Everyone says Ruth Mt is the one to learn on. She’s a beautiful, approachable mountain that encourages neophytes to learn roped glacier travel. With moderate run-out in case of mistakes, it’s a perfect glacier to learn on. But it’s not without its hazards. There are real, deep crevasses that definitely drive home the point of roped glacier travel with appropriate spacing and crevasse rescue gear. Both my friend Eric and I came away not only completely in love with alpine missions but a renewed respect for the danger of the outdoors. It’s good to be reminded that we’re pretty small in the big scheme of things. But with a healthy respect for mountains and the terrain they create, alpine ascents can be extremely fun and rewarding.

I was up at 0245 hrs to get to Eric’s house by 0400. We were at the trailhead to Hannegan Pass at 0535 and quickly got underway. The approach was very mild, except for one incredibly steep section just after Hannegan Pass. We hiked a moonscape around a boulder mountain to reveal Ruth Mountain in its full glory. I was grinning ear to ear as we walked along the saddle that took us up to the base of the glacier on Ruth. We roped up and dug out our crampons and ice axes as soon as we hit the first bit of snow. Hooked immediately. It was awesome to look sideways and see the horizon at a 45-60-degree slope and us walking up no problem. Everything made sense. As we traversed past a few small crevasses, we peered over the edge and were surprised to find that we actually couldn’t see the bottom. They were at least 30 feet deep, and all of a sudden, the pulleys and prusiks we were carrying on our harnesses felt like a really good idea.

With no issues (other than the occasional snag of a crampon tooth on the opposite pant-leg), we continued up the glacier to the summit to bask in the non-views. Thanks a lot, BC wildfires. Unfortunately we were smack dab in the middle of wildfire season and the wind was not playing in our favor, pushing all the smoke down into the North Cascades. It couldn’t be helped so we took a few minutes at the top to stare across the void to try to make out the bulk of Mt Shuksan and the outline of Icy Peak. Another day. Always have a reason to come back.

We were down and at the truck by 1325 hrs, just less than 8 hours round trip. Not bad for 14 miles and 4500′ gain!

What a mountain!