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About montypiton

  • Rank
    old hand
  • Birthday 11/03/1952


  • Occupation
    schoolbus driver
  • Location
    central Washington
  1. Your Favorite Spring Steep Snow Climbs?

    perhaps better known as a north side descent route, the Sherpa Glacier couloir on Stuart. east ridge on Ingalls = couple pitches of steep snow to a 5-easy rock finish. to clarify JasonG "whatever that gully is on Argonaut" likely is the northeast couloir - a fine steep snow gully, but be ready for a 5.6 rock finish if you hope to summit Argonaut. -Haireball
  2. easy multi-pitch routes in the Enchantments

    5.4 will limit you . northwest buttress on Stuart goes about 5.0 if you stop at the ridge crest. to continue to the summit, finding a 5.4 line on west ridge of Stuart might be tricky, likely more like 5.6.. north ridge of stuart (50 classic climbs) goes about 5.6 northwest buttress and northeast couloir (possible ice or snow) on Argonaut go about 5.6. cross to the south side of mountaineer pass and the south face of Argonaut may have a line at 5.4. east ridge of Sherpa from mountaineer pass goes about 5.5. northeast face of false summit on Stuart supposedly goes at 5.6. possibly a 5-easy line on northwest face of Colchuck, but that is undocumented as far as I know. all of these routes will have some snow on approach, even in August. I've climbed ice in Argonaut's northeast couloir Labor Day weekend.... all of these would be fairly long days for a family group (unless your family name is Lowe), but none are terribly committing - escape/retreat would be reasonable in most cases. do take fishing gear for Stuart Lake.
  3. Mountaineering Partner

    ok, I'm a soft touch - PM sent -Haireball
  4. Leavenworth, WA Ice Conditions?

    hubba-hubba is in as of yesterday afternoon... -Haireball
  5. Leavenworth, WA Ice Conditions?

    it had begun to refreeze/reform with the cold spell this week, but the initial curtain was still absent today... other lines besides the main Funnel appear snow-covered, but one would have to walk up there to determine whether there's any ice under that snow. doesn't look attractive enough for me to walk up there, but that could change - I''ll let you know when it looks more enticing... -Haireball
  6. I'd concur with Keenwesh with one further consideration: the fit needs to be ROOMY. Even a heavily insulated boot won't keep your feet warm if the fit is tight. For my two Denali seasons 1981 & 82) I wore a double booth that was a full size larger than my summer alpine boots. I also had acquaintances that got away with using Galibier Superguides (the most popular single alpine boot in those days) two sizes oversize, wearing more socks and insulated supergators. Another acquaintance, dealing with a pre-existing condition of previous frostbite, had good experience with electric socks. whatever you decide, test it on shakedown trips as cold as you can find (Icefields, Montana-Wyoming-Colorado) before you head to Denali
  7. Inspiration needed- where to go?

    DPS - well excuse me! - happens to be on my ticklist too... I have a nine-day window coming up 2/17 - 2/25, have numerous options, of which the Stuart Range is one... final decision kinda depends on which partner commits... -Haireball
  8. Inspiration needed- where to go?

    numerous options around Banff - not just waterfall ice. get hold of a guidebook or do some online research. the easy summer alpine routes can make great winter alpine challenges. I grew up near the Tetons, and made winter ascents of both the Middle and South Tetons while in high school. South Teton has a steep couloir on its north face that we climbed by mistake, in poor visibility, thinking it was the northwest couloir which is the easiest route. current guidebook credits the FA of this couloir two years later than we climbed it -- just high school kids, we didn't know... and the Owen-Spalding route on the Grand is fourth or low fifth class. From a camp at Garnet Canyon Meadows, your could climb Cloudveil Dome, Nez Perce Peak, South Teton, Middle Teton, Grand Teton, and Disappointment Peak if you wanted to spend the time back there... but don't head up Garnet Canyon unless your avalanche assessment skills are solid... or a winter traverse of the Stuart Range? -Haireball
  9. Leavenworth, WA Ice Conditions?

    Anthony - R&D does occasionally ice up enough to climb, although the lower slab variation has never, in my experience, thickened enough to take screws. Two pitches of largely unprotectable very thin moderate angle ice gets quite sporty. Central Gully (aka "chicken gully), ices much more dependably, and offers a sporty mixed finish on its fourth pitch. Below Rainbow Falls, the short cliff climber''s right above the creek has some developed dry-tooling pitches with resident top anchors. Depending on conditions, it can be sporty to get to the anchors to set a top-rope, but some of the easier problems are leadable for mere mortals About four miles up Snow Creek, Vern Nelson and Jens Holsten have established a few mixed/dry-tool lines on a cliffband right in the creek bottom. Climber's left of that cliff, above the trail, is Fourmile Falls, 2+ pitches of wi3+. Of all of these options, the most fun for an alpinist or mixed climber of modest ability is the Central Gully on Icicle Buttress. It forms more often than most mixed options I know of, although it has not come in this year. This late in the season, its not likely to come in, but if we get a late cold snap, it could. There appear to be possibilities for mixed routes at the climber's left edge of Careno Crag, but I have not heard of anyone completing any of those lines. Shipman and I did climb one three-pitch mixed line between Careno and the Candlestein Cliff back in the 'nineties, but its been decades since I've seen the initial pillar form... There are also mixed variations on Hubba-Hubba, on either side of the main Funnel, and independent mixed lines several hundred feet climbers left of the Funnel. If you're still interested, I can show you where any/all of these options are... -Haireball
  10. Leavenworth, WA Ice Conditions?

    dismal is a pretty apt assessment at the moment. last Friday there were four lines climbable at Hubba-Hubba, but at the rate it's snowing today, and the forecast of rain & snow through the weekend, I wouldn't recommend the approach below The Funnel... Millennium Wall was in reasonable (not FAT, but enough to take screws) shape on Sunday, and is protected from avalanches, although you do cross a couple of active tracks on the approach. Can't comment on Drury, but the approach up Fall Creek is an infamous terrain trap, so I'd have to recommend against that... Last week's rain pretty much obliterated everything else that was in - so, the short answer is Millennium. Curious about your mixed route - not a lot of that kind of development here that I'm aware of... -Haireball
  11. 2017/18 Oregon Washington ice

    this is the first year since 1981 - year I moved to Leavenworth - that the Funnel (main line on Hubba Hubba hill), has not been climbable by mid-December. Walked in to Eightmile Lake yesterday, and noted a half-dozen or so climbable flows, including one that stair-stepped up for five pitches. I'm aware of no beta for any of these. Sorry, too lazy and digitally illiterate to provide photos. "if ya wanna know, ya hafta go" -Haireball
  12. Mount Borah North Face TR + Beta

    sent you a pm
  13. I always carry a handful of blades and z's, and regularly use them when ice gets too thin for screws. I also hammer bulldogs as blades in rock. I typically carry a first-generation Chouinard alpine hammer, bought in 1972,- use the pick mostly as a nut-tool - but I'm partial to the Forrest mjollnir with skye pick if I think I might actually have to use it to climb. I know, neither tool has been made for decades, but I believe BD still makes some version of that original alpine hammer. The Chouinard hammer is noticeably lighter than the Forrest, and I'm loath to go lighter than the Chouinard because my experience with lighter hammers has convinced me that its less work to carry the heavier hammer than hang on and bang at a peg half an hour to make the placement. -Haireball
  14. Stuart - Enchantment Fire Closure

    Jack Creek Fire spotted into Eightmile drainage on 9/3. Caroline Lakes, Eightmile Lake, and Eightmile trail were closed and evacuated. Stuart Lake & Trail, Colchuck Lake & trail, Mountaineer Creek, and Enchantments were closed and evacuated 9/4. we'll keep you updated. -Haireball