Mt Buckner - summit bivy

July 16 - 17, 2010

Dave and Darren


The sun sets from our bivy on the summit of Mt Buckner.


An interesting, non-North Face way to climb Buckner.  The line in red shows our ascent route through Horseshoe Basin and the descent in green down the pleasant and beautiful Sahale Arm.

Darren wanted to stand on top of Mt Buckner, one of the three 9,000 foot summits in the national park, but wasn't interested in the classic line on the north face.  In order to NOT make it a slog we completed a loop via Horseshoe Basin and bivied on the summit.  We had no idea if there would be a decent place to sleep on the summit, and as it turned out, there wasn't.  Space was excavated which left room for 1.5 people to lay comfortably.  We had worked hard enough carrying full packs to the summit that the position of my head - hanging over the 1,500 foot north face - did not effect my sleep.  I've stood on most of the major summits in the North Cascades, and after a full night on Buckner's, I'd have difficulty arguing against it being the best.  Goode, which I slept on a couple of years before stands prominently to the NE, and three of the Cascades' best peaks - Forbidden, Eldorado, and Baker line up, one on top of the other from this vantage point.  To the south is the familiar site - of a sea of peaks ending with Glacier Peak.  In addition to the views, from the summit it feels like you're flying over the massive Boston Glacier.  During the night clouds pushed in from the west, their progress halted by the crest at Cascade Pass.  Only one sign of humans - a lone, distant light near the shores of Lake Chelan.

Heading down from Cascade Pass toward Horseshoe Basin.


Sucking down some water before our short 'swchack through the cliff bands.  The appeal of this basin are the numerous waterfalls, which was reminiscent of places in New Zealand.


Darren enjoys some low-grade (on the misery index) bushwhacking.  From here it was a seemingly endless snowfield to the summit.


After a well-earned stomp to the summit Darren admires the spectacular scene.  To the left of Darren is Torment and Forbidden, and to the right is part of the Eldorado Ice Cap - both trips done this summer.


A bed for 1.5.  Real estate was in high demand on the summit, leaving both of us with body parts hanging over the void.  Goode above Darren's feet and Lake Chelan to the right.


Three Kings.  Forbidden, Eldorado, and Baker lined up to the west - three of the most significant peaks in the North Cascades.


Darren greets the morning with a stretch.  No need to get an alpine start when you're already on top. 


Clouds penetrated from the west.  This is looking north into Thunder Creek valley.



- September 2010

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