Mount Terror by Mount Degenhardt in Southern Picket Range / 驚駭山

  • Reading time:18 mins read

Going up Mount Terror by Mount Degenhardt in the Picket Range is time-consuming. But not climbing doesn’t mean having to miss out on the sheer beauty of the rugged terrain. One can still find their way up and enjoy the incredible views without leaving camp.

Mount Terror, the leading protagonist
Mount Terror, the leading protagonist

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Mount Terror at a Glance

Access: Goodell Creek Cross-Country Zone Access Trailhead
Round Trip: 19 miles
Elevation Range: 600′-8151′
Gear: helmet, rope, rock
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: no pets

August 4-6, 2018

Day 1 – Saturday, August 4
Approach to Crescent Creek Basin
Night 1 – Chopping Block Camp at 6400′

Day 2 – Sunday, August 5
Mount Terror
Night 2 – Chopping Block Camp at 6400′

Day 3 – Monday, August 6
Exit


Day 1

Approach to Crescent Creek Basin

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3

Hiking to Terror Creek

Since I couldn’t go on another picket traverse, I went after one of my goals in the Picket Range. While getting a permit, I learned two people had gone in the day before. So I could have company for the weekend.

The trail was the same as two years ago. Apart from the tree litter and brush, it was a straightforward hike to the junction. Two cairns there had replaced the rock arrow that once marked the fork.

Terror Creek Basin junction
Terror Creek Basin junction

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Crossing Terror Creek

Past the junction, the path became increasingly hard to follow. Soon, I lost the trail by the mossy boulder field. Then I went 100′ too low while looking for the log jam. So I went upstream and got back on track right before reaching the crossing.

I needed to cross the creek at 2040′ and find the climber’s trail to continue. But the raging water plus wet rocks had kept me from crossing directly. Then I spent half an hour testing out various spots before moving farther upstream.

Raging Terror Creek
Raging Terror Creek

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Climbing The Barrier to Mount Terror

A big log 500 feet upstream at 2100′ gave access to the other side. Then I went back to the cairn by the trail. As I frantically looked for a place to cross, I forgot to grab water. Oh, did it come back to bite me later!

The altitude gain was steady, like going up to Terror Creek Basin, but it offset the shorter length to camp. I soon ran out of water and would be without any for 3500′. But I enjoyed blueberries along the bone-dry ridge.

Open views
Open views

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Route Finding on The Barrier

I later lost the trail at 3600′ but stayed on track by keeping north on the narrow ridge. Even with trees, I would see the nearby peaks through branches. I stayed west of the outcrops en route and found the path shortly.

Views expanded as the trail faded above the trees at 5400′. Then I made a beeline northwest toward Point 7127’s southwest saddle. Before going through massive granite slabs, I had my first water in a tiny stream at 5700′ since Terror Creek.

Slabs for days
Slabs for days

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Chopping Block Camp

The camp spot on the saddle was hands down one of the best. It’s also the front-row seat to see many North Cascades’ high points. But when evening came around, the smoke had obscured the entire Goodell Creek valley.

Dark clouds appeared from behind the ridge as I scoped out the route on Mount Terror. Soon it drizzled, and a rainstorm looked to be forming but never materialized. But I knew the next day would be gorgeous.

Home for the next two nights
Home for the next two nights

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Day 2

Mount Terror

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3

Mount Terror Climb

I was mainly on scree and talus in Crescent Creek Basin on my way to the mountain. En route, I found hidden ramps with snow and ice. My favorite part of the traverse was the massive slabs before the gully.

I went up to the giant chockstone past the fork but knew I was off track right away. So I backtracked and went left, where I spotted two rappel stations. Whew! This steep gully very much reminded me of Crooked Thumb Peak.

Off to Mount Terror
Off to Mount Terror

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Mount Terror West Gully

Higher up, I consistently took one step forward and several steps back in the shale rock piles. Shortly, from the notch, I climbed up the snow chunk and took a peek of the Northern Pickets. Simply breathtaking!

I later squeezed through the moat by the 50′ wall. Then I went up the narrow ramp between the wall and the west ridge and took a break on top. Then I looked for a way up, but the route didn’t look enticing.

Gully entrance
Gully entrance

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Mount Terror West Ridge

I returned to the moat around the north side and found the class 4 bulging rock noted in a report. But without the extra snow reaching higher, it was now low 5th. I held up photos to be sure before moving again.

Above the crux, I reached the class 4 boulders. I had aimed for the upper anchor but somehow went past it. From 7800′, I went to the south side of the ridge. Shortly, I went inside the rock ledge gully and looked up at the summit.

North view from the notch
North view from the notch

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The Final Stretch

Once reaching the chockstone between the two summits, I went through exposed downward slabs. Soon, I bypassed the unstable, rocky ridge entirely. Then I made a few class 4 moves on the south side.

At last! The stunning monolith before me marked the rock summit. Loose slabs then led me on top with sheer drops. Everywhere I looked was hazy because of the fire smoke. Unlike last year, I could see all nearby peaks this time.

Looking up at the summit block from the rock ledge gully
Looking up at the summit block from the rock ledge gully

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Mount Terror Summit Views

The east half of the ridgeline, including Mount Degenhardt, were recognizable by their north faces. But to the west, the peaks sat in a line, and I only saw The Rake in front. The prongs poking out the back were likely Twin Needles.

Mount Terror marked my sixth peak in the range and my second in the southern pickets after West McMillan Spire. For now, one-off climbs would do. But I hoped to find time to go on another traverse soon.

East-southeast panoramic view
East-southeast panoramic view

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Back to the West Gully

On the way back, I carefully downclimbed to the chockstone. Then I retraced my steps down the west ridge to find the upper anchor. I was glad to have bypassed it earlier because reaching it from below didn’t look fun at this angle.

Glad to have brought a 60m rope because the two anchors were a tad under one rope length. I later forgot my newly purchased cordelette in the narrow ramp as I reorganized my gear. But it’s yours if you find it!

Leaving Mount Terror
Leaving Mount Terror

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Back to Chopping Block Camp

In the gully, I saw webbing where I wouldn’t think to build an anchor. Yikes! One more rappel from the old piton and a nut took me down by the entrance. I backed up everything with new webbing, just in case.

At last, I traversed the broad Crescent Creek Basin back to camp. To entertain me, I spent the rest of the evening taking photos. I also walked around the saddle and marveled at the dramatic landscape.

Enjoying some quiet time back at camp
Enjoying some quiet time back at camp

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Day 3

Exit

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3

Leaving Southern Pickets

This morning I had set out to climb Pinnacle Peak, aka Chopping Block. But after going on the south ridge, I realized my rope wasn’t in the pack. I had used it as a pillow and didn’t grab it before leaving camp. Better luck next time!

Later I stopped by The Barrier to see Terror Creek Basin. Indeed it’s a gorgeous and rugged basin with those famous peaks towering above! But things always looked steep and dramatic when I wasn’t near it.

Chopping Block closeup
Chopping Block closeup

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Back to North Cascades Highway

After going down to Terror Creek, I took pictures by the creek for a while. Then I unwillingly packed up and took my arse back to the other side. Afterward, I dillydallied my way out to civilization from the roadbed.

I don’t remember noticing people up in the basin during the climb. And strangely, I also didn’t see anyone hiking the lower trail. So perhaps the party of two had gone to someplace even more lovely.

Terror Creek Basin lineup
Terror Creek Basin lineup

See more trip photos here.

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3

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