Saturday, September 24, 2011

Dreams of Cashmere

Another day emerges from the darkness

Yesterday, Cole Allen and I ran up into an area of the Stuart Range that was fresh and new for the both of us. We set out from the Eight Mile Lake Trailhead in the pre-dawn blackness aiming to find a hidden wall of local lore.

A beautiful perspective on my home range

The approach was incredible and kept Cole and I in constant awe. The same old peaks dominated our view, but their appearance from a new angle ingnited our delight.

The road to Cashmere

After a detour to Windy Pass and an incredible ridge run while looking for the hidden wall, we found ourselves in a moonscape of boulders right below Cashmere Mountain's West Ridge. I noticed that all of the stone around us was of the highest quality.

Cole between Windy Pass and Cashmere Mountain

On our approach we had noticed that Cashmere's south face was defined by three prominent ridges that divided the rambling swath of granite. The central line, which flowed right to the summit was suprisingly inspiring and was of greater length than the other two options.

Giving up on finding the hidden wall, we dropped under the south face, picked a crack on the central buttress and climbed for over 1,000 feet to Cashmere's boulder stacked summit. The climbing blew me away. Perfect protection, the soundest of rock, and a pure line had me writhing in alpine bliss.

Cole midway up the buttress

A view ahead mid-ridge promised perfect rock and perfect climbing

Mr. Allen at a belay mid-ridge

Although the "South Central Buttress" of Cashmere is not documented in any books, I feel it has most likely been completed before, although I am not sure. What I do know is that this should be an objective for Stuart Range climbers looking for the perfect precurser to the Serpentine Arete, Backbone Ridge (both on Dragontail), or the North Ridge of Mt. Stuart. Besides the 5.8 start, the route never exceeds 5.7, but never drops below 5.5. For the more advanced climber it might offer an incredible solo objective.

Two perspectives on the "South-Central Buttress" of Cashmere. In the top picture, it is the ridge falling to the lowest point. In the bottom shot, the route can be seen directly in the center of the shot.

Fall is the perfect time for this route. The south side of any Stuart Range peak bakes in the summer, but offers perfect crisp sunshine in September and October. If you are looking for a different experiance in the Stuart Range check this route out. Pure joy I say!!

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