Mowich Face 2013

July 11

If your looking to get off the beaten path for some solitude and great climbing. The Mowich face might be for you. The Central Mowich face is in great condition. There is a growing bergschrund at the base of the climb, but it can be easily bypassed on the far left over some low angle rock outcroppings. The rest of the climb is snow covered with a few rock outcroppings low on the face to navigate around. Access to the glacier from Mowich lake is a picturesque hike. The forest hike from Mowich lake to Spray park is comfortable and cool. Spray park is filled with lots of little snow melt streams and wildflowers. The drainage leading leading up to the base of the North Mowich glacier is full of massive glacial melt waterfalls. Despite the views, the hike in is long and arduous, so be prepared for a full day and start early. There is some excellent snow camping at approx. 9,200' on the glacier just below the central face. There was running water and nice flat rocks for cooking up a meal! -697

Below is a recent trip report from a group who climbed the Central Mowich Face over the July 4th weekend. Thanks for the update guys! -691
Over the July 4th weekend Carolyn, Jerome, and Ed successfully climbed the Central Mowich Face route- starting from Mowich Lake and carrying over to White River via the summit & Emmons Glacier.

We awoke just before first light and easily ascended to the base of the climbing route.  The bergshrund is open across the base of the face - with three potential crossing points on the left and a couple on the right; we opted for the left side to minimize our exposure above the bergshrund once across.  The face was hard snow and ice on a consistent 45-degree exposed slope; conditions were firm and made for good climbing while the slope was in shade.  Once the sun lit the slopes (around 11am), the snow quality turned quite soft and concerning in places; there are signs of recent avalanche slides on the center of the face, and the snow pack appeared to be roughly 8” of snow over a 3-4” ice layer over 12”+ soft snow beneath.  We found patches of hard snow/ water ice around rocks which took ice screws well.  In general we were not comfortable on the center portion of the slope, and climbed more towards the right side of the face staying near rocks and harder/ icier conditions.  We were interested in attempting the proper route up climbers left at 12,500’, but the access point appeared to have little to no snow, and water ice on the 40’ rock step; we were tired at this point, and opted to continue up the variation on climbers right.  Our progress up to this point was slow as we placed more protection than we normally might have; after 16 hours it was getting late - so we decided to bivy before the sun set among the rock band around 12,800’, on a ledge we carved out of the snow and ice.  This was the first time all of us slept in harnesses tied to ice screws, with a 5,000’airy view down to the glacier below.

The next day we continued up the remainder of the route, which was great fun.  Conditions were hard and there was a lot more ice once above the 12,800’ rock band, and we were able to use more screws on this part of the route than lower down.  We easily topped out on the ridge, with a stunning view of Liberty Cap, Columbia Crest, and Point Success.  It was hard not to stop and stare on this part of the mountain, as well as down onto the Tahoma Glacier and other features rarely accessible to view; it was all quite stunning.  After ascending Liberty Cap, we arrived at the crater for a night on the summit; we were the only ones there that evening and watching the sunset, the stars, and the sunrise from that vantage point is among the highlights of our trip.

Rangers flew past Mowich Face on July 9th and saw favorable conditions.  Access to the face was greatly improved with the opening of the Mowich Lake Road on July 3rd.
Stay tuned for a route report soon.  - 695

For previous year's reports, click here.