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  1. 6 points
    Trip: Mt Stuart - Direct North Ridge Trip Date: 06/22/2020 Trip Report: I finally ticked off this crown jewel of the Cascades! We did deal with some tough early season conditions, including snow and ice on the "Slab with Crack" as well as the section between the gendarme and the summit. I've included the text of my report below. Full report with photos can be found at https://spokalpine.com/2020/06/29/mt-stuart-direct-north-ridge/ John and I climbed the Direct North Ridge of Mount Stuart on a “leisure” schedule from June 21-23, 2020. It was the culmination of years of honing my mountain craft in the Cascades and abroad; this one meant a lot! The journey started in 2016, when I saw Stuart in person for the first time from Colchuck Peak. I was spellbound by the rugged beauty of the mountain with its springtime coating of snow and ice, making the North Ridge even more dramatic as it soared directly to the summit. It is possible to climb the North Ridge using an “abbreviated” start, gaining the ridge crest at half-height via a rocky gully rising from Stuart Glacier – this version of the route is included as one of the “50 Classic Climbs of North America” and some say it is the most commonly climbed version. To me, a direct start climbing directly from the toe of the ridge creates a much more pure, aesthetic and logical line to the summit. The Direct North Ridge instantly became my goal. Three months later after I first laid eyes on it, John and I made the Southern approach via Ingalls Creek for an attempt on the route. Cresting Goat Pass, we stopped to stare at the route in profile. The scale of the climb was jaw-dropping; we quickly turned around and went home. We were not ready and we knew it, but we made other excuses. Four years and many climbs went by before John and I decided that it was time to put this project to bed. This time, we trudged up Mountaineer’s Creek to Mount Stuart. Swarming insects, brutal heat, boulder hopping and a off-trail bushwhacking brought us to our plush back country campsite below Stuart’s Northern aspect. A few other climbers passed by our camp on their way out; they were the last people we would see for two days. We had the entire valley, and mountain, to ourselves. Cheers to weekday alpinism! With the Summer Solstice only two days prior, we had a long day of daylight on our side. Planning to blast the route and descent in a single push from camp, the route was already in full sun as we started hiking up the moraine at 5:30am. John volunteered to lead the first pitch, which was a great warmup for the day. The “slot” on this pitch is as awkward as people say… hang the leader’s pack off of a cam below the slot and belay just above. The leader can lower a loop of rope to the follower and haul the packs past the slot. I took point on the uneventful second pitch and John fired the 5.9+ third pitch, the hardest pitch on the climb. After a fourth belayed pitch (perhaps 5.7), we changed gears to simulclimbing mode. This part of the climb was truly a gift, featuring moderate climbing and unbeatable alpine ambiance. Rock and ice thundered down Ice Cliff Glacier every few minutes, reminding us that the mountain is always in charge. Our staircase of clean granite carried us 1600 feet higher into the cobalt sky. After a few hours, I lead over a high point in the ridgeline and felt my stomach drop. I was looking at the well-known and typically easy “slab with crack” pitch, but it was partially covered in snow and ice. There were no signs of prior passage and I questioned whether or not I would be able to climb it in these conditions. I quickly realized that I had to give the pitch my absolute best effort – bailing from this high on the ridge would be an absolute nightmare. The mountain was testing us even more than I expected. I cautiously led up the pitch, placing a solid cam a few feet below the snow patch before strapping my pathetic, worn-down aluminum crampons on my approach shoes. Evaluating the snow patch, I realized that it consisted of about 1 inch of ice against the rock with a couple of inches of snow on top. My ultralight ice axe would not be able to excavate the crack to place protection. The first few feet were the thinnest, and I willed the snow patch to stay attached to the mountain. With full commitment, I stepped onto the ice and quickly power-stepped my way up, trying to maintain my upward momentum. Racing to the top, I slapped my hands on the lip and mantled to a perfect belay stance. The final section of mid-fifth class climbing was still very snowy. Several miserable pitches with snow blocking the easiest route cost us a lot of time. Since it was dark already, we chose not to hurry, shifting our focus to finding the safest route among the snow and loose rock. Several times, I found myself at a dead-end, requiring me to reverse the last few moves and find another way. This was crushing in my exhausted state! We pulled onto the summit just at 11:30pm as the temperatures dropped. Regardless, I was incredibly happy and felt no stress about our situation, just focus and joyful resolve. We could handle this. The night sky was ablaze with stars and I was living my ideal atop this massive, complex peak. We began toiling our way down the East Ridge on snow, then 4th class rock, and then a lot more snowy rock. It was extremely slow going in the dark and we settled in for a short bivouac once we found a good platform. Bouts of violent shivering and continual harassment from the local snafflehounds provided entertainment until the sun rose again. In the morning, we continued traversing the East Ridge and descended the Sherpa Glacier, which was a tedious but straightforward descent option. The hike out to the car was quite the death march, but it always seems that way! Gear Notes: Doubles from fingers to #3. Approach Notes: Approach via Mountaineer's Creek and descent via the Sherpa Glacier.
  2. 5 points
    Trip: Mt Index - Hourglass Gully Trip Date: 06/05/2020 Trip Report: "The struggle of man against man produces jealousy, deceit, frustration, bitterness, hate. The struggle of man against the mountains is different. Man then bows before Something that is bigger than he. When he does that, he finds serenity and humility, and dignity too." - Northwest local & former Supreme Court justice William O. Douglas Seeking some serenity in these nationally troubled times, last Friday I headed up Mt Index via the aptly named Lake Serene. Spent the night in my truck at the trailhead and headed out under headlamp at ~2AM. Reached the lake in a couple hours, then another hour around the west side of the lake as dawn broke. From the snowy saddle above the lake at ~3050’, it’s a choose your own adventure up the brushy east ridge with two distinct class 4 slabby steps the way I went. After the ridge leveled out, I traversed to the left for a bit, turned the buttress at 4200’, and then had continuous well consolidated snow all the way up the hourglass gully to the ridgetop below the summit. From there an easy walk to the summit going somewhat clockwise to avoid cliffs and cornices. Some moats are developing at the hourglass constriction, and in the center/left couloir immediately above. They were well bridged, but could get difficult getting in/out/over when they melt out. Looking down at Lake Serene from near the 3050' saddle: Looking up the first slabby 4th class step on the East Ridge: Upper East Ridge, hourglass gully on the left, mostly out of sight : Good snow conditions inside the gully: Looking down from partway up the gully: Summit views! The descent took almost as much time as the ascent, mostly due to copious breaks enjoying the scenery, but also some downclimbing in the couloir and the hourglass constriction, and two rappels on the east ridge. After not seeing a soul all day, I ran into TONS of hikers on the trail to Bridal Veil Falls and Lake Serene. Lots of younger and diverse folks enjoying nature. I think that’s a good thing, and look forward to this new generation getting bored with the trail hikes and venturing further and higher into the mountains to find some serenity and humility, and dignity too. Back to the truck early afternoon feeling very mentally refreshed. Gear Notes: Crampons, axe, 60m rope for 2 raps on the east ridge Approach Notes: Lake Serene
  3. 4 points
    Trip: Teanaway - Iron, Teanaway, Bills, Marys, Bean, Earl, Navaho, Freedom, and Miller Trip Date: 06/21/2020 Trip Report: Peter, Matt, Steven and I climbed nine peaks in the Teanaway on the solstice, starting at the Iron Peak trailhead and ending at the Miller/Bear trailhead. We stayed true to the ridgeline the entire way, with the exception of Earl to Navaho. Snow conditions were primo, supplying water and excellent boot skiing. The technical crux was definitely the ridge between Marys and Bean, which yielded some class 4-5 on excellent rock. The SW ridge of Bills also had some steep, exposed class 3. It came out to 20 miles and 10k gain and took us 9:20. So much great bang for your buck in this area. Nice way to kick off summer! https://climberkyle.com/2020/06/21/the-teanaway-traverse/ Iron Peak. On the ridge between Marys and Bean. Looking back on the Marys Bean traverse. Navaho from Earl. Great boot skiing down Navaho towards Freedom. Gear Notes: Running shoes. 1L water. Approach Notes: All pretty straightfoward.
  4. 4 points
    I recently found my hard copy of this guide and seeing it has not been posted up (at least I could not find it) I thought for fun I would post it. It was written probably 25 plus years ago by Make Dale. The Cascade Brush and Bushwhack Rating System by Mark Dale For years there has been something sadly lacking in the climbing world. Something necessary to help describe the total mountaineering experience in those areas blessed with challenging peaks surrounded by primeval forest. That something is a brush and bushwhack rating system. After years of the hand-to-limb combat encountered in below-timberline approaches, one comes to realize that this part of an ascent can be half or more of the battle. (Notice the use of fighting terms.) And yet, just how does one accurately relate this important facet of a climb in words? "It was ugly, real ugly," "Brutal," "A freaking flail," "Oh, not too bad, but I did lose a pint of blood." Well, these are pretty good subjective descriptions, but what's missing here is something more definitive. What we need is a way to portray in a more precise manner those endearing struggles with the brush. Therefore I propose the Cascade Brush and Bushwhack Rating System. This system is so named because most of my experience in the past ten years of climbing has been in the Washington Cascades. It's perfectly applicable, though, to other ranges of a similar nature, e.g. the Olympics, Northern Selkirks, British Columbia Coast Range, Alaska Range or any mountain group where below-timberline approaches necessitate brush-beating and bushwhacking. This system rates both difficulty and grade much like the technical climbing ratings in use today. Before defining system nomenclature here are a few guidelines for describing your favorite flail: 1. Conditions described must be when the approach is snow-free, since snowpack greatly affects most bushwhacks, reducing their difficulty considerably. 2. More demanding terrain, e.g. cliffy or steep, will increase a bushwhack's difficulty and grade as compared to one with the same vegetation on level ground. 3. Both the density and the type of brush are important factors. I'll take an open area of mature devil's club over a dense stand of slide alder any day. 4. Grade is determined by both time and distance involved in completing the approach, as well as the duration of the difficulties. 5. Since creek and river crossings play an important part of many approaches, a special sub-rating has been devised for these. 6. When a mechanical device such as a machete is used the bushwhack is no longer "free," and an aid sub-rating must be used. Difficulty Ratings These apply to the "free" difficulties (no aid used) and range from BW1 to BW5, where BW stands for "bushwhack." Difficulty ratings apply to those areas of worst brush that can't be avoided. BW1 Light brush. Travel mostly unimpeded, only occasional use of hands required (e.g. mature open forest). BW2 Moderate brush. Occasional heavy patches. Pace slowed, frequent use of hands required. BW3 Heavy brush. Hands needed constantly. Some loss of blood may occur due to scratches and cuts. Travel noticably hindered. Use of four-letter words at times. BW4 Severe brush. Pace less than one mile per hour. Leather gloves and heavy clothing required to avoid loss of blood. Much profanity and mental anguish. Thick stands of brush requiring circumnavigation are encountered. BW5 Extreme brush. Multiple hours needed to travel one mile. Full body armor desirable. Wounds to extremities likely, eye protection needed. Footing difficult due to lack of visibility. Loss of temper inevitable. Aid Ratings When artificial means are used to penetrate brush, then an aid rating should be used to describe the device required. These ratings range from BA1 to BA5, where BA stands for "brush aid": BA1 Machete or sickle BA2 Gas-powered weed-eater BA3 Chainsaw BA4 Agent orange BA5 Bulldozer Creek and River Ratings These ratings are used to describe the difficulty in crossing watercourses. The range is WA1 to WA5, where WA stands for "water": WA1 A dry crossing is possible by using rocks or logs. WA2 Possible wet crossing, but a dry crossing can be accomplished with some finesse. WA3 Wet crossing, ankle- to calf-deep. WA4 Wet crossing, calf- to knee-deep. WA5 Wet crossing, greater than knee-deep, possibility of getting swept downstream. WA6 Water deep enough to require swimming. WA7 Water temperature, current velocity, to factors make an attempt to cross potentially lethal. (Frequently a factor in Alaska and New Zealand, for instance). Grades Grades range from I to VI and follow the same general guidelines as climbing grades: I Brush beating can be done in a few hours or less. II Generally will take less than half a day. III Could take most of a day, but hardened parties will be able to complete in a short day. IV Will take a long day and involve continuous battle. V A 1+ to 2-day bushwhack, difficulty rarely less than BW4, large quantities of bandaids and wound dressings will be needed unless properly attired. VI The most extreme of bushwhacks, requiring over 2 days to complete with probably a BW5 encountered along the way. Epic Ratings E1 Unplanned delays require explanations to significant other. E2 Same as E1, but with companion of opposite sex (not significant other). E3 Overnight bivy required. E4 Same as E3, but with companion of opposite sex. ... E10 Whole party vanishes. Following are some examples of rated bushwhacks: Picket Range, Goodell Creek approach -- Grade III - IV, BW4 Mt. Shuksan, White Salmon approach -- Grade I - II, BW4- Mt. Spickard, Silver Creek approach -- Grade V, BW4+ Mt. Blum, Blum Lakes approach -- Grade III, BW3+, WA5 Devils Peak, Coal Creek approach -- Grade I, BW2 Monashees, Thor Creek approach -- Grade VI, BW4, BA1 Chimney Rock, standard approach -- Grade II, BW2 And there you have it. No longer must one try to decipher the deranged mutterings of a victim of jungle warfare. A person needs only to apply the appropriate brush ratings to relate his brutal experience to others. And who knows? With advances in bush technology and the competitive nature of climbers, we'll probably see difficulties pushed to BW6 and beyond. And there just HAVE to be some Grade VII's out there! So come on, folks! The next time you report a mountaineering trip that involves green hell, use the Cascade Brush and Bushwhack Rating System to tell others about it. They'll be glad you did!
  5. 4 points
    Hey y'all, been lurking here for a few years soaking up a ton of great advice - never posted about any of my (+ wife) trips, so figured I'd put up a few pics from early June where we went for an Adams+Rainier two-fer. We nailed the window for Adams, getting to the mountain 2days after the park opened and only a couple days after blizzard-like conditions - kept a SUPER keen eye-out for avy prone slopes! Camped in a great little spot on the Lunch Counter and went up the following day. The south route was actually still pretty icy and a bit steeper than either of us expected, and boy is it a mental gut-punch getting to Pikers and (though expected) still seeing another ~600ft of climbing left. Bluebird skies by the time we hit the summit, and things started de-icing by the time we were coming down (around 1ish? we started late to let the ice thaw a tad). Also, a ton of what I assume are sulphur vents up there? Pretty cool! Big shout out to the guy who took our summit pic - he gave us an ersatz lesson in glissading (somehow we'd still never done it) and that is THE way to get down if you aren't ski descending. Also, big apology to the skiers who (whom?) were surely perturbed by us on the way down! We spent a night in Ashford after we descended and planned to get on Rainier and do the DC the next morning. Weather report said clear and warming, and hoooooo-boy was that wrong. We got to Paradise around 8am and it was cloud city - with that and still being kinda sore from Adams, we said screw it and decided to just do a hike to Muir. Going down it was, like, 40ft visibility from 7500-9000ft which was pretty concerning - this was the day that lost hiker at Paradise went missing, so I'm assuming it was due to the whiteout (we personally ran into a dude who got separated from his wife and kid - who it turns out decided to descend without telling him???). And good golly, we were seeing people still coming up in tshirts, shorts, and tennis shoes with no supplies! One group tried going up this steep snowslope before Panorama without even microspikes! The degree to which some people are so cavalier with their lives is mind boggling. Anyway that sort of brings me to why I posted this in the "newbies" section - even with >10yrs of trad/aid/sport climbing experience and a couple prior Rainier summits plus this recent trip, my wife and I are only FINALLY starting to feel comfortable with our skills. To any of the newbies thinking "I've got backpacking experience, so I can pull off Rainier. Surely crampons aren't THAT tough to figure out" you will fail. If you want to get a jump on the learning curve, I would personally recommend multiple guided trips - we did the independent route and are only 50/50 so far! I digress. Anyway, big thanks to the website and users, and hopefully we'll have more trip posts in the future!
  6. 4 points
    Trip: Monte Cristo - Standard Trip Date: 06/22/2020 Trip Report: After another disappointing weekend weather forecast my son and I opted for a one day trip up Monte Cristo on Monday. We had previously been in the area last September on a one day trip up Columbia Peak. From the latter summit we had discussed a return visit for either Monte Cristo or Cadet, and it's the right time of year now for either. We drove up to Barlow Pass Sunday night, arriving at dusk and setting our alarms for 4 am. We had our bikes with us to speed up our approach. We biked into town at dawn, locked our bikes at the rack and headed up the trail to Glacier Basin. The trail was in mostly good shape and snow free until you approach the basin above 4000'. We took a quick rest break just beyond and above Ray's Knoll, opting to put on crampons then. We ascended continuous snow from there to the v notch. The snow conditions were great - not icy but not too soft either. View up Monte Cristo in the morning: Ascending good snow From the col we roped up knowing there could be moat issues and that we needed to do one technical pitch anyways. As I approached the snow to rock transition, I could see it was already non-trivial. I downclimbed about 4 feet onto a snowy block and then tried to work my feet up to a higher snow block, but slid down and crushed the snow below me. I then tried to get into the moat higher up the slope, but it was worse there. I returned to my original spot and made several attempts to climb up 8 feet or so before finally succeeding, then made a low 5th move past a piton onto a belay ledge and brought up my son. We then got out the rock pro and I took a try at the short technical pitch. There was snow melting from above right into the crack I wanted to use. The pre-placed sling above was soaking wet and when I grabbed it water ran down my arm. Footing was not good with boots in the wet crack. I backed down and put on rock shoes so I could try to stay on dry holds on the right side of the crack, got up a few feet, then grabbed the wet sling to pull the lip. from there one more 5th class move got me to the rappel anchor. From this spot, we could see the source of the running water - a large snow patch right on top of the slabs. Fortunately the left side was dry and we were able to scramble past the snow on dry rock. Above that we also avoided snow by staying on blocky 3rd class terrain on ribs and eventually got to the finale- breccia rock on the summit block. Factoring in the moat shenanigans and wet crack for the rock pitch, we were satisified with our 8.5 hour time from cars to summit. Blocky class 3 scrambling below the summit: Kyes Peak from the summit: We downclimbed to the rappel anchor, rapped first to the belay ledge to retrieve gear, then into the moat. From there we roped up again (just to protect the moat exit) and returned to the v notch. From here we unroped and downclimbed the steep snow slopes face-in, using an ice axe and picket each for more security. The snow conditions were still good with not much more softening up since we had climbed. Once slopes moderated the hike out was cruiser. Gear Notes: Ice axe, crampons, small rack. Approach Notes: Snow in glacier basin up to base of route.
  7. 3 points
    Trip: Corax Peak - North Face Trip Date: 07/05/2020 Trip Report: Not a single TR for this route to be found anywhere; does everyone just do the scramble to tick off their Bulger lists? Rolf and I climbed the NF of Corax Peak this weekend, 6 pitches of 5.7 starting from the left side of the chimney above the crescent shaped snowfield in the photo, going up to the ridge and thence to the summit. Mostly fun blocky ridge climbing, though the first pitch was more "interesting" as Rolf would say, featuring lichen and some loose/suspect rock and excavation of placements and some thoughtful moves. It doesn't appear that it's gotten much traffic since Rick La Belle did the FA in 1991; though of course we could have been off route. Stellar day out though and only saw three people at camp and maybe five on the trail. Gear Notes: 60 m rope, single rack to #3 Camalot Approach Notes: Libby Lake trail
  8. 3 points
    Trip: Mt. Daniel - Daniel and Lynch Glaciers Trip Date: 07/06/2020 Trip Report: I had a great couple of days out in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness with my skis, getting about 3800' skiing, a new summit, blue skies, and lots of peace and quiet. Scatter Creek was still flowing enough that I didn't want to see if my Civic could drown/be swept away. So I started my Sunday by walking the road for three miles, to the Cathedral Pass trailhead. The views started early. Cathedral Rock and some of Daniel behind, from the road! I couldn't really start skinning until about ten minutes from Cathedral Pass. Ah well... the views from the west side of the pass were incredible, down into Deep Lake. Deep Lake Wow, what a beautiful basin! I skinned up the boot track to 7000' and peeked over at views of Rainier and the Chimney Rock group, then got some pretty fun turns down to my camp near Peggy's Pond at 5500'. Pretty good view from where I set up camp... Cathedral Rock and STU! The next morning I went up and over and down and up and down and up the summit of Daniel. More carrying... So dang nice! Hinman. I'll be back for you earlier in the year, next year... and then skiied the Lynch Glacier -- super fun, great snow, not a soul anywhere all day. It was a sea of clouds to the north of Daniel, and I could barely see Baker and Glacier out there. The top of Forbidden was poking out, too. Oh yes, this will be excellent... Pea Soup Lake under the cloud layer Skiing the Daniel "glacier" (is there actually a glacier here?) had less than awesome snow, as expected, but it wasn't sticky, so..good enough! Beautiful, beautiful... About the slay the slush A soul-satisfying time. Gear Notes: I brought whippet, light axe, light pons, and ski pons. Definite overkill... Approach Notes: Up and over and down and up and down and up!
  9. 3 points
    Trip: Mt. Rainier - Tahoma Glacier Trip Date: 07/03/2020 Trip Report: The Tahoma Glacier piqued my interest the last couple seasons as I explored new routes for my next Mt. Rainier climb. The low starting elevation, long approach, and remoteness of the route was especially appealing to me. Covering that distance and elevation on a route that receives very little traffic would be a fun challenge and great test of mountaineering skills. I was also excited to experience the mountain up close from a different perspective since I had only been on the west side of the mountain once before during a Wonderland Trail hike. However, with the park shutdown due to COVID-19 we were uncertain if we would get a shot at the Tahoma Glacier before it was too late in the season. We planned the climb for the weekend of June 19th and were excited when MRNP announced they would reopen that very weekend. Unfortunately, as the date approached the weather was not looking too promising. Reluctantly, we postponed the climb to the 4th of July weekend when we both had time off work. This time the weather forecast was looking stellar: clear, light winds, and cold (~11000' freezing level). And we would have a full moon. Game on! Our plan, which we later learned would be a bit ambitious, was to reach high camp (~9600') on day 1 (Friday), summit Saturday morning, and either exit the same day or stay one more night and hike out Sunday morning. For the approach, we decided on the more direct Emerald Ridge/Tahoma Glacier approach over the St. Andrews Park/Puyallup Cleaver approach. We knew we were getting into the tail end of the season for the route, but with our good snowpack this year we were optimistic that we could navigate the lower Tahoma without too much trouble. Also, there seemed to be an option to bail to the Puyallup Cleaver shortly after gaining the Tahoma Glacier if we found the glacier to be too broken up. The two of us set off from the West Side Road parking lot (2850') at 10:30a with cool temps and a partly cloudy sky. After a short hike on the road we arrived at the beginning of the Tahoma Creek Trail, marked by a drum for disposing of blue bags and a "trail closed" sign not far off the road. The Tahoma Creek Trail follows the Tahoma Creek until it joins with the Wonderland Trail at the impressive suspension bridge across the creek at 4200'. From there, you continue on the Wonderland Trail to the top of Emerald Ridge where you can gain the lower Tahoma Glacier. We followed the Tahoma Creek trail and other tracks the best we could, but with parts of the trail washed out we eventually lost it and ended up hiking along the edge of the floodplain. We kept our eyes peeled and in time we saw some cairns and orange marking tape at around 3500' which led us back to the proper trail. From then on, the trail remained intact and joined up with the Wonderland Trail where we continued on to the top of Emerald Ridge, passing by the occasional Wonderlander. Consistent snow began around 5200' which is where we stashed our trail runners and booted up. Tahoma Creek Floodplain: We parted ways with the Wonderland Trail at 5600' and made the short scramble to the top of Emerald Ridge and the toe of the Tahoma Glacier (6000'). Here we took a break and donned our glacier gear while taking in the views of Glacier Island and the true size and length of the Tahoma Glacier. Getting onto the glacier was straightforward and the cracks were small and manageable all the way up to a flatter area of the glacier at 7200'. Top of Emerald Ridge, looking back at the Wonderland Trail: Toe of Tahoma Glacier, Glacier Island on the right: At 7200' we stopped to assess our progress. It was already 6:00p (7.5 hours from the car) and we still had a good amount of glacier to cover to get to high camp. We were also low on water so we would need to melt some snow to replenish our bottles before continuing. At our pace, it didn't seem feasible to reach high camp that night at a reasonable hour and be ready to summit the following morning. We discussed our options and ultimately decided to establish a low camp at 7200' for the night, move up to high camp the next day, and summit on Sunday morning instead. We were due back home Sunday night, so that would leave us with a long hike out after summiting Sunday morning, but this plan would give us the best chance for success and make the trip much more enjoyable. Luckily the weather for Sunday was supposed to be just as good as Saturday. We set up camp and called it a day. Lower Tahoma Glacier: View from Camp 1, looking toward Tokaloo Spire: Sunset from Camp 1: On Saturday we woke up to clear skies and a great view of the upper mountain that was covered in clouds the day before. We took our time getting going and scoped out a route up the lower glacier. It was definitely more crevassed than what we had already traveled and the best looking route was in the direction of the Puyallup Cleaver and the looker's left side of the glacier. We broke camp and set off around 10:30a. Morning view from Camp 1, looking toward the summit: On the way up to Camp 2: The crevasses we encountered on the way up to high camp were growing in size but were still easy to cross with a short hop or snow bridges. Nothing too sketchy even with the sun beating down and snow quickly softening up. Our route did meander a bit as we searched for the most efficient way up the glacier, so it did take longer than expected. We reached 9400' at 2:00pm where we thought about setting up camp. This is where we would have joined the Tahoma Glacier had we taken the St. Andrews Park/Puyallup Cleaver approach; however, the ramp to get off of the Puyallup Cleaver did not look to be in the best shape. There was likely a path off the ramp onto the glacier, but we were glad we chose the approach that we did. Ramp at 9600': After a long break we pushed on a bit further through ankle and shin deep slush up to 10400' where we found a good spot for a high camp. I had read about other parties camping at this location as well. It was 4:30p at this point, 6 hours after leaving camp 1. From here we finally got a really good view of the upper glacier and the potential routes. Earlier in the day we saw that the looker's right side of the glacier may be a good option, but now we could see right up the center of the glacier and the Sickle variation. The Sickle looked to be in good shape with not a lot of evidence of icefall, but the seracs at the top of the route were intimidating. We decided against the Sickle and to attempt one of the other routes. We would make that decision in the morning under the full moon light once we gained some more elevation. We set up camp, ate, melted snow, and tried to get to sleep as the sun was setting. I fell asleep to the very faint sounds of 4th of July fireworks way off in the distance. Upper Tahoma Glacier: Camp 2: Sunset Amphitheater: Tahoma Glacier: The next morning we set off at 2:00a under a very bright full moon that lit up the mountain. It was right around freezing with no wind and the snow had firmed up nicely. We were excited to start the journey up the main route, but less than 30 minutes out of camp we thought the trip was over. We found ourselves on an island of ice with a pretty sporty jump to continue on. We contemplated it for a while but just didn't want to risk it, especially on the descent when the snow would soften up. Damn! That jump seemed like the only way, but we backtracked some and skirted around where we got stuck and luckily found a crossing! Phew! We wondered if this was going to be the theme of the entire ascent. We continued on and at this point chose to continue right up the center of the glacier rather than traversing over to the far right side option we saw. Full moon: Contemplating the jump.: The snow conditions were great and took crampons very well which made for very efficient stepping. We took the path of least resistance and just crossed our fingers it would go. There had to be at least half a dozen times when we thought our luck ran out, but a lone and thinning snow bridge (which probably wouldn't last another week) was there to let us continue on. Besides the first obstacle we encountered we didn't have to do much backtracking, but we did have to snake our way around the crevasses to find acceptable crossings. We each carried a traditional axe and had a few screws and two pickets between us. We contemplated bringing a tool, but from all the beta we could gather a tool wasn't really necessary on this route. Turns out that was the right call. We did encounter a couple short sections of solid ice compared to the rest of the route which was a nice sun crust. Front pointing and a low dagger axe took care of the ice sections, but we did protect them with a screw and picket while simul climbing. Short ice section: Soon we found ourselves at the top of the glacier where the slope begins to ease up at around 13000'. With the main part of the climb behind us it was just a slog up to the summit! We ascended directly up the west side onto the summit plateau and reached on Columbia Crest at 8:30a, 6.5 hours after leaving camp. Sunrise: Liberty Cap: Summit Crater: Summit Headstand! After getting some pictures on the summit and saying hello to a party of 4 that came up the Kautz, we dropped off the summit for a break and then took off back down the mountain at 9:15a. Being western facing, the Tahoma Glacier doesn't get sun right away in the morning which is good since we wanted to be down off the bulk of the upper glacier before it started to warm up. The descent went well and we followed our tracks down. We did downclimb one of the ice sections with some protection, but other than that we moved fairly quick down the glacier. We returned to camp at 12:15p, 3 hours after leaving the summit. Tahoma Glacier, Puyallup Cleaver, St. Andrews Rock: Tahoma Glacier: Tahoma Glacier: It would have been nice to take it easy and stay another night, but we still had a long road ahead to get back to the car that day. We made some water and packed up camp, then took off down the glacier at 2:00p following our tracks from the day before. The hike out was uneventful and we covered the 9 miles and 7500' back to the car in 5.5 hours, descending a total of 11500' for the day. Success! What a climb! We both felt really proud to do this route. It was a true test of our endurance and mountaineering skills, especially with navigating the very crevassed glacier. Oh, and we had the entire glacier to ourselves...we didn't see a single person between leaving the Wonderland Trail and the Summit. Being on our own without any tracks to follow made the trip even better. Day 1, Car to Camp 1, 6.7 miles, +4400', 7.0 hrs Day 2, Camp 1 to Camp 2, 2.5 miles, +3200', 6.0 hrs Day 3, Camp 2 to Summit, 2.8 miles, +4000', 6.5 hrs Day 3, Summit to Camp 2, 2.8 miles, -4000', 3.0 hrs Day 3, Camp 2 to Car, 9.0 miles, -7500', 5.5 hrs Total Mileage = 23.8 miles Total Elevation Gain/Loss = 11500' GPX track can be found here: https://caltopo.com/m/7M3P Gear Notes: Light glacier rack, a couple screws. Used screw and picket on icy section. No need for a 2nd tool. Approach Notes: Approached via Emerald Ridge/Tahoma Glacier.
  10. 3 points
    Trip: Prusik Peak - Der Sportsman Trip Date: 06/23/2020 Trip Report: I was pretty hesitant to write this TR due to the current overcrowding in the area. I realized that it likely isn't going to make much of a difference cuz no-one really uses this site anymore anyhow. And as long as people follow a few key tips, you can have a good responsible Enchantments climb. 1.) Avoid weekends like the plague... as best you can. 2.) Get to the TH before 7 And try not to get yourself parked in. 3.) If you start later hitch to and from the TH if you can. (This worked better and was safer before COVID). 4.)Pick up trash you find. Quadruple points for picking up other peoples surface shits, and try to stick to trails and rock as much as possible. Now on to the actual TR Last year Sean and I climbed the West face of CBR around the same time, starting at 9:30ish and getting back to the car just before dark. We decided to keep the (almost) solstice tradition going this year with Der Sportsman. 17+ hours of daylight is pretty luxurious We left the trail head a little after 6. Our packs felt light with no water and no real insulating layers to speak of. The trail was pretty quiet at that hour on a Tuesday. The hike up Aasgard was pretty uneventful with only the usual snow patch to cross near the top. The descent down to Prusik was a nice change of pace and the soft snow seemed to make it a little lower impact and faster down the steep sections. Arriving at the base in good time, we decided to chill for a little bit and recover to give us a better shot at the cruxy first pitch. Finally the sun coming around the corner gave me enough courage to rack up and get going while the crux was still shaded. Unfortunately I pumped out and broke a foot chip so no OS for me, but Sean followed the pitch in style. P2 isn't too spicy apart from the real risk of whipping on your belayer. This is the only reason I would consider setting up the belay a little higher. P3 is absolute money! Unfortunately it has 2 fixed pieces at the beginning that detract from the cleanliness of the line, but who really cares, it's great! P4 I found the step right to be super desperate and kinda just fell onto the far right foot as a last resort, not sure how that worked out but it did. The moves off the pillar near the end of the pitch are pretty spicy. The rope looks like it would slice right across the arete if you were to fall. Best to avoid that. P5 was probably the only sandbagged pitch on the route. I'd also say it's the worst pitch on the route, which is saying a lot since it is still pretty damn good! I've seen the pitch called 10b, but I'd say 10c/d. P6 Oh boy is this the icing on the cake! Such an incredible position to be climbing such an amazing crack! Definitely not 12a, felt more like 11a/b on TR. From where we topped out, we untied and scrambled up to the summit, chatted with some nice folks and took a small nap. We then downclimbed the W Ridge and scrambled back to our packs in our rock shoes to avoid taking axes or shoes up the route. The hike out always sucks, but is the price you pay for the light packs and burrito dinner. We got down with enough light to re-set up camp and crack a beer before the headlamps came out. I feel like I've focused too much on times in my previous TR's. If you want to know our splits I have a Strava track HERE. Gear Notes: Double rack tiny to 2, single #3 and triples in a few finger sizes. We brought nuts but never used them. 60m 9mm rope Handfull of slings and QD's Water filter Trail runners Approach Notes: Over the river and through the woods, up the pass, down the hill and up another hill.
  11. 3 points
    Sweet! Yeah, I've switched to TikTok for all my trip reports now.
  12. 3 points
    Trip: 3 Sisters Wilderness - 4 Sisters Traverse RT from Tumalo Falls w/ bike approach Trip Date: 06/26/2020 Trip Report: Normally I wouldn't bother to share a linkup like this, but I think this loop is very aesthetic (both in the areas you move through, and the logical line it draws on a map) and thought others out there might find use in the description... Ever since my first summer in Oregon when I went up several volcanoes I swore that I would never deal with the choss again unless it was coated in snow or ice (this trip fully confirmed that and now that I've done it I have no desire to repeat it, but some of you might be crazy/stupid enough to follow my footsteps). Because of this I had absolutely zero interest in the Sisters Traverse as a summer outing (skiing it in spring I was fine with and found enjoyable). Then, this past winter my friend Miles suggested I could do it as a human powered outing from my house in Bend. I believe he was envisioning something efficient like biking to Green Lakes or Pole Creek trailheads to shorten the distance on foot. However, I immediately thought of biking to Tumalo Falls and doing the traverse as a loop from there. This was for several reasons... 1. the road to Tumalo Falls draws a direct line toward the mountains from town (instead of going way out and around to other trailheads) 2. this road is less busy and more enjoyable to bike 3. the areas you would get to pass through on the approach/depproach are some of my favorite in the area (Farewell Bend trail, Tam Rim, Broken Top trail, Happy Valley and North Fork trail) which favorably skews the scenic hiking to scree slogging ratio 4. the bike and loop made for a logical line when drawn on a map and made it easy to do as a self-supported outing with no bike shuttling. While I thought it was a cool idea, I had other plans this summer. Unfortunately the solstice came and went without a favorable weather window in the less-chossy ranges that I prefer. So, with no other big objectives on the horizon and clear skies locally I ended a 3 day streak of sitting on the couch watching weather models and Netflix to take advantage of the long daylight hours. The nice thing about short trips from your home is the packing is minimal. I woke up, ate a big breakfast, packed and was out the door. Itinerary: bike to Tumalo Falls, hike Farewell Bend trail to FS road 370 N, W on Tam Rim Horse Trail to Tam Rim Trail and the far W end of Tam Rim, drop down cross-country and traverse high eventually picking up the Green Lakes Trail N, take a L on Camp Lake Trail and follow the climbers trail up to the Hayden Glacier and the saddle between North and Middle Sisters (I shiver bivied part way up the ridge above the saddle for a few hours), climb/descend North via the standard S Ridge to Bowling Alley, climb Middle via the N Ridge and descend the S Ridge to Chambers lakes, climb South via the NW Ridge (less steep than the N Ridge but lots of loose scree), and descend the standard climbers trail on the S side to just below the glacier, cut down to Green Lakes (careful not to get cliffed out here) and follow the trail around the S side of the main lake to the climbers trail for Broken Top, climb BT by the standard NW Ridge, scree ski down the W face and traverse L on flatter ground to pop over the SW ridge and connect to the Broken Top Trail, follow this E (lots of snow fields) over the ridge just S of Ball Butte (I cut cross country quite a bit here as everything was under snow), eventually connect with FS road 370 (S of where you had it the first time) headed N and then connect to the Metolius-Windigo Trail, this takes you to Happy Valley where it is only 4 miles of easy and slightly downhill trail to the bike at Tumalo Falls, from here I had a mere 14.5 mile net downhill ride back to my house, arriving home just before I needed to break out the headlamp. I could tell you all the little stories but they are a little hazy and seem rather irrelevant now. I'd love to see someone else do this loop fast. I bet there is someone out there who could destroy it, as supposed to be destroyed like I was. There is a fair amount of off-trail travel and the early summer timing after a wet spring meant there was still lots of snow and some fairly large river crossings, however I would rather have that than endless scree. Gear Notes: road bike, small pack, sun protection, blister kit, trail running shoes with gaiters, spare socks to switch out when your shoes get soaked, light pons/axe, emergency reflective bivy bag and micropuff for the shivering, lots of water to be found early season, GPS w/ topo map were helpful in optimizing the cross-country travel Approach Notes: ride yo bi-cycle!
  13. 3 points
    I use this site to get an idea for snow coverage: https://www.fs.fed.us/r5/webmaps/SierraSnowDepth/ By default it shows California but you can just scroll up to Washington to the area you want. I've found it to be pretty accurate.
  14. 2 points
    Trip: Mount Formidable - South Route Trip Date: 07/05/2020 Trip Report: YouTube video (FYI - mistyped the date in the video splash screen - its July 4-6, not June) We had a Fri-Sun trip planned but switched to Sat-Mon due to the weather. Good call as one day either way would have been a no-go. We lucked out with the one day with sunny and calm weather for the summit day. Overall it was about 26 miles and pushing 10,000ft gain for the whole thing car to car. About 7 hours to camp, 19 hours for the climb day and 6 hours hike out. The climb day broke down to about 2.5 hours from camp to the col looking at Formidable. 5 hours col to summit, 8 hours summit to col (extra time due to an additional handline, softer snow coming down and rappels for 5 people), 3.5 hours col to camp. 5 of us took off from the gate 2 miles back from the Cascade Pass trailhead adding an extra 4 miles and 1000ft gain to the trip starting around 8:30am. From Cascade Pass 99% of the rest of the trip was on snow with only an occasional bit of trail or rock islands to cross. Steep snow with bad runout in places along the way to Cache Glacier but not bad. There is a huge cornice forming across the entire width of Cache Col. That will not be pretty when it collapses. We had to hit it on the far right and traverse under the cornice to the rocks on the other side and a loose scree/rock scramble up to the top of the col. From there its an easy snow walk to Kool-aid lake which is still under feet of snow. But the water is running at the stream there. The traverse around to Red Ledges is also an easy snow walk the entire way. The Red Ledges were a bit tricky. Getting onto them is straightforward traversing on steep snow but the last bit is a runout over the moat. Around the corner out of sight was another steep now patch about 20ft across covering the ledge with runout into the chasm that had to be side traversed. Then a steep snow climb out of the ledges, again with runout into the chasm. Everyone soloed it okay but its 3 no-fall steep snow sections to get through the ledges. We setup camp just around the corner near Arts Knoll and turned in early. 3:30am wakeup and walking around 4:45. We woke up to clear blue sky and calm weather. Made quick work of the Cascade Glacier, down Formidable/Spider col and across the basin to the final col in just over 2 hours. The drop from there was on a steep snow finger that was easy to get down. From there a walk across and backup to the rock ledge where we found a couple different paths to scramble up the ledges to the next snowfield. From there we went up to where the ledges scramble option starts but looking at our options figured there were too many snow patches on the ledges but it looked like snow went all the way up the chasm. So we decided to go straight up the middle of the chasm hoping to intersect the 4th class step across the chasm. Halfway up we hit a moat starting to form but was still enough left we were able to get around it and all the way to where we could step onto the other side of the chasm. The ledges had a layer of snow and ice but was easy to get into and made it to the cairn. From there the next trick was getting across the face which was mostly steep snow. We started going up about 40ft before starting to traverse over. (Photo of Albert, Rodica and I by Tim) One person was far enough out they soloed across to the rock island. The rest of us decided to run a handline so we got one anchored to rocks on both ends tying our twin 37m ropes together. Once across the first half we had a 2nd snow slope to get the rest of the way over so we repeated with a 2nd handline between two rock islands. The snow was firm enough on the way across we sped it up having more than one go across the handline at the same time. On the return trip with softer snow things slowed down when we only sent one person at a time across the handlines. Once over we had the last 300ft most of which was another steep snow slope which was starting to soften up. (Photo of Sean, myself, Rodica and Albert coming up the last 250ft snowfield from the base of the traverse to just below the summit block by Tim). We were able to all solo up and then the last 50 feet or so to the summit block was mixed snow and loose rock. On the way down we scrambled the rocks about half way down till we found a horn that seemed like it would hold a handline and backed it up with a cam and dropped down the rope as a handline for everyone to prussic down to the start of the traverse. Last person cleaned the gear and downclimbed with a couple pickets left in to protect the last person down. To get across the face we repeated the 2 handlines to the cairn at the top of the chasm. With the softer snow on the way back only one at a time went a cross each handline. That and dropping a line to prussic down part of the upper snowfield from the summit block and the rappel added a few extra hours to the trip down. Here we couldn’t find any rappel slings from other videos we’ve seen. Maybe they were still buried under the snow. So we tied 3 cordelletes together and slung the giant block the cairn is sitting on as a backup to rappel slings put around 2 smaller boulders. We rappelled off the smaller boulders with the backup in place in case they moved. The last person down retrieved the cordelletes and just left a sling behind. So, if anyone ever sees that sling wondering if someone rapped off the small boulders – it was backed up for the first 4 people. That rappel put us down past the moat forming in the middle. And had to jump across the side moat to get back onto the snow. From there a short face in downclimb and then back to the scramble down the ledges. By the time we hit Formidable/Spider col the sun was going down and headlamps came out. One person had a headlamp bulb go out so we had to slow down on the descent of the glacier and back to camp which added the extra hour on the return to camp. Great climb with a great group that worked well together figuring out some tricky options to protecting the climb in ways that are not normally done there that way. Signing the summit register the last people to have signed it were almost a year ago last August. Memorable Quotes Gathered by Sean: "We're crazy" ~ Rodica "Is that the Spider/Formidable col?" ~ Albert, deliriously pointing toward a snow finger nowhere near our exit col "I have some cord that I found and don't know the history of so we should rap off it because i'm tired of thinking about it, I just want to get rid of it" ~ Tim "Guys, we should really be protecting this. Right???" ~ Rodica "I don't mind if we bail on this picket because it's Albert's anyway...." ~ Ian "If I hike all night and go straight to work I probably still won't make it on time" ~ Sean "I'd love to come up here in tennis shoes sometime" ~ Tim "Would you consider this an intermediate climb?" ~ Albert "These are all the cams left?" ~ Ian "[ice axe falls down cliff]" ~ Ian "[glove falls down cliff]" ~ Sean [Blue Skies by Ella Fitzgerald comes on the radio when we're in a whiteout at camp] "I think the radio is taunting us" ~ Tim "I'm already committed." ~ Sean, as everyone else decides to stop and rope up. Gear Notes: Twin 37m ropes, light alpine rack (cams/nuts), 5 pickets, ice axes + 2nd tool
  15. 2 points
    It seems to be getting a nice revival of activity @JasonG. Of course, spring & early summer is peak TAY season!
  16. 2 points
    Snowfield pictured in this report https://turns-all-year.com/trip-reports/march-15-17-chiwaukum-traverse
  17. 2 points
    Trip: Banks Lake - various Trip Date: 06/20/2020 Trip Report: There is still solitude to be had if you stay away from the Icicle Creek/Frenchman's shitshow(s) -- this weekend at Banks, we literally had the entire crag to ourselves on Saturday (well, except for the two guys who drove up the coulee in an ORV, saw us climbing, said, “We can’t shoot here,” and drove away, bless them) and saw only two other parties on Sunday. Should have taken both pairs of rock shoes; it was my first time rock climbing since early February and by 5 pm yesterday I could barely stand on my feet anymore and we had to quit. Didn’t climb anything noteworthy but sooo nice to get out and breathe the desert air. Drive home was even fine except for the usual 5 – 20 mph disaster between Roslyn and Easton. I don’t understand why that particular stretch always sucks so much, but it does. Gear Notes: rope, rack, slings/draws Approach Notes: I-90 to SR 283 to SR 17
  18. 2 points
    Update: I called my favorite restaurant in Marblemount: Mondo. It is the place where I usually shuffle my broken body for a delicious breakfast after a few days romping around Boston Basin. Someone from Mondo is going to run the shuttle for us. I'll post back here with how it goes and with a contact.
  19. 2 points
    Trip: Argonaut Peak - Northwest Arete Trip Date: 06/21/2020 Trip Report: Climbed the Northwest Arete on Argonaut over this solstice weekend, with camp on snow in the north basin. The rock climb was snow free, and the approach snow couloir was in good shape (though starting to deteriorate and with fresh rockfall - more on that below). This is an enjoyable and under-appreciated route. I'm posting this trip report mainly to provide an update on seasonal conditions as well as to alert folks to a hazard in the approach snow couloir. The couloir is still very much "in", though a couple holes are starting to emerge as of June 21. More importantly, as detailed in the photo below, there is fresh rockfall near the top of the couloir on the right side, with several microwave-sized (and a couple refrigerator-sized) boulders perched precariously on melting snow. This rockfall has scoured the right side of the couloir and induced an avalanche below; the avalanche debris is not visible in others' photos (e.g., on WTA site) from earlier in June, so it is definitely recent. Therefore, I would strongly recommend staying to the left side of the couloir if you attempt this route yet this year. (I would guess the left side would be passable for another week+). We did the rock climb as 5 long(ish) pitches, and found it a terrific climb. Though not sustained, each pitch has its share of solid 5.6 moves -- some of them steep, exposed, even thrilling -- but all of them reasonably protected and with straight-forward (enough) route-finding. (If you need a bit more guidance than that, Tom's beta here is excellent, as others have noted.) Finding the rappels is, contrary to some claims, also straight-forward, but if you'd like a diagram to boost your confidence, see also the annotated photo here. Lastly, we found the gully we took on the descent to be arduous (due to loose scree) at the top, but then straight-forward face-in down-climbing, followed by plunge-stepping (glissadable for you thrill seekers) directly back down to the north basin (and our camp). Gear Notes: We took a set of nuts (very useful) and a single set of cams from fingers up to 3 inches, with doubles in the 1" and 1.25" (purple and green) sizes. Used all the cams on at least one pitch. Ice axe, crampons. Approach Notes: Beta on routefinding for mountaineers creek is ample elsewhere, so won't cover that here. Up higher, snow coverage on the slabs below the glacier is just *barely* continuous, but we didn't feel like testing the tiny snow-bridges, so we did a short section of 4th class (low 5th?) wet slab/corner climbing as noted in the photo. On descending the next day, we instead found (and reinforced) a rappel sling on a tree in the next weakness/gully to climber's left (north) along the slab, where one rappel got us back down to snow.
  20. 2 points
    Some good news (in these unprecedented and trying times). It looks like they plan to give it to USFS to preserve access. The 11-acre private property includes Alphabet Rock and the Icehouse Boulders, as well as the initial access path to Givler’s Dome and outlier crags on adjacent USFS lands. Together, these granite cliffs and outcrops feature more than 40 historic cracks, slabs, faces, and hueco-filled roofs, ranging in difficulty from 5.7 to 5.13, as well as dozens of challenging boulder problems. The prominent 250-foot Givler’s Crack, Dogleg Crack, and Meat Grinder are just a few classics that have attracted climbers since the 1970s. https://www.accessfund.org/news-and-events/news/access-fund-purchases-climbing-areas-outside-leavenworth-washington
  21. 2 points
    Liberty Ridge is tough for out of town climbers. The weather is a crap shoot until after July 4th and by then the route is on its way to being out of shape.
  22. 1 point
  23. 1 point
    I skied down that snowfield in very wind-blasted snow conditions. Steep but not insane!
  24. 1 point
    I have the BD Soloist and love it because on warmer days I simply remove the inner glove with the primaloft isolation and wear the outer glove with my normal, thin liner gloves. Would 100% recommend though- they are amazing, since I have trouble with cold hands, these are great and so adjustable. onplanners
  25. 1 point
    Hey Jason, it brings up some great memories from our 2004 winter ascent of Gibbs Ledges!
  26. 1 point
    USGS has an online database. Just gotta find the closest upstream station https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?site_no=12451000
  27. 1 point
    This was just brought to my attention. Why has the climbing community kept this secret from me!?
  28. 1 point
    Went out and did Iron to Bean on Saturday. Super fun scrambling and a nice adventure day, I would highly recommend. One point of warning though, if you follow the fall line descending east off of Bills main summit your will get funneled into a super dangerous gully. I sent a microwave sized block tumbling by looking at it too hard which caused a bit of a rockslide down the gully. If you find yourself here, trend skiers left to safer terrain. The rest of the route was surprisingly bomber rock.
  29. 1 point
    We have been trying to purge our souls of this terrible atrocity. Once again the door to the crypt has been opened. What happens next is on your head, Grasshopper.
  30. 1 point
    Hey Kyle, thanks again for sharing this. You did a wonderful job of capturing the pure joy of “cruising and floating“ in the mountains. Peace my friend.
  31. 1 point
    NR Stuart is a bit of a pickle. One can go early season so you can approach from the north and descend the Sherpa Glacier (shorter) but contend with verglass, wet rock, and snow or go late season and approach and descend from the south (longer and more tedious) but enjoy dry rock and a lighter pack (no crampons or axe). Either way a full value adventure.
  32. 1 point
    All you dads (and moms) who think that their kids "may not be into it" could be very wrong. Kids have a natural tendency to resist whatever parents want. My parent used to drag my sorry ass up hikes in the banff area. But once I was in my 20's and having a hard time, the beauty of the mountains pulled me back and been climbing since. (still think Banff is the center of the universe) Think of this mountain time as seeds that will eventually germinate into something special, maybe not world class alpinists (we don't really want that amount of parental stress anyways) but def better people.
  33. 1 point
    I should have noted the full movie is on YouTube!
  34. 1 point
    Dang, that looks like a lot of quality scrambling. Nice trip, thanks for sharing!
  35. 1 point
    Super cool! I have two preschool kids, trip reports like this inspire me for the future. Thanks for sharing, nice pics.
  36. 1 point
    Classic west side Cascade Alpine! My climbing "career" started doing that stuff with my dad when I was in my early teens, including many ascents in the Monte Cristo area. I loved it then and still do. It's good to see a father getting after it with his son. My boys never really took to it, although my younger will humor me from time to time with an easy scramble. Getting me started in the climbing game was one of my father's greatest gifts to me. Thanks for sharing the experience.
  37. 1 point
    Trip: Cerro Aconcagua - Ruta Normal Trip Date: 02/02/2020 Trip Report: Back when the world was more normal, I took a solo two week trip to Argentina to climb Aconcagua: Day 1 (Thursday January 23rd): Fly out of Seatac – Santiago - Mendoza Day 2: Land in Mendoza, get permit & supplies, drive to Penitentes (el ~8500) for the night at Hotel Ayelan Day 3: Start of climb. Hike to Confluencia (el ~11,100) Day 4: Side trip to Plaza Francia at the base of the South Face for acclimatization, second night at Confluencia Day 5: Move to Plaza de Mulas (el 14,100) Day 6: Scramble nearby Cerro Bonete (el 16,417), second night at Mulas Day 7: Carry water & gear to Camp Canada (el 16,600), third night at Mulas Day 8: Carry gear to Nido de Condores (el 18,200), fourth night at Mulas Day 9: Move to Nido, skipping over Camp Canada Day 10: Acclimatization hike to Camp Colera (el 19,700), second night at Nido Day 11 (Sunday February 2nd): Summit (el 22,841), return to Nido for the night Day 12: Descend to Mulas Day 13: Hike out, return to Mendoza, rearrange flight home Day 14: Fly out of Mendoza - Santiago – LAX - Seattle Day 15 (Thursday February 6th): Land back in Seattle It’s hard to capture two weeks in limited pictures, but here goes. The park entrance off the main highway between Mendoza and Santiago, Chile has a great view of the mountain with the summit visible as the bump on the right. With limited vacation time, I increased my time efficiency (and fuel inefficiency) by renting a car at the airport in Mendoza and driving myself around. This meant I didn’t have to faff around with bus schedules and figuring out transport to/from the trailhead, and also allowed me to get my permit in Mendoza, get some last minutes supplies of fuel, lighters, meat & cheese, and drive up to Penitentes all in the first day so I could spend my first night at elevation. As an added bonus, I drove up to the Christo de Redeemer statue on a winding mountain road to a pass at El 12,572 where I spent 30 minutes walking around at altitude. The start of the hike to Confluencia was beautiful on wide trails through grassland with the mountain dominating the view in front. Confluencia, home for my first two nights on the mountain. My North Face Assault-2 tent is barely visible near the big yellow and white domes on the lower right. The first night at Confluencia when my appetite was high, I splurged a bit and bought a nice dinner from my mule service provider. From then on out it was lots of ramen, rice, and freeze dried. To help my acclimitization, I took a side trip up to Plaza Francia and the massive South Face of Aconcagua on my second day of the climb: Heading up to Plaza de Mulas on the third day. Helicopters were a common sight shuttling gear & supplies & the occasional climber up the valley. Even more common were the mules who do the bulk of the heavy lifting. I used Grajales Expedicions mule service to carry ~50lbs worth of gear from the trailhead straight to Mulas. I was relatively cheap and well worth it. Along with shuttling your gear, it comes with filtered drinking water and toilets and trash service at Confluencia and at Mulas. Plaza de Mulas is a bustling place with tons of climbers from all over the world. There are rangers and doctors at Plaza de Mulas checking on climbers from both independent and guided climbs. I brought a pulse oximeter to periodically check my SpO2 which hovered in the 70's for much of the trip. The rangers also posted a weather report every couple days. Mulas has cell reception (Verizon) so I was also able to check mountainforecast and other websites, but invariably the ranger forecasts were more accurate. My ideal itinerary had me planned to summit on the 4th or 5th, but forecasted high winds had me push the envelope a bit and go for the summit a couple days earlier. Summit day! I got up at 2AM and was hiking by 3AM. I hiked relatively fast early on, but as I got higher my pace slower considerably. First light right below Independencia: Traversing the Gran Acarreo. By this time my pace had slowed to about 5 second rest steps. Resting at La Cueva below the Canaleta. The summit looked SO close from here, but was still over an hour away. On the summit ridge: On top about 1pm in the afternoon. I spent all of two minutes on top. I had severely rushed my acclimatization schedule because of the weather forecast, and my hypoxic addled brain was well aware that I needed to get down quickly. Looking back a couple months later and summit day is definitely a fuzzy memory. A day later back at Plaza de Mulas I splurged on the best pizza I've ever had. Mules once again carried the bulk of my gear down from PdM to the park entrance, and I had a pleasant hike out enjoying the thick air and satisfaction of a climb well done. And finally beer in Mendoza! Gear Notes: Carried an ice axe and crampons but never used either since it was an incredibly dry year. For footwear I wore trail runners all the way to Nido. For the upper mountain I used La Sportiva Baturas with Mountain Tools Supergaiters. Approach Notes: Grajales Expedicions is top notch for mule service A rental car can save a few days on the trip total if you don't have three weeks of vacation. Easy free longterm parking at the trailhead.
  38. 1 point
    Looks decent, although with all the fresh snow you will have wintry conditions without much/any consolidation. And probably no track in the route. https://a.atmos.washington.edu/data/rainier_report.html
  39. 1 point
    Have not been but I would check the forecast. It is not clearing anytime soon... Also, if it does clear, consider checking caltopo's daily satellite imagery to get an idea of snow. location. A friend of mine skied Black Peak a couple days ago and had snow to the car, but the forecasted rain will change that quick.
  40. 1 point
    Oh I see which one you were talking about now!
  41. 1 point
    Trip: Mt. Stuart - Ice Cliff Glacier Trip Date: 05/24/2020 Trip Report: Yesterday my friend Matt and I Climbed Mt. Stuart's Ice Cliff Glacier. They opened up the Icicle on Friday but are keeping Eight Mile road gated until next weekend. So we got to Leavenworth around 8:30 or so Saturday morning and started biking up the road. The road and Stuart Lake Trail were completely snow free, along with most of the summer climbers path until about 5300'. We got to the basin at 5400' early afternoon and just hangout. It felt great to just sit there and "smell the roses" in the alpine. We also took some time to put in a bootpack up to the moraine and check out the condition of the route. At first glance the lower portion was looking dry as we kept walking up the ridge of the moraine to get a better view. Both left and right options were looking rather bony. Not to mention both exit options on the upper couloir had massive cornices at the top of them. The right side looked like it had something possibly around the corner to the right that was out of view at the moment. We walked back to our camp and just decided we would have to get up close and personal with the route options to make any judgement calls on the conditions. Between then and when it got dark I had a lot of "what if's" racing through my head. We got up at 2am and started moving shortly after. We decided that the left start was the most probable and headed there first. As we got closer it appeared climbable and turned out to be a ledgy mixed pitch with thin ice and firm snow. From there it was one ice pitch to the top of the lowest ice cliff and then one simul block to the snowfield in the cirque. The cornices still looked daunting from there and we decided we would still need to get up there and poke around. While climbing up to the couloir my eyes couldn't help but look at other things to consider as potential exit options since the cornices still seemed to mostly span the width of the upper couloir. I even poked around on a leftward snow ramp that leads to the Ice Cliff Arete just in case the upper couloir wouldn't go for us (I wouldn't bother if I was you). Other than that it was mostly uneventful from the snowfield to the constriction in the couloir, just good steep snow with a few patches of ice through the runnel. We simul'ed all of that too. The sun started to hit the east facing wall around 7:30-8:00am in the couloir and thus ice and snow started shedding. Getting up to the fork in the couloir we could see that the right side did in fact have and area that had way smaller cornices. This was a relief to see! We got up to the top of the couloir and I looked at our exit options. In the end I chose a blocky-ish mixed step that required a bit of cornice excavation to top out (thank you to whoever placed that Russian titanium piton in that area before us). It helped that the cornice had a fat ice crust in the middle of it to swing into. We topped out around 9am. The snow on the south side was surprisingly wet and it was a lot warmer there than I expected. We elected to not head to the summit since we did what we came there to do and it was warming rapidly. I noticed the usual cornices at the top of the Sherpa Glacier from camp the day prior and didn't want to play with cornices anymore. Descent down the Sherpa went smoothly but the snow was very wet. Broke camp and made our way out. This is a pretty damn good route and being in the cirque above the ice cliff is an incredible experience. I thought the climbing was fun but if I had to pick a favorite popular north side spring route on Stuart I'd choose the SGC over the ICG. After a few months of not even really thinking about climbing, it felt so satisfying to be out there in that environment immersed in the moments of self-doubt and pride that climbing provides. Gear Notes: Half rack of nuts, .75-2 cams, 2 Pickets (used quite often), 2x17 3x13 1x10 screws (used all). Some pitons could've been useful. Gear nerd side note: two Petzl Gullys with pick weights worked very well. Im in love with that setup now. Approach Notes: Follow the web of cairns, the bigger the better. Good log crossings if you stay directly on the climbers path through the beginning.
  42. 1 point
    Maybe I'm getting lazy with my weather game, but at this point I just check the Hood mountain forecast (PDX based) and if it looks gross I just assume all the volcanoes are out and pack the biking/rock climbing gear instead. We do get some regional variation, but the volcanoes always have the worst weather.
  43. 1 point
    It is too far out to know for sure about the 19th, but it appears unsettled into the extended: .LONG TERM /SUNDAY THROUGH WEDNESDAY/...Extended models in good agreement with the upper level low moving out of the area early Sunday. This is the best chance for a short dry spell with a weak and transitory upper level ridge moving through during the day. Yet another system arriving on Monday keeping the cool and wet June weather pattern intact. Yet another upper level low/trough behind the front Tuesday for more shower activity. There is some disagreement in the models Wednesday with the ECMWF kicking the trough out of the area for a dry day. The GFS does have the trough east of the area but not far enough for a dry forecast. Ensembles in both models have about 20 percent of the solutions with some light precipitation. Will keep a slight chance of showers in the forecast Wednesday. High temperatures will remain below normal through the extended period with upper 50s to lower 60s warming into the 60s by Wednesday. Lows in the mid 40s to lower 50s. Felton This time of year the Stuart range is a good backup if the high peaks are getting hit, which is often the case. Liberty Ridge is really one that you want perfect weather on (meaning clear skies AND low wind). There have been a number of accidents/fatalities over the years on that route related to poor weather. Actually, I sort of think that is true for all the volcanoes. They have a way of magnifying whatever weather is around.
  44. 1 point
    Trip: Colchuck Peak - North Buttress Couloir Trip Date: 06/06/2020 Trip Report: Yesterday myself and two others climbed the North Buttress Couloir on Colchuck peak. We started from the car around 3am, with the parking lot nearly full. After stopping by the lake to filter water around 5am, we got to the base of the couloir around 7am. As mentioned in other reports, the couloir was already in full sunlight. We stayed high and right to enter the couloir, which seemed like the correct choice. Our plan was to simulclimb the entirety of the route. As we started to climb the couloir, we encountered two moats. The first one was passable with some great ice sticks and high steps, while the second had to be navigated around with some very awkward rock moves. This ended the difficulties in the couloir and the rest was just steep snow. We climbed the couloir in two pitches, the first covering most of the ground up until about 300 feet from the notch, and the second to reach the notch. There were plenty of options for protection in the rock, and the snow was decent for vertical pickets. The start of the couloir; the moat is barely visible on the far left hand side. A party of two chose to bypass it with the rock step to the right. Climbing in the couloir: At the notch we led out towards the right about 150 feet, and then started moving upwards. There were a couple of thoughtful mixed moves, as well as an ice step to pull over. Overall the face seemed steeper and more exposed than the couloir. We headed straight for another notch below the true summit, reaching it in a single long simulclimbing pitch. At this point there was a party of two who were soloing who got stuck behind us, as the snow finger was relatively narrow. Once again, there were plenty of options for protection on the face in the exposed rock. Once we reached the notch below the summit, we let the party of two pass us and then led out to the far left, then right up a chimney type feature. This spat us out below and to the west of the summit still. We had one more short pitch with a few interesting fifth class moves to reach the main summit area. We chose to keep our crampons on for all this climbing as there were still some snowy spots. At the notch after the northwest face, climbing up and then to the right: Traverse below the final wall to reach the summit area: We reached the summit around 1:45pm. We ate some food and hung out for a while, then headed down the Colchuck glacier route. After some moderate snow downclimbing, we decided the glacier was in good enough shape to glissade down, even though some people were choosing to walk down. A kind of quick glissade (I'm slow) got us to the lake and our approach shoe stash at 5pm, and to the car by 6:45pm. Overall this was a really fun climb, and it's still in decent shape. The moats will certainly become more problematic as time goes by but it seems like you can bypass them with the rock step. The cold temperatures helped keep the snow from getting too slushy in the sun. Gear Notes: 3 pickets, 0.5-#2 C4s, rack of nuts, a few slings, one ice screw. We placed basically all the gear except the screw. Approach Notes: Stay far right once past the lake and follow snow bands up to the base of the couloir.
  45. 1 point
    Thanks for putting my bull-kaka in perspective folks (and not ripping me too hard in the process). To be fair, I really enjoy TRs about "easy" routes and people learning. I especially enjoyed MA and Collin's early TRs, but they were also on routes that had (and mostly still have) few TRs. I hope people continue to post TRs on a variety of routes, easy or otherwise. I just hope people get a little more adventurous and go do something other than the second most popular volcano route on the whole planet. Especially given the many great options we have here in the PNW.
  46. 1 point
    Yes, and we should ban TRs from people who carry SLRs into the back country with the express purpose of making my iphone 6S photos look like shite.
  47. 1 point
    While we're at it, we should ban TRs from climbs that are too hard for most people. I don't like TRs that make me feel weak!
  48. 1 point
    Hi Doing a youtube live talk about trying to climb Denali in Feb 2019 this Wednesday at 8 pm (GMT), and imagine there might be people here interested in the cold stuff. Big focus of the talk is how to stay safe in extreme temperatures and live for extended periods in nasty places, as well as planning and psychology. See you there!
  49. 1 point
    Looks like you hit the nail on the head with what I would also consider a good climbing pack. Heres my most recent 30l climbing pack I made, blending what I like about Cilogear and Alpine Luddites: Very similar and just slightly smaller than a cilogear 30l. Used a different closure system because if the pack has a removable lid, I'm often not using it. Permanent lids tend to work better I think, less flop factor. The body of the pack is made from a newer woven dyneema hybrid (around 45% dyneema). The stuff is bomb proof (and expensive...), got bored trying to wear a hole in a test scrap with 80 grit sandpaper. So far It's been out for one climb and a few ski tours this winter.
  50. 1 point
    On the topic of grip tape, I wrap the full length of my ice tools with Temflex. Keeps my hands a bit warmer while daggering and helps keep snow from building up on the shafts. Nothing new here, just my take on the idea. @Alisse, as far a shoulder strap water bottle holder go, many companies make a removable shoulder strap pocket for such things. I can't personally think of a DIY solution short of just sewing something similar to what those companies make. Perhaps a bunch of elastic shock cord loops with cord-locks (around your shoulder strap webbing and bottle) would be a cheap but not as secure way of going about it. That could work well with a bottle with a bunch of ridges (Gatorade) on the side or a soft flask type bottle.