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Ascent of The Brothers on 2017-06-25

Climber: Connor McEntee

Date:Sunday, June 25, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:The Brothers
    Location:USA-Washington
    Elevation:6842 ft / 2085 m

Ascent Trip Report

We did a two-day trip to climb both the south and north peaks via the traverse. Since we were unsure what conditions would be like on the ridge, we opted to traverse from the south peak to the north peak rather than the other way, which left us with the option to settle for only the higher south peak if conditions weren't right. (We had read that it is easier to go north to south, but in the conditions we found I'm not sure it makes much of a difference.)

We left afternoon on Saturday and reached the camp in the Valley of Silent Men in a few hours. The use trail is well traveled and there are only route finding issues in one section where it runs through the river. We heard from climbers descending that day that the snow was becoming quite soft later in the day, so we decided to get an early start to have firmer snow and give us plenty of time.

The climb up to the south peak is straightforward. This late in the season, there was a well-trampled booth path across the snow fields. The snow was good for kicking steps and the terrain was generally forgiving except for in one or two areas where there were open moats, which could be dangerous in case of an unarrested fall. From the summit we could see the north peak separated by an exposed ridge with a number of large snow patches. We were concerned about some sections of steep snow extending all the way to hundred foot cliffs. After debating it a bit, we decided to go for it.

The descent down to the first notch from the summit was no problem. We took a gully just east of the summit and it was snow free enough that we were able to downclimb rock bands. We crossed through the notch and found a ledge system on the west side that we took toward the gendarme. However, we got cliffed out and might have been a little too low. However, we were able to climb low class 5 up 20 or 30 to another ledge system and a short scramble to the ridge. This put us on the east side, where we were able to traverse around the gendarme, descending one snow field that we protected with pickets. From the saddle separating the two peaks, we tended to stay right on the ridge climbing some exposed snow fields and crossing to the east side when cliffed out. The summit of the north peak is airy, and there is barely enough room for two people. Unfortunately, the register was not closed properly and it is ruined.

The descent from north brother was probably the crux of the climb. The snowfield in the obvious couloir is both steep and had a number of moats opening. So, we face-in downclimbed quite a ways unroped until we could safely glissade to the open basin below. As luck would have it, the path I took ran right into a person sized moat about 10 feet deep, which I only just barely missed by rolling out of the way.

The descent from the upper snow slopes was fun. We stuck to the south side of the Great Basin, where there was more snow allowing us to avoid the minor cliff bands until we reached the snow line in the trees. From there it was a pretty thick bushwhack with some sections across quite vertical terrain. Unfortunately, my phone was almost out of battery, so I didn't record a track down. The ultimate obstacle is a 400 ft cliff blocking the valley floor, and we only had a 40m rope. My plan was to continue traversing north around the basin until we could find something down-climbable. However, my partner saw a defect in the cliffs that appeared to be used by goats. It was a little iffy, and we were worried about descending only part way before cliffing out. I downclimbed maybe 100 feet and found the terrain to be loose but manageable and waved my partner down (I think it would be a fair bit easier going up). We were able to make it all the way to the bottom via two rappels separated by a little downclimbing. This put us out just north of a large waterfall going straight off the cliff. We bushwhacked through the valley back to camp largely staying east of the creek high enough up that we were in old growth forest, which was more open. Even then there were still several large patches of Devil's Club.

From camp it was long but uneventful trip back out past the lake and to the trailhead.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:6715 ft / 2045 m
    Total Elevation Loss:6715 ft / 2046 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack, Snow on Ground, Scramble, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Ski Poles, Tent Camp
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:6184 ft / 1884 m
    Distance:9.1 mi / 14.6 km
    Route:South Couloir
    Start Trailhead:Lena Lake TH  658 ft / 200 m
    Time:7 Hours 5 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:6715 ft / 2046 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 6184 ft / 1885 m; Extra: 531 ft / 161m
    Gain on way out:531 ft / 161 m
    Route:Brothers Traverse/Great Basin
    End Trailhead:Lena Lake TH  658 ft / 200 m
    Time:9 Hours 35 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Connor McEntee
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. Peakbagger.com accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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