I did this route with a buddy that is no longer around, it was a bit of a big step (no pun) for him and he found it really out there because of size, length, not the best conditions and just not his cup of tea. So I basicly took him up the whole thing and got caught on the toe of the glacier in a big lightning storm, we dropped our gear and ran down the taluas, made a bivi and racked out for 6hrs while it passed. We were in boots the entire day which wasnt bad for all the scrambling and climbing, you can literly go anywhere up there until you hit something hard. Lots of fixed gear and good gear on the roped pitchs. Black towers wernt to bad, we didnt go up in the middle of the traverse though, we went further left which cost us time, found the sharks fin easliy and was a good landmark.
Ascended E Ridge via long snow couloir to first bivvy below rock towers. 2nd day traversed towers (interminable) to gap below summit pyramid. Rapped 180 ft down S. Face to bivvy in schrund. Morning of 3rd day ran out of water and fuel. Jugged rope on questionable knifeblade to previous high point traversed gap and climbed to summit. Very impressive view from cornice overhanging N. face. Traversed summit and descended broad couloir to the SW to bivvy. 4th day completed circuit of mountain to our camp below N. Face. weather was very good throughout.
Great variety. Spent the night below the big step, but not directly below in case of rock fall. Would hate to be caught in a storm on it and I have tremendous respect for anyone who climbs it car to car in a day.
There is a lot of climbing on this route. Near the bottom there is some steep scrambling on really good rock for quite a ways to the big step. We roped up here for 3 pitches.
After this we short roped the traverse that leads to the exit gully. This part was loose with really soft snow - we kept punching through.
It seemed pretty obvious which was the correct gully. Be careful as it is really loose and it is easy to send rocks down on your partner. I wouldn't want to be behind another group here.
Bring an ice axe and crampons for the summit glacier, and a small rack. We had 7 nuts and cams from 0.5 to 3, and this was plenty. The descent is mind numbingly long - I can't imagine why anyone would scramble up there.
Be prepared for a long day. It took us 13 hours car to car, although this included a long nap on the way down. We passed a group near the bottom and never saw them again, although their car was still at the pullout when we got back. I suspect that they either spent the night out, or climbed/descended in the dark.