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  1. 12 points
    Trip: Bear Mountain - North Buttress: Beckey Route Trip Date: 07/15/2018 Trip Report: Bear Mountain: Two new dads trying to keep a 10 year dream alive For me, mountains can become obsessions, sometimes to the point of irrationality. In my life, no mountain, or route has been more indicative of this than the North Buttress of Bear. I stumbled upon Bear in 2007 in my early days of climbing WA by devouring each page of the Beckey guides like they were some gripping novel. Trip reports from this site only further set the dream of someday ascending this monster objective. Being nothing but a budding sport climber at the time, this peak seemed out of my grasp. As the years went on, I honed my mountain skills. I learned to trad lead, sent my first few alpine rock routes, got on my first glaciers, and began developing the mind for the rigors of schwacking in the cascades. By 2011, I began thinking this dream could possibly become a reality for me. I even found a climbing partner, Andrew, who shared my dream. Each year we'd talk about making our dream a reality but each Summer would come and go without an attempt. For 5 years in a row we'd try to make plans only to see them fall through. Timing, schedules, obligations, weather, forest fires, and work all conspired against us. Fast forward to 2016, and each of us became fathers of our first children. Yet another reason to push Bear farther from our grasps. During the first year of fatherhood I discovered, although not surprised, that being a father does not easily co-exist with committing alpine objectives. My fit physique, lead head, and drive for summits began to recede like the glaciers surrounding the peaks I had grown to love so much. Over trail runs, occasional crag days, and family outings, Andrew and I still spoke of our mutual dream contrasted with our diminished abilities. One thing was clear from these conversations: the dream, and our stoke was still alive for our beloved Bear. Spring of 2018 came around. It had been a dismal Winter of training. Trips to the crags confirmed, family obligations and our lack of training over the Fall and Winter had left both of us less than prepared to crush in the coming Summer, but we began to discuss plans for Bear as we did every year. We settled on the dates of July 13-15 and began attempting to play catch up with our training. As the dates drew closer, one thing became certain, neither of us felt strong. But the week of July 4th came and still nothing looked to foil our set plans. So early July 13th we made the early morning drive to the end of the Chilliwack road along Chilliwack Lake in British Columbia. The bushwhack across the border and out to bear camp lived up to its dreaded hype. Six hours of magical, rarely touched old-growth forest contrasted with the torturous efforts required to navigate and move through said forest left us bewildered and uncertain. This uncertainty as well as the contrast of beauty and torture would be a reoccurring theme over these 3 days. From bear camp to the bivy on the western shoulder of bear is 4000 vertical feet up. A quarter of the way up, late afternoon, and we were beat. I am on liter 5 of water, schwacking in my underwear due to the heat and effort. Both of us are bonking and cursing ourselves for thinking we could pull this objective off. We were not fit. We had not trained enough. Doubt began to dominate our thoughts. It has already been 8 hours of this shit and we still had 3,000 feet of trail-less hell ahead of us. Who were we kidding? There was no way we were going to make it to camp before dark. We sat, uncomfortably, on a steep slope, in the middle of nowhere and began talking of retreat. "Squamish isn't too far away, is it?" "I guess we could always just crag at Mt. Erie on our way back to Seattle." Inside, a voice screams at my exhausted brain, "MT. ERIE!!!!???? Are you fucking serious!!?? I am never coming back into this valley again. It is now or never for Bear. The dream either lives or dies on this shitty, viewless, insignificant slope." My senses kicked back in. Remember, anything too big to fathom all at once needs to be broken into digestible chunks. The decision to push on grew from this and we decided to at least try to make it to the lake for the night and we would make the next decision from there. Two hours later, after 1,000 feet of extremely steep blueberry bush pulling, we broke out into the alpine and our spirits began to soar like a vulture in a thermal updraft. It’s amazing how something as simple as alpine views can change the mindset and determination of a climber. I began to feel rejuvenated. Maybe we could make the bivy site before dark. A heather-strewn meadow on a gentle shoulder gave us the first real physical break of the day. Panoramic views of remote North Cascade summits rose all around us. A mother Ptarmigan and her brood of chicks sprinted out of the bushes, snapping me from my alpine daze. Discussions of a potential closer bivy site gave us a closer goal. Running on fumes, past the lower bivy spot, and we still have light. Must, keep, moving. At last, 12 hours after leaving our car, we collapsed at the col. We had made it. I promptly gave the double middle finger to the valley below, clearly showing the shit-show we just wallowed through. We promised ourselves we would not make a decision about what to do about the next day until after we ate. Dinner went quick. As we crawled into our bags, we listened to the cacophony of a thousand tiny flying vampires trying desperately to find a way through our netting and into our skin. Twilight lit the sky with a rainbow of color. We both agreed that since we had overcome the uncertainty and brutality of what many, including us, consider the hardest approach in the Cascades, we felt obligated to throw ourselves at the North face the next morning even as our bodies screamed in opposition. We awoke with the sunrise. I shook the heaviness of last nights sleep from my head and felt somewhat shocked that yesterday wasn't some dream/nightmare. I was here. We were about to start our summit day. A day we have both been dreaming of for at least 10 years. With each sip of coffee, my stoke began to rise. We strapped on our crampons and make a quick and pleasant descent onto the north side of the mountain. We turned a corner to catch our first glimpse of Bear's north buttress. Ominous, glorious, stunning, perfection on ice. Words cannot really describe the feelings I had, but these are close. Upon seeing both the direct north buttress and the north buttress couloir, we checked in. The direct looked safer as the couloir looked broken up near the top, but our energy levels and dismal cumulative rock pitches for the year had us thinking that the extra rock pitches might not be reasonable. We settled on following the couloir and Beckey's footsteps. In hindsight, this might this might have been a bad idea, but I am pretty sure I would have said the same thing if we had taken the other option. Either way we felt the collective weight of our dreams, the debilitating approach that we vowed never to do again, and the sheer power of what we were trying to accomplish. I felt as if every step upwards tightened the grip of the vice we were in. Committed, for better or worse, to move upwards. We switched back and forth from approach shoes to crampons a few times and quickly found ourselves in irreversible territory. There is terror and clarity in realizing the only way out of a predicament is forward. We broke out the rope to lead our first pitch out of the couloir. A shit show of snow, poor pro behind detached blocks, and slopey ledges littered with rocks of all shapes and sizes. My rope skirted across a ledge and sent a microwave down towards Andrew. Our years of work together in the mountains gave us the foresight to expect such events and was glad Andrew had set himself out of harm’s way before I led. We had reached the 4th class ledge system that would get us up to the North buttress proper. Kitty litter, slopey ledges, and the exposure below made for careful, calculated movements while simuling, often without adequate gear between us. Trust in each other became paramount and again I found myself thinking that I was thankful to be climbing with such a trusted partner. At last, we reached the first real quality pitch of the route. Beckey's glorious left facing 5.8 corner. Andrew led and we both laughed at the idea of "5.8" at the top. It felt like index 5.9+ but would be an instant classic if situated at the lower town wall. We were finally finding some type 1 fun. I linked the next two pitches of fun and deposited us at the base of the infamous 10a offwidth. DE8DD876-06ED-4585-BEE2-4CF80B5ED29B.MOV It was at this point that we began to feel the efforts of the pat 36 hours. Dehydrated, low on energy, and stoke, Andrew reluctantly agreed to lead the next pitch and quickly made the decision to take the 5.8 bypass pitch. We ended up breaking this pitch into two because the lower portion of the offwidth took most of our small cams and the upper 5.8 portion looked to take nothing bigger than a .75 BD. Crap. We swapped leads under the only stance Andrew could find conveniently under a car sized detached block. I was tasked with leading over it and him without touching it. Yikes. I led to a nice ledge and brought up my partner. Both of us feeling both physically, mentally, and emotionally drained, we began to flounder. Neither felt the desire to lead the next pitch. Bonking hard, I finally took the sharp end. Staying on the crest I mantled to the base of a steep featured, but unprotect-able face. I began to lose my cool. 15 feet above a ledge and my last piece and seeing committing climbing and no cracks above me, I retreated. Reversing the mantle had me nearly hyperventilating but I, somehow, safely made my way back to the anchor. We discussed our predicament, spied a horn with rap slings 30 feet down to our right and consulted our beta. We both thought that this was the Beckey rappel that would take us to a 4th class gully exit but our position would not allow us to confirm it. Below us, the gullies looked vertical, smooth, and crack-free. Committing to the rappel felt serious. Andrew rappelled at a diagonal across ribs, at times placing gear as directionals to reach the farthest gully. Upon reaching the first gully, Andrew looked up. There is no way that is 4th class. Second gully. Sweet baby jesus! It goes! Relief washed over us like a warm caribbean breeze. I rappelled down and we quickly began to lead. We both just wanted to be done with this endeavor. How quickly a dream becomes dread. My mind screamed, "Get me the fuck off this mountain!" After two rope stretching pitches and some mid fifth climbing (another sandbag) the Sun hit our darkened spirits and the tomb I'd climbed myself out of was no more. A few hundred feet of 3rd class was all that separated us from the summit. Elated, exhausted, and emotional, we hugged. I looked over the edge, down the north face and wept. Tears of joy, relief, and sadness fell hundreds of feet down the alpine face of my dreams. I always pictured myself feeling triumphant at this moment, but instead all I felt was relief and the intense desire to hug my wife and two year old son. We had done it. We had fought through constant moments of fear and uncertainty to obtain our dreams, but I felt far from dreamy. As we began the descent, I turned around and gave one last look at the summit of my dreams and gave it the double middle finger. I was done. I could close this chapter of my climbing pursuits. Fatherhood has changed my drive, my dreams, and my abilities. I am unsure if I will ever climb anything like this again, but much like any overwhelming obstacle, I will take it one decision at a time. Who knows how I will feel about such commitment and risk taking in the future. We hit a mellow snow slope and just like any decision we made that day, we assessed the terrain and made the best choice for moving forward. The joy in the glissade took me by surprise and I burst out into a giggle fit. Type 1 fun!!!! What a wild ride of emotions. We reached our bivy a half an hour before sunset. We smiled and laughed as we recapped the day. Feeling thankful and shocked to have pulled the ascent off, we crawled into our bags, passed a joint back and forth and fell into philosophical ramblings about life and reality. What a life we live. The next morning we made the long march back down to bear camp and through what felt like endless old growth shenanigans pushed by the thought of a dip in Chilliwack lake and the beer stashed there. Upon reaching the lake we found the beer gone, hoards of people on what I thought would be a secluded beach, and leash-less dogs aggressively charging us while the owner continued to flirt with some bikini-clad girl. WTF. I thought that was the shit-cream on top of a long and miserable day, but oh no. Upon reaching the trailhead I saw my car in the distance but somehow it did not look like my car. The back window was missing! Someone had broken into my car! Son-of-a-bitch! As we got closer, the horrific reality set in. My car had not only been broken into, it had been set on fire. The tires, the windows, the interior. Everything that could have burned did. My car was a hunk of metal and nothing more! I was in disbelief. How was this possible!?? How are we going to get out of here? Is this a nightmare? Am I still in the mountain sleeping in my bag and this is some horrid hallucination fueled by the joint and exhaustion? Nope. This was reality. Whoever did this also nearly set the entire forest on fire based on the completely burnt cedar behind my car. Jesus Fucking Christ! We could have been trapped in that valley if they had succeeded in doing so! As my mind swirled with the gravity of our situation, the last car in the parking lot approached us and gave us a ride into town dropping us off at the Chilliwack police. After reporting what had happened, expecting surprise, they just smiled and said, "Yep, this has been happened a lot this Summer and there was little they could do about it. They gave us our police report number and directed us to a local bar and motel. I called the border to confirm they would let me back into the states without my passport (burnt in the car) and made arrangements for a friend to come pick us up. ”the urban mountaineer” This trip will live in my mind till the day I die and will hopefully entertain many. Journeys like this are great reminders for what is important in your life and just how lucky I am to be apart of this amazing planet. Get after what fuels your soul people! Gear Notes: 60 m rope Double rack tops to fist. Single 4 and a set of stoppers. Lots of alpine slings Approach Notes: Follow the tape till you can’t then turn on your zen and be one with the forest.
  2. 5 points
    Trip: Washington Pass, Liberty Bell - Thin Red Line Trip Date: 09/01/2018 Trip Report: My buddy Andy Traylor and I had set this as a goal route to free for the summer season. Neither of us had really approached a bigger route like this with a redpoint mentality before and weren't sure exactly how to do it. With many different ways to consider an ascent "free," we settled on what we believe is a pretty commonly followed set of rules. We wanted to swing leads, and either redpoint or follow cleanly on every pitch, lowering back to the belay if necessary. Our plan was to spend one day and check out the first six pitches to get a feel for the moves and the gear then try and send the next day. On day 1 we took our time climbing the first six pitches, with no real pressure or time crunch. We TR'd the cruxes a couple times and feeling pretty good about going for it the next day, rapped off and headed down for a big dinner. The next day we set out a little nervous, but also feeling good about our chances. Once we were on the route we were moving and climbing well. Thoughts on the pitches for anyone that cares (some gear beta here so purists need not read on): P1. Straightforward crimping and edging straight up to the anchor. I actually headed right after the last bolt, going more directly to the anchor on day 2 and thought that was slightly better. Andy getting all artsy with the iPhone on P1 P2. Short pitch. Boulder problem over the bulge through the mini changing corners. Good pro and the pin at the end of the crux seemed in good shape, not tested. Belay on gear. P3. Awesome and memorable pitch I thought, shorter than it looks in photos. Super thin edging and stemming in the dihedral leading to a roof with wet holds that allow you to exit the corner and gain a stance. I basically punched myself in the face popping out of the wet locks first go round. Pin in the corner seemed good, I tested it and it held. Mostly finger sized cams. Belay at full on hanger. Andy in the corner/roof that ends the crux on P3 P4. Fixed gear in the roof seemed only ok, hard to tell with the tat and I didn’t spend much time examining it, but you probably won’t come off under the roof anyway, clip and go. Andy exiting the roof on P4 The last bit traversing back toward the anchor we both found a little awkward and harder than it seemed it should be. On the traverse back to the belay on P4 P5. Business #1. Super fun 5.10 traversing and edging to the corner. Corner gets progressively harder with the real business starting at the bolts. I will say on my initial go I was not super happy to have left basically all the rack at the belay, expecting only a few pieces then bolts. I'd take mostly finger sizes, but I was happy to have a black Metolius and a #2 C4 (certainly not necessary but provided me with some mental fortitude to try hard). Bring lots of slings, I think I had like 14 and ran out somehow, placed too much gear I guess. The crux moves are technical, a little powerful, desperate and amazing. The last move, while not the hardest, has the potential to be a heart breaker and I can only imagine being very desperate if you’re under, say, 5’9. Belay on medium sized gear above the bolts, significantly better stance. Andy sticking the last move, he never fell once climbing this pitch over the 2 days. P6. Business #2. No picture. First roof is super casual. Leading up to the second roof the climbing gets less secure but good small finger gear is there between pins. The boulder problem is powerful, but pretty straightforward cranking (V4ish?) on pretty good holds. We were a little confused by all the talk about a necessary and specific red C3 placement. We couldn’t find anywhere by the beak, or below the roof for that matter, where this would go. Any clues? However that piece or a blue Metolius or equivalent went in bomber just above the lip. If that’s the placement everyone is talking about, then there is no need to scavenge around for a red C3 if you don’t have one. We left it out in favor of a blue Metolius on round 2. Climb past the bolts (if not rapping from here) and belay on the better sloping ledge with hand sized pieces. P7. Only dog pitch on the route. Thought the rock was poor quality, basically a connector pitch. Ends on the scary looking “how is it still hanging there” block creating the ledge. P8. Another techy and pretty thin 11+ pitch. Really really good. Looks super thin but there is gear to be had and both the head and pin are in good shape, Andy tested both and approved. Some small hand sized gear higher. P9. Excellent and fun 10+ climbing again builds as you get higher. Looks like the seam dies out at the top, but keep going up instead of traversing left. That’s probably super obvious but I was getting tired and moving more timidly by this point. P10-12. Progressively easier climbing. Nice to have Scott's topo for P10 to know where to get started. The last belay sits basically on the arête between the east and north face, we came back into the sun here. There are brand spanking new bolts here instead of the pin/fixed wire combo some guide mentions. Maybe it’s obvious, but the climbing heads left up the lighter colored dihedral. This looked too steep to us to be the 5.7 climbing, so Andy headed out right on the lower angle terrain and we had a bit of an epic on the easiest and last pitch of the route. The rock quality deteriorated into kitty litter, so Andy tried to sling a chockstone to lower back to me, only to get the rope got stuck forcing even more shenanigans (face palm). All in all we wasted some hours and all hopes of pizza. Once corrected we soloed to the top without further incident. Don't go this way. Why is this photo so big? All in all, neither of us fell following any of the pitches. On lead, some of the pitches took a try or two, but in the end we pulled it out and nabbed a free ascent. We learned a lot about climbing in this style and really enjoyed the process. Thanks to Mikey Schaefer for figuring this out, it provided one of my all time favorite experiences in the mountains so far. Psyched for the next one! Gear Notes: Doubles from purple Metolius to .75 BD, singles to #3 BD. Our second set of cams were Metolius offsets. They worked amazing (as always for granite) and I always carry them as doubles, but far from necessary. Nuts. Placed 1 RP but probably not necessary. Lots of slings, like ~16. We used a 40M tag line and hauled the bag on most pitches. Approach Notes: Most casual "alpine" approach ever. Like 25min from the car.
  3. 4 points
    Trip: Mount Chaval - Standard Western Ramp Trip Date: 09/28/2018 Trip Report: Ahhhhhhhhhhh.....fall in the high country. Perhaps my favorite time of year. Crisp air, vibrant colors, no bugs, and long enough nights to actually get some sleep. Sure the glaciers are wrecked and the rock often damp, but it give you an excuse to head off the beaten path and do a bit of chossing! And chossing Kit and I did this past weekend on Chaval. We had the pleasure of zero trail between the car on the Illabot road and the peak, flavored by terrain that was always just a bit more rugged than the map would suggest. Given the modest altitude and barriers to admission, I was a little surprised that 2-3 parties a year climb Chaval. I guess its prominence from Darrington draws many potential suitors. At least one likely got more than they bargained for. We found a pair of Merrell boots neatly tied to each other and hung over a tree branch on the ridge leading to camp. Huh? We couldn't come up with a good reason to leave a pair of boots like that in the middle of such rugged terrain, or at least one that didn't involve a rescue. Just another Cascadian mystery that I probably will never find the answer to. And isn't mystery a big part of what draws us back to the hills time and time again? CHAVAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!! Mount Chaval, "It's like rehab for fat people" . Kit pauses at infinity fat camp. It doesn't get much better for fall colors on the west side: There she be, from camp. Kit had steel, I had aluminum. One was better than the other. Snowking: This wasn't mandatory, but it sort of was, just because it was there. Kit just below the summit: The view east from the top of Chaval: Dome: Snowking: Trying to beat the sunset: Time to get out the headlamps: The gloaming has begun: Yes, it looked like we attacked North Korea: My favorite: Dakobed: Sloan, Monte Cristo Peaks, and Pugh from camp: As we hiked out, the rain began to fall: Gear Notes: Helmet, ice axe, crampons Approach Notes: Park on Illabot road, on the western end of the old clear cut near the bridge over Illabot creek. Diagonal across lower part of unit, cross small stream to gain rib which is followed steeply upward to the top of the old unit. Angle up and left to ridge, topping out near small tarn on USGS quad. Follow ridge, generally, to 6100' col where good camps lie with year round water. You'll need to deviate here and there from ridge as it is craggy in sections. Past 6100' col you'll drop off north side to glacier via crappy gully (late season) or steep snow. Follow glacier up to ridge again and the prominent ramp which splits west face of Chaval. Take that ramp all the way to summit ridge and summit via some exposed class 3.
  4. 3 points
    Trip: Washington North Cascades - West Ridge of Colfax Peak Trip Date: 10/06/2018 Trip Report: With a minor storm dumping snow and quite a few days with sub-zero temperatures, Paul and I headed from Squamish down to Baker to try the Cosley-Houston Route on Colfax. We endured the Friday evening traffic to Sumas and then blasted on to the Heliotrope Ridge TH and bivvied in the back of the truck. Our alarm went off at 0500 and we were on the trail at 0545 by headlamp. We transitioned to boots at the toe of the glacier and immediately started dodging thinly bridged crevasses up to the football field and beyond. One major detour and a pitch of steep neve climbing and we found ourselves at the base of Colfax. The crux on the CH looked a bit too thin for our bravery levels and we weren’t sure how the snowfields above would be - we were a bit worried we'd find fresh pow over kitty litter. So, feeling a bit dejected, we decided to go have a look at the view towards Lincoln Peak from the col and get a photo of Ford’s Theatre. Crevasses were well hidden and a hassle: We noticed the West Ridge looked pretty chill and that aside from a rock step, it might give a reasonably quick access to the snowfields above the CH crux. So we decided to go for it. One mixed snow/rock simul-pitch took us onto the ridge crest (amazing views of Lincoln Peak). A second pitch got us up the ridge to a rock step. It seemed unlikely but a 10m downclimb on the E side dropped us into a perfect SW facing snow couloir with super cool rimed up rock walls. One pitch to the top of this and back onto the ridge crest and we were at another difficult looking rock step. Instead of taking the step, we delicately traversed to a snow ramp and a 20m downclimb to the top of the ice of Ford’s Theatre. From here we followed the route and simuled up perfectly crunchy snow to the top of the CH. Paul doing the downclimb into the convenient SW facing couloir: Descent was via the normal route with one rappel and a MAJOR detour around a full width crevasse on the Coleman at 2650m. More photos attached at the bottom. It would be hard to believe the W Ridge hasn’t been climbed before but I have no idea. Seems pretty unlikely that no-one has wandered up like we did. It would be interesting to find out if anyone had finished the W Ridge directly without bumping left over to the CH snow slopes as the rock walls above us looked serious enough that we didn't give them a serious look. There's probably a way through though! Route: Gear Notes: We used one stubby screw in rime ice, a handful of cams and pins and, actually for the first time in my life, used a picket as pro (and was kinda glad to have it). Approach Notes: Standard Heliotrope Ridge/Coleman Glacier
  5. 3 points
    Trip: North Sister - NW Ridge Trip Date: 09/23/2018 Trip Report: Friends. This is my first non-trivial mountain (well, there was Hodge Crest, but that was unnecessarily complicated). I'm rather hyperbole averse, but I still feel good about calling this a harrowing climb. Sorry it's so long, I can't help myself. Not sorry. I disliked descriptions of the standard approach (South Ridge): seems like a complicated set of gendarmes to navigate over crappy terrain. Plus I've already sunk into a crevasse on the Collier glacier and could use something new. Plus beaten path, eww. The NW ridge caught my eye via caltopo: it just generally seemed more appealing. I later shelled out 40$ for a usable misprint of Oregon High, and found some interesting info there, with the FA of Glisan especially entertaining. The internet by contrast is sparse: there's a trip report of a failed attempt on traditionalmountaineering.org, and another on a personal site I can no longer find which was so vague it could've been a different route. Walking out of Scott TH a hearty two hours later then intended, I imagined how I'd word the solitude, firmly believing I wouldn't see a soul for two days. That was contradicted in minutes. The hike in is beautiful, really dry and wet at the same time. Cotton jeans + t shirt felt slightly questionable, but I was wearing them yesterday and picking fresh clothes would've been too much work. Eventually I came upon Collier's geologic diarrhea dump, then through more forest, then through Collier cone's interior (by previous logic, its anus?). I left the PCT and went over the cone's southern ridge down to the Collier glacier's moraine's terminus, where I was relieved to find muddy water (earlier streams I was hopeful about were dry). I set up camp at the edge of the moraine, right under the NW ridge, on a bit of a saddle. I was paranoid about lightning (there was none), but didn't want to be low in case of precipitation, so finding the saddle was a relief. I've been near a lightning storm once, and seeing agitated dark clouds tumbling over the ridges gave me some serious heebie jeebies. I also heard weird sounds, possibly even voices, and remember reading others' accounts of feeling generally weird before lightning, so things sucked. I calmed down and went to bed at 19:30, and slept like a baby (that is, woke up 10 times but got the right amount of quality rest). It rained for a few hours, which was not forecasted, I worried a bit about my water "resistant" single wall tent but it did fine. Enthusiastically up at 6:30, with stars still visible but the beautifully clear sky brightening. I was extremely low energy yesterday, and was elated to be in the mindset for ass whooping today. I heard voices again, and was shocked to see two climbers already going up the ridge. Hey! This is my obscure project! No, honestly it was a relief to not be totally alone. Also relieved not to be hearing things. I ate my homemade granola and packed my stuff. Crampons and axe? Hmmmn, I looked up the mountain, saw a dusting of snow, and imagined that'd be gone in an hour and I'd feel like a chump for carrying them (some backpackers questioned me yesterday). On the other hand, the remaining elevation gain is Dog Mountain, I can use the training weight. The climb up the ridge was very straightforward. I don't know if it was the rime covering the rocks or what, but things were sturdy and scrambling very, very fun. Rule of thumb: from the base till Glisan pinnacle, either go over obstacles (many are easier than they look) or go right. I caught up to the pair, they too were surprised to see me here. One of them had tried this once before, only getting up "Gilson peak". Passing them, I saw some faint footprints here and there. Not as obscure a route as I thought. Traversing under Glisan is where I first encountered proper loose rock, but it was easy enough. I started up a notch leading to a saddle leading to the South route, and happily put crampons on there: they helped immensely. This wasn't snow, this was a granular mix of snow, ice, and mud that gave my ancient spikes extremely good purchase. Over the saddle, traversed some more loose rock, and looked up. Is that the bowling alley? Nah, can't be, too steep. Wussies climb this (I have no idea why I tell myself this). I looked around some more. Yeah, that actually was it. I climbed a small step and headed up. I realized I'm cramponing 45ish° without an ice axe, so I get that out, swing it, and find it useless. So, it's slippery enough that a fall would suck, but forget self arrest. Don't fall then, gotcha. I go up some more, then climb a couple near vertical steps and then back down, terrified. I curse myself and resolve to get outta here. Then I try a slightly different way and, cursing loudly (no bad words, much worse: genuine bad sentiments), it becomes tame again, more and more. I am so happy to have crampons, and so happy the rocks are firmly cemented in place. I walk to the south horn because it has a cairn. From there, north horn looks higher, plus maybe I can scout a different (better?) descent. I climb it, and sit on the peak taking time to declutter my head. I was starving before, but can't eat now, and that's when how distressed I am fully sinks in. Looking around - there's not a better way down this pinnacle (Jeff Thomas made the NE aspect sound doable... nope, though I'd love to try with snow). I decide I'll be ok descending as slowly and deliberately as possible. This works out - I actually found the descent easier. Passed the crux and felt huge relief. Found two different climbers just below the bowling alley; they had no crampons and quickly decided to call it. They'd cowboy camped in that rain, I admire their high spirits. Sitting to eat, the other two from earlier emerged: one soon turned back, the other went up the bowling alley a bit and came back down. No crampons. Poor guys, but I'd be lying if I denied that me being the only of five to summit that morning wasn't a bit of a tremendous ego boost. During this, I remembered how sure I was that the cruxy fun was of type 3, and was amused that I demoted it to type 2. Rime, rock, and my layers are starting to peel off. I traverse back under Glisan, and scurried down the ridge, tripping over loose rock a few times. Yeah, I think the ice made a positive difference on the way up, lucky me! I ran much of the way back to the car and made it back to Portland just an hour late to pick up my daughter. Memorable :). My least favorite thing about this trip is that my micro 4/3 camera broke just before - I used my phone like a normal person. Gear Notes: Crampons, ice axe, and why did I leave a flash drive in my pocket? Approach Notes: Yeah, it's a long drive, but refrain from Schubert sonatas on your way in. That shit gets stuck in your head and then it's not fun.
  6. 3 points
    Trip: North Cascades - Southern Pickets - Southern Pickets Enchainment (Traverse) – Second Ascent Trip Date: 08/17/2018 Trip Report: Climbers/Scribe/Photos: Jeff and Priti Wright Priti and I completed the Second Ascent of the full Southern Pickets Enchainment (Traverse) between 8/12/2018 and 8/17/2018 via the first ascensionists’ agenda (VI 5.10+, ca. 3 miles). Thirteen peaks in four days staying on technical terrain enchaining every peak in the Southern Picket Range from East to West. The Chopping Block was our 14thpeak on the last day à la Bunker-Haley-Wallace. We were lucky to have splitter weather the whole time except for our approach day which was non-stop drizzling and kept us from jumping on the rock right away. We had previously attempted this climb during the July 4thweek earlier this summer but were stormed off at the base of Mount Terror. View of the entire Southern Pickets from Mount Triumph. Photo Credit: James Blackmon (1) Little Mac Spire, (2) East McMillan Spire, (3) West McMillan Spire, (4) Tower 1 summit of the East Towers aka "Don Tower", (5) Tower 5 summit of East Towers, (6) Inspiration Peak, (7) Pyramid Peak, (8) Mount Degenhardt, (9) Mount Terror, (10) The Rake aka "The Blob", (11) The Blip, (12) East Twin Needle, (13) West Twin Needle, (14) Dusseldorfspitz, (15) Himmelhorn, (16) Ottohorn, (17) Frenzelspitz, and (18) The Chopping Block The Chopping Block is on the left. History: FA: In 2003, this visionary line of 13 summits (Little Mac Spire to Frenzelspitz) was first completed by Mark Bunker, Colin Haley, and Wayne Wallace in an incredibly speedy 4 days car-to-car. http://c498469.r69.cf2.rackcdn.com/2004/34_wallace_pickets_aaj2004.pdf https://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/topic/15094-walking-the-fence/ 2011: Dan Hilden, Jens Holsten, and Sol Wertkin completed 12 of the Southern Pickets summits (Little Mac Spire to Ottohorn), but were halted by an impassable moat under the South Face of the final bookend peak, Frenzelspitz (a lesson we borrowed to not take the snow approach). https://www.outdoorresearch.com/blog/article/chad-kellogg-jens-holsten-tackle-complete-picket-range-enchainment http://www.alpinist.com/doc/web15s/wfeature-never-ending-holsten-kellogg https://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/topic/82900-tr-picket-range-complete-enchainment-attempt-922011/?tab=comments#comment-1029444 2013: Jens Holsten and Chad Kellogg traversed 11 of the Southern Pickets summits (Little Mac Spire to Himmelhorn), and carried on to the Northern Pickets to do a mind-blowing Southern and Northern Pickets traverse. Even though Jens humbly calls their climb an “attempt” since they left out three minor summits, their ascent was easily one of the greatest alpine achievements in the lower 48. https://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/topic/92032-they-made-it/?tab=comments#comment-1101276 http://jensholsten.blogspot.com/2013/07/desperate-country-seven-day-enchainment.html https://www.outdoorresearch.com/blog/article/chad-kellogg-jens-holsten-tackle-complete-picket-range-enchainment Legend In the topos below, note the following color codes -Blue circle: belays that we chose to take (all are optional, obviously) -Yellow arrows: Bail options, or ways to enter/exit shorter segments of the Enchainment -Green tent: bivy sites (note the comments) -Red lines: Ascent -White circles: Rappels -White lines: Descent Day 1 With our packs each weighing in at 28lbs, we hiked in to Terror Creek Basin via Goodell Creek through wet bushes and a light drizzle and bivied at the Terror Creek Basin High Camp. Day 2 As we roped up at the base of the start (Little Mac Spire) on Day 2, Priti glumly pulled two left-footed red Moccasym rock shoes out of her pack, but decided to keep going like the hardcore badass that she is! We climbed from Little Mac Spire (5.8) through East McMillan Spire (5.6), West McMillan Spire (5.8), the East Towers (5.8) summiting Don Tower and Tower 5, and finishing the day with Inspiration Peak (5.9). We had to climb up 1/3 of Pyramid to find a small snow patch for water and dinner. On our last trip in early July there was a lot of snow at the cols, so it was easy to find water. There was a lot less snow in the cols in August, making finding water along the traverse very tricky, to say the least. We filled our dromedary up every time we found snow. The smoke made the views hazy, but we could tell how far away the later peaks were, and how far we had to go. The base of Little Mac Spire The start of the technical climbing (5.7) on the face of Little Mac Spire The upper ridge of East McMillan Spire View looking West in July View looking West in August Upper face of West McMillan Spire Starting up Tower 1 Priti is belaying below Pitch 2 (5.8 with a hand/fist overhang) Inspiration Peak Summit is the impressive overhang on the left Day 3 On Tuesday (day 2 of climbing, day 3 of the trip), we started out on Pyramid (5.8), and traversed over Degenhardt (3rd class). We chose a steep face crack for the first pitch on Terror to start. This may be the 5.8 start Jens and Chad did. Starting further out left might go at 5.6. After finding the piton rappel off Terror, we downclimbed about half of the Rake-Terror col before starting up a loose gulley on The Rake (skier’s right). The climbing didn’t feel too hard, and we must have avoided the 5.9 R climbing described by previous parties. However we didn’t make it to the nice bivy at the summit, instead hunkering down on a slopey grassy ledge for the night. Snafflehounds poked me in the face and jumped on my feet to start the night out. The meteor shower sparkled above us. In the morning, Jeff found his helmet strap had been gnawed through, his crack gloves stolen and the nut butter munched. Nothing a little duct tape won’t fix! Starting up the technical climbing on Pyramid Peak Inside the crux chimney Day 4 On Wednesday (day 3 of climbing, day 4 of the trip), we only climbed for a few hours doing lots of fun ridge climbing on the Rake (5.8) which took us to the best bivy spot of the trip: on top of the West Rake Summit. It was so nice, we decided to relax the rest of the day and camel up for the next day. The choosy 4th class gully which exits the Terror-Rake col (about halfway down) on climber's right The entire Rake ridgeline is pictured here. Priti is on the initial ridgeline, heading to the Rake's deep, major notch (right of center). Stay high on this initial ridge to get to a 5.6 traverse about even with the notch to get over to the notch. Starting the traverse too soon may result in 5.9R climbing. The vertical ridgeline just left of the major notch is the technical crux. The technical crux of The Rake. This is the second pitch after getting to the major notch which takes you to the The Rake's ridge proper. 5.8+ ledges with small gear. Starting out on the Rake's ridge proper. Looking back at the Rake (Eastward) from the summit Guns out! Amazing bivy site! Don't stop at the col (aka "Ice Station Dark Star"), but continue to this bivy after a short pitch. Day 5 Thursday morning we woke up stoked for the Twin Needles and Himmelgeisterhorn. The Blip between the Rake and the Needles was a quick jaunt (5.6). In the descent gulley, Priti kicked a small rock down, which tipped a precarious car-door sized boulder over and core-shot our rope. She literally had two left feet! We just climbed the rest of the way with 40m of rope out. East Twin Needle (5.10a) had some of the best climbing on the trip, following an aesthetic line up the knife edge ridge, that looks like a gothic tower. There was a TCU that the previous party stuck behind a flake, and was reminded of the giant footsteps we were following. The last couple moves were extremely dirty though. The left variation of the crux is much easier than sticking right. West Twin Needle was chill 3rd Class. Then came Himmelgeisterhorn (5.10), the “Horn of the Sky Spirit”. The climbing was fantastic: engaging, with great position, and unique au chevaling! We climbed over Düsseldorfspitz, on the way to the summit of Himmelhorn. We rappelled down the North Face of Himmelhorn with our 60m rope which worked out perfectly. Ottohorn took about an hour to summit and get back down to the Himmel-Otto col. The 3rdclass route that Bunker-Haley-Wallace took is gone due to some fresh rock fall. Instead of taking the 2 pitch 5.7 variation that Hilden-Holsten-Wertkin took, we attacked the fresh rock scar directly which was splitter 5.6 hand cracks for maybe 15 m to the ridge and summit. In the fading light, we then headed over to Frenzelspitz (the final peak of the Enchainment) from the Himmel-Otto col, traversing along rock on the north side of Ottohorn. The ledge/gulley traverse had the most heinous, scary, exposed choss. Luckily the climbing on Frenzel was pretty great 5.7ish. We made four fresh rappel anchors, starting with a runner on the summit block, two double-nut anchors, and another slung horn. 5.8 ridge (vertical blocks) The fantastic climbing on the technical crux of East Twin Needle. Priti leading out onto the technical crux (and I mean technical!) - face climbing on crimps with small gear Looking up and over Dusseldorfspitz. Priti is belaying between Dusseldorfspitz (foreground) and Himmelhorn (background). The crazy outcropping (Dusseldorfspitz) just East of the summit of Himmelhorn Looking back down from the Himmelhorn summit at the belay. Left to right: Dusseldorfspitz (the small spire along the ridgeline, just below the summit), Himmelgeisterhorn ("Horn of the Sky Spirit", also a small suberb of the German city of Dusseldorf), Ottohorn, and Frenzelspitz...three names taken from the label of a mustard bottle brought along by Joan and Joe Firey (kindred spirits and personal heroes of ours) during their first ascent of these peaks in 1961. Ed Cooper, also on the trip, was "aghast" at the names chosen! The magnificent Northern Pickets Frenzelspitz, a perfect pyramid Day 6 The last day we climbed the Chopping Block via the NW Route (4thClass) and hiked out via “Stump Hollow” to Terror Creek. Mega thanks to Wayne, @solwertkin, and @jensholsten for their great beta, inspiration, and support. Priti and I have been dreaming of this climb for years now since reading Alpinist 47 magazine’s expansive article on the Picket Range and being inspired by Jens Holsten and Chad Kellogg’s 2013 Pickets Traverse (of both the Southern and Northern Pickets, 10 miles) after we had just taken the @boealps Basic Climbing Class. The next level of alpinism in the Southern Pickets may be to complete the entire enchainment in a day! This seems like an entirely reasonable feat (especially for a soloist) given enough familiarity and speed. Bivy Beta: Primo bivies (East to West) base of West McMillan Spire descent (snow through the summer, nice bivy walls) base of Mount Terror, cross over ridge to North side - late season snow available on top of the Rake sub-peak (1 pitch past the “Ice Station Dark Star”) – lots of snow just a short scramble distance away along the Rake descent. Himmel-Otto col (if no snow on the col, make one rappel toward Crescent basin to find snow) Terrible bivies (East to West) base of East McMillan Spire descent (sloping ledges, snow early season) slabby ledge about 1/4 the way up the Inspiration West Ridge (exposed) Pyramid-Inspiration col (no snow late season) grassy ledges down and climbers left when you first gain the ridge proper at the start of the Rake “Ice Station Dark Star” (as coined by Hilden-Holsten-Wertkin) which is the col after just rappelling from The Rake summit (snow early season, but rappel north late season to find snow down a heinous choss gully)…if no snow just at the col, then recommend continuing on to the Rake descent to find tons of easily accessible snow in late season Himmelhorn summit (no snow) Gear Notes: small set of nuts and some brassies doubles BD UL Camalots .4-2 single BD UL Camalot 3 (for Inspiration East Face) singles BD C3 000-1 (extra green 0) single BD Camalot X4 Offset 0.1/0.2 single BD Camalot X4 0.3 singles Metolius Mastercam 0-3 4 double-length runners with 2 Camp 22 biners each 3 double-length runners with 1 Camp 22 biner each 9 single-length runners with 1 Camp 22 biner each (can’t have too many runners) 30L Patagonia Ascensionist pack (for him) and 30L Black Diamond Speed pack (for her) Patagonia Micro Puff jacket (each) Patagonia Alpine Houdini jacket (each) Patgaonia Nano-Air Light Hybrid Jacket (for him) 2L MSR DromLite (essential!) Garmin inReach Mini (love this little guy!) Beal Escaper (for emergency bails) Petzl Leopard FL crampons (each) Petzl Sirocco helmets Petzl Sitta harness (for him) and Arc’teryx harness (for her) Metolius Feather Nut Tool (each) Camp Corsa Nanotech 50cm (each) chalk bag, each (didn’t use) tape gloves (for her) and OR Splitter gloves (for him) x2: Mammut Smart belay device (not the Alpine Smart) + Grivel Sigma Wire D carabiner 3 lockers for group: Grivel Tau K12L, Grivel Lambda HMS, Grivel Plume 60m 8.5mm Beal Opera rope 15m 5mm cord (did not use ever) 1 medium fuel canister 1 small fuel canister (did not use) Jetboil Sol stove Safety ‘biner (each) – Edelrid 19g caribeener, Petzl Micro Traxion, short Sterling Hollowblock, Trango Piranha knife Bivy setup (each) – Short Thermarest NeoAir XLite sleeping pad, Exped Air Pillow UL, Feathered Friends Vireo UL sleeping bag 8.5ft^2 tarp by Hyperlite Mountain Gear TC Pros (for him) and Moccassyms (for her) La Sportiva TX2 (for her) and TX4 (for him) approach shoes Petzl Reactik headlamps (each) + 3 extra AAA batteries + Petzl e+LITE headlamp Other things: 1 long spoon to share, chapstick to share, small Joshua Tree sun stick to share, Kenu iPhone tether, lighter, whistle, duct tape, Thermarest repair patches, Voke tabs, Nuun, pain killers, 1L Platypus soft water bottle (for her) and 750mL HydraPak Stash (for him), warm headband, glove liners, 1 pair thick long socks (each), sunglasses, ear plugs, WRFA emergency form, small pencil Dinner: 2 AlpineAire meals, 3 Near East Couscous boxes repackaged with small olive oil packets in ziplock bags, salt Day food was mostly bulky, yummy snacks: vegan jerky, dried mango, nuts, Cheese-Its, sesame sticks, Gu, nut butter, etc Approach Notes: Excellent Approach trail Goodell Creek to Terror Basin. The descent from Crescent Basin is tricky The luxurious tree marker where one descends from the ridge below "Stump Hollow" towards Terror Creek Log crossing Terror Creek on descent
  7. 3 points
    Very grateful for all the time you put into this trip report and thank you to @wayne @Colin @JensHolsten @Dannible @Sol for laying the groundwork and being so selfless in posting all your info here over the years. This is the site at it's very best.
  8. 2 points
    Trip: McMillan Spire - South Face to West Ridge Trip Date: 09/28/2018 Trip Report: The idea first occurred to me last spring, during a casual jog around Green Lake. Solo trip to the Pickets. I’d been in Terror Basin once before, in 2014, but our packs were too heavy (camera equipment and booze), our route finding skills abysmal (lost the trail, twice), and our timing wrong (hiked into a storm front). Now, with a toddler at home and a heavy work load, light and fast was paramount. But my summer was full of other adventures and commitments. By the first heavy rains of mid-September, I’d almost given up on the idea. Then a one-day weather window opened on Friday 9/28. I was in need of a raw experience, and decided to act. After a long day at work, I pulled into the Goodell trailhead at 10pm on Thursday night and started hiking. I forgot to check the batteries in my headlight, and suffered under a dim bulb for the first 4.5 miles of overgrown trail. The number of spiders at this time of night was truly frightening. I took hundreds of webs to the face, finally calling it around 1am at the base of the great big hill. The upwards slog began at 7am. Unlike my previous trip, I was rewarded with increasingly spectacular views as dawn broke over the North Cascades. After the first 4000 feet, I “took my time” traversing the heather bench, occasionally stopping to pick the last ripe blueberries and photograph mountain goats. Dropping into Terror Basin from the notch is an exhilarating experience -- the abrupt face of the range in your face, glacial rivers pouring down polished slabs, big talus fields erasing any hope for a trail. It’s even more spectacular you’re the only one there. With no other cars at the trailhead, and a storm scheduled to arrive Saturday, I was blissfully alone. I dropped my pack at Terror Creek, directly below the southern face of Inspiration. When I climbed that peak in September of 2014, the glacier was significantly more established. Anecdotal evidence of a trend that is sure to worsen in the coming years. This trip I headed for McMillan spire. The typical approach takes a snow tongue that traverses under an unstable looking cliff. It was littered with rockfall. Without a helmet, I made the decision to take a different route up the lower part of the south face. It appeared that a few fifth class moves would be required, but I’ll trust my climbing ability over objective hazards any day. The route turned out to be relatively straightforward, and I gained the west ridge 1/3 of the way up. The west ridge itself is more of a hike than a climb, besides a few interesting moves over the final 100’ of summit blocks. But the views couldn’t disappoint even the most cynical. In fall, the lower valleys are filled with bursts of red and orange. The north side of the southern pickets were already covered with a thin layer of snow. There was an eerie calm floating in the air: the last strained grip of summer before winter’s relentless blast of snow and ice. Truly incredible. I spent the night atop a rock perch in the middle of Terror Basin. After a peaceful sunset, the weather rapidly deteriorated. Without a tent, I was blasted by wind the entire night and hardly slept. I began the hike out at 5am amid dark clouds. The rain hit at 7am, and I was soaked and cold by the time I reached my car at 11:30am. Gear Notes: Approach shoes, aluminum crampons, axe Approach Notes: Strong legs and a desire to suffer
  9. 2 points
    Trip: Inspiration Peak - South Face Trip Date: 09/02/2018 Trip Report: Before last weekend I hadn't been to Terror Basin in almost 10 years. Back then we had spent a week in the Southern Pickets, only seeing one other party in Terror Basin. How times have changed! This past weekend there were three other parties for a total of a dozen people in Terror Basin. Thankfully all the others were headed for West McMillan Spire so we had the decidedly unpopular South Face of Inspiration all to ourselves. However, like Alan Kearney, I really think it should be more popular. It is quite a route! But it is also not for the faint of heart. Steep, intimidating, with a bit of scruffy rock and so-so pro - it would have been a challenge back when I was in good rock climbing shape. And I am most certainly not in good rock shape these days! Luckily I had @therunningdog to gun my sorry ass up it. And gun he did, leading all the gash pitches. But there was plenty to keep my mind humming below- a chaotic glacier with some delicate bridges, slabby rock right off the glacier (should have put on rock shoes earlier), and an increasingly exposed 4th/low 5th class ramp that terminated in the intimidatingly steep "Great Gash". And thenn once you are on the summit, the involved descent awaits. 4-5 raps down the West Ridge, some ridiculously exposed scrambling, and then more steep rappels down the south face. It was about 12 hours camp to camp. But what a place. Even more beautiful than I remembered, perhaps due to the changing weather and swirling mists? The best pictures are never during the best weather, perhaps the same is true of our memories? I'll be back, but I won't wait another 10 years this time. Looking down into Terror Basin from the "trail" in: Looking out to Triumph, Despair, and the Chopping Block (L-R): Despair and the Chopping Block: Thornton Peak and Triumph at sunrise: The Southern Pickets!! Morning light on the South Face of Inspiration: Ptarmigan and grown chick: I should draw the line on this but basically you climb up the buttress to the left of the face to the prominent ramp that is followed right a long ways to the start of the "Great Gash", which shoots steeply up and left to the upper West Ridge. A pitch on the ridge finishes the climb. The Descent follows the left skyline to the col then down the steep face/buttress to the glacier: The glacier approach proved challenging, but we found a way that will go into the fall this year: No super dad friendly. Scrambling a lot of 4th and low 5th to the belayed pitches up the gash. I should have taken more photos but I was pretty focused on not screwing up! @therunningdog in his element! Did I mention that the South Face of Inspiration is steep? @therunningdog coming up the final bit to the summit: It is an exposed descent as well. Rapping the West ridge: On the first set of raps, before you drop off the South Face: Whew. Down on the ice! Or should I say gneiss? TEEBOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONE! Despair in the mists: Triumph: Despair: This felt good after the punishing descent: Gear Notes: 60m half rope, medium rack to 2", ice axe, crampons, helmet Approach Notes: Terror Basin trail from Goodell Creek. 6 hours to camp. From camp follow the climber's path toward Inspiration and West Mac, picking the best line up the glacier to the toe of the buttress just west of the South Face. We roped up here for a bit until we gained the prominent ramp where we packed the roped and scrambled. It seemed about 5.6-5.7 for one ptich to gain the ramp, with low fifth below that. The "Great Gash" is about 3, 30m pitches, to ~5.8. I think we did about 12 rappels down the west ridge and west edge of south face right back to our boots. Stations are established for a single 60m rope. Bring tat since the route isn't climbed regularly.
  10. 2 points
    Trip: Lost Peak and Carru - Standards Trip Date: 09/23/2018 Trip Report: This has been a frustrating summer. Smoke and/or bad weather thwarted a few of my trips. With summer waning quickly and snow coming I decided to do a midweek trip, starting on a rainy Sunday and ending three days later. Also, larches. It's been too long since I got a good larch trip in. Oh, and since I couldn't find partners last minute and midweek - solo it (well, I brought my dog). Although I've solo'd many day trip scrambles, I've only done one overnighter before (Robinson) so this stepped it up a notch. On Sunday I packed for most of the afternoon and drove up to Mazama around 7:30. It was dry on the East Side until I got as far north as Kirkland or Bothell. From then on there was rain, sometimes pouring. At least this was the case until Darrington... and towards Rockport. Eventually things became drier as I passed the passes on Hwy 20 and started down the hairpin. I parked at the Monument Creek TH and slept in my truck. The weather was good all night (cloudy, no rain) and I headed up towards Slate's Pass around 7 am. As I passed the exposed hairpin the weather became increasingly socked in, and it was actually lightly snowing at the Slate Pass TH. Good times. This reminded me of my previous trip to the area where I hiked in the first 6-7 miles in the rain. Oh well, time to HTFU and go. The hike in went well. It took about 6.5 hours to get to Doris Lake and another 2+ hours to the meadows below Shellrock Pass. The weather got better the farther in I got and was dry at camp. We ate dinner and got water ready just in time for it to start raining. Bed time at 6:30! It snowed and rained lightly all night and the tent had a lot of condensation. By 6 am it was clear and we were up and moving soon. We made short work of the hike to Shellrock Pass and started to descend the E side. The trail started out clear and easy to follow, then hit meadows where occasional cairns marked the way and were not too hard to link up. After crossing the small stream we soon hit the recent fire burnout (from last year I believe). At first I could follow cairns and a lighter-colored line through the blackened earth. Then it was all cross country. I overshot the proper trail turnoff (Monument Creek Trail) I believe and aimed for the notch directly next to the W base of point 7275 on the ridge. The last 150 feet or so were up a very blocky gully. At this point the weather was getting bad - fog was rolling in with a lot of wind. I wasn't worried yet though. I climbed up and over point 7275 and dropped to the next saddle (~7000') then ascended to 7700' and began traversing. Now I was worried about the weather. The boulders were covered with a thin layer of snow and were slippery. It was getting more socked in, cold and miserable. I knew I had at least 1.5 miles of this traverse and could not see the top of Lost Peak. Nevertheless I kept going, hoping hypothermia would not be an issue. My pup seemed fine. As I rounded the first pair of humps in the ridge (Pass Butte), the rock became dry and snow-free and that helped with my morale. It was still not very clear up high though. I traversed under Point 8107 and could see lighter colored, sandier terrain ahead. I moved onto that. Then the the fog lifted and I could see the summit of Lost and realized I had traversed farther than necessary and headed straight up to the summit. Time up? 6 hours. Uggh. At least I was done, but I doubted I could tag Blackcap on the way out with the late start and shorter fall days. Summit shots on Lost Peak: Looking back at Lost Peak: Tres Bulger Hombres from Shellrock Pass at sunset: After some time up top, we headed down, retracing our steps. We had more trouble than expected finding the trail back. Once past the burnout I just headed towards Shellrock offtrail including steep heather slopes and meadows. We only located the trail at the stream crossing. As expected we got to Shellrock Pass too late to get Blackcap and dropped down to camp instead. It was dusk and about 7:45. We quickly ate and crashed. Up again on day 3 and moving by 7:20. I debated in my mind weather I'd get Ptarmigan and hope for Carru on the way back or just climb Carru. I opted for the latter. It was a quick ascent - 3:20 up. I decided to savor this summit. It was sunny and quite pleasant. The views were spectacular! Starting up to Carru with gorgeous morning sunlight: The meadows at 7000', just below the Carru-Lago col: The only class 3 we encountered on Carru: Summit shots on Carru: Stark contrast between live trees and burnout on Lease Creek drainage. Ptarmigan on right: I knew it would be tight to bag Ptarmigan before dark, so I opted to just descend to camp. It took 3 hours from the summit. At that point it was midday and I wanted a less strenuous final day so we broke camp and moved to Doris Lake. It was about 6:15 - plenty of time to eat, relax and enjoy a gorgeous sunset over the larches. Sad to leave the Shellrock Pass camp: But happy at Doris Lake: Sunset colors: We were up early again Wednesday and headed out at 7. It took longer to get back to Slate Pass than in, but that was fine. We got to greet quite a few PCT through-hikers on their last leg since the PCT had been rerouted to the Middle Fork Pasayten trail. Osceola over Larches: Reflections on Fred's Luck on the way out: Just below Slate's Pass: KK enjoys his victory beer (Super Fuzz!): Gear Notes: Ursack Approach Notes: No snow
  11. 2 points
    Trip: Thornton Peak - SE scramble Trip Date: 08/05/2018 Trip Report: Triumph is a well-known peak, and for good reason. With one of the more classic ridge routes around (the NE), it gets a lot of traffic. But immediately next door lies a fantastic scramble (Cl. 3) to the top of Thornton Peak. Due to a variety of factors, our planned ascent of Triumph morphed into a scramble of Thornton which, it turns out, makes a great destination in its own right. Or, as we saw with another team of ladies we met on the summit, Thornton can serve as great backup to Triumph in case of weather/time constraints. And, since it is so close to Triumph and the Pickets, the views aren't half-bad either. Just make sure you bring a tent with the proper poles and fly if it may rain. @cfire enjoyed a bit of a refreshing evening the night before we scrambled Thornton. Like the tough SOB he is though, it didn't seem to dampen his enthusiasm the next day. Ah......... the yin and yang of the North Cascades! Thornton Lakes on the approach. Thornton peak lies just to the left of Triumph: Chris, working his way around middle Thornton Lake (above). Lower and Middle Thornton Lakes (above). The wedder approaches: Kim and Chris - "Do you think it is going to rain Jason?" Triumph: Ptarmigan: Upper Thornton Lake: Triumph: Me, the Lovely Kim, and Chris on the summit of Thornton: Chris heads for home while Kim and I stay to enjoy another night up high: The Lovely Kim descending back to camp: I'll take it: I had bats flying around me eating moths while I took this shot of Triumph and the Big Dipper about midnight: I want the story of whomever was up at midnight at their camp below the Ottohorn-Himmelhorn col? Smoke, smoke, and more smoke. The story of 2018: Looking from camp across the Skagit trench at the North end of Teebone Ridge: The Lovely Kim surveys the way down to the upper Thornton Lake. She said, "Why can't we take trails like normal people do?" A parting look at Triumph: It's sort of a trail, isn't it? "No". Gear Notes: Footwear of some kind. We were able to stay off snow for the most part and the rock isn't too bad where you feel like you need a helmet. Approach Notes: Use the approach to Triumph col and take a left. Descent camps a bit above the pass without much water late season
  12. 2 points
    Trip: Northern Chiwaukum Range - Chiwaukum Brush Battle Trip Date: 09/23/2018 Trip Report: After plans changed last minute, I had to search for a solo trip idea for Sunday. I really didn't feel like driving super far but weather looked suspect on the west side of the Cascades once again, so I figured the Chiwaukum Mountains would be a good compromise. I scratched together a rough idea: park at White Pine TH, take the direct route up the ridge south to North Chiwaukum, descend to Larch Lakes trail, from Cup Lake ascend to the summit of Big Chiwaukum, descend by the Grace Lakes and down the Wildhorse trail back to the car. It would include peaks, scrambling, pristine lakes, and lots of fall colors! Well, it had most of that, and some more I didn't ask for... I had only heard of the direct route up to North Chiwaukum in the winter, but I can verify it works when in not snow cover too, as long as you have a tolerance for thousands of feet of steep (and in my case, terribly wet and slippery) brush. All the downed leaves and branches were slick from a storm the night before and I sometimes had trouble gripping. Poles were helpful. The first bit was the worse. There was a brief moment when I began to reconsider my decision in a thicket of Devil's club and downed trees. I then realized I had to embrace the futility of all my actions to find peace with my struggles. The zen of bushwhack. Around 4200 ft the ridge got less steep and a faint climber's trail appeared at times. It kept getting better and eventually, close to 6000 ft, I got my first views of the valley nearby. At this point, I was thoroughly soaked and a cold wind was blowing over the ridge. Pretty soon the trees were covered in rime ice. It was cold. The cold had advanced the stages of the larches to a nice yellow behind the icy covering. When I got to the ridge at 7000 ft, it was full on gnar. No trees for protection, just barren icy tundra. I tagged the summit of North Chiwaukum 3 hours in. The (imaginary) views were exceptional. As I contoured toward the saddle to the SE, I dropped beneath the clouds briefly and was treated to a beautiful little basin with sparkling ice covered larches! There indeed was hope. Stepping over that saddle in the raging wind, I was treated to an incredible spectacle: raging clouds spilling over the Chiwaukum Crest, Larch Lake surrounded by yearning larches who in short time will earn the status of golden, and carpets of red, yellow, and orange sprawling across a deep valley. It made me want to cry. All was good. I descended through a short scrambly section and then started to weave my way down the path of the least resistance. This quickly became the path of greater resistance, as I got sucked into some nasty alder and had to burrow through a creekbed for a good 15 minutes to get out. When I finally reached the bottom of the valley, and looked back, I saw that there was an easier path climber's right. I went down more with the streams in the middle. Finally on a trail, I had a nice stroll to Larch Lake and was even able to jog a little. The larches were just getting going and in another week they'll be in their prime. I filtered some water and appreciated the lake. It was Enchanment like! Great granite walls and larches studded all the way up the mountainsides. I then proceeded a few hundred feet up to Cup Lake. Here, I met one family, the only party I would see all day expect for close to the White Pine TH. We were once again socked in the clouds and it even hailed a little. I explained to them my plan and that I at least had to get over the crest somehow to get back. I think they took pity on seeing a skinny boy with such a tiny little vest pack in such poor conditions. I had counted on "Partly Sunny" by the afternoon as NWS promised, but it seemed things were going the other direction. I was doing fine on time, just over 5 hours in, but with the poor visibility and a dying GPS, I wasn't sure about continuing to Big Chiwaukum. I knew that once I entered the clouds I wouldn't be able to see more than a hundred feet and there was a lot of tedious terrain in front of me, so I made the decision to pass on it and instead go back over Deadhorse Pass. I didn't know anything about the route over Deadhorse Pass, but if a horse made it up (and then died) as the name suggested, it couldn't be that bad right? Still, the pass looked suspiciously steep on a map and I got glimpses of cliffs through the clouds. I got a compass bearing and started up towards the pass in minimal visibility, but cliffs kept pushing me right. I was getting a little concerned, but then out of the darkness on the left emerged a cut through the cliffs: a passageway! This gully looked loose, but would hopefully go. It was pretty easy down low, but got pretty loose and insecure up top. The fresh rain had really stirred the soil up. Still, it wasn't as bad as the Mountaineer's Route on Whitney (sorry, California, your "classic" route might be the worst scramble I've ever done) after two weeks of continuous afternoon thunderstorms. I topped out and was greeted with a blast of cold wind. If coming from the other side, there were a few other similar looking gullies, not sure which one is the right one but they all look kinda spooky from the top: I headed down from the pass pretty quickly. It was pretty eerie. It got super still as I walked through this spooky basin. Watch out for the shadow-creatures appearing out of the mist. Or the wet bushes trying to soak you. Let's be honest, hypothermia is the real threat in the Cascades. After this flat basin, I was greeted with a bunch of steep cliffs and unattractive gullies. I inspected four or five of them like an unimpressed suitor before settling on the one that seemed "least ugly". It was class 2, but weird loose, slippery class 2 that had me maybe more uncomfortable than I was when I free soloed the West Ridge of Stuart. I don't know, maybe I'm just getting old. Finally being of legal drinking age will do that I guess. From here, the fun wasn't over. As I got lower, the brush got thicker and thicker once again. And this time, I really got soaked. Not like, mama I peed my pants damp. Like, Mommy I fell in the toilet wet. My pants actually clung to my skin, they were completely soaked. I was getting pretty tired of this brush, but I guess it was my own doing. One thing about solo trips is you have no one else really to blame for your follies. It's nice to be self-reliant but it's also nice to have a scapegoat (and partner for support and safety, of course). I generally trended skier's right and felt like it sorta worked. After about an hour, I finally found a climber's trail. My speed greatly increased and then at about 4900 ft, I hit the Wildhorse trail, elated to out of the brush. From here, I was able to cruise down the trail back to the car, for a round trip time of just under 9 hours. Total, it was about 15 miles and 7k gain with nearly all the gain off trail. In good weather, the views would be great. I think it's a cool route because of the lack of established climber trails or cairns, but it's not for everyone. I'd love to see someone complete it or even throw in some other Chiwaukum peaks. The falls colors are second to none. The Chiwaukum are massive, lonely peaks. They hold a very special place in my heart. Here's a map showing my track in red. Blue shows the extension I wanted to do. Gear Notes: UD running vest, Z poles, some clothing that would become wet, LS ultraraptors (tripled in weight because of water) Approach Notes: Go straight up. Basically due south from the parking lot.
  13. 1 point
    I'm copying what I posted on Instagram today. If you don't already follow us there please do, it really helps us out a lot: https://www.instagram.com/cascadeclimbers/ Thank you to everyone who has contributed here over the years. It's been a journey, a bit tough at times, but so worth it. This place isn't perfect but we will continue to pour our heart into it, and the biggest thing you can do to help this place is just be an awesome contributor, agree to disagree at times, keeping pumping out TRs, and leave things better than you found them.
  14. 1 point
    Trip: Colfax Peak - West Ridge Trip Date: 10/14/2018 Trip Report: Brief TR and pictures from the west ridge of Colfax yesterday. Huge thanks to Eric Carter for bringing this line into the light and being willing to give a go beta-less. We had his beta so it was perhaps a less stressful endeavor. Sunday morning we looked at the C-H, hoping it would be in, but expecting it wouldn't be, and it wasn't (but getting there). So we wrapped around Colfax (on a pretty major boot pack) to take a look at the west ridge. With hard snow and a fun looking line we started up, following occasional faint boot marks from Eric's party. We opted to solo as we both felt comfortable with the positive, stiff, snow. Climbing was straight forward and very fun up the first steep section to gain the ridge, steepest slope was likely around 55-60 degrees. We followed the ridge to a rock face and saw the snow couloir down to the south, we tied an equivocation hitch, rapped into the gully, pulled and coiled the rope, and continued up. The gully was very easy, perhaps 45 degrees on great snow and steepening up to 55ish near the tight exit with some alpine ice. Here we followed the cliffy headwall left and after a steep soft down-climb into the upper chutes of the C-H (probably the scariest part of the climb, but would be easy to protect with pickets). From there we followed the standard route up to the summit, encountering our steepest climbing (65 degrees? Maybe a few steeper steps? Never actually measured) and a mix of hard snice (snow/ice), breakable crust over powder, and more stiff snow. We had a blast as we wove our way up the chutes toward the top. We must have had our heads down as we climbed because about 150ft from the top we missed an obvious left hand gully that has an easy top out. Instead we ended up with 15 to the top of very steep snice and rime covered rocks, we pitched this out, and Peter lead us to the summit plateau and belayed me up. Route took 3hrs bottom to top only stopping to rappel and pitch out the last section. We descended the East ridge (one rap on good tat) and had to end run a crack on the Coleman all the way to the east, long detour, just as Carter mentioned. Lots of new snow up there but with cold temps things stayed solid and we never punched through any cracks. Colfax ice, sorry no better photos, upper curtain on C-H is not yet fat enough for our ability. Looking at the start of the West Ridge Missed everything until we were in the couloir Sorry I didn't get many photos, here is the first stretch of the upper gullies of the C-H Next 2 photos we are already too far right to have an easy top out Baker, large y shaped crack requires an end run to the East One short rappel on tat to get off the east ridge and to the col between Baker and Colfax Long afternoon shadows as we near the trail Fun route, deserves more ascents!! If I were to grade it I'd say grade 3, steep snow 65deg ?PG13?. Not sure this route would always get a danger rating, would depend on what the gullies do in the spring, maybe they'd be easier to protect and slightly lower angle. Gear Notes: Brought screws, pins, cams, and nuts, used none. Approach Notes: Heliotrope trail
  15. 1 point
    Haha. We did the same thing back in July this year. "Traversed", then climbed over a big dongler type thing...then up a gross red dihedral thing with grass and very little gear to be had. Such fun! The photo I am attempting to attach in on the "Dongler Traverse"...
  16. 1 point
    Wow, fantastic trip report. I always find it interesting how quickly the "get me the f*ck off this mountain" moments seem to change a few days later at the office to "get me the f*ck on that mountain" thoughts.
  17. 1 point
    Nick - is your trip report posted, I would love to read it. If I get back in some kind of climbing shape I would like to try this route.
  18. 1 point
    no real point to my comment other than to put it in slight perspective. The ship that I work on will go out to sea for a normal military deployment and burn about 5 million gallons of diesel fuel, plus maybe a half million gallons of jet fuel … I guess we should also stop military operations ... if you average 15k miles per year and 25 mpg in your car … that's over 7500 years worth of fuel ... flame away folks … PS: the skiing and trail running this past weekend was awesome; but I burned more than 6 gallons, sry.
  19. 1 point
    Hello! I’m interested in setting some drytooling routes up at a wall that currently only has one route on it, and there’s space for more. Problem is, I don’t have a drill(yet) so I would buy the anchors if you can supply ze drill. Hypothetically, you could put up a multipitch drytooling route with enough effort, but I’m just trying to make something I can tr solo and get pumped, lead some and have some bad ass steinpull lock offs and big movements to bomber pockets. The rock does not generally lend itself to drytooling, but I was interested in drilling and/or manufacturing holds like what is apparently done in Europe. Before you get hot and bothered about it, check out the route to the right. https://www.mountainproject.com/route/114778289/the-ascentionist Now the rock just to the left of this route and for about 40ft. Wide and 100+ ft tall is good. At the bottom it’s overhanging, and eases up towards the top. The bad is the top of this particular ledge system is a fair amount of work with a matic. I am no stranger to the digging and choss trundling, but I would hope to find someone who may have some ideas about what constitutes a good drytooling route, knows how to make the pockets/edges when holds are not present, or has a drill and wants to swing stuff around. Shuksan Crag is entirely too far to drive all the time! Kyle
  20. 1 point
    Trip: Johannesburg Mountain - NE Buttress Solo Trip Date: 08/01/2018 Trip Report: I overheard some friends talking about Bill Amos' solo of Johannesburg and was immediately inspired. The allure of the mountain and style of climbing was too much to pass up. Before I start my senior year of high school I wanted to do something really fun. After binge reading trip reports and training for a few months, I felt psyched and ready. I already have a decent bit of soloing under my belt so the climb just seemed right. Fast forward to Monday night, I got in my car and drove out to Cascade Pass. I set my alarm for 7:00 but woke up at 6:30 (probably due to the anticipation). The sheer beauty of Johannesburg is impossible to ignore; its imposing face shows so much promise. After scarfing down a breakfast bar and some pop-tarts, I locked my car and began the arduous approach. A grueling .2 miles down the road lead me to a dirt mound with access to the river. Crossing over rocks and walking up a talus field put me at the first snow on the route. The snow was rock hard so my crampons begrudgingly came out of my pack. I was careful to move fast across the snow because I didn't want to get taken out by an avalanche. A rock ramp to the left of the second waterfall provided seemingly easy access to the buttress. Looking up at Johannesburg After some easy slab and low 5th class I arrived at the second snowfield. Here's where I made my first mistake. Once again, the snow was rock solid. I put on my crampons to walk the 100 something feet across it to the rock. Thinking more snow was soon to come, I clipped my crampons to my harness. Looking for a good line through the trees, I decided to go straight up some 4th class rock and then traverse right later on. This beta absolutely sucked. The initial 200 feet or so was smooth sailing. I soon encountered more and more trees, eventually reaching an impassible rock band within the brush. From here I traversed right until I found a gully within the trees that allowed me to climb up. It was hot, steep, and heinous bushwhacking. Finally I could see the third snowfield. At this point I was well above it but had a clear view of the 1957 route. This snowfield basically cuts the buttress in half until they join up again high on the vertical rock. Tired, I took off my pack to eat a probar and drink some water. Looking at my harness I realize only 1 crampon is clipped on. My other must have gotten eaten by trees earlier in the bushwhack! Thinking about Jean-Christophe's rescue on Annapurna reminded me that I'm probably not going to die if I'm short one crampon. Slabs before second snowfield. It's hard to describe how much the trees suck. I found no evidence of a path and basically pulled on branches, heather, and devil's club the whole way up. Things would frequently get caught on my rope or ice tools during this section. Another hour or so of this put me at the heather slopes. For about 800 feet I walked up some easy 3rd class slopes covered in heather. The 70 degree heat made me really thirsty. I brought 2 liters of water and realized it probably wasn't going to last all the way to the bivy. Rationing out water was uncomfortable but that's life. More scrambling finally put me on the rock. What a relief! Soon 4th class rock turned into low 5th and life was peachy. It felt absolutely euphoric to move well on the steep slopes. I didn't find loose rock to be that big of an issue. I checked my watch and realized I was about 400 feet from the bivy. Up ahead of me looked to be the "crux" rock section. I traversed right from the 1951 route on to the approximate 1957 route. I think this allowed me to skip some hard sections because I encountered maybe 5.6 rock up to this point. Though the glacier was still obscured by rock, I knew I was close. Rock face. I stayed in the middleish left My fatigue meant I wasn't climbing at my best. I elected to take off my pack for the next 200 feet or so and just haul it up. Some 5.8 face climbing through loose rocks put me on top of a small ridge. I was at the glacier! After bringing up my pack, I scrambled up some 4th class rock and was at the bivy. I drank straight from the glacial runoff. This was the first time in my life I was happy to see mosquitoes. The struggles of the day melted when confronted with the beauty of the mountains around me. After a warm meal and some relaxing. I was sound asleep in my bivy sack. Bivy of the decade Me stoked to be fed and hydrated Waking up at 6:30 was kind of cold. I didn't bring a sleeping bag but was pretty was comfy nonetheless. After some packing and eating, it was time to get on the glacier. This part was less than ideal. The snow was luckily much softer than at the base of the mountain. Despite only having one crampon, climbing up the snow to the arete was easy. After carefully walking on the arete I decided going straight up the headwall would be hard. I downclimbed a few meters to the rock ridge. The rock actually went! Easy scrambling and some short traverses on the snow allowed me to skip almost all of the glacier and headwall. At the summit ridge I scrambled up right to the biggest peak. I made it! It turns out I was the first person there in almost a year! The log could also use some more paper if anyone is going up there soon. The feeling of being up there is indescribable. Signing the summit log and snapping a few photos, I was ready to head down. Headwall. I scrambled on the rock to the left Obligatory summit selfie Signing the climber's log Staying to the south side of the gendarmes, follow a loosely marked carin path to the East face. I opted to rap instead of downclimb initially. 8 bomber rappels brought me to some low angle heather. It's important to aim straight for the CJ col. There looks like other paths would be better but they cliff out. About 600 feet of downclimbing brought me to the col in one piece. Looking up from the col Now sidehilling ensued. Going close under the buttress and heading straight toward Doug's Direct seemed to work best. Walking through all the brush isn't fun but the ascent to mix up peak was easy. About 1000 feet 3rd and 4th class scrambling down the north ridge of Mix Up brought me to Cache Glacier. The climbers trail is visible from the top of the ridge; go there. Walking down the climbers trail felt like one of those flat escalators at an airport compared to the rest of the climb. 3.7 miles of running and I was back to the parking lot. Looking down from the top of Doug's Direct. This was a climb to remember. The beauty of the North Cascades is hard to forget. I don't think I'll be back to Johannesburg for at least a few more months. I would really love to try and get up it in the winter. Shoutout to Steph Abegg and everyone else who has previously made trip reports. I have mad respect for anyone who has done this climb. Don't let your guard down when you get to the summit. Johannesburg is the mountain that keeps on giving. Now its time to get ready for Bear Mountain. Here's the general route I took. I could have screwed up but I'm pretty sure this is where I went. Gear Notes: Took climbing shoes and chalk but didn't need them. Approach Notes: Walk .2 miles down the road. Cross river.
  21. 1 point
    I am probably assuming more thought in a dogs brain, but I often wonder what dogs think about what we are doing. nice looking dog and trip.
  22. 1 point
    Perhaps the SE spur route. Haven't done it but a description is here https://www.mountainproject.com/route/109478419/southeast-spur
  23. 1 point
    Oregon High by Jeff Thomas might be your best bet for a route description.
  24. 1 point
    Trip: Moose's Tooth - Shaken, Not Stirred Trip Date: 04/15/2018 Summary: Ascent of Moose's Tooth to the summit via the route "Shaken, Not Stirred" 19 hours camp to camp with Doug Shepherd April 15th 2018. Details: Alaska. Finally. After multiple trips to Alaska every year since 2009 life priorities had forced me to take a "leave of absence" since my last trip in March of 2016. It was nice to finally return and with Doug Shepherd, someone who I've done numerous trips with including my very first trip to AK in 2009. Various existing commitments limited us to a 3 day trip but weather and temps the week leading up suggested we would likely find something we could climb during the short window. I grabbed Doug at ANC early Saturday morning and we blasted for Talkeetna. After the usual shenanigans (weight in, repack) Paul zipped us in. After looking at possible objectives on the flight in we settled on Shaken, Not Stirred on the Moose's Tooth. Though I had climbed the Moose's Tooth in 2010 it was via Ham and Eggs. I'd always wanted to climb Shaken but had never seen it in. A SLC team was coming out at the same time we were getting dropped off and had attempted it the day prior. They had bailed at the crux due to lack of ice but after quickly looking at their pictures we thought we should at least give it a try as it appeared like it would go with some mixed climbing. We departed camp later than normal on Sunday (~6 am) to allow temps to warm slightly; this allowed us to wear single boots. I took the first simul block to just below the narrows where Doug took over. Doug fired a few amazing pitches that took us to the crux which was ice free but Doug was able to safely protect and find a mixed way through the crux. Following the pitch I have to say it was a very impressive lead. Some more climbing took us to the Englishman’s Col where we enjoyed an extended hydrate + coffee break before heading to the true summit. I will say the terrain between the Englishman’s Col and the true summit is a lot of up and down with at least two rappels and nearly constant crevasse and cornice danger. "Enjoy" We tagged the summit sometime after sunset but before dark; Doug's first time and my second. We managed to start the rappels down Ham and Eggs before it got truly dark so at that point it was just hitting rap anchors and/or making naked threads as needed. We arrived back at camp ~19 hours later and flew out the following day, Monday, before heading back to the lower 48. Good times. Gear Notes: partial set of nuts, single set 00-2 c3, double set 0.4 -> 4 ultralights, 10 laser speed light ice screws, 3 micro trax, single + tag line Approach Notes: Talkeetna Air Taxi is the best
  25. 1 point
    holy shiite muslims, i wish i had that sort of attention span n' head for details
  26. 1 point
    I came back to CC.com after months away and found this great story.... Congrats on completing your dream. But yikes about the car! Your story stirred memories of my climb of the same route in 1985 with Mark Bebie. We also climbed the couloir to access the upper buttress and we did Beckey's rappel to avoid the final difficulties. According to my journal, we replaced the original Beckey/Fielding piton with one of mine, then did a couple rappels to broken ledges. Three more pitches led to the summit ridge. I still have the Beckey/Fielding piton (or at least, that's what we assumed it was at the time). Here's a picture of it. It has a diamond C stamped on it (but not really visible here).
  27. 1 point
  28. 1 point
    Hey Mountainsloth- I remember you commenting on our TR from a few years back that you had been foiled for 8 years trying to get out there. Glad the dream came true, sorry it came at the cost of your ride (but damn that's a good story). Congrats on completing an epic(!) approach and thanks for the entertaining TR. Eric
  29. 1 point
    Great TR on an out-there objective... and what a twist ending! I haven't gotten the tweaker vibe around Chilliwack Lake near as much as at countless other sketchy trailheads where I've parked. It makes me think how lucky I have been not to have my "home" looted or burned in a decade of summers on the road. Glad things turned out okay for you.
  30. 1 point
    Yea, my insurance covered it and they hauled away the heap of metal. Good hands with Allstate. In the end they paid off the vehicle and gave me enough to by roughly the same car with cash so in the end those tweekers got me out of car payments. All is well that ends well. Those tweekers are living a horrid life while I continue to live a charmed life. Perspective and good insurance has helped me through the ordeal.
  31. 1 point
    Wow! Thanks for the report. It falls into a special category of writing because it gives us a window into your minds and hearts. I see parts of myself in the mirror of your words and photos. In the earliest days of my climbing I told myself I wasn't willing to die climbing. I only climbed rocks and never free soloed, so it seemed safe, but over the years I still found myself in more than a few 'if you screw up you die' moments. In the Pacific Northwest, I learned that mountains harbor a lot more of those moments than cragging cliffs, and some are not easy to appreciate until you're in them. My risk tolerance changed when I became a parent but not a huge amount. I've been a dad for over a decade now. I still love alpine climbing, but there are lots of other things I love too. My partners and I recognize that every time we go into the mountains we are rolling the dice. We prepare, we stay on our toes, we talk things through, and sometimes we back off, but we recognize that you can do everything right and still die in the mountains. I'm blown away that Fred climbed for about seventy years without a major accident. I don't expect to be that lucky, and I know my abilities and risk tolerance will continue their downward trend. And yet, I still have alpine dreams and try to get out into the mountains every year. I'm guessing you will too. Thanks again. Cheers, Rad Edit: Ps. The part about your car is disturbing. I'm so sorry. Some humans suck. Karma will get them.
  32. 1 point
    Sorry for your loss, I hope you get it recovered or at least the loss is covered by insurance. This is not a 'I told you so' but, I've always maintained that TNF duffle bags scream 'Steal me!', while army-navy surplus OD green duffle bags fly under the radar. I also refuse to put any kind of sticker on my car indicating what kind of goodies might be inside.
  33. 1 point
    Trip: Tupshin and Devore - SE Routes Trip Date: 09/01/2018 Trip Report: This year I decided to celebrate an extended Labor Day weekend near Stehekin. For a bonus, the recent rains had cleared out the smoke we've been engulfed in and the forecast showed no rain. On Saturday we rode a very crowded Lady Express from Field Points Landing to Stehekin. We then caught a late (30 min) but almost empty Red Bus to Harlequin Bridge and hiked up the Stehekin River Trail and Devore Creek Trail to Bird Creek Camp. From here we turned uphill and schwacked our way to flat terrain around 5400' and camped. Time to camp was just under 7 hours. Sunday we arose pre-dawn (which is late and luxurious these days) and hiked straight uphill over towards Tupshin. At about 7000' we attained the ridge leading to the basin below Tupshin's SE face. We crossed the talus fields and ascended to about 7600' and the base of the route. There was no snow whatsoever on our approach which made for a lot of tedious travel, but fuck, it is September! We scrambled the first bit of the SE face and tied in just below the minor block that marks P1. I opted to lead the exposed class 3 around the 5.2 block and flipped my rope over the top of the block before proceeding to a 4th class quasi-chimney. P2 was mostly scrambling. P3 and P4 were more interesting, each with a nice (but short) low-fifth section (5.4-ish). At the top of the fourth pitch, we untied and scrambled to the summit. Although there is a ton of loose rock, the ascent seemed mostly safe and secure. The descent - not so much. We ended up rappelling five times, including the section at the bottom that we had scrambled. It was a constant fight not to knock rocks down and move carefully to stay out of each other's fall line. Once off the route, we made our way back to camp. There whisky awaited me, and I drifted off to sleep happy to finish this one off safely. On Monday we ascended to the 5800' basin below Devore and hiked up the steep gully leading to a basin. From here we ascended the steepening basin to rock bands that we scrambled to the edge of the lakes at 7000'. We ascended some horrible shitty choss to the shoulder of the ridge (7500'). then ran the ridge to a large gendarme. To compensate for the choss-slog we were treated for some of the most spectacular views I've seen: Our route descriptions said "do NOT go around the S side" (of the gendarme). We ended up wasting 2 hours trying to get around the N. The snow patch here was too melted back and icy (rotten ice). Eventually we gave up and I checked out the S side. It went! From there it was a quick shit-slog through choss up and right about 300' to a notch in the ridge, a short ridge traverse to a 4th class step and finally a scramble finish to the summit. We did 2 rappels down (both short) and retraced our steps to camp. Everyone was tired and wanted to head out the next day so we set our alarms to allow for plenty of time to get to the bus in time. Tuesday was an easy hike back to Harlequin where we all rinsed off in the river and relaxed waiting for the bus. We got some goodies at the bakery and a beer on the boat. By that morning the smoke was back in force so we were not too sad to save Flora for another trip. Gear Notes: 60m rope, small alpine rack, helmet Approach Notes: Open forest with some schwacking
  34. 1 point
    Trip: Goode and Storm King - NE Buttress Trip Date: 09/02/2018 Trip Report: Nate and I climbed the NE Buttress of Goode and Storm King then took a scenic exit via Park Creek Pass and Easy Pass. We started from the Bridge Creek TH at 11pm on Thursday 8/30 and exited at the Easy Pass TH a couple hours before sunset on Sunday 9/2. Getting onto the Goode Glacier was difficult, and the bridge across the moat on the left side of the NE Buttress won't be around for much longer. I wouldn't recommend the route at this point in the season. I wrote up a full TR on my site here: https://www.laneaasen.com/2018/09/goode-ne-buttress-storm-king.html Gear Notes: Approach shoes, crampons, ice axes 8 small nuts and 5 slings for NEB 60m half rope, doubled for simuling Approach Notes: Approached from Bridge Creek TH, exited via Park Creek Pass and Easy Pass
  35. 1 point
    East Twin Needle, Himmelgeisterhorn and Ottohorn are some of the most enjoyable climbing I've done any where! Doing the traverse from Terror to Ottohorn would be such a good line.
  36. 1 point
    Trip: Rogers Pass Ridge Running - Avalanche, Eagle, Uto, Sir Donald, Asulkan Ridge, Tupper Trip Date: 07/25/2018 Trip Report: It's no secret that Rogers Pass has some of the best moderate alpine rock routes anywhere. Still, I was surprised by just how great the climbing is up there. I had been to the pass in 1999 on an attempt of Sir Donald (verglas turned us around low on the NW ridge) and driven though it many times on my way further east, but I had never spent much time there until a few weeks ago. Wow. And so few people! When we ran into a local midway through the week and asked him about this, he shrugged his shoulders, grinned, and said "this is as busy as it gets." I think we ran into two parties on 11 peaks over the course of the week and nobody actually on a route we were climbing. Even on the uber "popular" Sir Donald, we were the only party on the NW ridge. Of course, thunderstorms were building and we did have to run away from 3/4s of the way up it! Oh well, a good reason to go back. But the trip has hardly a failure, overall. Using the newish Jones book as our guide we managed three trips totaling five days: 2 days on Avalanche, Eagle, Uto, and Sir Donald (strenuous, camped at Uto-Sir Donald col); The Asulkan Ridge Traverse (Abbott, Afton, Rampart, Dome, Jupiter with camp at Sapphire col); and a day trip up the west ridge of Tupper - All five star outings (there are many other excellent traverses and routes detailed in the guide). If you haven't been up there, put it on your list! Speedy at the Top Sekrit HELLACAMP! A different sort of alpine hazard: Looking up at the impressive Illecillewaet Glacier: Steve starting up Avalanche, en route to Eagle, Uto, and Sir Donald: The incomparable view from Eagle of Uto and Sir Donald: Looking back at Avalanche. Swiss Peaks in the background, right: Ummmmmmmm.....That's quite a North Face Sir Donald has: Steve, putting our names in the Uto register: Descending Uto: We scored the best site at the Uto-Sir Donald col: Steve leading the charge up the NW ridge of Sir Donald: Crap! Watching as the summit slowly disappears into the approaching thunderstorm. We bailed about here and traversed around to the South ridge to descend: Steve on the descent of the south ridge of Sir Donald: Looking back at the summit of Sir Donald, between cells: We descended the South Ridge and walked off the Terminal side of the mountain. Here Steve is on his way to Pearly Rock: Trip #2. The Asulkan Ridge Traverse. The Illecillewaet Neve from the Abbott ridge trail: Abbott, Afton, and Bonney: Summit of Abbott I think. You can see the Avalanche, Eagle, Uto, and Sir Donald ridgeline we traversed above Steve: The North ridge of Swanzy is supposed to be uber classic. In the foreground is part of the Asulkan ridge traverse: Near the summit of the Rampart. Jupiter above Steve. Dawson Range in the distance: Trying to find a way off the Dome: Sapphire Col hut! Moonrise over the Dawson Range: Classic scrambling up Castor (summit of Jupiter): Summit of Leda (another Jupiter peak): Mount Fox with the Dawson Range behind: Approaching the Asulkan Hut: The Johannesburg of the Selkirks, Mount Macdonald: Hermit meadows, looking back at the Asulkan Ridge: The summit block of Tupper! Tuppertoe: At the summit of Tupper, looking at the Swiss peaks: The incredible SW face of Tupper: The Hermit Gendarme on Tupper: Looking across the highway from the summit of Tupper at the huge north face of Macdonald and Sir Donald in the distance: North Face of Tupper: The bugs were as impressive as the views from Hermit meadows: North Face of Macdonald: South face of Tupper! Gear Notes: half rope, medium rack to 2", approach shoes (which I didn't have), ice axe, Al crampons, helmet Approach Notes: Trans Can and walk
  37. 1 point
    Nature is much of a canvas as it is a mirror. Well done. I'm so happy to see the psych torches lit, pass that shit along! I really miss those mountains and it's great to see a trip report just like the golden days on this website. Proud
  38. 1 point
    Honestly, I was surprised at the quality of the 5th class terrain. There is so much incredible 5th class terrain, and the rock quality was surprisingly good. We never had any random hand-holds or foot-holds break loose, unexpectedly (but perhaps we were just lucky on both trips). We tread slowly and carefully, and any loose stuff was obvious (standard Cascades climbing). There aren't too many places on the planet where one can get endless 5th class like this with such incredible purchase. It definitely deserves more traffic!
  39. 1 point
    Trip: Twin Sisters Range - Green Creek (Lite) Circuit Trip Date: 08/28/2018 Trip Report: I've really only dabbled in the Twin Sisters area since moving to Bham for school a couple years ago, but what a surprisingly complex, interesting and under-appreciated resource it is, so close to town. The recently cleared air got me giddy, and after being unable to find a partner for any adventures further afield I set my sights closer to home. The Green Creek Circuit looked like a great way to familiarize myself with lesser-traveled corners of the range, and it was. Definitely gained a new appreciation for this area. I crossed the Middle Fork and began hiking the Elbow Lake trail in the deep blue, pre-dawn glow graciously accompanied by the feeling that some apex predator was eyeing me from the bushes which tends to happen while hiking solo in unfamiliar places. The "bushwack" into the cirque has apparently really cleaned up since previous TRs I've read; I've had harder times following trails to popular crags in Squamish. There's solid tread the whole way and the route is generously marked with blue reflective diamonds, perhaps excessively so, but it eased any worries I had about potentially having to hike this section in the dark. Some of the ancient cedars and firs in this area are really impressive. The Green Creek cirque is gorgeous. It wouldn't even be unreasonable for the highly motivated boulderer to haul some pads out here - there's some great looking boulders and lines. I couldn't have felt any further way from Bham or other familiar places up the Nooksack. Truly wild zone, that is until I had to pick up someone's pile of plastic food wrappers that were clearly too heavy to pack out. Seriously? I started up Green Creek Arete as the sun poked over Mt. Baker and began to fill the valley. Solid, clean rock, nice exposure, great scrambling. I haven't felt that relaxed and in tune with the mountains in a while. As I topped out, smoke began to fill the air and Kulshan was temporarily obscured - bleh. It slowly cleared, though, and crossing slabs and tarns en route to the Sisters Glacier was another unexpected scenic highlight of the trip. Easy travel, great views and lots of peaks ahead. The moat crossing to S Twin NE Ridge was easy, and the ridge was a lot shorter than I expected. On top around 10, I started to relax and slow my pace down with all the daylight still in front of me. As I scooted down the south face gullies, I was eyeing Skookum with a little apprehension. I didn't bring a rope, and the Jaws Tooth downclimb didn't sound very up my alley, so I was looking at climbing directly up to the Jaws Tooth notch and finishing up Skookum. It looked like a large moat to steep choss - which, in hindsight after climbing other things on this traverse, I'm sure it wasn't, but I also became more worried about sketchy looking conditions crossing the Hayden Col, Little Sister Col and dropping back on the glacier, and ended up passing Skookum by. I know I probably missed out on the best climbing of the whole outing, but that was my call in the moment. I'll be back. A common theme of the Sisters area appears to be things looking much steeper/chossier/more difficult than they really are from a distance. Despite being totally melted out, the Hayden Col was casual, so I scrambled over to a summit I thought to be Ribbon Point, but was actually the one just to the north of it. Either way, cool spot. The talus crossings weren't nearly as bad as I'd heard they might be without snow, though my bruised tailbone might think differently. Slower going, but reasonable. Not wanting to miss out on any more good climbing, I eyed up my line on Little Sister's NW face and settled on the rightmost of the two ribs on the left side of the face. Surprisingly good 5.4ish up and sometimes left of a little corner system, stepping left onto a beautiful, highly featured and varnished slab to bypass a small bulge, leading to class 3 up the rib to the summit. Stellar! selfies are hard with an slr! stoked on top of little sister route up little sister with the easy-ish access to green ck glacier marked I dropped my pack at the notch just above the Green Creek Glacier, sussed it out and found passage via a collapsed snow bridge. All around, the schrund was huge, and I decided to go with the devil I knew and hop across here, as opposed to traversing Little Sister and Cinderella and potentially not being able to get back down to the glacier. This I think was a good call, the normal col where people drop onto the glacier was severely melted out with a large looking moat. The hike down the glacier, into the valley and out was calm and tranquil. The smoke had fully cleared, I don't think I've ever had as good of a view of Lincoln and Colfax as this. Grassy benches without a trace of human travel, bright orange rock contrasting with Baker's white, and the jagged cirque and glacier at my back. 15 hours car to car, for what little peakbagging I actually accomplished I'd say this is a modest time that could be significantly improved with less lollygagging, summit naps, routefinding snafus and blueberry pit stops. But I like all those things. Gear Notes: axe and pons, sense of adventure Approach Notes: now equipped for the masses
  40. 1 point
    Thanks everybody for the appreciation of the beta! We made half of these topos after our first attempt, and brought the topos with us on the final attempt to make markups and corrections. We recorded voice memos at the end of each day to capture the specific beta and routefinding. Our hope is that more of this terrain gets traffic since most of it was high-quality technical choss with astounding position. Any of the linkups of smaller segments of the Enchainment would be an excellent weekend outing. Of course, it was a fun adventure to pick our own way much of the time! Leave the beta sheets at home if you want extra adventure. The approach into the Pickets is way too long just to go climb a single peak (been there, done that!). Probably my favorite segment would be Terror-Rake col to Otto-Himmel col. East Face of Inspiration was the single best pitch of the Enchainment imo. The approach to Frenzelspitz was really scary (especially in the dark), and I wouldn't recommend it unless you're going for the full Enchainment. Also, we still want to go back to also climb the Wild Hair Crack on Himmelhorn which looks incredible!
  41. 1 point
    Holy Himmelgeisterhorn! We must now engrave thy names in the Choss Chalice alongside the alpinists of yore!
  42. 1 point
    Trip: Early Morning Spire - Southwest Face Trip Date: 08/18/2018 Trip Report: David and I are masochists who love alpine adventures. We don't get many opportunities to get out into the mountains so we try to make them count. We left Seattle after work, got back country permits in Marblemount, found a great campsite near the Eldorado approach trail, sorted gear, went to bed at a reasonable hour. The next morning we started at 6am, which is late by our standards, but our goal was just to get in position for a big second day and to scout out the glacier approach we'd do in the dark the following morning. David was hoping to catch a flight 48 hours later. We crossed the river on logs and easily found the trail. It goes straight up through dusty forest, big talus, and lush meadows filled with wildflowers before bursting into the alpine. There is no water available until high in the talus. Everything is snow-free until you reach the glacier. We would gain about 5500 feet in ~4 miles, but great conversation distracted us from the effort. A cliff band runs along the West side of the steep talus and meadows. The talus field and meadows were smoky but still pretty. . Johannesberg in the smoke. Wild flowers and waterfalls made good excuses to stop for a few seconds to enjoy the alpine ambience. The small waterfall where the shot below was taken is the first water source you encounter when ascending late season. It's near the top of the talus. This waterfall is a little upstream of the smaller waterfall in the photo above. We crossed over to the Eldorado drainage, dropped down to glacier-polished slabs and made our way up onto the Eldorado Glacier, the first of five glaciers we would cross in two days. There were a few crevasses, but these were all open and obvious and we never broke out the rope. We only encountered one other party on the glacier. Eldorado from the South. We reached the campsites at the base of the E Ridge of Eldorado and dropped our packs. Our next goal was to scout out the approach to the Dorado Col as we planned to cover this ground in the dark the following morning. Crossing the Inspiration and McAllister Glaciers to the Col was pretty straightforward. Towers on the upper Inspiration Glacier. Crevasses on the lower Inspiration Glacier. We didn't go anywhere near these. Murder scene? Nope. Algae. The snow worms love it, and no, it does NOT taste like watermelon! Don't ask how I know. Old and new fractures in granite. Glacier Pass It was smoky, but the views of Forbidden, Torment, Boston, Sahale, and other peaks were still jaw-dropping. We didn't encounter any major obstacles on the glaciers and never used the rope. The biggest question for our trip was how we would get down off the summit the following day. There were multiple accounts that seemed to contradict each other. We talked through all the options several times and tried to envision where we would come back to the McAllister Glacier. As we retraced our steps back to camp, we laid down a GPS track we could follow the next morning. We had originally thought about tagging the summit of Eldorado, only 1300 feet above us via snow, but I'd been up there before and wanted to save my energy for the following day. David didn't feel like going up either. During dinner, we continued our discussion of descent options, and this culminated in me using rocks and drawings in the dirt to build a 3D map of our approach, route, and each of the descent options. We sorted gear and settled in for the night as soon as it was dark. Note the evil tricams. Easily placed by the leader (4 in one pitch, mind you), but they take two hands and a nut tool to clean if set properly (guess who had to clean those four tricams!). Best to leave those clanky beasts at home. Temps were mild, the air was calm, there were no bugs, and surprisingly no rodents raided our bivy spots. We lay out under the stars for a few hours. As is typical for me before big alpine outings, I found myself running through our plans for the approach, route, and descent before drifting off to sleep. We slept a few hours and left camp shortly before 4am. The snow worms were out at night. David had never seen them before. I told him they taste like watermelon Night ops. Crossing the glaciers was quick and easy and we arrived at the Dorado Col at first light. We scrambled down loose scree, hopped onto an unnamed glacier, and descended. This is a shot looking back up at Dorado Col (left edge) from the unnamed glacier on the approach. Eldo is out of frame up and right. This small lake at the toe of the glacier is where you start the traverse to the North at about 6100. The traverse starts on a bench and this fades into a moderate slope. We crossed into the trees and traversed to the snow below the Early Morning Spire. There was plenty of water at the lower elevations to drink and fill our bottles. We ascended snow to the base of the route, which is on the upper rock face here. The obvious vertical crack in the center of this image is where pitches 2-5 run. We started on the crack about 70 feet to the left that angles up and right about 45 degrees before joining the main crack. I belayed David as he stepped across the 50+ foot deep moat between snow and rock. I changed into my rock shoes, crossed the moat, grabbed the rack, and led off on the first pitch. This is a shot looking back down the snow approach. The upper portion was about 35 degrees. David led the second pitch, which included a vertical 5.8 section with nice features. The rock was clean and solid. I led pitch 3, which was physical because I kept placing the #3, climbing up to place another piece, climbing down to clean the #3, continuing higher, placing the #3, placing another piece, cleaning the #3, and so forth. I probably climbed up and down the first 40 feet of the pitch at least twice before getting to the crux roof. Thankfully, there is a jug right where you want it and the troubles are over quickly. The #3 was indeed the key piece to protect the roof moves, so I was glad to have it. Above the roof there was a mossy 8 inch crack above that looked unpleasant. I headed 20 feet right to the splitter crack below that angled back left and climbed that instead. It was nice. I did a mossy mantle and scrambled up a face to some large blocks (maybe 180 feet for this pitch?). Towers to the South. David led pitch 4, a rope-stretcher that the book said was 5.6. At the crux, you had to stem between a vertical wall and a steep slab with few features, jam your fingers into an undercling, and reach for a hold at the lip of a 4 foot roof. Felt hard for 5.6, but it was fun, well-protected, and we didn't fall. I then led a full rope length P5 up ledgy broken terrain, looking for the 4th class ledges leading to the right. David took the sharp end for P6. He wandered off to the right, looking for the lost ledge, and then came back and climbed straight up next to a dark gray dike pictured below. About a hundred feet above me he stopped. "David, the crack above you looks steep and vegetated." "Yes". "Is it protectable?" "No" "OK, then I'm not leading it". Do NOT go straight up from the top of P5. David did an aborted lead and had to downclimb. It looked like it would be a long and ugly retreat from our position. Surely that was a last resort. David down-climbed the entire pitch next to the black dike back to me and we swapped leads. Hoping to go up rather than down, I channelled my alpine mindset and asked where I would go if I were heading up from here. There: a crack behind a flake that seemed solid and looked like it might lead to lower angle terrain above. I decided to try it. Given David's experience, I placed a fair amount of gear so I'd be protected in the event I had to down climb the entire pitch. But this was exactly the passage we needed. The rock was clean, protectable, moderate, and 5.fun. It may have started with 3rd/4th class, but it was not the 4th class section described in the guides. This pitch 6 led to a large ledge consistent with the 4th class rightward traverse described in the guides. We were back on track. We were going to make it to the top. For me, the best climbs are ones where the outcome is in doubt. There is typically a turning point where you realize you're going to succeed. This was it. For those of you coming this way, 50 feet right of the vertical dark gray dike in the photo above you'll find the overlap and a flake above its right edge seen in the photo below. THIS IS WHAT YOU WANT. It leads to the 4th class ledge mentioned in guides. Follow that up and right to the base of steep cracks. We chose the left-most crack, a vertical hand crack just left of a left-facing corner. This is very short and could be linked with p8, though that would be less fun. David then led an amazing thin rightward traverse on excellent finger ledges and small but good footholds on a steep slap (a joy!). This eventually reaches an engaging move off the slab into a scoop with a crack. Follow that straight up 20 feet and then move right to a belay just right of the ridge crest. There was another crack higher on this slab but it looked licheny and less fun. We were doing well, but it was already 6pm. The summit was several pitches above us and a long descent and return to the car still loomed over us. Our hopes of covering all that ground in 13 hours was slim, but life was good. One step at a time. Eldorado from the North. I led a full rope length up solid blocks and cracks on the crest. David led another rope stretcher, and then I led the final pitch to the summit. In all, it was three long 60m rope pitches between where we joined the ridgecrest and the summit. Some parties may wish to simulclimb this section. The final few hundred feet was spectacular, with the headwall dropping away to the West, exposure to the East, and solid rock and large blocks to follow on the crest. We arrived at the summit at 7pm and got our first glimpse of the Marble Creek Glacier we might have to cross. The sun was sinking into the smoke, and we still had a long way to go. Did I mention that David had a flight out of Seatac at 7am the following morning? There was no way he was going to make that, but he wanted to be in cell service by 6:45 so he could change his flight without a penalty, so I popped a caffeine pill and we started on the descent. We scrambled down to the East and looked around until we found the rap station on the North side of the formation a few hundred feet down from the summit. A single rap brought us down onto the Marble Creek Glacier. The sun had disappeared into the smoky haze and we knew that darkness would soon be upon us. It would be hard to cross new glaciers in the dark because you can't see far enough to choose the right path through the crevasses. We moved with a sense of urgency in the fading light. Our first choice descent route was to get onto the glacier remnant South of the Marble Creek Glacier and retrace our steps back to the Dorado Col via the red line above. We didn't know if that was feasible. Some parties said it looked too ugly to attempt. David went to check it out. Meanwhile, I went to scope out our second option, which was to make our way North across the Marble Creek Glacier to a notch that would lead to the McAllister Glacier. This would likely involve a long slog through heavily crevasses terrain followed by fifth class climbing on unknown terrain, one or more rappels down to the McAllister Glacier, and a long traverse between large crevasses on a glacier we'd photographed from a distance. I've found photos can be valuable navigational aids in the dark. But first we needed to work out how to get across the upper Marble Creek glacier. The key was passing through several large crevasses. Maybe if we walk from the left onto that ridge in the middle... While David explored option #1, I carefully descended onto the ridge in question. It ran out between two giant crevasses and got narrower and narrower. The top was flat, but it was about 18 inches wide and a slip in either direction would be bad. The whole thing looked like a snow-covered freight train frozen in mid-flight as it shot off the track and rolled off the mountain. I'm calling it the Crazy Train. Here is the start of it. I knew the snow under my feet hid thousands of tons of glacial ice. Surely, my additional weight wasn't going to send the train calving off down the slope, but I didn't want to linger. We could go this way, but it wouldn't be fun. We'd have to walk out to a point near the end of the train, rappel off a piece of webbing I'd just buried in the snow, likely with me going first with David's belay as a backup. I would get down 25 feet to a sloping area between crevasses and belay David as he down-climbed or rappelled down steep snow above a gaping crevasse. If the upper snow anchor failed I'd have to catch David with my ax anchor or we'd both end up in a large crevasse. I was visualizing and planning this as the sun was setting somewhere behind the smoke to the West. This is about where I set up the buried sling anchor Then I heard a voice up above me: "Rad!" "Yes?" "It goes!" David had found the anchors that would take us down our first choice gully to the glacier that led back to our approach. Phew. We gathered the rope, headed over, and rigged the first rappel. The gully wasn't pretty, with running water, brown muck, and a river of small and large stones that moved with every step. David said it was the ugliest gully he's seen, but it wasn't steep enough to be dangerous. The West gully of Inspiration in the Pickets is still the worst gully I've had to descend, but that's another story. We made it to an intermediate anchor on the right wall and stood on a tower of cemented mud and rock. The water cascaded into a hole at our feet of unknown depth. I imagined when we pulled the rope it might catch on some blocks so I tossed a few into the hole. They clattered into the abyss and we could hear them come crashing out under the snowy moat below us. David had said he's seen light near the bottom of the hole, confirming that it was open at the base. I wouldn't want to have to go through there. I'm calling it the Pit of Despair. I closed my eyes and clicked my ruby slippers together, "There's no place like sport climbing, there's no place like sport climbing." But when I opened my eyes I was still standing on a pile of choss above a moat in the gathering darkness deep in the mountains. I rappelled down into the moat and this is where I had my most exciting moment of the day. The top of the glacial remnant was shaped like a ship's prow, with a wall 6-8 ft high that would need to be scaled. It was separated from the rock by a 10 foot wide moat. Inside the moat was a pathetic and putrid pile of loose pebbles running with water. They sloped down toward a dark overhang under the rock I'd just descended. As I got to their height, I had to spring over to land precariously on them. I perched on the pitiful pebbles, which crumbled and rolled away under my feet, threatening to toss me into the void. I was on the rope, but if I slipped I'd swing under the overhang. From there, I'd likely have to rappel into the darkness and try to climb out using the rope. I didn't want to think about that scenario. Instead, I focused on a small ledge in the snow about ten feet from me. That could be my path to freedom, but first I had to get there. I pulled an armful of rope through my belay device, planted a foot on what appeared to be a solid foot hold, and leaned over toward the pebbly patch below the ledge. The prow refused to let me pass. It overhung above me and pressed me out into the void. I had to crouch low and spring like a desperate animal toward the sacred solid ground, simultaneously hunching over my torso and lifting my legs in a hurdler's lunge. But I crashed into the icy bulge and came up short. I paddled my feet and wormed on my elbow through the muddy pebbles. Blood ran down my forearm where I'd gouged it on something sharp, and a muddy slurry ran through the wound and down several parts of my clothing, but I'd made it. Sometimes climbing feels like one part ballet and two parts MMA. I stuck my ax into the frozen prow, high stepped up onto the snow ledge with my cramponed boot, and threw my body up onto the snowy apex of the unnamed glacier. Safe. Now we had to cross the glacial remnant below the Pit of Despair back to our approach route. We headed skier's left in the photo below to the rock and were able to get back without incident. We scrambled down a waterfall through boulders and made it onto the snow, passing the last of our unknown obstacles. From here on out we would be on familiar ground. At this point it was 11pm, and we weren't done yet. We had to ascend a thousand vertical feet to the Dorado Col, cross the McAllister, Inspiration, and Eldorado Glaciers, and descend a vertical mile to the car. I was pretty spent and knew I'd go too slowly for us to get back in time for David to change his flight. On a trip a few years ago, I paid David $20 to carry both the rope and the rack on our descent. It was well worth it for both of us, and my knees were thankful for the break. This time, our descent would be much more physical and our packs would be heavier. So we struck a similar deal. David carried the rope and rack. He would later carry much more... .We thought if we made it to the car by 5:30am we'd have a fighting chance to get to cell service by 6:30. And that was the stretch goal we needed to push us into overdrive. We made it to the Dorado Col by 11:40pm. We crossed the glaciers and made it back to our camp at 12:40 AM, where we ate, drank, and sorted the gear. David stuffed as many heavy items into his pack as possible, and I took everything else. We estimated that David's pack weighed about 60 pounds while mine was closer to 20-25. David was glad for the extra challenge, my spine and knees were glad to have less weight, my ego was not a factor, and I was glad to make a contribution to the climbing fund. We started across the Eldorado Glacier at 1:40am. The glacier gave way to snow slopes, then to polished granite slabs, then to the jumbled lateral moraine. We had just one steep uphill scramble to gain the notch between drainages, and then we were back in the meadows West of Mount Torment. We nearly bumped into two deer in the meadows that acted like deer in the headlights - literally - they stood still, starting at our lights until we were almost on top of them. Finally, they sauntered off into the night. Moths flew up in my face, drawn to the luminous moon of my headlamp that seemed to float through the meadow. We passed a group of 6 sleeping out in the meadows - illegal and lame. We danced from stone to stone down the talus and tried not to stir up the dust in the forest. On the last stretch, we passed a pair of climbers ascending in the dark on their own alpine adventure. We arrived at the log crossing at 5:01am, well ahead of our 5:30am target, having descended 5500 feet over 4 miles in 3 hours and 40 minutes. The reward I'd been anticipating was at hand. I quickly stripped off my boots, removed all electronics, and plunged into the river fully clothed. It felt so good. Fine silt squished between my toes. I waded out to where the river ran swiftly over polished stones. Heaven. David slumped on the log in near delirium, having kept is heart rate aerobic for nearly four hours on a treacherous trail trying valiantly to keep up with me. In our parlance, it was civil twilight, the time before sunrise when you can walk without a headlamp. We crossed the logs together, David with a heavy beast on his back, me barefoot and refreshed. I stripped off my wet clothes, put on fresh clothes, and we zipped down to Marblemount, arriving around 6am. Thankfully, David had cell reception. He called Southwest and changed his flight. No fees. I had ice cream and Tim's Jalapeno chips for breakfast and opted for V8 instead of beer for fear the latter would put me to sleep. We drove home feeling dead but very much alive. Gear Notes: Doubles to #2 Camalot, single #3 Camalot. Single 60 meter 9.2 rope, ax, crampons. Leave the tricams at home Approach Notes: Climber's trail to the E Ridge of Eldorado, cross Inspiration to McAllister Glacier to Dorado Col. Descend to an obvious bench around 6000 feet. Traverse right, cross a short bit of forest, cross talus, then ascend a snow tongue to the base of the route. Day 1: Ascend 5500 feet in just over 4 miles on the climber's trail to the camp at the base of the E Ridge of Eldorado (red line). There was running water, a toilet (in rocks SE of tent sites), and tent/bivy sites. We scouted the approach across the Inspiration and McAllister Glaciers to Dorado Col (purple). Day 2: we crossed the glaciers on the purple track in the dark, descended and traversed to the base of the route (blue), climbed the route (green), and descended (red) before retracing our steps back to Dorado Col. To descend, we followed the red line in the image below. We made our way to a rap station on a ledge on the North side of the summit buttress. We made a single rope rappel (left red arrow below) from this station to the Marble Creek Glacier (red line). The moat did not present an obstacle. From there, we contoured East along the top of the glacier toward a notch that leads down toward the unnamed glacier. We found and used two rap stations. One was on a pyramid-shaped block in talus in the center of the notch (second red arrow). The second was on the wall skier's right of the gully at a ledge. The gully was filled with loose stones, running water, and mud. From the second rap station, we rappelled into a moat and scrambled onto the snow of the unnamed glacier. We stayed skier's left and followed a path we'd scoped out from below and from the summit that led us back to the glacier below Dorado Col. We ascended to the col, returned to camp, and retraced our steps to the car.
  43. 1 point
    Some people asked about Mile High Club. Here are a few thoughts on developing rock routes, including MHC. My views have grown out of 25 years of climbing and 10 years of doing first ascents. These opinions are my own. My partners have their own views that may or may not be the same as mine. It is very rare for route developers to share their philosophy or defend their work because it’s easy for armchair quarterbacks to throw anonymous internet stones. Some will probably drive this thread into spray. That’s OK. I’ve got my helmet strapped down tightly. Hopefully others will find something interesting. So here goes: One might consider two questions in evaluating rock climb first ascents: A – What is the type of protection? It could be: 1 - Removable protection (called trad by many); 2 - fixed protection (including bolts and pitons); or 3 – a combination of fixed and removable protection (mixed). B – Was the first ascent ground-up or top-down? This seems binary, but it’s not always that simple. By multiplying these we might define six types of rock routes. Each has pros and cons. We have all types in Washington, and often several different types within one climbing area (e.g. Darrington, Index, X38, WA Pass, Leavenworth). I’ve done five types of first ascents. Each was the result of thoughtful consideration for the route itself, the style of the area, the views of my partners, and other factors. Ironically, the style that people respect the most, ground-up trad, is actually the easiest to do. Walk up to a wall, find a line, climb and protect as you go up, end at the top, walk away. Often there is very little cleaning done along the way. When you go ground-up you tend to take the path of least resistance, and because you don’t know what’s above you may wander around to link good climbing sections. You may miss the best climbing altogether. Bolts placed ground-up are often put in places that don’t make sense for parties that follow. They are typically placed from a good stance, which can mean a hook or a ledge or other feature. In a number of cases, bolts on ground-up routes occur from a rest stance AFTER the hard moves. Bolts may be placed in locations that provide sparse and/or poor protection for subsequent climbers. Placing pitons doesn't make sense to me. They protect the first ascensionist and those who follow for a few years, perhaps decades, but they damage the rock as much or more than bolts and degrade over time until they are eventually useless. Trad protection is viewed by some as morally superior to bolts when cracks or other protectable features are available. To a large extent I agree. On certain cliffs, however, including the Mile High buttress, cracks are mainly found behind blocks in varying states of attachment to the wall. A lead fall on a cam places far more outward force on a block than one can generate with a hammer or short crowbar, so blocks that seem safe during route development could be levered off the wall and injure or kill the climber and/or belayer and/or cut the team’s rope if a cam is placed behind them. Experienced leaders may spot such hazards and avoid them, but not everyone is that savvy. Mile High Club has a few sections that could be protected by removable gear by an experienced leader. Other sections that look like protectable cracks are behind blocks of varying size that couldn’t be easily pried off using a hammer but might explode off the wall if a leader placed a cam behind them and fell on it. We could have developed a mixed route with mostly bolts and a few trad placements. I advocated that if the vast majority of the route was going to need bolts to be safely climbed AND an inexperienced leader with a trad rack might place cams in spots that would endanger themselves and others, as noted above, then bolting the whole thing would be the best way to go. That’s what we did. If you don’t like the bolts don’t clip them. My goals for Mile High Club were: #1 – Develop an outstanding route that follows the best quality climbing to the Mile High Summit. #2 – Make the route safe for climbers who follow us, including those who are new to alpine climbing. #3 – Open a route that people will climb and enjoy for decades to come. Mile High Club has seen about ten repeats in the past ten days. Feedback from those who’ve climbed the route has been positive (feel free to PM constructive criticism). If you don’t want to climb a bolted alpine route that could attract fledgling mountain rock climbers I suggest you go climb Fire on the Mountain on Sloan that Blake and I put up in 2009. It’s an amazing 5.10+ trad ground-up alpine rock route to an outstanding peak. You’re very unlikely to have to wait in line because it’s only seen a handful of ascents in the past 6 years. Why? Perhaps because it’s a 5.10+ trad alpine rock route several hours away from a trailhead that’s not super close. At the end of the day, route development is not a consensus activity. It is done by highly motivated individuals or teams that have passion and vision and are willing to invest huge amounts of time, work, and money to create something for others. We hope you enjoy the route. Rad
  44. 1 point
    Trip: Noisy Diobsud/Stephen Mather Wilderness - Bacon-Hagen-Blum High Route Trip Date: 07/20/2018 Trip Report: From July 20th-23rd Dave, Darren, Matt and I traverse from Anderson Lakes to Blum Creek summiting Bacon, Hagen and Blum along the way. The route is characterized by excellent views of the Baker and Sister Range to the west the the National Park to the east. Awesome camp sites and outstanding alpine lakes make this a most memorable route. Brush bashing wasn't all that severe save the walk down Blum Ridge to Baker River. You won't find me walking up that route anytime soon. I have been doing trips with these guys for nearly 20 years and I am ever thankful for the friendships and the adventures over the years. I would like to have an intense conversation with the douchbag that left a pile of trash shoved under a rock and shitty TP strewn about at the high camp SW of Bacon. Beer cans and mountain outhouse bags don't decompose and it doesn't seem that difficult to pack out your trash. Alpine eye candy Gear Notes: Ice axe, light crampons, and glacier rope. Approach Notes: Anderson Lakes to north side of Mount Watson.
  45. 1 point
    Trip: Mt. Slesse - NEB Trip Date: 07/19/2018 Trip Report: Anyways went up and climbed North East Butress on Mt. Slesse with friends Chuck and Yale on July 19th-21st. Great trip full of adventure. Went up on the 19th, on the way up got the truck stuck and had visions of spending the weekend digging the sucker out. Luckily after a half hour of piling rocks and digging out the undercarriage we were able to drive away and continue as planned. The plan was to hike to the view point today and check out pocket glacier, there was word that it was still in place. Which it was, we hung out for a while listening and watching and all seemed good and stable, but not completely reassuring after hearing tales of it sliding from the likes of Otto. Anyways we decided to give it a go and check it out. The next day we were up at 2:00 and hitting the trail at 2:30, from the parking lot. The plan was to get to the glacier before the sun hit it. It appeared our plan worked out since we arrived before the sun and things seemed quite stable. After a quick crossing we were finally on the climb proper and we could put all the apprehension about the glacier behind us, though I kept thinking what if we need to retreat. Luckily that didn’t happen. Not much to say except it was a stellar climb with lots of pitches. Chuck led the crux 10a in good style with an big overnight pack on. We were running short on daylight towards the end so motor out the class 4 scramble at the end, but we’re still benighted and spent the night on the summit. Since it was a planned bivy I was quite comfortable I had a sleeping bag, even had coffee and muesli in the morning though cold. It was by far one best bivy I have had on a climb. The crossover descent was sort of uneventful, though there was still a lot of snow slopes in place, which probably slowed things down, but we eventually back down to the car around 4:00pm on the 21st. Can’t stop thinking of the climbing and can’t wait for my Upcoming Matterhorn trip. Gear Notes: Alpine rack Approach Notes: Missed the parking lot on the drive in. Basically where there is a sign pointing to Mt. Rexford is where the parking is for Slesse.
  46. 1 point
    It was a great(long) day up there with Darin. The climbing was very enjoyable and would recommend it, but the run under the ice fall was full on alpine gauntlet.
  47. 1 point
    You make this sound like a normal god damned weekend trip. ...oh, I went to Alaska.... ...didn't know what to climb... ...as we were walking by Moose Tooth we decided to give this route a shot.... ...we were home the next day...
  48. 1 point
    Trip: Mt Huntington - French (NW) Ridge (FWA) Date: 3/1/2014 Trip Report: Summary: On March 1st, Brad Farra (Portland, OR), Jason Stuckey (Fairbanks, Alaska) and I, John Frieh (Portland, OR), flew from Talkeetna to the Tokositna Glacier (~8600') below the west face of Mt. Huntington. We skipped establishing a base camp and instead immediately started climbing the French (NW) ridge, reaching an elevation of ~10,500' before bivying for the night. On March 2nd we started climbing around 8 am and reached the summit of Mt. Huntington just under 16 hours later around 11:30 pm. Due to the late summit we enjoyed a second bivy just below the summit at >12,000 feet. Six hours later we defrosted ourselves with mass quantities of coffee before beginning a descent of the West Face Couloir (Nettle-Quirk) around 9 am. As Jason and I had climbed and descended the WFC in the winter of 2011 we were able to move quickly down the route and reached landing zone around 3 pm on March 3rd, making for ~51 hours on route. I believe this was the first winter ascent of the French Ridge of Mt Huntington during the winter season and the third overall winter ascent to date. Bob Butterfield's photo of the French Ridge (sun/shadow line): Brad on route; Jason Stuckey photo: Itinerary: Feb 28/March 1: PDX -> ANC -> Talkeetna March 1: Paul/TAT flew us to the East Fork of the Tokostina Glacier (~12 pm). Climbed to ~10,500' March 2: Mt Huntington summit March 3: Descent via the WFC; evening pick up Back story: I would be willing to bet most would agree Mount Huntington is a beautiful mountain. Classic lines, big faces, no "easy" way to the summit... dig out Alpinist 20 for a sweet mountain profile. For no particular reason the French ridge has always appealed to me... part aesthetics, part history (Lionel Terray!), and part commitment (you can't exactly bail off the route easily if conditions change). I knew the amount of snow and the size of the cornices would determine how quickly one could climb the ridge (if not summit at all) so I started considering the French ridge as either a fall climb or a late winter/early spring climb in hopes of finding ideal conditions. My thought was if one timed it just right this would be the best time to encounter minimal slogging and more importantly minimal cornices. I almost attempted it a few times over the last few years but something always prevented me from trying or a different line in the range looked better. Finally it all came together so we went for it... and it just so happened to be winter. That is to say I wasn't intent on making the FWA; I just wanted to climb it. This trip likely would never have happened if it not for the excellent beta that Paul Roderick of Talkeetna Air Taxi provided on conditions. Best pilot and best flight service in Alaska. Also Mark Westman has been an excellent source of AK beta for me over the years; I know I asked him for his opinion of my Huntington idea more than once. Pictures: Early on climbing to get onto the ridge top: Almost on the ridge: First bivy: Second day sun: Early on second day: Getting closer... but not that close: Gear Notes: Light is Right! Petzl Quarks + Vasaks, new Arcteryx FL 45 liter pack (so sweet!), coffee Approach Notes: Talkeetna Air Taxi
  49. 1 point
    Damn! More photos please! Terray was an eloquent writer. I love final words in his article about the first ascent: "We had ceased for several days to be slaves and had truly lived as men. To return to slavery was hard..."
  50. 1 point
    Trip: Mt Pugh - West Face Date: 1/4/2014 Trip Report: I climbed Mt Pugh back in Nov. 2011 http://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=1041540[/url] I remember easy access, stunning summit views, and no one around. Ideal ingredients for a day trip in my mind. So when a few friends and I wanted to get out during the deep freeze of early December, I recommended Pugh. We had a great day out but we did not give ourselves enough time to summit and descend the technical portion before nightfall. We did, however get a good glimpse at Pugh's West face. We vowed that we would return later in the Winter to give this face a go. Scouring the interwebs and Becky's bible I found no information on any ascents of this face. The thought of the unknown amped my desire even more. Finding a weather window at the tail end of my Winter break, 2 out of the 3 friends from the last trip were excited to return to Pugh and give the West face a try. We found a fourth member for our team and at 5am the 4 of us piled into my Subaru and left Seattle. 1 month ago, the gate for the 1 mile road to Pugh's trailhead was open, this time it was closed with 4 large boulders in front of it. WTF?! A simple lock would have deterred us. Anyone know if they are closing this FS road for good? Oh well, an extra mile of road walking never hurt anyone. We followed the road, and trail to treeline and found way more snow than expected. Avalanche forecast reminded us to beware of wind-loaded slopes. note the snow blowing over the ridge line. We tested the stability, of the lower slope and found about 1-2 feet of powder on top of a fairly consolidated base under with little-to-no sliding. We discussed the pros and cons and made an educated decision to ascend. We broke into teams of 2, each with a 25M rope and an assortment of protection. half way up we broke out the rope for some thin 60+ degree snow over rock. No photos, sorry. The face was fun, engaging, and at times, exposed. We reached the ridge line in a few hours and found ourselves inline with the standard route, but running low on time. Not wanting to get turned around in virtually the same spot again, we decided to risk getting caught up high in the dark and pushed for the summit. In the Summer the standard route is mostly a walk with exposure, but in Winter conditions, things got a bit spicier. The crux's seemed to be steep, and exposed with no pro and shitty snow and/or ice. As we got higher, the angle mellowed and it was just snow wallowing to the summit. We reached the summit around 4pm. The views were crystal clear. We were even able to make out Seattle along the Puget Sound! We celebrated, ate, took photos in 5 minutes, and turned tail. That left us with approximately 45 minutes to get back down to Stujack pass where the route finding and exposure was over. This was going to be a close one! The sun began to sink into one of the better sunsets I have experienced in recent years. All I wanted to do was stop and enjoy this golden hour... but a few quick snaps from the camera was all I had time for. We reached a little above Stujack pass before we had to switch to headlamps. I thought back to the descent we took a month ago and remembered just one last technical 50+ degree slope we had to down climb and traverse. It would have to be in the dark. From the pass we traversed and glissaded in the dark until we found our tracks from earlier. We reached tree line and made the long march back to our cars, anxiously hoping we would make it back to Darrington before the Burger Barn closed. We got there at 9pm thinking that is when they closed. To our dismay, they had been closed since 7pm. All that rushing for nothing. The West face of Pugh has a few options from mellow to downright spicy. There was little-to-no ice present, but there are at least 3 routes up there for some great snow climbing. I have no idea if this is a first ascent or not. Anyone know? Either way, I highly recommend the area for some fun climbing in the snow with views that are hard to match. Gear Notes: We had two tools or a tool/axe combo. Both worked just fine. Crampons for the icy bits up high helmet for the icy chunks that rained down for much of the route. Pickets, 25M rope, and long slings for trees if you plan on pitching any of it out. Approach Notes: From Darrington, follow the Mountain Loop HWY for roughly 12 miles. There is a sign marking the FS road on the left for Mt Pugh. Follow the road for a mile to the trailhead, then take the well maintained trail to tree line for about 3 miles.