Major Route in North Cascades

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The East Face of Southeast Mox Peak. Blue line marks the ascent route; red line marks the descent.Photos courtesy of Mike Layton

Major Route in North Cascades

Mike Layton and Erik Wolfe made the first ascent of the 2,500-foot East Face of Southeast Mox Peak in North Cascades National Park, considered one of the “last great problems” of the range. The two climbed the steep wall of banded gneiss in two days, summiting on September 1.

It took two days of brutal bushwacking just to reach the base of the peak, which may explain why the last attempt on the face was in 1968. On the first day, the two climbed 1,000 feet of steep slabs to gain a small bivy ledge at the base of a 1,500-foot, near-vertical headwall. In an 18-hour day, they forced a route through steep, loose and poorly protected rock to the top. After hanging up their first rappel, requiring a strenuous return trip to the top, a dozen more rappels got them to the ground and back to their tent at 3:30 a.m.

The route is called The Devil’s Club and graded V+ 5.9+ A2-. As in the Canadian Rockies, the free rating should be taken with a grain of salt.

An excellent trip report with many photos can be seen at: http://www.cascadeclimbers.com.

Layton leading on Day 2.Photos courtesy of Erik Wolfe

Major Route in North Cascades