Big Kangaroo on Kangaroo Ridge / 袋鼠脊上的大袋鼠峯

Big Kangaroo summit monolith
Big Kangaroo summit monolith

See more trip photos here.

Big Kangaroo has been on my radar for a while. Unable to generate interest, the peak remained on the back burner until now. I’m a firm believer in fate, and sometimes you cross paths with people in unexpected places. Chandler from Instagram came to my rescue after hearing my plead. We had been stalking each other online for several years now. So it was time to take our relationship to the next level.

The Lowdown on Big Kangaroo

Access: Highway 20 at Washington Pass hairpin turn
Round Trip: TBD

Elevation Range: 5160′-8280′
Gear: helmet, rope, rock
GPS TRack: available

En Route to Kangaroo Ridge West Slopes

Yesterday, the pup and I had a leisurely trip to Wildcat Mountain. Afterward, we drove to near the Cutthroat Lake Trailhead, and car camped. Then early next morning, we met Chandler by the Washington Pass hairpin turn. I haven’t climbed with anyone in the summer since my trip to the Northern Pickets. So I was excited to meet a new partner. After sorting out gear, we set off east toward Kangaroo Ridge.

After a smooth crossing over Early Winters Creek, we were right back into the trees. There wasn’t a direct line of sight to the west slopes in the forest. So it wasn’t easy to see our route. But we continued to work our way through dense shrubs, and then we came upon a gully. Luckily, it was the one to take. We knew it was going to be a hot day. So we were quite happy to be in the shade for the approach.

The longest gully
The longest gully

See more trip photos here.

The Never-Ending West Gully

Once we were on track, then the rest of the route was straightforward. We were mostly on choss and scree. But for the most part, we were able to avoid most of them by staying closer to the edge. Or, occasionally, we gained better footing by walking through thin vegetation. The gully narrowed halfway up the route; we began to climb up downsloping slabs.

The route widened once we got over the bottleneck. Then it was back to more choss. The path forked just below the ridge. But instead of taking the left gully, we took the right one. We ended up being south of the summit block. After a brief stay to enjoy views to the other side, we got back down. From the south, we made our way around the buttress that separated the two paths. And when we saw the chockstone higher up, we knew we were back on track.

Getting above the chockstone
Getting above the chockstone

See more trip photos here.

Getting to and Around the Summit Monolith

Since this was a technical climb, the pup was going to have to wait for us. Below the chockstone was the ideal place to get him away from any potential rockfalls. So after situating the dog, Chandler and I continued to climb through the chockstone. A short section of class 3 slabs got us up to the crest. There was a bit of confusion around the starting of the 5th class climb. But once we were on the ridge, it quickly became apparent.

We climbed up to the broad platform below the summit monolith. Then we geared up for the first pitch around the standing stone. Ha! I didn’t realize this was such a short pitch. There were only a couple of places with high exposure. But solid handholds made things more manageable in getting to the ledge on the other side. I proceeded to belay Chandler over to me.

Coming right up
Coming right up

See more trip photos here.

Big Kangaroo Summit

The second and last pitch was also a short one. Unfortunately, not many good handholds or ideal places to place protection. But Chandler was able to put in one piece by the narrow ledge a few feet below the summit. He then climbed up to the summit arête wide enough for only one person. After clipping in, he began to belay me up to the top. There was a decent foothold by the rappel route for me to stand.

OMG, the views! I knew how much Chandler loved the Washington Pass area; one of the reasons I decided to invite him. He’s since climbed the North and the South Early Winters Spires, plus some of the nearby towers. But Chandler loved Liberty Bell Mountain the most. He is now considering building a condo on top. Meanwhile, I couldn’t take my mind off of our anchor around this century-old, rusted bolt.

East-to-north panoramic view
East-to-north panoramic view

See more trip photos here.

Boundless Views Plus Outro

The weather was so gorgeous. We could virtually see all of the high points in the Cascades. Many familiar places included Silver Star Mountain, Black Peak, Golden Slam, Corteo Peak, McGregor Mountain, and Shelokum Slam. In the horizon were Goode Mountain, Mount Logan, Bonanza Peak, Spire Point, Mesahchie Peak, and the Picket Range. Nearby peaks included Cutthroat Peak, Wallaby Peak, and Kangaroo Temple.

Knowing that I enjoy photography, Chandler offered to let me stay on the summit. He then rappelled down to the platform and waited. Shortly afterward, we met up down by the chockstone and reunited with the pup. On the descent, we took the adjacent north ravine to bypass the downsloping slabs in the one we came. Then we went back into the first gully and finished the descent.

Thanks for a lovely day
Thanks for a lovely day

See more trip photos here.

Another beautiful day out in the North Cascades!

Leave a Reply

Close Menu
%d bloggers like this: