2015/5/30-31 – Mount Formidable / 畏懼山

Mount Formidable with Middle Cascade Glacier
First view of Mount Formidable from Cache Col

Photos from this trip can be found here.

This would have been a much enjoyable climb in late season. The mountain itself was beyond aesthetic, especially when it was still draped with snow from previous season. Snow conditions were less than ideal, by late morning it was already wet and knee-deep. Not sure why we never put our snowshoes to use.

Upon arriving at Cache Col, suddenly it became clear why so many have made the Ptarmigan Traverse. Everywhere I looked was picturesque and I simply couldn’t take my eyes off the view. It was so scenic that I had a hard time putting down my camera.

Middle Fork Cascade River Valley
Middle Fork Cascade River Valley

Photos from this trip can be found here.

We somehow got off route while trying to locate Red Ledges by going up too high. Glad we caught the mistake early and managed to retrace our steps to avoid getting cliffed out. Climbing up middle Glacier was physically taxing in poor snow conditions. We postholed and dug up more wet snow with every step.

Our campsite by Spider-Formidable col was pretty sweet, with water trickling from nearby slabs after some searching. We attempted to summit in the evening but got off route and short on daylight. We enjoyed evening colors in the sky and got a good (cold) night sleep.

Morning light
Morning light

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Next day we set off at 6 AM to make use of longer daylight. Plus we needed to trek back to the car at the end of the day. Crux was the countless number of steep snow fingers in steep gullies. I personally managed to bypass most of them, if not all, from base of the mountain all the way to the summit. Overcast sky, clouds were high up and views reached for miles.

Glad the three of us all made it up and back down in one piece. It seemed to have taken much longer to get down because of steep terrain. There weren’t many good places to build anchors for rappel. We took brief break back at camp before the long trek back to Cascade Pass trailhead.

Exposure a-plenty
Below summit

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Methinks this would have been a much more enjoyable trip with an extra day. Perhaps one day I’ll go back and try the Ptarmigan Traverse.

Approach: Cascade River Road
Gear: ice axe, helmet, crampons, overnight

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