Ascent of Starlight Peak (Starlight Buttress, III, 5.5), with Mike Callen, July 5, 2017.


July 4, 2017. We left the hiker's parking lot near Glacier Lodge at 9:45 and made good time to Sam Mack Meadow, reaching at 15:30. We spent a nice evening in camp preparing for the next day's climb (a 5:45 hour day).

July 5, 2017. We woke up at 4:30 and departed camp at 5:22 as the sun was rising. We were at the base of the route at 8:00. The entire lower portion of the Clyde Couloir had collapsed, leaving a 50 foot tall serac at its base, and precluding the normal approach to the Starlight Buttress. Instead we took the supposed 5.7 variation to the right. In great style, Mike led two pitches of hard climbing with a chimney and then a roof move (both were steep and felt like 5.8 at least). We lost a lot of time on these pitches. At 10:35 we reached a nice ledge from which it was possible to traverse left to the base of a 5.4 chimney (the normal start of the route), which I led. We then reached some second/third class climbing, and then a lengthy class 4 section which we simulclimbed. We moved to the right below the top, and I led a steep 5.5 chimney. This was followed by two more easy pitches and we came in view of the Milk Bottle (by then it was 14:15), although direct access was blocked by snow. Dropping down 20 feet on the northwest side of the crest we gained the summit platform at 14:30. We stopped to sign the register and eat. We started worrying about the time it would take to descend the route, so we did not try very hard to climb the Milk Bottle. We set out on our descent around 15:00. After a dozen or so rappels we set foot on the glacier at 20:30 as the sun was setting. Despite a bit of wandering around in the dark in search of Sam Mack Meadow, we settled on an arbitrary descent line which dropped us right into the southwestern end of the meadow. We reached camp at 23:46 (an 18:24 hour day). Do not underestimate the time it will take to climb this route, especially in its new condition.

July 6, 2017. We woke up around 7:15 and took our time packing camp. We set out on the return at 9:55. Mosquitos were swarming from below Sam Mack all the way to Cienega Mirth. We stopped for a nice lunch break at Second Falls and were back at the cars at 13:50 (a 3:55 hour day).


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