A few years ago, while researching for an upcoming guidebook, I spied a large waterfall very near the city of North Bend. A quick mental note was loosely filed—as if it ever gets cold enough for that high flow falls to freeze! Somehow this little tidbit of information popped back into consciousness earlier this week, but I wasn’t sure that it would still be in condition after the short, very rainy warm-up a few days ago. My guess is that the east flow winds, which funnel down this gulch, help keep this shaded aspect a bit colder than the surrounding hillside. A quick recon provided a good look at the route…which was still huge and blue. Game time.
Today I lined up a great partner in my friend Mark Allen to give the thing a look. I kind of expected the bushwhacking to be intense, but he’s also from the westside and knows how to suffer if the need arises. As it turns out, there were only a few prickly bushes and we found a few overgrown logging roads to speed the approach. The crux of the endeavor was to stay entirely on public lands, but some time spent on the King County Property Viewer showed a tiny sliver of land that touches a public road somewhat close to the base of the route. Not ideal, but it would have to do.
The route itself is likely the closest multi-pitch ice to Seattle. Only 28 miles as the crow flies! And to make the day even more special, we were treated to an unbelievable full moon in the morning hours and a pair of black bears lumbering along in the woods on the hike out. What a special place! Treat it gently.
Looking up the route. Mark Allen photo.
Descent: Descend the right side of the route. We did two single rope rappels from trees, then two v-threads back to the snowy ledge. Downclimb (or rappel) to the right to a large tree, where one more single rope rap leads to the base.
FA: Kurt Hicks, Mark Allen, January 12, 2017
WI4/4+, 700 feet.
Note: I have removed access and approach information due to previously unknown history of access issues in this area, although the route and parking we used are entirely on public land.