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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Copyright 2004, John W. Roper.
All Rights Reserved.