Ascent of Ruth Mountain on 2015-06-06

Climber: Nathaniel Stott

Date:Saturday, June 6, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Ruth Mountain
    Elevation:7115 ft / 2168 m

Ascent Trip Report

Day 1:
Easy stream crossings on the way to Hannegan Camp. Just above Hannegan Camp, there is a stream, but no water at Hannegan Pass or higher, other than scarce trickles.
The ascent from the knoll immediately above Hannegan Pass to the shoulder of Point 5830 is challenging. On the way up, we went up a muddy and rocky steep runoff and on the way down bushwhacked through slick trees and snow. We preferred our ascent route though both seemed to be off-route.
Roped up approximately 6100’ on the way up Ruth but saw no crevasses on route. No crampons necessary, the snow was like mashed-potatoes.
From the summit one can descend to the other side via a spicy knife edge ridge to the south or by following some of the black broken plates down towards the Ruth saddle to the west. We attempted the exposed knife edge but returned and descended down the steep snow.
Camped at 6600’ SSW of the summit just above the “death gulley” on a flat snowy spot. You can see this from the Ruth Mountain summit. There is cellphone reception a few steps up the ridge facing west.
7 hours to Ruth Mountain summit, at leisurely pace, another hour or so to the camp.

Day 2:
Descended leftwards from camp on rocks and vegetation, staying above the snow-filled death gulley. There are a couple of cairns leading far left, but this seemed to be a more difficult route than staying more central (which is how we returned). There’s no reason to go into the death gulley.
The ridge line to Icy Peak is pretty easy to follow. Roped up at approximately 5800’ on the ascent, staying high on the west side of the ridge, near the cliff band. There are visible crevasses on the glacier. At about 6500’ we veered SW towards the hump on the skyline and crossed to the SW snowfield on the other side. There is an easy saddle to cross there. On our way up, we ascended over a moat onto a rock island prior to heading up the snowfield, but on the way down, we descended below the rock island, staying on the snow the entire time which was easier.
Again, the snow was too soft for crampons.
4 hours to Icy Peak base, at moderate pace.
The climb up the gulley (leftmost, first major gulley you see) is dry 4th class rock.. A handline is definitely recommended as is rappelling. I didn't use any pro but you should feel comfortable on 4th class or bring a very small rack. Beware of loose rock in the gulley and consider having people shelter around the corner after completing the rappel. A 30m rope is sufficient and will get you to easy downclimbing, but not to the bottom of the gulley. The ascent and rappel probably take an hour each, depending on group size.
On the return from camp, you can pass through the Ruth saddle instead of summitting again or ascending the broken shale. There is a quite small but passable moat on the other side of the rocks here.
Return from the base of the Icy Peak gully to trailhead approximately 7 hours, at moderate pace.

We were a small group of 5 experienced climbers. Having more than 6 people would make the summit block of Icy Peak challenging since there is not too much room and you have to wait for everyone to come up before rappelling.

The views on this climb are amazing and change quite a bit as you move through it. Lots of ice falling off the Nooksack Glacier on Shuksan.

20 miles round trip.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack, Snow on Ground, Glacier Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Rope
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Part of Trip: Ruth Icy (1 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Ruth Mountain2015-06-06 

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