WEST PEAK

7053'
254 to 333' prominence. East Col = 6720+ to 6799'.
FA: 8/16/32. By Herb Strandberg, Bill Degenhardt and Jim Martin.
Climbed: 9/8/81. Via East Ridge.
8/16/32 to 9/8/81 = 49 years before us.
With: Russ Kroeker and Silas Wild.

This peak deserves some recognition. In the usual perspective where it is compared to all the others in the Southern Picket line-up, it can be scoffed at or even overlooked. It could at best be called diminuative when compared to its Crescent Creek companions. It has been climbed just from the easy east side as far as I know, the east ridge from the basin of this Crescent Creek. We did it this way, after succeeding on both of the Twin Needles earlier in the day.

Russ enjoyed watching Silas and me race off from our Himmel Camp, across the heather and talus slopes, trying to outdistance the other. Silas had a head start, which he maintained despite my stealthy attempt to catch him. It is very hard to remain stealthy when your ice ax is clanging on gneiss and you're breathing hard. We did the peak unroped over pretty solid Picket rock, up the east ridge and out a bit on the north side. There was a short section of enough exposure over the Gargantuan Gouged Gorge of Goodell* to warrant carrying a bit of line if that sort of thing bothers the party. It felt good to have arm muscles able to hold our weight.

The FA party did not succeed on this peak until a week after climbing The Stump ( Pinnacle Peak ) because of the weather. They chose to come here for the view and found the climb "not without interest," traversing Crescent Creek cirque to the summit ridge east of the peak then using tennis shoes for 150 feet on the "slabby SE face." They spent three hours on top compassing in on about 40 peaks before double roping down. Our route was probably the same as theirs, though I'd call it an E, not a SE approach. Ours was the 4th or 5th ascent. Dave Knudson had done it twice by then, and has again since, I believe.

There are no pictures of the peak in Red Fred except an unlabelled long distance shot on page 100.

The most impressive routes on this peak would be out of the Gargantuan Gouged Gorge of Goodell. I'm happy having merely touched the top of Strandberg (West) Peak and I am not in competition for first (or ever) up either of two great routes out of Goodell Creek, but they are good ones. Find photo. (2004 note: Looks like I was thinking this should be called Strandberg Peak in 1981, to honor the Picket pioneer, but it now seems like a better place to put Strandberg's name would be next to his friend, Bill Degenhardt with a renaming of The Pyramid, a much overused term in the mountains.)

Look at the picture taken 7/30/80 from uppermost Goodell Creek right underneath Mt. Fury, and from the summit of East Fury 8/ /70. It is obvious from these vantages that the following routes are serious:

1. The Complete SW Ridge of West Peak.

From the west, West Peak is the first peak on the Southern Picket ridge, and a Goodell Valley approach followed by a climb of this ridge would turn this peak into a severe encounter. You're facing an hellacious (confirmed to Stump Creek with Gary Mellom in 1966 and presumed the rest of the way) walk up Goodell Creek, then a nearly 5000 foot ridge climb after crossing Crescent Creek.

2. The NW Buttress of West Peak.

The above photo shows that if one endured Goodell Creek to the SW Corner of Strandberg, an open talus or snow route occurs after the corner is turned. The indistinct but recognizable 3500-foot NW Buttress-West Ridge route on this peak deserves my respect and someone else's effort. So Standberg is a respectable peak. It looks like this NW wall had the action of two glaciers grating at it.

This Inner Sanctum of Goodell Creek remains one of the greatest mysteries of the North Cascades to this day. Has Goodell Creek been walked in toto? Not by me. Not yet.

The small pleasant NW Cirquelet of Crescent Creek looks like a good place to spend a few hours on your way to nowhere in particular. A masochist and true lover of Strandberg Peak could drop west down this cirque into Goodell Creek, then around the corner, and up the above imagined route on the NW Buttress of Strandberg.

Strandberg and Degenhardt had a fantastic trip up the Skagit in 1931. The '32 Mtr Annual article of Herb's is fun to read and is enclosed.

I have not yet, but should, make a print of West from the east.

Closed Contour Connoisseurs would have me mention the next three forms and I will. I have yet to decide if I am obligated to summit them.

Crescent Knob'

6162'. 0.5 miles south of Strandberg. Appears easy enough from the NW. The ridge dropping off this point into Goodell Creek has big trees and may go if you wanted.

Honk'

7440+. ~0.2 miles west of Ottohorn, this peak is really just a form in Otto's west ridge. Looks like it might be a pleasant rock scramble, with a roped pitch at the top from the west.

Beep'

7360+, a small spike between Ottohorn and The Honker. From most angles this hardly counts, however on our return from Strandberg (West) Peak, 7053, it appeared very definitely like a peak contender. Make print or see 9/8/81 slide.