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John Frieh

first ascent [TR] Burkett Needle - West Ridge "Smash and Grab" (FA) 7/4/2009

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Trip: Burkett Needle - West Ridge "Smash and Grab" (FA)

 

Date: 7/4/2009

 

Trip Report:

Summary: First Ascent of the west ridge of Burkett Needle on July 4th 2009. Dave Burdick and John Frieh: "Smash and Grab" 5.8 M4 IV.

 

Burkett Needle courtesy of the great John Scurlock. The west ridge is the left hand skyline:

view_from_south_edit.jpg

 

Alternative view from north; west ridge is the right hand skyline:

Burkett_Needle.jpg

 

Itinerary

July 3: SEA -> Petersburg, AK -> Burkett boulder -> High camp

July 4: High camp -> west ridge -> summit -> rapped South Buttress Route -> high camp

July 5: High camp -> Burkett boulder -> Petersburg

 

Burkett Needle climbing history to date:

1964 - North Buttress (5.6) - Layton Kor and Dan Davis. August 9th. (1st Ascent and 1st Free Ascent)

1982 - attempt on the west side by Steve Monks and Damian Carroll. April/May

1995 - attempt on the South Face (V 5.9 A3 difficulty) - Joe Reichert, Gardner Heaton. March-April

1995 - South Pillar (V 5.10 A3+) - Greg Collum, Greg Foweraker, and Dan Cauthorn. May (2nd Ascent)

1999 - Le Voyage des Clochards Celestes (VI 7a+ A3+, ca. 1200m) on the south-east face - Lionel Daudet, Stbastien Foissac. May 29th (3rd Ascent)

2005 - attempt on the South Pillar by Carl and Bill. July

2006 - attempt on the South Pillar by Carl and Kale. July

2006 - attempt on the West Ridge by Dave Burdick and Micah Lambeth. July

2008 - South Pillar ascent to base of final 5.7 pitch by Zac and Nick

2009 - South Pillar ascent with a new three pitch free variation + 1 rappel that rejoins the South Pillar route above the aid pitch (5.10+) - Jens Holsten & Max Hasson. June 10th (4th Ascent)

2009 - West Ridge (IV 5.8 M4) - Dave Burdick, John Frieh. July 4th (5th Ascent)

 

Pictures and prose:

This trip was all Dave. Dave had the approach dialed from his last trip in 2006, stalked the daily NOAA updates and always immediatly called the both the chopper pilot Wally and local climbing guru Dieter Klose at the first sign of high pressure. It only took 3 years but he finally nailed a solid window :crosseye::laf:

 

I wasnt expecting a second trip to Alaska this year but the phone rang the Tuesday prior and in a little over 48 hours later I was sorting gear in Dave's garage.

 

We were in Petersburg around 10:45 am on the 3rd... following a quick stop at the grocery story and lunch with Dieter we loaded up the chopper and a half hour later we were deposited at the Burkett boulder. We grabbed enough supplies for a few days, cached the rest and headed for a high camp on the ridge climbers left of the glacier.

 

Drop point; Needle in the background

burkett_needle_from_boulder.JPG

 

One bag of chips or two?

burkett_boulder.JPG

 

Approach stoke

burkett_approach_dave.JPG

 

High camp. Radio tunes courtesy of a well positioned MSR windscreen

burkett_camp_radio.JPG

 

We left camp the following morning @ ~6:30 am and minus a few crevasses to avoid and an almost lost ice tool were @ the base of the ridge with out incident around 9:30 am or so.

 

Fat kids make better post holes

burkett_needle_glacier.JPG

 

Dave drafting; Devils Thumb in the background

burkett_glacier.JPG

 

Can you feel the stoke yet? :rawk:

burkett_base.JPG

 

At the base of the ridge

burkett_col_dave.JPG

 

burkett_john.JPG

 

The ridge started with a mixed pitch before leading into clean granite. We changed into rock shoes and started simuling

 

Let's get this party started

burkett_lower_ridge.JPG

 

More please

burkett_lower_ridge_1.JPG

 

Dave loving it... can you tell? :)

burkett_lower_ridge_dave.JPG

 

Following a nice simul block we encountered enough snow on the ridge to warrant changing back into boots (this becomes a theme)

 

From hand jams to ice tools

burkett_middle_ridge_dave.JPG

 

burkett_middle_ridge.JPG

 

A few mixed pitches took us to the top of the false summit. To be completely honest when I pulled over the top of the false summit I wasnt sure if the ridge was going to go. It looked hard... at least to this sucky climber.

 

View from the false summit

burkett_view_from_false_summit.JPG

 

We rapped in to the low point in between the false summit and the true summit for a better look... from below it didnt look as bad and Dave stepped up to give it a go :)

 

We changed back into rock shoes yet again :crosseye:

burkett_notch.JPG

 

It turned out the climbing was significantly easier that it appeared and Dave made quick work of the best pitch on the entire route

 

Dave! :rawk:

burkett_upper_ridge_dave_1.JPG

 

Dave was nice enough to let me have the next one

 

My turn

burkett_upper_ridge.JPG

 

Dave following

burkett_upper_ridge_dave.JPG

 

I brought us to the final snow summit where guess what! We changed shoes yet again :laf:

 

Boots for the summit

burkett_final_dave.JPG

 

5th Ascent!

burkett_dave_summit.JPG

 

burkett_summit_john.JPG

 

We rapped the south buttress route per Zac's recommendation and the suspicion Jens and Max had beefed up all the rap anchors.

 

Even though the rope got stuck 3 times this descent is the way to go IMO. We found the south buttress route topo was invaluable in assisting locate the next rap anchor.

 

Hi jinxs

burkett_rap_jingus_dave.JPG

 

Rapping the golden slab

burkett_golden_slab_rap.JPG

 

The highlight of the descent was rapping the severely overhanging A3+ aid roof pitch.

 

Love the exposure

burkett_aid_pitch_rap_john.JPG

 

Dave's turn

burkett_aid_pitch_rap.JPG

 

 

We reached the base just after sunset. Speaking of...

 

burkett_sunset.JPG

 

Done :)

burkett_dave_ground.JPG

 

A quick stroll back down the glacier brought us back to the tent and a late dinner.

 

Headed home

burkett_headed_home.JPG

 

The following morning we packed up and headed back down to the Burkett Boulder were we signaled Wally who promptly picked us up and whisked us back to Petersburg.

 

Love the 3 day weekend!

john_and_dave.JPG

 

Shouting Out:

- Dave for putting this together. He made it happen! :tup:

- Dieter Klose for the beta, a place to dirt bag, rides and letting us browse his black book of climbs and history for the Stikine area. :tup:

- Emily for the airport service and tracking the spot :tup:

 

Gear Notes:

We took:

 

1 tool per person

crampons

pins

picket

double rack to a #3 + 1 #4 c4

double set of nuts (one set was burned getting down)

50' of rap tat (used all of it + both our cordelettes)

 

I'd recommend

Double set -> 1 camalot + 2, 3, and maybe a 4 c4

double set of nuts (keep one set in the bag for getting down)

lots of rap tat

tool per person

pons

picket maybe??? better safe than sorry?

 

Approach Notes:

Wally is the man

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The memories of a man in his old age are the deeds of a man in his prime (Floyd).

 

:rocken::rawk::brew:

 

And for Max and Jens: :tup::moondance::toad:

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Nice weekend juant fellows. Saw maxs pic and John scurlocks of the needle, what a cool place. Congrats to the both of you and to Dave for persevering.

 

Thanks for the tr. :rawk::yoda:

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In case you need one more dude to step and relay how awesome this is: consider me that dude. What kind of elevation/distance are we talking about here? Say base to summit and shoulder to summit?

 

Awesome job and TR.

 

Dave: :tup::tup: for having his shit together.

 

John: :tup::tup: for that and sharing the stoke with us cube farmers.

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Great Job Guys... nice looking route.

 

In your little history of the needle I think you missed something, Zac Hoyt and Nick Elson did a route (FA?) in there a couple years ago.. I will get more info and post back to you...

 

okay.. this is Nick's Quote about B-Needle : "23 days of bad weather! Alaskan hardman Zac Hoyt and I climbed to within 100 feet of the summit of Burkett Needle via the South Buttress (5.10+, A3+) before being turned back by a fierce storm."

 

They didn't get an FA I guess..

 

 

Again, good work on your route!

Edited by marc_leclerc

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Great Job Guys... nice looking route.

 

In your little history of the needle I think you missed something, Zac Hoyt and Nick Elson did a route (FA?) in there a couple years ago.. I will get more info and post back to you...

 

okay.. this is Nick's Quote about B-Needle : "23 days of bad weather! Alaskan hardman Zac Hoyt and I climbed to within 100 feet of the summit of Burkett Needle via the South Buttress (5.10+, A3+) before being turned back by a fierce storm."

 

They didn't get an FA I guess..

 

 

Again, good work on your route!

 

Yeah... we met Zac in town... he was on the South Buttress route also so even if he did make the summit it wouldnt have been an FA. Super cool super motivated climber. They were turned back due to rime ice! :mistat: I did include it in the history up there.

 

Thanks everyone for the props! Something I may or may not have forgotten to add in to the TR here:

 

[video:vimeo]5497987

 

The rap off the A3+ pitch is so overhung one has to swing over and in to reach the next rap station... I had the bulk of the gear as being the fat kid was always first to rap to test the anchors and as you can see more or less suck at swinging around :laf: :laf: Dave was kind enough to capture it on video :blush:

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Up on the Stikine, it's all about the weather. Which is frequently very wet for long periods of time (hence the Icecap) even in the summertime. Obviously Alpine Dave and Dieter Klose had it pretty well sussed out.

 

Thirty years ago on this date I sat for weeks under the Burkett Needle and only fairly briefly did we see it. Luck with the weather gods plays strongly into making ascents in the Coast Ranges.

 

Really strong effort guys. I'm mightely impressed.

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Nice work guys...love the route name! A couple of clarifications on John's info. The SB of Burkett Needle went all free at 10+, there is no rappel. Also, we did not beef up any of those anchors you rapped off. Original webbing all the way...nice work again!

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Geez, two PNW teams within a month of each other--that probablly counts as crowded up there.

 

Well done!

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Nice work guys...love the route name! A couple of clarifications on John's info. The SB of Burkett Needle went all free at 10+, there is no rappel. Also, we did not beef up any of those anchors you rapped off. Original webbing all the way...nice work again!

 

Original webbing!?!? You guys are brave! You guys need to ask your sponsors for rap tat next time :laf:;)

 

I'm fairly certain you or Max's entry in Dieter's book mentioned a rappel...? :confused:

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Max and I climbed two new pitches around the aid and then tried to continue a much more difficult variation on the SE face. We were turned back by steep, poorly protected rock and made a rappel back down to the top of our second pitch before shooting left (third pitch variation)back onto the SB. Future parties will not need to rappel, the only reason we did was to get back to the route.

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Ahhh... cool! I knew I remembered reading something about a rap so that makes a lot more sense... very cool you guys found a way to make it go free! Congrats again on all your ascents up there! :tup::rawk:

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