Our two-day itinerary starts at the Timberline Lodge. We ascend the Palmer Snowfield and cross the White River Glacier. From there, we ascend up to the shoulder of the Wy’east. The glacier travel continues, as we cross the Newton-Clark Glacier to our alpine bivy near “Tie-in rock” at the base of the Cooper Spur.
Our camp location is directly below the sweeping face of snow that comprises the Spur. Because it’s so steep we can’t see the summit from our vantage point. Our ascent will be alpine-style – meaning that we’ll go as light as possible and carry all of our camping gear up and over the summit. This strategy, allows us to descend the relatively easy South side route and take a direct line back to the Timberline Lodge.
We’ll get an alpine start to find the best cramponing conditions. By the time the sunrise glints off of the Columbia River, we should be several hundred feet, and 5 or more pitches up the route. The crux of the climb is a narrow section of steep climbing that culminates on a snow arete. From there, a few more pitches of gentler snow climbing lead to the summit. The final thrill is pulling over the lip of snow that forms as a sharp divide between the North side of the crater rim and the rest of the summit plateau. Climbers should be prepared for long and sustained climbing while carrying an overnight pack. Your guide will help you learn to pare your pack down to the minimal necessities in order to keep it light, while still having all the gear that you need for a comfortable trip.