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wayne

They Made it!!

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Hate to steal any of their thunder, but Jens and Chad probably made it across the complete Pickets Summit-ridge Traverse. So stoked for them, and cant wait to hear all about it!

:rocken::brew:

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We saw them a couple of times up there. They were cruising it! Here they are on the summit of E Fury on their way to W for the night.

 

981364_3232544349255_521551186_o.jpg

Chad and Jens in high spirits.

 

It was good to hang with them and share in their obvious stoke for the Pickets! What an impressive accomplishment!

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Great to run into you Tom! Our high spirits were pushed higher by our encounter with you and Matt. Big, big thanks! Just so it's clear what we did exactly I've chosen to re post what I put on Facebook this morning. We gave the traverse our best effort, but did leave a few skeletons in the closet for a future Pickateer to clean out.

 

More to come, but here is a quick recap:

 

I've just returned to Leavenworth after an incredible trip to the Picket Ranges with Chad Kellogg. Our intention was to make a summit ridge traverse/enchainment of both the Southern and Northern Pickets and we mostly accomplished that. However, we did not summit the Ottohorn, The Frenzilspitz, or Ghost Peak. The Ottohorn and the The Frenzilspitz were skipped in favor of descending to Picket Pass after a 17 hour day getting to the Ottohorn/Himmelhorn Col. We NEEDED water badly and did not have enough fuel to melt a sufficient amount at the col, tackle those two peaks and move on. We knew we may have to give a peak or two up in the name of doing our best on the entire traverse, so we chose to step off the crest and head to Picket Pass (running water) so we would have the energy to give the northern section our all. A few days later we passed within 10 meters of Ghost Peak's summit, but chose to just keep moving along the ridge crest instead of tagging it. It's not often I skip a summit a few feet above my head, but weather was bearing down on us and we were trying to get off the traverse with all our might. Sure enough, it started to snow as we summited our last peak, Mt. Challenger. We desperately tried to descend our final glacier in a total whiteout, trying to get to lower lands. We had a very, very light kit and finally realized we would die if we tried to keep going. We retraced our steps in the whiteout to the summit of Challenger and huddled in a cave through the night. Two mornings ago, the sun returned and we began the long journey home.

 

Chad and I are very happy with our effort despite missing a few peaks and we both agreed we made good decisions in doing so. It was surely one of our top missions ever and took us to very near our physical (and mental) limits. We went very light and the weather did not turn out to be as nice as we thought, so our week out was mostly cold and uncomfortable. Aahhh, alpine climbing! I really like how you can't play games (link ups, speed records) in the Pickets. You get what you get and don't throw a fit. It's real out there.

 

Jens Holsten

 

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How is it that no ones commented on this all day long? That might must be the singularly most impressive ascent ever pulled off in the Cascades. So Huzzah! to you two.

 

Is there a more committing and technical traverse in the 48 states? In North America (well probably somewhere in AK right)? Imagine hitting a bunch of loose technical junk somewhere out in the Northern Pickets after 3?, 5?, 7? days on the go with next to nothing to bail you out of trouble.

 

So SO So IMPRESSIVE. Would love to hear the details along with a gear-junkies explanation of what you did and did not bring. 10 essentials? No essentials?

 

 

Edited by dberdinka

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Too true. Having just dabbled in the Pickets a bit, this is hard for me to wrap my mind around. Strong work!

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Yep. This, in my opinion, is the most impressive alpine thing to happen in the lower 48...ever maybe? One of the most impressive climbs period if alpine climbing is important to you. It's hard to compare anything done these days to big routes done in the first half of the 20th century, but damn, that ridge is long.

 

To fully appreciate what these guys did one needs to look at the Pickets from a few different angles, and take a couple of trips into the range. Looking at it from Triumph some years back I told my friend that a full traverse would be impossible. In the years that followed I dedicated every part of my life to climbing before trying the full ridge with Jens and Sol (we got half way). After that trip we all knew that it would someday be done, but that whoever pulled it off would have to be a truly great athlete at the top of their game. After years of giving climbing their all, these guys have earned this.

 

I think the part about missing a few summits is kind of poetic. They finished the traverse enough that it would be hard for the next party to really, truly claim a first, but still there is an unclaimed prize to be had. There will always be adventure to be had in the Pickets. I don't think any climber could ever outgrow that place (case in point: the complete lack of big routes that have been done in the winter). Good work guys!

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Thanks for the kind words guys...Of course, I wanted to be the first to say I had accomplished the Complete Pickets Summit Ridge Traverse, but it was not to be, even despite spending 7 days giving our all to come as close to the ideal (climbing every peak while staying on the crest in the Pickets with no support or cache) as we possibly could. It's funny how good of a lesson this is for me...I will have to come to terms with the decisions we made and cherish the memory of our experience despite missing the truest mark. As climbers, we can't attempt these sorts of routes for the glory, but rather for the valuable experience that is pushing our limits in beautiful mountains.

 

We dealt with many variables and in the end, made the best decisions we could. I will never forget this one and look forward to someday hearing about the first Complete Pickets Summit Ridge Traverse. For now, I am happy with our enchainment and the effort we gave up there.

 

Many, many thanks to Chad for a great time up there, Sol Wertkin and Dan Hilden for sharing part of the journey with me (we repeated the SP Traverse in 2011), and most of all, Wayne Wallace, the master Pickateer himself. I've had a lot of fun trying to pick up where he left off on many objectives in the Cascades. He is a true inspiration!

 

 

Edited by JensHolsten

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I am still holding out hope of getting my first up close look at the pickets this season, and definitely looking forward to reading more about this attempted traverse. I really wanted to hold off, and just enjoy the comments of more knowledgeable N Cascades climbers on this...

 

I will say that it is the reverential approach to the alpine experience that I find most inspiring.

 

d

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Fantastic indeed, and in the right spirit.

 

Water is a puzzle on this. Anyone who's been more than mildly dehydrated knows it affects both mind and body.

 

And then there's the weather. It can be sunny in Seattle and you can nearly freeze to death in a snowstorm on the Challenger.

 

Look forward to hearing the full tale and seeing it in Alpinist where it belongs, alongside other great climbs.

 

Congrats,

Rad

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"This is fucking AWESOME!!"

Having got my butt kicked once in the N Picketts, I just find it amazing to read about you guys running shop out in some of the wildest terrain in the lower 48. Great accomplishment all around!!

 

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well done, gentlemen. that's a lot of rugged terrain to cover period, much less unsupported/no cache.

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