge     (photo by Julian)                              First Rappel   (photo by Julian)


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The gulley to rap #1                                                             Rap #2                                                                                   Walking off from rap 2


60m ended at a wimpy horn above an overhang.  Better a double rope, but I was already halfway down, so a short 25m rap at a good station, then a second full rap over the overhang to a landing.  We bypassed the rap station there and walked down past another station. I kept hearing voices.  “…On Belay…!”  Was a group coming up the East Face?  We should keep care of loose debris.


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Assorted rap anchors


Working skiers right around to a wall and a rap station about 50m below the rap two landing. This one was around a good flake at chest level.  Slings well weathered, we set a new webbing.  We were playing leap frog with ropes and inspecting/rebuilding rap stations.  This rap (#3) brought us to a solid granite ledge above a short bit of sloughed snow.  Back to flat walking eastward.  A saddle to the next part of the ridge. On our right the gulley from above continued. To the left the ridge continued with rock and more heather. 




I heard voices again.  Seemed close.  Looking around I saw color east on the wall of Cascade Peak.  A group of three were working their way up the west side of Cascade.  As I walked down I kept watching their progress.  Hearing names, it was the group that came up the CJ yesterday and summited Johannesburg via the East Face.  I snapped pics when they summited.  Maybe they’d return to the CJ col while we were there?


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Cascade                                                                 And another Portland crew


We went the left ridge heather on its right side on rock, inspected a rap anchor –distaste had me walking another 30m down to a saddle on the left and a good anchor backed up with a piton.  This was another full rap NE over vertical to more steep heather/rock slope. 


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Traverse to rap 4 below the mid col                  Julian on rap 4, and walkout gulley


From here we worked down and left on cl3 rock and ledges.  Some loose spots to negotiate, but nothing more than cl3.  I zigged and zagged to take the easiest route.  Near the bottom being far left, then right to a dirty wider flat ledge.  Again right to under the west wall of CJ col onto wet heather.  A short ways on it and back south to granite ledge and a walk off to the snow about level with the bivy sites on the rock at the col.  The bivy looked like a garage sale.  Sleeping bags, bivy sacks, air mattress, water bladders, ice tools…  Okay, maybe looked like a college dorm room. From above it looked more like a half dozen people were camped out.  Julian and I ventures a look down the CJ contemplating our exit.  We settle on the rocks for lunch (1pm) watching Chris and Drew make progress down the east face.  They worked good as a team, a different route than we took.  An extra rap and with some pointers they found the easy ledges to join us for lunch.


360 degree interactive CJ Col pano. click and drag in viewer -also zoom in (shift/scroll) and out (ctrl/scroll)



Johannesburg East Face




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At CJ Couloir with Spider and Forbidden in the background                                                         CJ Couloir


Exit stage right

After much deliberating we decided to exit via Doug’s Direct.  A tough choice.  The parking lot looked so close below.  Several hundred feet of steep with one shrund to work around, then steep snow.  But what of the chance of rock of ice/snow fall? While pondering a huge sounding rock fall came off Cascade Peak.  That was enough to clinch the suffer-fest of Doug’s Direct.  The skies were filling with clouds as we watched.  The predicted weather change was at hand.  Good thing is it would help keep the heat down.  I tried to put what would come in the next hours out of my mind.  900’ descent south around Cascade Peak and The Triplets, over a fifteen hundred feet up steep heather and rock over the NW ridge of Mixup, drop to the Glacier and walk out to Cascade Pass.  Worse than all the up would be the 34 switchbacks up and down getting out from Cascade Pass to the car.  …Leaving the promised land would not be a cake walk. 




Watered up at the base of the snowfields we headed off. 


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Looking up at Cascade Peak as we descend south from CJ Col                                    Looking down and east at Triplets South Buttress and Mixup


Shortly heading up around the base of The Triplets we stopped… Dang, our comrades slipped on the rocks and sustained a nasty wrist cut.  A bloody mess.  Some irrigation, cleaning and steri-strips had us going again.  Luckily a minor issue with what this mountain has the potential for if one lets their guard down.


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Crossing southeast to the basin south of Triplets  (photo by Julian)                           Franklin heading up the flowers of Triplets south basin  (photo by Julian)




It was a step trudge up the basin between The Triplets and Mixup.  Steep heather that was slippery.  Beautiful in the greenery of it.  Julian lead the troops on the march up to find Doug’s Direct while I made a quick hour detour to The Triplets.  Up NW to the ridge then followed cl3 rock on the north side of the east face.  If it wasn’t going to work, I was ready to try the south side of the face that was a gulley. 


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Quartz crystal                                                                                        Mr H found himself a nice crystal


Well, it worked.   Just below the summit I found quartz crystals –cool.  35 minutes I was on the summit.  As expected stunning views.  With the clouds and breeze It was no longer warm in a thin shirt.  I searched the summit area, but no luck finding a register –bummer.  I’d brought three new registers, but left them in my pack 700’ below.  Oh, well… I took my summit panos and returned to my pack. 



From Triplets looking west to Cascade and Johannesburg



Looking east to Mixup and the Ptarmigan Traverse peaks



Looking north to Forbidden Ridge (and out to Booker)


360 degree interactive Triplets Peak summit pano. click and drag in viewer -also zoom in (shift/scroll) and out (ctrl/scroll)


I didn’t know the exact location of Doug’s Direct, so had been keeping an eye on the group’s progress.  It was up to the right of the larger snowfield and a little south of where I expected.  Below a slight notch in the ridge the heather started to show more wear.  I followed, passed a cairn seeing Julian with his bright yellow shirt above knew I was on track.



Looking up to Doug’s Direct (right of middle snowfields)



From Doug’s Direct (NW Mixup Ridge), looking back west to Triplets, and Johannesburg


360 degree interactive Doug's Direct pano. click and drag in viewer -also zoom in (shift/scroll) and out (ctrl/scroll)



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From Doug’s Direct (NW Mixup Ridge), looking back east to Magic, Cache Col, Hurry-up and Formidable in the cloud     --  Mixup NW Ridge (from Doug’s Direct


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Pelton Peak                                                                                                                                Looking up Doug’s Direct from the east


Not much distinction at the crossover of Doug’s Direct.  The summit of Mixup looked un-accessible from there, but we were running out of time, so it would wait another day.  The descent was easy rock, loose in places and good to keep alert.  Down rightish, then left to a ridge to the snow.  Some boot skiing landed us at a tent with Tom and Robin. They were relaxing and planning on Mixup in the morning. They mentioned they wanted to do the NE Rib route.  I should have asked why.  I think I mentioned checking into a psych ward may help with curing the desire.



Sawtooth Ridge –Buckner and then Booker on the right (east)



A group of six had gone through the Gunsight Gap.  Perhaps more heading to J’burg?  Cache Col looked in good condition.  My mind wandered to wonder how the trip was progressing on the Ptarmigan for Lindsay, Gabriel and Yana.  We walked down the granite slabs, gained the boot path of the Ptarmigan Traverse and headed west.  A break at Mixup Arm where we were rejoined by the Portland crew.  They were great joining us.  Swapping stories… good to share an adventure with good people.  Maybe we’ll see them wandering a peak up north again.  For today this was the last time we saw them as we followed the trail to Cascade Pass and down the 34 switchback to the TH. 



From Cascade Pass, east to Cache Col


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Our wildlife sightings…


Entertainment on the trail helps with the pain of the feet and the boring walk.  Our hope was TH before sunset. The views were good of the ridge we’d gone up, but the lighting not good for pictures.  Two groups were heading up to Pelton Basin.  One a group of younger guys carrying a gallon of water in a jug and a pad or something.  Not seasoned campers, but off for a good adventure into the mountains.  The next group a couple with huge pack and excited about the views to come.  And I thought our packs being half the size, loaded with tools, crampons, ropes, pro  were big.  –I’m a wimp.


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Last view of North routes of Johannesburg –looking from the east                                            Glad we had perfect timing


Two minutes after sunset, still light, we arrived at the car.  Yeap the trailhead with its distinctive outhouse odor.  We’d somehow in two days gone up the ridge that for years I thought impossible, Had one of the best bivys around, stood on top of Johannesburg, and made a full long loop to get back to the car.  Great partners and a very memorable trip.  Not saying I’ll be up for repeating.  Some of it will have to fade from memory first.  A special thanks to Julian, Chris and Drew.  –Climb On!


Thanks for reading, and happy trails,




Day 1: 1.3m, 3725/-105vert, 13hrs

Day 2: 7.5m, 3349/-6818, 14h03min

     Bivy to summit: 0.4m, 1090’vert, 1h38min.

     Summit to CJ:   0.7, +100/-1468, 4h32min.

     CJ to Doug’s Direct via Triplets:  1.9m, 2159/-1604, 3h30min

     Dougs Direct to Cascade Pass: 4.5m, -3746, 2h48m

Trip Total: 8.8m, +/-7070vert


Gear:    pro (cams #1, .75, .5, .4), 60m rope, ax, tool, steel crampons, 12 slings, whiskey





Pretty cool –our route on a sat image


Our route in blue



Copyright 2013, FWB, all rights reserved