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  3. [TR] Chimney Rock - Free Friends 07/06/2021

    Yea we climbed Free Friends last week and approached from the Priest Lake side. Once you get to the saddle just before going up to Roothaan you can take a trail around the north side of the mountain that stays high and crosses to the east side of the crest just north of Roothaan. From there it is a pleasant walk along the east side of the crest to the East Face of Chimney Rock. Approach is only a little over an hour this way! Oh and the route is really good quality.
  4. [TR] Chimney Rock - Free Friends 07/06/2021

    Trip: Chimney Rock - Free Friends Trip Date: 07/06/2021 Trip Report: God damn! This route is incredibly high quality and STOUT at the supposed pitch ratings of 5.9+, 5.10c, and 5.8+. It was a real pleasure getting up to Chimney again... better than I remembered. Full report with photos: SPOKALPINE Gear Notes: Doubles .2-4, triples .75-2. We used it all. Approach Notes: Sounds like the Western approach is the fastest option, and I've heard tales of being able to cross over to the East Face on the south of chimney rather than hiking around the North side. For this trip, we took the Eastern (Pack River) approach to enjoy the scenic hiking and try something new,
  5. [TR] Lion's Head - East Buttress 07/17/2021

    Trip: Lion's Head - East Buttress Trip Date: 07/17/2021 Trip Report: Idaho is amazing! You can have legit mountain adventures in the Selkirks on impeccable stone. I recently returned to Chimney Rock and thought I'd share my trip report here: SPOKALPINE Gear Notes: Singles .3-3, doubles .5-1 Approach Notes: Bushwhack for your life!!!!
  6. Awesome trip report and photos!
  7. Yesterday
  8. Cheers for all your hard work! Excited to check this one out.
  9. Damn that looks fun, it’s going on the list. Thanks for sharing the stoke!
  10. [TR] Goode - NE Buttress 07/02/2021

    We all experience these days. Thanks for posting anyways. I recently spent 3 days up at the Wine Spires of WA pass and basically got rained out everyday and climbed nothing. 🤷🏻‍♂️
  11. impressive and Very cool! I’m interested in hearing more about your decent. How did you get off the top of Whitehorse and end up back at the squire creek TH?
  12. Excellent! This valley just keeps getting better with each route and even mildly popular! I was clearing some of the trail up to the illusion wall last Thursday and there were two vehicles in the parking lot from out of state! 😮 Looks like the word is getting out! 😏
  13. Perry Creek. Damn. What an entry and exit point. I been in dees mountains a lot and I don't ever want to go there. Damn.
  14. Great to see you temporarily stopped arthritis!!!
  15. [TR] Forbidden - Northwest Face 07/18/2021

    Maybe after I come out of alpine retirement!
  16. [TR] Forbidden - Northwest Face 07/18/2021

    Fun times!! Epics are a nice way to learn.. When are you guys going for the N Ridge next??!! :-)
  17. Trip: North Cascades - Mt. Challenger to Luna peak Trip Date: 07/13/2021 Trip Report: From 7/13 to 7/21 myself (Jeremy) and my climbing partner (Ben) traversed along the base of the Northern Pickets and did a bit of climbing along the way. The story, however, starts a bit further back than that. My first attempted foray into the Pickets to climb Challenger was 20 years ago, and it ended almost as soon as it began. A nagging knee injury irritated by 2 weeks in the Tetons and Wind Rivers flared up as I trudged along the W shore of Ross Lake...The trip ended before we even reached Big Beaver. I never quite got the disappointment out of my head, but living on the other side of the country made planning a successful trip back there a lot harder than I appreciated. One year it was too much snow and we climbed Ruth as a consolation prize...another year we fell short on time, turning around at Perfect Pass to make it out in time for our flight. Last year was a pandemic...I work in a covid ICU, and the idea of one of us contracting the bug and then getting symptoms in the mountains wasn't worth the risk. So here we are, 20 years later, and I was willing to give it one last go. I'm no spring chicken anymore...arthritis is off to a quick start, and I never really developed the discipline to train. I'm not even a weekend warrior, more like an every third weekend warrior, but only if it isn't too hot out, or if there isn't beer to brew or board games to play. In short, I am a softer, weaker, and somewhat more rotund version of my younger self that first had Picket dreams. This trip we gave ourselves 8 nights in case of bad weather and to accommodate my sub par fitness level, plus I wanted to visit Luna Cirque if time allowed. Having come in via Easy Ridge before, I wanted to try a different approach, one without an imperfect impasse, so we took the water taxi to Big Beaver. The water taxi driver asked about our plans and upon hearing them gave us a lengthy, silent, and knowing smile that communicated volumes- it completely psyched me out. Our first day was short, ending at 39 mile camp with smoke haze visible on the peaks above us, though we couldn't smell it. Day 2 dawned with no smoke from the east side fire. We took the trail to Beaver Pass, leaving it about 100 meters past the shelter. The bushwhack over to the narrow rib wasn't bad at all, nor was travel to the first cliff band. After that things got steeper, and the going slower. It didn't help that I had gone a bit light on food and decided to ration the first 3 days...2 granola bars between breakfast and dinner was rough. Upon reaching the top of the second cliff band we filled up on water, knowing we would probably not make it much beyond treeline. We followed beta from the many helpful trip reports on this site to bypass the cliffbands, making camp around 5600' where the meadows begin. Bear scat was noted there, and the mosquitoes had me pull out my head net for the first time. We enjoyed sunset on Luna Peak and turned in for the night. Day 3 again dawned clear with no smoke. While we could see the fire clearly to the east near the pass, the smoke blew north and presumably east for the remainder of the trip. We made good time to the beautiful pools others have mentioned finding and stopped for breakfast. We had a bit of trouble crossing a tree lined cliff descending from north of Eiley lake, but once we found the correct gully we made it up to Eiley lake without too much trouble. Wiley lake followed soon after, and we had a decision to make. We had the most beta on the descent from 7374, so we opted for that instead of trying to wrap around the Wiley glacier. I think I messed something up on this descent, but we did make it down safely, albeit via a more circuitous route. We traversed through a notch and behind a snowpatch (moat) on easy ledges to reach a slope of black talus. This snowpatch lies at the head of a large talus and scree gully others have written about. We didn't see a way to keep traversing skiers right safely, so we descended snow and heather benches to skiers L, wrapping back N briefly up a ridge with goat paths to access easy scree and talus that led to snow in the basin below. This basin lies at the bottom of the large talus and scree gully we crossed when we came through the notch. From there snow patches linked us up to the Challenger glacier, which we took up to Challenger arm and camped. Day 4 we woke to whiteout conditions and gratefully slept in. Around 2 pm things cleared up and we made a push for the summit of Challenger. We had no crevasse difficulties, but shortly before the bergschrund the clouds rolled back in and wiped out visibility again. The bergschrund was still bridged, so we decided to go for it. I placed a few pickets up to the arete and over to the rock tower, especially since I couldn't see the consequences of a fall due to visibility. The rock pitch was attention getting...I used both my knee and belly mantle techniques to less than graceful effect, but made it up nonetheless. Ben belayed me over to the summit and I set a line for him to follow. I couldnt find the register, so we snapped some quick photos and got out of there...wind and cold were both unrelenting. I again set pickets on the steep snow, and we cruised back to camp once past the bergschrund. Day 5 was clearer, though by now I was really starting to slow down. Two days prior to starting this trip I had just finished a 40 mile backpack in the Glacier Peak wilderness, and was starting to feel the cumulative effects. We headed down into Luna cirque. While slow going, we never got cliffed out or had to backtrack. The snow patches were starting to get ugly on the margins, and there was a lot of water running underneath, so we opted for the slower talus and heather slopes below. Long after my knees had hired a lawyer and issued cease and desist orders, we finally reached the flat sand and gravel camp site that splits the large lateral moraine at the base of Luna cirque. This was easily a top 5 campsites of all time spot for me. I stayed up late just to experience as much of it as I could. The ice and rocks hurtling down the 4000 foot amphitheater walls all around us was an unforgettable experience. We saw one set of older boot prints here, but otherwise just goat prints. Day 6- I found myself not liking the look of the descent of the moraine..lots of vertically stacked boulders looming above a steep slope of dirt...so we opted to descend around the outlet of Lousy Lake. There were some tedious patches of alder on the traverse around the arcuate moraine, but I didn't find it to be too bad...Ben may not agree. Most of the alder on the west side of the lake was dead or dying from some sort of tent caterpillar. We forded the outlet stream and made our way up uncomplicated talus slopes to Luna Lake. There we had lunch and a swim before heading up to Luna pass.We found a weakness in the cliffs just to climbers left of a large drainage/gorge angling down the flanks of Luna that required only a 5 foot rock step and no bushwhacking, After that it was slabs, snow, heather, and talus up to the pass. Temps were not high, but the sun was powerful and this climb really zapped me. We made it to the pass well before sunset and had it all to ourselves. We had considered Fury as a stretch goal for the next day, but both of us were pretty spent at this point and decided to give it a miss. Day 7...We climbed up to the false summit of Luna and spent some time enjoying the views. I had no interest in trying to get over to the true summit...I'm not working on my Luna peak merit badge, and I despise the combination of loose rock and exposure, so I contented myself with the false summit. That afternoon we rested and prepared our knees for access creek. At sunset we saw our first person since 39 mile camp. Day 8 we descended steep rock and heather below the pass, mostly avoiding the undermined snow patches. We found a reliable social trail that took us to the correct notch for descent into access basin. This descent was much, much longer than I realized, and my knees were whimpering by the time we made Access creek. There we got good beta on the route out from a pair headed to Fury. We lost the social trail in the woods a few times but even without it this was easy going. The final drop to Big Beaver was punishing but clear most of the way. Flagging marked a safe and shallow ford of Big Beaver next to a logjam. From there it was an easy walk up to the trail and down to Luna camp for our last night. Day 9 Up early to make boat taxi at 1015, retrieved beer from lake, and met our ride back at SR20. I've been eating hourly since then. Final thoughts. In spite of the extra climb over Hannegan pass and the tedious detour below the impasse, I thought Easy ridge was the easier approach as compared to Eiley Wiley. If I had to go again, I would probably go earlier in season and take the Whatcom glacier route to Perfect pass. Bugs were quite bearable, only used bug juice once and headnet twice. If anyone needs details on any of the navigation I can reply below. I will try to post some photos tomorrow if I get a chance Gear Notes: Bug head net, Fritos, bottle of Aleve Approach Notes: Big Beaver to Eiley Wiley Ridge, exit Access Creek.
  18. Trip: Forbidden - Northwest Face Trip Date: 07/18/2021 Trip Report: Last weekend, AC, AN, XT and I had a very humbling and unforgettable experience on the Northwest Face of Forbidden Peak. Some lessons learned -- always factor in ample time for routefinding; emergency bivvies, Nuun tablets and Justin’s nut butter are worth the weight; never take descents for granted; and a good attitude and level head are key in the mountains. Our epic journey began on Friday afternoon. After lunch at Mondo’s, we got a leisurely start from milepost 20 around 1:30pm. It was overcast and foggy when we reached low camp and we hoped for better weather as we swatted marmots away from our campsite and prepped our meals and packs for the next day. We left camp around 5:30am in a heavy fog. As we marched toward Sharkfin Col the fog broke and Johannesburg appeared behind us. By 7:30am we reached the base of Sharkfin Col bypass gully, which we recognized from the obvious snow finger. This we took until it petered out into loose rock that felt pretty miserable to navigate in crampons. (Left: The beginning of the Sharkfin Col bypass gully. Right: After the snow disappears, leaving loose rocks.) We missed the turnoff which would’ve led us to a rap station that supposedly would have brought us to Boston Glacier in one rappel. Instead, around 8:30am we reached the top of the gully at over 7800ft with a long and sketchy rappel path to the bottom. This mishap cost us several hours. Where we’d expected a single rap to take us down to the glacier, we instead required four unsavory rappels over hanging snowfields and loose rock. We found rappel tat in several places from parties that had found themselves in the same situation. Partway through, a falling rock struck AN’s rope leaving it coreshot about 15 feet from one end. We tied it off and used a biner block to rappel off the other rope. The final rappel took us over the lip of an enormous snowfield and a large bergschrund, from where we walked onto Boston Glacier. (Left: Rappelling off the snowfield. Right: A view of the hanging snowfield from below.) We touched down on Boston Glacier around noon. We were already 3 hours behind schedule but figured we could make up some of that time on what looked like a relatively flat glacier crossing. “The hard part is over!” we thought. In any case, now that we had made the sketchy raps over Sharkfin Col we had no real option to turn back. We had been worried that the hot summer had opened up the crevasses but AN navigated us across Boston Glacier skillfully and we reached the North Ridge around 2:30pm. Although prior trip reports had mentioned two possible crossings, the only one we recognized was a corner that others had described as a “dirt pitch” with the consistency of “potato chips.” It required some finagling to get to this pitch as the snow had melted out from the base of the notch leaving a moat. We prepared to arrest as AN carefully navigated around the edge and then lowered herself into the moat and brought the rest of us in. It’s hard to overstate how nasty the climbing is on this “pitch” — gravel and dirt held together by who knows what (gravity?) and unprotectable unless you count the picket in the snow. Other reports suggest that earlier season (or in a cooler summer) you can get directly onto the pitch higher up, but with the snow melt we had to climb up from the base on very loose terrain. AC led up in his aluminum crampons, kicking off loose dirt and gravel, and set up a fixed line for the rest of us. (Left: AC leading up the dirt pitch. Right: The moat from where we started.) The careful climbing took us more time, so it was 4pm by the time we were all on top. Thankfully from here we could walk directly onto Forbidden Glacier and for the first time could see our route. We were hopelessly behind schedule but decided to keep going to see how far we could get before dark. But at least now the hard part was definitely over, right?! (Left: View after crossing the North Ridge. You can see the severely broken up snow near the Northwest Buttress. Right: Crossing Forbidden Glacier with a view of Moraine Lake.) To avoid the many crevasses, we decided to stay high and hug the toe of the Northwest Buttress, which we reached by 5pm. However, once we reached the toe we found no obvious way to gain the rock. A curving snow bridge provided the only visible way to get around to the west side where the route began. AN put in a picket and walked carefully across the bowl. To our right was a wall of seracs, and we could hear ice/snow breaking after a full day in the sun. Once we were all on the other side, AC went up on belay with a picket to see if he could find the start of the climb, but as he continued higher all he found was hard 5th class climbing. (Left: The curving snowbridge to pass under the toe of the buttress. Right: Seracs to the right of the buttress.) We reconvened and decided we needed to reset. Because of crevasses, the only way to backtrack would have required us to loop back around the glacier. To save time and energy, we decided to set up a rappel. We slung a boulder with some cord, backed it up with a small cam, and lowered ourselves back onto the glacier. (Left: Rappelling back down to the glacier to try to gain the route from further right. Right: Heading up the steep snow ramp at sunset.) This time we stayed low and approached from the larger ramp on the far west side of the buttress. It was unexpectedly steep and lined with crevasses you couldn’t see until you were upon them. AN led us carefully over the snow ramp to what we could now see was the base of the climb at around 7600ft. (Left: The rocky ramp that marks the start of the route. Right: Simulclimbing after sundown.) At this point it was 8pm and the sun was dropping behind Eldorado. We snapped some photos of the sunset over Moraine Lake and prepared mentally for an unplanned bivy up on the ridge. We rested, packed our water bottles with snow, and finished gearing up. We started simulclimbing around 9pm in our headlamps and reached a ledge at around 7700ft right before the knife edge pitch. We anchored ourselves in and tried to find a way to Tetris/penguin-huddle our bodies onto the small platform. We had one emergency bivy for the four of us so we each picked our favorite leg and stuck it in for warmth. By now we were low on food and water, but still miraculously high in stoke (we credit the Nuun tablets). (Above: Packed into the bivy ledge watching the sunrise.) At 5am the sun started peeking over the North Ridge and the view was a nice consolation to a long and cold night. We divvied up a chocolate croissant while watching the clouds drift by. Once the sun hit the ledge our limbs began to thaw and we were ready to move. We assured one another, “now the hard part is most definitely over!” and that this would be a quick day. We racked up and AC and XT started up the knife edge around 7am. The knife edge was beautiful, exposed climbing on good rock and with unbeatable views. This side of Forbidden is rarely climbed and the isolation is both serene and intimidating. (Left: Sunrise from the bivy ledge. Right: Morning sun hitting the knife edge.) After the knife edge pitch, we continued up a crack with an old piton. This led to a very tight, featureless and poorly protected chimney. We opted to drop down and left to a decent ledge that led to easier climbing and likely bypassing the crux. From here we continued with a mix of pitched and simulclimbing on blocks, jugs and cracks. (Left: AC leading up the crux pitch. An old piton is stuck in the crack. Right: AC on the final pitches near the summit.) Routefinding became a challenge once the ridge blended into the face, and a “choose your own adventure” approach led us into harder terrain a few times. Towards the top, we stayed too far right and continued up a sketchy lichen-covered face where we should have veered left through a wide blocky corner. AC and XT moved swiftly and reached the summit around 2:30pm, and AN and I around 3:45pm as we had pitched out a couple of the trickier spots. (Above: XT at the summit.) We had a quick celebratory moment on the summit, but once the high was over, the lack of water, food and sleep caught up to us. “But the descent will be quick,” I thought to myself, as AC and AN had both done the West Ridge before. By now I should’ve known better! AC led the way with rappels down the West Ridge, putting in directionals to minimize risk of swings. After four rappels, we simulclimbed down to the “airy step” and then jumped over to the notch. Hardly a straightforward descent. We hiked down Catscratch Gully which was loose and trashy, as expected, to the first rappel station. The sun was nearly gone by the time we began our rappels around 8:30pm. We moved as quickly as we could, but with 7 rappels, 4 people and having to search for the rappel stations in the dark we did not touch back down onto snow until midnight. Exhaustion had fully set in. We had been carefully rationing food and water but by now it was all long gone except for a stale energy bar I couldn’t bring myself to eat because it just made me thirstier. We put our crampons back on and as we plunged down the snowfield, I made the mistake again of thinking to myself, “Thank god!! It’s almost over.” No such thing. Walking down, AC’s aluminum crampon had finally had enough and broke, causing him to fall and sprain his knee. We reached the edge of the snowfield and continued onto slick, wet slab. In the pitch black dark, it was hard to tell what was snow or rock, and we hit several dead ends. At one point we realized we had missed the trail for high camp, but figured we could cut low through the slab and grass and connect to the trail. Nope. Moss turned into high grass and brush and we bushwacked zombie-like across the meadow. However when we finally reached Boston Creek we were too low and could not find a passable route. Someone finally pointed out that it was already 3am and we froze -- we’d been wandering for 3 hours?! Deflated, we sat down in the grass and decided to wait until pre-dawn light could help us regain our bearings. In the distance we could see a couple of lights toward the direction of camp but could not make out a path to get there. I wondered whether someone had called search and rescue early, though we had our doubts since we were not yet overdue. AC suspected that it was just another party getting an alpine start. XT, at the end of her proverbial rope, began to flash her headlamp and shout for help. As soon as she saw them return the signal with their headlamp, she grabbed her pack and took off in their direction. Perplexed, the rest of us stayed put to wait for pre-dawn light. While AC and AN somehow continued conversing in complete sentences, I laid with my head in my arms and wondered dimly whether those porky marmots had trashed our camp while we were gone. At the first hint of light around 4:30am, we pulled ourselves up and were able to see where we could gain the high camp trail. We also noticed that a headlamp was still hovering around the other side of the creek, and it followed us as we hiked back up. Near the high camp trail, we connected with the owner of the headlamp, Ryan, who had been heading out with his partner for a one-day climb of Sahale before he heard XT shouting for help. In an admirable act of kindness, he and his partner had decided to forego their climb and instead wait for us to make sure we were all safe. (Ryan, if you’re out there, thank you!) We chatted a bit, confirmed that XT was safely back at camp, and then headed back ourselves, finally reaching low camp around 6am. Exhausted but relieved, we shared a couple of Mountain Houses, packed up our camp and headed back down around 8:30am, reaching the car at MP 20 around 11am on Monday. (Above: Digging deep for smiles on day 2 of our epic.) This route took us on a literal and figurative journey. We knew the route overall was committing (as once you pass over Sharkfin Col there is no easy way to bail), but underestimated the technical challenges that made each juncture committing also. Much of the terrain was steep, nonobvious, complicated by snowmelt, and backtracking was either dangerous or time-consuming or both. Even without routefinding mishaps I don’t think we could’ve done it in one push from and back to low camp. I am deeply grateful to this team who showed serious grit and heroic cheerfulness in unplanned situations, to good samaritans like Ryan for demonstrating that even among strangers there is a community that looks out for one another, and to this monster of a route for a humbling lesson. For the rest of the summer you’ll find me cragging at Index. Gear Notes: Doubles 0.3-2, lots of slings for simulclimbing. Axe, crampons (aluminum ones broke), emergency bivy! Approach Notes: See above
  19. Trip: Forbidden - Northwest Face Trip Date: 07/18/2021 Trip Report: Last weekend, AC, AN, XT and I had a very humbling and unforgettable experience on the Northwest Face of Forbidden Peak. Some lessons learned -- always factor in ample time for routefinding; emergency bivvies, Nuun tablets and Justyne’s nut butter are worth the weight; never take descents for granted; and a good attitude and level head are key in the mountains. Our epic journey began on Friday afternoon. After lunch at Mondo’s, we got a leisurely start from milepost 20 around 1:30pm. It was overcast and foggy when we reached low camp and we hoped for better weather as we swatted marmots away from our campsite and prepped our meals and packs for the next day. We left camp around 5:30 in a heavy fog. As we marched toward Sharkfin Col the fog broke and Johannesburg appeared behind us. By 7:30am we reached the base of Sharkfin Col bypass gully, which we recognized from the obvious snow finger. This we took until it petered out into loose rock that felt pretty miserable to navigate in crampons. (Left: The beginning of the Sharkfin Col bypass gully. Right: After the snow disappears, leaving loose rocks.) We missed the turnoff which would’ve led us to a rap station that supposedly would have brought us to Boston Glacier in one rappel. Instead, around 8:30am we reached the top of the gully at over 7800ft with a long and sketchy rappel path to the bottom. This mishap cost us several hours. Where we’d expected a single rap to take us down to the glacier, we instead required four unsavory rappels over hanging snowfields and loose rock. We found rappel tat in several places from parties that had found themselves in the same situation. Partway through, a falling rock struck AN’s rope leaving it coreshot about 15 feet from one end. We tied it off and used a biner block to rappel off the other rope. The final rappel took us over the lip of an enormous snowfield and a large bergschrund, from where we walked onto Boston Glacier. (Left: Rappelling off the snowfield. Right: A view of the hanging snowfield from below.) We touched down on Boston Glacier around noon. We were already 3 hours behind schedule but figured we could make up some of that time on what looked like a relatively flat glacier crossing. “The hard part is over!” we thought. In any case, now that we had made the sketchy raps over Sharkfin Col we had no real option to turn back. We had been worried that the hot summer had opened up the crevasses but AN navigated us across Boston Glacier skillfully and we reached the North Ridge around 2:30pm. Although prior trip reports had mentioned two possible crossings, the only one we recognized was a corner that others had described as a “dirt pitch” with the consistency of “potato chips.” It required some finagling to get to this pitch as the snow had melted out from the base of the notch leaving a moat. We prepared to arrest as AN carefully navigated around the edge and then lowered herself into the moat and brought the rest of us in. It’s hard to overstate how nasty the climbing is on this “pitch” — gravel and dirt held together by who knows what (gravity?) and unprotectable unless you count the picket in the snow. Other reports suggest that earlier season (or in a cooler summer) you can get directly onto the pitch higher up, but with the snow melt we had to climb up from the base on very loose terrain. AC led up in his aluminum crampons, kicking off loose dirt and gravel, and set up a fixed line for the rest of us. (Left: AC leading up the dirt pitch. Right: The moat from where we started.) The careful climbing took us more time, so it was 4pm by the time we were all on top. Thankfully from here we could walk directly onto Forbidden Glacier and for the first time could see our route. We were hopelessly behind schedule but decided to keep going to see how far we could get before dark. But at least now the hard part was definitely over, right?! (Left: View after crossing the North Ridge. You can see the severely broken up snow near the Northwest Buttress. Right: Crossing Forbidden Glacier with a view of Moraine Lake.) To avoid the many crevasses, we decided to stay high and hug the toe of the Northwest Buttress, which we reached by 5pm. However, once we reached the toe we found no obvious way to reach the rock. A curving snow bridge provided the only visible way to get around to the west side where the route began. AN put in a picket and walked carefully across the bowl. To our right was a wall of seracs, and we could hear ice/snow breaking after a full day in the sun. Once we were all on the other side, AC went up on belay with a picket to see if he could find the start of the climb, but as he continued higher all he found was hard 5th class climbing. (Left: The curving snowbridge to pass under the toe of the buttress. Right: Seracs to the right of the buttress.) We reconvened and decided we needed to reset. Because of crevasses, the only way to backtrack would have required us to loop back around the glacier. To save time and energy, we decided to set up a rappel. We slung a boulder with some cord, backed it up with a small cam, and lowered ourselves back onto the glacier. (Left: Rappelling back down to the glacier to try to gain the route from further right. Right: Heading up the steep snow ramp at sunset.) This time we stayed low and approached from the larger ramp on the far west side of the buttress. It was unexpectedly steep and lined with crevasses you couldn’t see until you were upon them. AN led us carefully over the snow ramp to what we could now see was the base of the climb at around 7600ft. (Left: The rocky ramp that marks the start of the route. Right: Simulclimbing after sundown.) At this point it was 8pm and the sun was dropping behind Eldorado. We snapped some photos of the sunset over Moraine Lake and prepared mentally for an unplanned bivy up on the ridge. We rested, packed our water bottles with snow, and finished gearing up. We started simulclimbing around 9pm in our headlamps and reached a ledge at around 7700ft right before the knife edge pitch. We anchored ourselves in and tried to find a way to Tetris/penguin-huddle our bodies onto the small platform. We had one emergency bivy for the four of us so we each picked our favorite leg and stuck it in for warmth. By now we were low on food and water, but still miraculously high in stoke (we credit the Nuun tablets). (Above: Packed into the bivy ledge watching the sunrise.) At 5am the sun started peeking over the North Ridge and the view was a nice consolation to a long and cold night. We divvied up a chocolate croissant while watching the clouds drift by. Once the sun hit the ledge our limbs began to thaw and we were ready to move. We assured one another, “now the hard part is most definitely over!” and that this would be a quick day. We racked up and AC and XT started up the knife edge around 7am. The knife edge was beautiful, exposed climbing on good rock and with unbeatable views. This side of Forbidden is rarely climbed and the isolation is both serene and intimidating. (Left: Sunrise from the bivy ledge. Right: Morning sun hitting the knife edge.) After the knife edge pitch, we continued up a crack with an old piton. This led to a very tight, featureless and poorly protected chimney. We opted to drop down and left to a decent ledge that led to easier climbing and likely bypassing the crux. From here we continued with a mix of pitched and simulclimbing on blocks, jugs and cracks. (Left: AC leading up the crux pitch. An old piton is stuck in the crack. Right: AC on the final pitches near the summit.) Routefinding became a challenge once the ridge blended into the face, and a “choose your own adventure” approach led us into harder terrain a few times. Towards the top, we stayed too far right and continued up a sketchy lichen-covered face where we should have veered left through a wide blocky corner. AC and XT moved swiftly and reached the summit around 2:30pm, and AN and I around 3:45pm as we had pitched out a couple of the trickier spots. (Above: XT at the summit.) We had a quick celebratory moment on the summit, but once the high was over, the lack of water, food and sleep caught up to us. “But the descent will be quick,” I thought to myself, as AC and AN had both done the West Ridge before. By now I should’ve known better! AC led the way with rappels down the West Ridge, putting in directionals to minimize risk of swings. After four rappels, we simulclimbed down to the “airy step” and then jumped over to the notch. Hardly a straightforward descent. We hiked down Catscratch Gully which was loose and trashy, as expected, to the first rappel station. The sun was nearly gone by the time we began our rappels around 8:30pm. We moved as quickly as we could, but with 7 rappels, 4 people and having to search for the rappel stations in the dark we did not touch back down onto snow until midnight. Exhaustion had fully set in. We had been carefully rationing food and water but by now it was all long gone except for a stale energy bar I couldn’t bring myself to eat because it just made me thirstier. We put our crampons back on and as we plunged down the snowfield, I made the mistake again of thinking to myself, “Thank god!! It’s almost over.” No such thing. Walking down, AC’s aluminum crampon had finally had enough and broke, causing him to fall and sprain his knee. We reached the edge of the snowfield and continued onto slick, wet slab. In the pitch black dark, it was hard to tell what was snow or rock, and we hit several dead ends. At one point we realized we had missed the trail for high camp, but figured we could cut low through the slab and grass and connect to the trail. Nope. Moss turned into high grass and brush and we bushwacked zombie-like across the meadow. However when we finally reached Boston Creek we were too low and could not find a passable route. Someone finally pointed out that it was already 3am and we froze -- we’d been wandering for 3 hours?! Deflated, we sat down in the grass and decided to wait until pre-dawn light could help us regain our bearings. In the distance we could see a couple of lights toward the direction of camp but could not make out a path to get there. I wondered whether someone had called search and rescue early, though we had our doubts since we were not yet overdue. AC suspected that it was just another party getting an alpine start. XT, at the end of her proverbial rope, began to flash her headlamp and shout for help. As soon as she saw them return the signal with their headlamp, she grabbed her pack and took off in their direction. Somewhat stunned, the rest of us stayed put to wait for pre-dawn light. While AC and AN somehow continued conversing in complete sentences, I laid with my head in my arms and wondered dimly whether those porky marmots had trashed our camp while we were gone. At the first hint of light around 4:30pm, we pulled ourselves up and were able to see where we could gain the high camp trail. We also noticed that a headlamp was still hovering around the other side of the creek, and it followed us as we hiked back up. Near the high camp trail, we connected with the owner of the headlamp, Ryan, who had been heading out with his partner for a one-day climb of Sahale before he heard XT shouting for help. In an admirable act of kindness, he and his partner had decided to forego his climb and instead wait for us to make sure we were all safe. (Ryan, if you’re out there, thank you!) We chatted a bit, confirmed that XT was safely back at camp, and then headed back ourselves, finally reaching low camp around 6am. Exhausted but relieved, we shared a couple of Mountain Houses, packed up our camp and headed back down around 8:30am, reaching the car at MP 20 around 11am on Monday. (Above: Digging deep for smiles on day 2 of our epic.) This route took us on a literal and figurative journey. We knew the route overall was committing (as once you pass over Sharkfin Col there is no easy way to bail), but underestimated the technical challenges that made each juncture committing also. Much of the terrain was steep, nonobvious, complicated by snowmelt, and backtracking was either dangerous or time-consuming or both. Even without routefinding mishaps I don’t think we could’ve done it in one push from and back to low camp. I am deeply grateful to this team who showed serious grit in unplanned situations, to good samaritans like Ryan who demonstrate that even among strangers there is a community that looks out for one another, and to this monster of a route for a humbling lesson. For the rest of the summer you’ll find me cragging at Index. Gear Notes: Doubles 0.3-2, offset nuts, lots of slings for simulclimbing. Approach Notes: See above.
  20. Trip: Forbidden - Northwest Face Trip Date: 07/18/2021 Trip Report: Last weekend, AC, AN, and I had a very humbling and unforgettable experience on the Northwest Face of Forbidden Peak. Some lessons learned -- always factor in ample time for routefinding; emergency bivvies, Nuun tablets and Justyne’s nut butter are worth the weight; never take descents for granted; and a good attitude and level head are key in the mountains. Our epic journey began on Friday afternoon. After lunch at Mondo’s, we got a leisurely start from milepost 20 around 1:30pm. It was overcast and foggy when we reached low camp and we hoped for better weather as we swatted marmots away from our campsite and prepped our meals and packs for the next day. We left camp around 5:30 in a heavy fog. As we marched toward Sharkfin Col the fog broke and Johannesburg appeared behind us. By 7:30am we reached the base of Sharkfin Col bypass gully, which we recognized from the obvious snow finger. This we took until it petered out into loose rock that felt pretty miserable to navigate in crampons. (Left: The beginning of the Sharkfin Col bypass gully. Right: After the snow disappears, leaving loose rocks.) We missed the turnoff which would’ve led us to a rap station that supposedly would have brought us to Boston Glacier in one rappel. Instead, around 8:30am we reached the top of the gully at over 7800ft with a long and sketchy rappel path to the bottom. This mishap cost us several hours. Where we’d expected a single rap to take us down to the glacier, we instead required four unsavory rappels over hanging snowfields and loose rock. We found rappel tat in several places from parties that had found themselves in the same situation. Partway through, a falling rock struck AN’s rope leaving it coreshot about 15 feet from one end. We tied it off and used a biner block to rappel off the other rope. The final rappel took us over the lip of an enormous snowfield and a large bergschrund, from where we walked onto Boston Glacier. (Left: Rappelling off the snowfield. Right: A view of the hanging snowfield from below.) We touched down on Boston Glacier around noon. We were already 3 hours behind schedule but figured we could make up some of that time on what looked like a relatively flat glacier crossing. “The hard part is over!” we thought. In any case, now that we had made the sketchy raps over Sharkfin Col we had no real option to turn back. We had been worried that the hot summer had opened up the crevasses but AN navigated us across Boston Glacier skillfully and we reached the North Ridge around 2:30pm. Although prior trip reports had mentioned two possible crossings, the only one we recognized was a corner that others had described as a “dirt pitch” with the consistency of “potato chips.” It required some finagling to get to this pitch as the snow had melted out from the base of the notch leaving a moat. We prepared to arrest as AN carefully navigated around the edge and then lowered herself into the moat and brought the rest of us in. It’s hard to overstate how nasty the climbing is on this “pitch” — gravel and dirt held together by who knows what (gravity?) and unprotectable unless you count the picket in the snow. Other reports suggest that earlier season (or in a cooler summer) you can get directly onto the pitch higher up, but with the snow melt we had to climb up from the base on very loose terrain. AC led up in his aluminum crampons, kicking off loose dirt and gravel, and set up a fixed line for the rest of us. (Left: AC leading up the dirt pitch. Right: The moat from where we started.) The careful climbing took us more time, so it was 4pm by the time we were all on top. Thankfully from here we could walk directly onto Forbidden Glacier and for the first time could see our route. We were hopelessly behind schedule but decided to keep going to see how far we could get before dark. But at least now the hard part was definitely over, right?! (Left: View after crossing the North Ridge. You can see the severely broken up snow near the Northwest Buttress. Right: Crossing Forbidden Glacier with a view of Moraine Lake.) To avoid the many crevasses, we decided to stay high and hug the toe of the Northwest Buttress, which we reached by 5pm. However, once we reached the toe we found no obvious way to reach the rock. A curving snow bridge provided the only visible way to get around to the west side where the route began. AN put in a picket and walked carefully across the bowl. To our right was a wall of seracs, and we could hear ice/snow breaking after a full day in the sun. Once we were all on the other side, AC went up on belay with a picket to see if he could find the start of the climb, but as he continued higher all he found was hard 5th class climbing. (Left: The curving snowbridge to pass under the toe of the buttress. Right: Seracs to the right of the buttress.) We reconvened and decided we needed to reset. Because of crevasses, the only way to backtrack would have required us to loop back around the glacier. To save time and energy, we decided to set up a rappel. We slung a boulder with some cord, backed it up with a small cam, and lowered ourselves back onto the glacier. (Left: Rappelling back down to the glacier to try to gain the route from further right. Right: Heading up the steep snow ramp at sunset.) This time we stayed low and approached from the larger ramp on the far west side of the buttress. It was unexpectedly steep and lined with crevasses you couldn’t see until you were upon them. AN led us carefully over the snow ramp to what we could now see was the base of the climb at around 7600ft. (Left: The rocky ramp that marks the start of the route. Right: Simulclimbing after sundown.) At this point it was 8pm and the sun was dropping behind Eldorado. We snapped some photos of the sunset over Moraine Lake and prepared mentally for an unplanned bivy up on the ridge. We rested, packed our water bottles with snow, and finished gearing up. We started simulclimbing around 9pm in our headlamps and reached a ledge at around 7700ft right before the knife edge pitch. We anchored ourselves in and tried to find a way to Tetris/penguin-huddle our bodies onto the small platform. We had one emergency bivy for the four of us so we each picked our favorite leg and stuck it in for warmth. By now we were low on food and water, but still miraculously high in stoke (we credit the Nuun tablets). (Above: Packed into the bivy ledge watching the sunrise.) At 5am the sun started peeking over the North Ridge and the view was a nice consolation to a long and cold night. We divvied up a chocolate croissant while watching the clouds drift by. Once the sun hit the ledge our limbs began to thaw and we were ready to move. We assured one another, “now the hard part is most definitely over!” and that this would be a quick day. We racked up and AC and started up the knife edge around 7am. The knife edge was beautiful, exposed climbing on good rock and with unbeatable views. This side of Forbidden is rarely climbed and the isolation is both serene and intimidating. (Left: Sunrise from the bivy ledge. Right: Morning sun hitting the knife edge.) After the knife edge pitch, we continued up a crack with an old piton. This led to a very tight, featureless and poorly protected chimney. We opted to drop down and left to a decent ledge that led to easier climbing and likely bypassing the crux. From here we continued with a mix of pitched and simulclimbing on blocks, jugs and cracks. (Left: AC leading up the crux pitch. An old piton is stuck in the crack. Right: AC on the final pitches near the summit.) Routefinding became a challenge once the ridge blended into the face, and a “choose your own adventure” approach led us into harder terrain a few times. Towards the top, we stayed too far right and continued up a sketchy lichen-covered face where we should have veered left through a wide blocky corner. AC and moved swiftly and reached the summit around 2:30pm, and AN and I around 3:45pm as we had pitched out a couple of the trickier spots. (Above: at the summit.) We had a quick celebratory moment on the summit, but once the high was over, the lack of water, food and sleep caught up to us. “But the descent will be quick,” I thought to myself, as AC and AN had both done the West Ridge before. By now I should’ve known better! AC led the way with rappels down the West Ridge, putting in directionals to minimize risk of swings. After four rappels, we simulclimbed down to the “airy step” and then jumped over to the notch. Hardly a straightforward descent. We hiked down Catscratch Gully which was loose and trashy, as expected, to the first rappel station. The sun was nearly gone by the time we began our rappels around 8:30pm. We moved as quickly as we could, but with 7 rappels, 4 people and having to search for the rappel stations in the dark we did not touch back down onto snow until midnight. Exhaustion had fully set in. We had been carefully rationing food and water but by now it was all long gone except for a stale energy bar I couldn’t bring myself to eat because it just made me thirstier. We put our crampons back on and as we plunged down the snowfield, I made the mistake again of thinking to myself, “Thank god!! It’s almost over.” No such thing. Walking down, AC’s aluminum crampon had finally had enough and broke, causing him to fall and sprain his knee. We reached the edge of the snowfield and continued onto slick, wet slab. In the pitch black dark, it was hard to tell what was snow or rock, and we hit several dead ends. At one point we realized we had missed the trail for high camp, but figured we could cut low through the slab and grass and connect to the trail. Nope. Moss turned into high grass and brush and we bushwacked zombie-like across the meadow. However when we finally reached Boston Creek we were too low and could not find a passable route. Someone finally pointed out that it was already 3am and we froze -- we’d been wandering for 3 hours?! Deflated, we sat down in the grass and decided to wait until pre-dawn light could help us regain our bearings. In the distance we could see a couple of lights toward the direction of camp but could not make out a path to get there. I wondered whether someone had called search and rescue early, though we had our doubts since we were not yet overdue. AC suspected that it was just another party getting an alpine start. XD, who was at the end of her proverbial rope, began to flash her headlamp and shout for help. As soon as she saw them return the signal with their headlamp, she grabbed her pack and took off in their direction and disappeared into the darkness. The rest of us decided to stick with our plan to wait for pre-dawn light. While AC and AN somehow continued conversing in complete sentences, I laid with my head in my arms and wondered dimly whether those porky marmots had trashed our camp while we were gone. At the first hint of light around 4:30pm, we pulled ourselves up and were able to see where we could gain the high camp trail. We also noticed that a headlamp was still hovering around the other side of the creek, and it followed us as we hiked back up. Near the high camp trail, we connected with the owner of the headlamp, Ryan, who had been heading out with his partner for a one-day climb of Sahale before he heard shouting for help. In an admirable act of kindness, he and his partner had decided to forego his climb and instead wait for us to make sure we were all safe. (Ryan, if you’re out there, thank you!) We chatted a bit, confirmed that was safely back at camp, and then headed back ourselves, finally reaching low camp around 6am. Exhausted but relieved, we shared a couple of Mountain Houses, packed up our camp and headed back down around 8:30am, reaching the car at MP 20 around 11am on Monday. (Above: Digging deep for smiles on day 2 of our epic.) This route took us on a literal and figurative journey. We knew the route overall was committing (as once you pass over Sharkfin Col there is no easy way to bail), but underestimated the technical challenges that made each juncture committing as well. Much of the terrain was steep, nonobvious, complicated by snowmelt, and backtracking would be either dangerous or time-consuming or both. Even without routefinding mishaps I don’t think we could’ve done it in one push from and back to low camp. I am deeply grateful to this team who showed serious grit in unplanned situations, to good samaritans like Ryan who demonstrate that even among strangers there is a “community” that looks out for one another, and to this monster of a route for a humbling lesson. For the rest of the summer you’ll find me cragging at Index. Gear Notes: Doubles 0.3-2, offset nuts, lots of slings for simulclimbing. Approach Notes: See above.
  21. Another @seano-sighting! @therunningdog and I saw him a couple weeks ago on Forbidden. He gets around! And good work on WHC- I bet Silas and @John_Roper are proud that that this route is getting more attention. It's an excellent one!
  22. Nice TR, and great running into you guys! I think I took a photo of that very same giant "tree ear" mushroom on my much less successful Pickets trip:
  23. Last week
  24. New, never used fully functional $350 OBO PayPal or venue local PDX pickup preferred
  25. Dayum, your first Cascade trip outside of the Pickets? Thats fuckin hard core. Can't imagine the motivation needed to attempt a new route (on Mox, no less) after a week in the wilderness.
  26. Hat’s off and great sleuthing, Jake, Adam and Emilio, Very impressed especially as out-of-WA-staters that you uncovered several significant North Cascades’ firsts on your Chilliwacks’ trip: · New approach route to SE Mox up the N lobe of Perry Creek glacier to Col of the Wild. (Our similar 1978 plan to do this was diverted from Perry Creek to Col of Nature when a party member suffered GI distress). · First SE Mox to Lemolo RT traverse (and 2A of Lemolo). (This was our plan in 1982, when a lightning storm came at us over the Northern Pickets forcing retreat from Hard Mox.) · Plus first try at the Crazy Crushed Contours Wall on W of NW Mox. Take a look at the wild contours on the map here.
  27. Sweet! Wild hair is a pretty awesome route, and the NE ridge of the Chopping Block should not be missed either. Looks like a fun trip!
  28. [TR] Mt Jefferson - South Ridge 07/23/2021

    More images https://imgur.com/a/YCI9i0w
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