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dberdinka

[TR] Slesse- Navigator Wall 8/16/2005

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Climb: Slesse-Navigator Wall

 

Date of Climb: 8/16/2005

 

Trip Report:

I'm not sure exactly what to say. Typically I post TRs of climbs I think people would enjoy repeating. Navigator Wall is not one of those climbs. It is a hard climb for hardmen and if you are one of those maybe you would truely enjoy the climbing. However I am definitely not a hardman and I am glad it's over. With that said it was one of the better adventures in my climbing career and I'm happy to have (past tense)done it.

 

I was joined by Sol (aka Frosty) on Monday afternoon and we headed north to get into position for a push on Tuesday. We found that the Slesse Creek road is now waterbarred, no probably for a truck but definitely an issue for Sol's minivan. Luckily it's not a big deal as it's only about a thirty minute walk from the trailhead. I pushed my bike up the road a bit before realizing that was stupid, then chained it to a tree.

 

We headed around to Nesakwatch Creek where we again stopped at the first waterbar. In the morning we discovered that this too is about a 35 minute walk from the old trailhead. Basically a CJ7 would not give you much of an advantage over a Toyota Prius.

 

We left the car at 2 AM and reached the propellor cairn around 5:15 AM. This is a beautiful spot. 30 minutes of outrageous slab hiking got us to the base of the climb.

 

140IMG_5116.JPG

 

What to say...what to say.... The first pitch was great! And so was the 19th! The rest well...most of it wasn't that bad, some of it was quite good!

 

Sol leading the crux "overhanging fingercrack" pitch

 

140IMG_5135.JPG

 

On the 5.8 slab pitch mid-route

 

140IMG_5140.JPG

 

But the headwall, OH DEAR GOD the headwall!

 

Hard sustained climbing on vertical to overhanging, loose, dirty diorite. Mediocre gear and a semi-hanging belay off of two hollow flakes with 1700' of air beneath your heels. I whimpered up my pitch, Sol meditated up his.

We both agreed once was enough. That was definitely not what climbing is about for us.

 

From the sandy ledges Sol took us home, gracefully scaling the "outrageous" 10b corner. This pitch was a total anomoly for the climb, 120+ feet of splitter hands on solid rock. Like a Split Pillar in the mountains. A few more pitches and we were on the summit eleven hours after starting up the rock.

 

Cranking up the 10b corner

 

140IMG_5158.JPG

 

To descend we did two long rappels down the northwest route then quickly scrambled up and over to the loose gully of the standard descent of Slesse.

 

The off-shore flow had moved in as predicted and we had an incredible view of a sea of clouds churning about in the valley below.

 

 

140seaofclouds.jpg

 

Twenty-one hours after leaving the car I'm biking up the Chilliwack River Road. My Tikka casts a feeble glow against the gloomy night. A few small rain drops quickly build to a thunderous downpour. I'm soaked, I have miles yet to go and I'm smiling.

 

 

Gear Notes:

Medium-large rack to 4". Extra #2 Camalots for pitch 19. Red Fred topo is perfect. KM clearly plagarized it.

 

Approach Notes:

Mellowest approach on Slesse.

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did you trend leftward on the lower slabs and cut back right across the grass ledges? hope you didn't follow my rap slings!

 

nice friggin job, i'm jealous and bummed at the same time. i really wanted to do this route before you posted this TR (partner got wicked scared, didn't feel like a shouting match) and now i still want to do it for the adventure, but not for much else now i guess. it's always a let down when someone tells you a route you really want to do really really sucks. Nav wall and Tuning Fork some to mind in particular.

 

So once again, proud job. ED1 is pretty solid!

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Is a

climbing carrier
something like a pet carrier? A little hutch with breathing holes? Those sound cool. I gotta get one. Then my partners can drag me up the walls with less effort on my part wink.gif

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Ross: I haven't climbed the East Pillar. It too looks hard, sustained and loose. Check out Dan and Forrests TR from a couple summers back.

 

Mike: It probably would have helped matters had you not gotten off route on the FIRST pitch. wazzup.gif

 

Dru: F#@K OFF!

 

If anyone cares I still think the North Rib is one of the classiest routes I've done in the Cascades. I would HIGHLY recommend that one.

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well, good work. bigdrink.gif i still think that i want to climb it, so since you two wont go up again, any takers?? pitty.gif

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well, good work. bigdrink.gif i still think that i want to climb it, so since you two wont go up again, any takers?? pitty.gif

 

of course!

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My friends went up near this recently and said at the base of the real climbing it looked like such a pile of shit they pulled the plug and went home. Sounds to me the peak should have been named Sleezee.

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Thanks you guys for posting your report. Funny, having just climbed Navigator wall a couple of days ago, we completely agree with everything you said. We both agreed on the walk out that this was the first route in a long time we could not recommend to anyone. If you read this now, you've been warned!

 

We went up there as a consolation prize, having intended on something else new, and were surprised at how loose and poor it was. There are in fact several sections that are fantastic, including a good part of that 10b up high, splitter hand cracks. And then most of the route is wandering over loose features and questionable rock, quite a ways from gear. The East Pillar is solid compared to this with just a pitch up high that is a little loose, and a little run out, crimping on quite immaculate rock, it's nothing compared to the Navigator. Again, you've been warned.

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Well if Giesler doesn't recommend it that's saying something.

 

A while back Bryan Burdo posted a short description of the FA that makes for a good read. I've reposted it below.

 

Another great story involving this route is that the ill-fated team of Guy Edwards and John Millar intended to climb the route in a push. The day of the weather started out mediocre so they climbed the east ridge of Rexford instead. Upon topping out the weather had improved so they dropped down the west side to Nesakwatch Creek then hiked up to the Navigator Wall and sent it all in a day. That boggles the mind. Can any Canadians verify that tale?

 

When I climbed Navigator Wall with Pete Doorish (almost 20 years ago!??!!), we camped below the South Peak. I never saw any "Bone Cairn", but there was plenty of debris. I remember being most struck by a compact leather kit. I unzipped the top and opened it to find an electric shaver, it's cord neatly coiled around it. I thought about how some businessman had meticulously laid it out on a bed the morning of the flight. The sense of small-scale order amongst the chaos was a last flicker of humanity that we were privileged to find, and replace respectfully.

Near the top of the climb, on the third day, we noticed a massive amount of wreckage, including what looked to be a tail section, on the southern satellite summit, climber's left of the South Peak. Does anyone have information of the exact impact point of the crash? I remember being astonished at so much material being so precariously perched that high on the mountain. It looked like it must have been strongly embedded by the impact.

Finally, on the descent, there was yet more debris on the col above where we saw the wreckage, south of the South summit. It was here that, amongst some wiring and electronics, I reached down and picked up a three-inch diameter ring of metal. On it was inscribed the points of the compass. It was a floating compass, used for general navigation, usually mounted above the dashboard in the cockpit.

Considering the real serendepity in linking that route together, sometimes tenuously linking disconnected crack systems on a large and ever-steepening wall, I felt like I was drawing a bit into my personal bag of karma that trip. Amid the ruggedness of the situation, there was a benevolence of happenstance, as the weather was perfect and the route unfolded wonderfully (this karma came to a dramatic end on the East face of Steinbock a few days later, but that's another story).

 

It's hard to put a finger on any direct connection of our climb and ouselves with the tragedy, although the coincidence of the accident's occurence only a few weeks before I was born is one tiny thread. We were definitely involved in a positive psychic connection up there that weekend. I like to think that it was mainly the bond of friendship between me and Pete, which endures to this day, but if there were spirits still lingering up there, they were smiling with and upon us as we made passage.

 

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Well if Giesler doesn't recommend it that's saying something.

 

A while back Bryan Burdo posted a short description of the FA that makes for a good read. I've reposted it below.

 

Another great story involving this route is that the ill-fated team of Guy Edwards and John Millar intended to climb the route in a push. The day of the weather started out mediocre so they climbed the east ridge of Rexford instead. Upon topping out the weather had improved so they dropped down the west side to Nesakwatch Creek then hiked up to the Navigator Wall and sent it all in a day. That boggles the mind. Can any Canadians verify that tale?

 

 

 

The actual story as related to me by Guy is that they went in to free Pillar of Pi and it started raining so they soloed up the east ridge of Rexford and down into Nesakwatch Creek. The rain then stopped so they soloed the NE buttress on Slesse. It was during this trip that Guy scoped out the line that became The Real McKim, which deviates right from low on Navigator to the top of the East Buttress in search of better-looking rock.

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Well if Giesler doesn't recommend it that's saying something.

 

A while back Bryan Burdo posted a short description of the FA that makes for a good read. I've reposted it below.

 

Another great story involving this route is that the ill-fated team of Guy Edwards and John Millar intended to climb the route in a push. The day of the weather started out mediocre so they climbed the east ridge of Rexford instead. Upon topping out the weather had improved so they dropped down the west side to Nesakwatch Creek then hiked up to the Navigator Wall and sent it all in a day. That boggles the mind. Can any Canadians verify that tale?

 

When I climbed Navigator Wall with Pete Doorish (almost 20 years ago!??!!), we camped below the South Peak. I never saw any "Bone Cairn", but there was plenty of debris. I remember being most struck by a compact leather kit. I unzipped the top and opened it to find an electric shaver, it's cord neatly coiled around it. I thought about how some businessman had meticulously laid it out on a bed the morning of the flight. The sense of small-scale order amongst the chaos was a last flicker of humanity that we were privileged to find, and replace respectfully.

Near the top of the climb, on the third day, we noticed a massive amount of wreckage, including what looked to be a tail section, on the southern satellite summit, climber's left of the South Peak. Does anyone have information of the exact impact point of the crash? I remember being astonished at so much material being so precariously perched that high on the mountain. It looked like it must have been strongly embedded by the impact.

Finally, on the descent, there was yet more debris on the col above where we saw the wreckage, south of the South summit. It was here that, amongst some wiring and electronics, I reached down and picked up a three-inch diameter ring of metal. On it was inscribed the points of the compass. It was a floating compass, used for general navigation, usually mounted above the dashboard in the cockpit.

Considering the real serendepity in linking that route together, sometimes tenuously linking disconnected crack systems on a large and ever-steepening wall, I felt like I was drawing a bit into my personal bag of karma that trip. Amid the ruggedness of the situation, there was a benevolence of happenstance, as the weather was perfect and the route unfolded wonderfully (this karma came to a dramatic end on the East face of Steinbock a few days later, but that's another story).

 

It's hard to put a finger on any direct connection of our climb and ouselves with the tragedy, although the coincidence of the accident's occurence only a few weeks before I was born is one tiny thread. We were definitely involved in a positive psychic connection up there that weekend. I like to think that it was mainly the bond of friendship between me and Pete, which endures to this day, but if there were spirits still lingering up there, they were smiling with and upon us as we made passage.

 

 

Darin did you ever get Burdo's Steinbok story?

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Presumably the Steinbok story is that they bailed from or just above the offwidth on the east face where the rock turns to dangerously loose munge ie. where every other party that has tried the east face has also bailed from.

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