Mt Shuksan is described by Fred Beckey as being the Crown Jewel of the Cascades...w/ no other rival for beauty. So far, I have to agree w/ him. The Fisher Chimney's is one of the more challenging route the Chemeketans do regularly. For climbers w/ tons of experience, it'll be simply beautiful, for newer climbers, it will be a full value experience.
The Fisher Chimney's are notorious for epics and often leave experienced leaders wandering around wondering how it got so late? Apperently, the route finding is more difficult than the climbing. The primary difference between this route and most club climbs is the amount of attention that is required for the length of time. On summit day, everybody will have to remain alert from camp to the summit and back to camp.
All that said, prepare to have a ton of fun.
We'll begin our climb at the Lake Ann TH at Mt Baker Ski resort. (+/- 4400') We'll descend into the valley approximately 800' and climb again to Lake Ann. (4600') From the Lake, we'll continue through on a scree trail and gain the sloped shelf in the picture above. It'll be critical that we enter the correct "chimney," many route finding errors occur here.
We'll scramble through the Chimney's, 3rd and 4th class. It'll be important to climb w/ your "three points of contact" as we'll be unroped. Everybody needs to be certain they're proficient at putting on and taking off their crampons. This should take 3 minutes or less. The crux of the Chimney's is an area called "Fat Mans Mysery" Apperently there's a traverse that is difficult for the larger fellow. We'll top out of the Chimney's near 6700'.
From the Chimney's, we'll reach Winnie's slide, some people call this the crux of the route. We'll protect w/ screws/pickets. We head out NE and take on the steep slopes. We'll crest the Shuksan Arm, the W ridge of the mountain. (Another place where teams get lost on the decent, we'll wand this area and drop GPS points) At this point, we head directly toward the summit pinnacle. At the left edge of the glacier, we'll take a downward traverse past the hourglass to Hell's Highway; see photo below.
We'll go up the steeps of Hell's Highway and gain the Sulphide Glacier. (7520') From here, we head N toward the summit pinnacle which will hopefully be snow free. We'll climb the central gully unroped, spotting each other at difficult sections. We'll descend the climbing route. This is a route where the summit is less than half way there. We take lots of care to stay on route and tread carefully.
WE MAY CAMP AT LAKE ANN OR AT THE FOOT OF WINNIES SLIDE, WE'LL SEE
Now the boring, important stuff.
Rain Gear, insulating layers, 2 pairs of socks and undies. Gloves and Hat. Less is more. WATCH FORECAST
Crampons (no alluminum), boots, gaiters, harness, belay device, 3 locker, 4 non-lockers, prussiks, 1 4' sling each climber, personal pro, helmet and prussiks. We'll take 2 ice axes to avoid having to rappel winnies slide and hell's highway.
Tent or Bivy sack, sleeping bag for the forecast, sleeping pad hopefully not too cold, so we can go lighter. Emergency blanket for ground cloth, double as bivy gear on summit day. Water storage capacity for 3 liters. Stove w/ enough fuel to melt snow, water filter, 2 for the team is sufficient. Don't get carried away and bring anything you wont need.
2 50m ropes, 3 radios, 4 pickets, GPS, SPOT locator, 3 ice screws, slings, rock pro, 2 shovels (dig camp spots), rap webbing.
Fisher Chimneys route: i5 N. Exit State Route 542 from Bellingham to the Mt. Baker ski area. Continue on gravel road about 1½ miles upward to the parking lot at Austin Pass, 4,700 ft (1,433 m). Hike trail #600 to Lake Ann.
Each car will need a NW Forest Pass, bring em if you got them.
If everybody packs tight, we can all head up in the Suburban w/ the roof box. If people bring the kitchen sink, they'll have to walk.
I'll attach the itenerary to an email so it'll be easy to print out and bring with you.