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  2. Long snowy approaches - equipment recs???

    Hmm...I have never noticed that issue but you bring up a great point. I have definitely ridden a lot more in Spantiks than Nepals. I also think your suggestion to just walk is a great one. Especially to many of the popular routes there is a great boot pack this time of year. Here are a couple comparison pics. On the Spantik you can see the highback doesn't quite come to the top of the boot so definitely not a problem. On the Nepal it does come up higher than the boot by about 1 1/2". Again I have never noticed my calfs being sore or rubbing but I also have only done short decents like Aasgard Pass, Mt. Adams lower mountain and stuff in the Cabinets with them. I wonder if you could just flip the lever on the highback to give you more room? You would sacrifice performance but then again we are talking about efficiency of snow travel. This picture shows the lever flipped which creates several inches of room. Also I believe that Burton made a Lo-Back Binding that was significantly less than a traditional highback. Not sure they still do but maybe you could find an old used one.
  3. Today
  4. I think, after speaking with Dan Cauthorn and Jim Nelson, that @Nick andI made perhaps the second ascent (who knows) of this route in '97. It was excellent fun. The cornice was a monster when we did it. I aided the left hand wall, off a cam, then nailed a flake with a KB, which broke and fell in my lap. I nailed the stump and watched the KB rotate from 90 degrees to straight down. This got me high enough to bypass the super overhanding cornice to where it over hung only by 10 degrees. I made four aid moves off of pickets and flopped down the back side.
  5. Thanks Jason, I suspect given the number of Grade IV routes, it would be non-committing (easy to bail) Grade V and require a bivi. What did you climb on Conchord Tower, it is the only one I haven't done? That and the Minute Man.
  6. Ultimate Lib Bell group enchainment?

    I went with all easy routes and started with Liberty Bell, Beckey Route and finished with South Arete on SEWS. It was pleasant and not overly committing. Still, it took us all day and I was tired. Hey @jon....looks like the photo links are busted in the TR linked above? They should be on the cc.com server.....
  7. I've enchained a few of the Liberty Bell group towers, but never all of them. I'm thinking about what would be the highest quality moderate enchainment of the Liberty Bell group. Here is what I've come up with -Park at hairpin and climb SEWS, East Buttress Direct -Descend SE Arete -Climb NEWS, NW Corner -Descend via rappel route -Rappel NEWS-Lexington gulley to get to bottom of Lexington, East Face - is this even possible? If not, I guess descend back around SEWS -Lexington Tower, East Face -Something on Concord Tower - Cave route? Suggestions? - Liberty Bell, Beckey Route Thoughts? How would you do it?
  8. Long snowy approaches - equipment recs???

    NBC or 3Cs could easily be climbed in AT boots, though typically ski conditions are very poor when these are in good shape (as Gene points out). I climbed both in plastic boots after walking in during good spring conditions. I wouldn't want to climb a long rock arete in AT boots and haven't. I save those routes for after the ski season. I guess I'm a firm believer in climbing routes when they are in the "best" shape, i.e. the most enjoyable. This can mean other parties, but I'm OK with that. If you want solitude during the busier season, you can always go during the week.
  9. Long snowy approaches - equipment recs???

    Gene brings up a very good point. I typically try and tailor my objectives to conditions, including approach conditions. When things are snowy and soft, I stick to lower angled objectives easily done on skis. When conditions firm up you can usually ditch flotation and just walk, greatly simplifying everything.
  10. That glacier keeps looking sadder and sadder every year..... damn. nice work!
  11. Long snowy approaches - equipment recs???

    the few times I used leather climbing boots for splitboarding, I got pretty annoying pain on the calf muscle. the highbakcs are higher that the boot and would dig in on heal side turns. Did you find a really low highback (a lowback?) to not have this problem? I didn't know that they could be found that low. I shoved a small patch of foam from a ground pad back there but did not really that great.
  12. Long snowy approaches - equipment recs???

    why bring anything at all? most times you can just do them by walking in. the two routes listed has a standard bootpack going in to lake which is a pain to ski anyway, often in in late winter. I have seen alot of people packing skiis up to the lake. so for colchuck and dragontail, you would have 30 minutes of useful snow slide time before getting on route. The reality is that the snow is so deep that you need floatation, you really need to reconsider the route choice due to avi concerns. chair and baker often have bootpacks approaches also. Being able to walk on the approach without flotation is a good sign that the actual climbing route is in good condition. Things usually get more difficult the higher you go. If you are wallowing down low, expect more wallowing up high. steep wallowing is a good way to die.
  13. Trip: Mt. Stuart - Ice Cliff Glacier Trip Date: 04/20/2019 Trip Report: Jacob Krantz and I climbed the Ice Cliff Glacier (AI2, 60-70 degree snice) on Stuart on April 20th in 21+ hours car to car. We climbed three pitches of mostly steep snice and a little AI2 on the left side of the lower ice cliffs. The upper couloir was sustained and exposed at 50+ degree snice with a short bit of true WI2, but very secure climbing. The right hand exit had no cornice issues, although massive cornices still loom over the majority of the couloir. We chose not to go to the true summit since it was in the clouds and we were tired. The descent down the couloir to the Sherpa Glacier was extremely icy and grabby on skis and we actually chose to downclimb some of it. Lower glacier was awful breakable crust. All in all, about 24 miles, 8000-9000 ft gain, and one wild day of suffering and adventure in the mountains. For a more detailed, TR, see https://climberkyle.com/2019/04/20/mt-stuart-ice-cliff-glacier-ai2-60-70-degree-snice/. Entering the broad basin at 5400 ft. Looking up at the Ice Cliff Glacier. Starting up steep snow to the base of the cliffs. Leading up through steep snice and easy ice. An incredible setting! Looking up the exit couloir. We took the notch on the right. Soloing a nice AI2 bulge in the constriction in the couloir. Topping out on the route! Our little "summit" for the day. Sherpa Peak. First few turns into the couloir. It only got steeper and icier... Spooky loose wet slide that took out our skintrack through the woods, on a NW aspect in the basin around 5400 ft. Must have happened during the late afternoon at some point. Gear Notes: Used 2 pickets, 5 screws. One might want more pickets if you want to protect all the steep snice. Approach Notes: Road was skinnable a little before the Eightmile trailhead, but melting fast. We kept skis on all the way to Stuart, although just barely in places. Creek crossings were generally easy to find. The section after you leave the Stuart Lake trail is brushy. Be prepared.
  14. Long snowy approaches - equipment recs???

    I have had good luck with my mountaineering boots on a splitboard. If you get a small enough binding a La Sportiva Nepal works very well (definitely put in a dozen or more trips with that setup). I even used La Sportiva Spantiks with my splitboard up on Denali. I wouldn't want to ride those in the resort but as you stated you aren't looking for beautiful backcountry riding just efficient snow travel.
  15. Long snowy approaches - equipment recs???

    Thanks Jason! I have many questions because this snowy climbing idea is relatively new to me, despite years of rock climbing and doing many Mexican volcanos - I live in central Mexico. Curiously, Becky's books and the Nelson/Potterfield books give grades to the approaches but never really list gear needed on approaches (nor give suggestions). Skis seem the way to go for early season approaches (no surprise there) but my confusion still lingers as to say a route like Colchuck's N Buttress Couloir or Triple Couloirs - would you climb those routes in AT ski boots? I'm guessing so, but what if instead you got onto some long rock arete climbing? Would that change your choice?
  16. Long snowy approaches - equipment recs???

    Sahale is a great example of a good ski mountaineering peak in the spring. Just a short bit of snowed up 4th class that is easy to climb in AT boots. No need to haul your boots all the way in! There is a recent TR using this exact approach
  17. Long snowy approaches - equipment recs???

    Thanks Jason. That leads to another Q: Take Sahale, for example - if you went in mid May, I assume you'd ski in as far as you could, but would you take your mountaineering boots too for the summit or do them in your AT ski boots?
  18. Long snowy approaches - equipment recs???

    There is no secret miracle gear for the shoulder seasons. Most (including me) use skis until it isn't fun, and then at some point in the year transition to doing trips with just boots (I typically leave the skis at home after early/mid June or so). Modern AT boots climb just fine, at least if you aren't talking a lot of fifth class. It seems, at least to me, that the rock routes are typically in poor condition that time of year anyways. You can find a lot of good options in used AT gear, esp if you aren't super picky.
  19. That has happened to just about everybody who's tried that route in good weather, myself included!
  20. I'm itching to do more mountaineering/alpine climbing that would involve long approaches in snow with serious altitude gain involved - basically getting in early to beat the crowds (but not too early/winter). In the Cascades, I'm thinking of things like getting to Ingalls & Stuart or maybe Colchuck in late April or early May (depending on conditions of course) for solitude and to beat the crowds. Other ideas range from Chair Peak to Baker's N Face (wide range, I know...). I hate snowshoes because I find them slow, cumbersome, and maybe it's just that I believe that there have to be much better gear options out there. But I don't really want to fork over $2k for new AT boots and bindings and skis, nor do I want to climb in AT boots. What would be ideal in my crazy head is being able to use my Sportiva Nepal GTX Cubes on something efficient and light both up and down. And my goal is not to get in the best back country ski or snowboard run in but rather just to make the approach and return much more manageable for remote snowy mountain climbing adventures. The BD GlideLite 147 set-up seems the best option, and by best I don't mean to say "great" (the big weakness being that the binding doesn't allow a non-flexible boot and also has no heel elevator, so it seems more "trail" worthy than "mountain" worthy). Is there any miracle gear out there I just don't know about? What set ups do you all use?
  21. [TR] North Early Winters Spire - Early Winter Couloir (III AI3 M4+) 04/20/2019

    We also attempted Cauthorn-Wilson on Cutthroat Peak the next day.
  22. Alpine Dads wanted

    Thanks for the replies. If you haven't already, shoot me a PM with your contact information so I can add you to an informal e-mail. As for Oregon guys, I should haves stated that I live just north of Seattle in Mill Creek, and really looking for local partners to go hit stuff from about Adams to North Cascades. Part of the problem with kids is that I often only get a day, so anything farther than a couple of hours just eats too much into that day. If there are any more alpine dad's out there, send me your e-mail and phone number either in a PM, or post it on this forum and I will add you to the list.
  23. Yesterday
  24. Marmot Helium has been sold!
  25. Have a couple days to kill before heading to Rainier - probably spend those two days around Index but also open to other Seattle areas or climbing objectives. Will have a light rack with me, no rope.
  26. [TR] Dragontail Peak - Triple couloirs 03/31/2019

    If it cools down as forecast this upcoming weekend....it's possible. Often late April brings pretty good conditions.
  27. That's a proud ascent, well done!
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