Success Cleaver 2013

May 31

Thanks to Dmitry Shapovalov for the following report:

On the first day (5/18/2013) we (Anton Karnoup (MI), Elisey Yagodkin (MA) and me) started on Wonderland Trail from Longmire (2700ft). After crossing Pyramid creek (along fallen trees) the trail went further west, but we started ascending the forested ridge which led to Pyramid peak from south. Leaving the ridge right before the summit tower, we skirted it from the east and along wide snow fields ascended to the col between north side of Pyramid peak and the base of Success Cleaver (ca. 6000ft).

While previous day was very foggy and somewhat windy, Sunday morning was clear and calm. Going up the broad base of the cleaver, we gradually got higher than the clouds. For about an hour we used snowshoes, but then packed them back – the snow was quite solid. With altitude the cleaver became narrower with its slopes dropping steeply to the glaciers below. Mostly we could walk right on the crest, while in few places we had to traverse to the east of it. We finished the day at 11000 ft, at the place where the route leaves the cleaver and goes to the right to bypass the steep rock bands on the ridge crest. The campsites (for a single small tent) were quite abundant all the way to this place.

On Monday we started going right up along 30-45° snowy couloirs. The terrain was in good condition, the exposure quite tolerable and in 4 hours we got under the summit rock band. It was hard to find a weak place in the final rock band and initially we even tried to went west onto Tahoma Headwall. Returning back to east side of Success Cleaver, we climbed straight up and got to the upper snowfield via 15m 60° snow gulley with about 5m of 5.4 rocks at the end of it. 

Half an hour to Point Success, then about an hour to Columbia Crest and finally we got to the summit register in a dry and protected place behind large rock. Here I should say it was quite windy at this time of the day and the sky was full of cirrus clouds. However, the forecast didn’t say anything particularly bad for tomorrow (35mph wind, temps around 10F on summit), and the trail down was well marked by bamboo wands. So we decided to spend the night at the summit, according to our original plan. Descent was made the following day down the well wanded DC route.

Dmitry Shapovalov (Vancouver, BC)