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  1. 4 points
    Trip: Mount Torment - North Ridge Trip Date: 08/09/2020 Trip Report: If anyone's noticed, I am not so regular at posting TRs any longer. New job, older kids, a lack of anything new to say.....the list of excuses is long. But, to be honest, this is still my favorite place in cyber-land to post vignettes of my life in the hills. So here I am, slowly plugging away at catching you all up on the riveting adventures of an aging alpine "lifer". In this installment, we pick back up in August of 2020 and on an adventure close to home for both @dberdinka and myself. Jokingly, we said that we would go on a trip wherever arcs drawn in a 60 mile radius from our homes converged. This was not absolutely true for Torment, but pretty darn close. We have an embarrassment of riches right in our own backyards! We typically only ski a few times a year together and had been talking of an alpine climb for far too long. This may have been our first time summer climbing together? But first we had to get a permit! We weren't worried about the Torment Basin zone being full, but we WERE worried about the line at the ranger station. As you all surely must know by now, a August Saturday morning at the ranger station is only slightly less crowded than Mecca during the Hajj. Since it was misting, and we only had to hike to camp, we didn't get there early, probably about 0830. We pulled number 114(??!!) and settled in for the wait. There really must be a better system than what is currently being used. I'll let you tell me exactly what in the comments below. Permit in hand we struck out in the increasingly heavy "mist" for the TH. This is the first hurdle. It isn't marked, and there isn't a lot of traffic up it to make where the trail leaves from the Cascade River Road obvious. Look for it on the right, just after the 2nd bridge over the Cascade River, past the Eldo TH. Space for one car on the right and the trail takes off steeply just across the road. It starts out vague and gets better as you get higher. Decades ago this sounds like it was a major thoroughfare, but it has fallen into obscurity. Yes, you heard me. This is a route in the Cascade River corridor where solitude on an August weekend is possible! I'll let you figure out where the trail is and where it goes, however. Good things come to those who investigate. So I'll skip ahead to arriving a few hours later in the basin. It had stopped raining but was still damp, cool, and cloudy. We wandered for a decent amount of time, looking for established camps. Finding none (obscurity!), we found a flatish slab of rock and cleared the loose stones for an OK night. It didn't help I forgot my pad at the car. D'oh! Nevermind that, I certainly couldn't complain. I was with the one and only @dberdinka on an honest to goodness climb! I was also nervous. You all know how fast, competent, and technically savvy Mr. Berdinka is- I had to buck up and look tough. The alarm went off quite early (did I expect anything else?) and @dberdinka was immediately ready, or so it seemed. I fumbled around the tent for a bit but eventually got it together and we set off in the dim mists for the col that would take us around to the North side of Torment. Be warned that you will need to do one 30m rap to get past an imposing gully of doom along the way. There is a horn for an anchor, but I'll let you find it. Obscurity! And then, you'll need to expeditiously move under and away from a non-daddy friendly ice cliff. Channel your inner Ueli: But don't worry, alpine glory aspirants, at this point you've reached the promised land! Firm rock (4th and easy 5th), outrageous position, and no other parties to ruin your wilderness experience. It really is worth the price of admission. It is an Ed Cooper climb, after all. The only downside to climbs like this, of course, is that they are over too soon. But, we have wives and kids that want us to come home at a reasonable hour, so all good things in moderation. @dberdinka looking fashionable on the summit: As with most North Cascadian summits, there was then the question of which way down? We hemmed and hawed, ultimately eschewing the standard SE face descent (how would the moat be? Would we end up like Craig Luebben?) for the wandering South Ridge (standard approach to TFT). While this isn't a terrible way up, it isn't a great way down. Lots of insecure scrambling between raps where a fall would most likely be fatal. Again, not exactly daddy friendly. But, we survived to reach our camp and the delightful meadows of Torment Basin a couple hours later. And you probably will too. So, next August, don't complain that there are crowds on "all" the classic climbs in NCNP. Go do some exploring! Gear Notes: 60m half rope, light rack, helmet, axe, crampons, etc. We used rock shoes, but you probably don't need them (we didn't know what to expect). The full alpine kit! Approach Notes: The "excellent" Torment Basin route. Green Fred details it nicely. It needs some traffic, however!
  2. 4 points
    Trip: Mount Lago (8745'), Mount Carru (8595') & Osceola Peak (8587') - Shellrock Pass Approach Trip Date: 10/02/2021 Trip Report: Mount Lago (8745'), Mount Carru (8595') & Osceola Peak (8587')– Shellrock Pass Approach – October 2-4, 2021 (Sat, Sun, Mon). I climbed Mount Lago, Mount Carru & Osceola Peak over the weekend. I started the climb from the Slate Pass Trailhead off Hart’s Pass Rd. outside Mazama, WA. I planned for a 3 day trip. The weather was looking like perfect fall conditions. Mostly crisp and clear. I drove to the Slate Pass Trailhead Friday night and slept in the vehicle. Saturday: I was up and moving down the trail at 7:30am. Starting at 7000’, it was cold and crisp. I arrived at Shellrock Pass Trail (5000’) at 11:00am, 9 miles in. The trail in was almost all downhill with a little uphill here and there, overall a very nice trail. I started the trail climb towards Fred’s Lake reaching a pass above the lake (7100’) by 1:30pm. The trail dropped down to Lake Doris. Lake Doris looks to be very popular with lots of camping areas and a spider’s web of trails all around the area. I found it difficult to find the correct trail out of the Lake Doris area heading towards Shellrock Pass. The trail out of the Lake Doris area to Shellrock Pass is much less traveled and a little overgrown in sections. There are several downed trees across the trail to navigate on the way to the Shellrock Meadows. I made it to Shellrock Meadows for camp at 4:30pm, 15 miles total for the day. The Shellrock Meadows is well worth the trip just to camp. The fall colors are in full display with the Larches gold color everywhere. The head of Eureka Creek begins in this meadow. It was like walking into a painting. Sunday: Some cloud cover had moved in overnight. I left camp at 7:45am reaching Shellrock Pass at 8:45am. The clouds started breaking up and the views started opening up. I could now see the long ridge climb ahead for the 3 summits. The ridge climbing is mostly loose rock and lots of it, class 2 with some class 3 mixed in. I made it to Mount Lago summit (8745’) at 11:15am. The views were really kicking in now. I dropped down to the Lago/Carru Col (7600’) by 12:45pm. I needed to drop down to 7500’ to hit a diagonal ledge system to gain the Carru ridge. I made it to the Mount Carru Summit (8595’) at 2:30pm. The climb down Carru to the col below (7700’)was loose and steep, careful movement was necessary. There are a couple of rounded peaks between Carru and Osceola. I climbed up and diagonal across the rounded peaks until I needed to drop down to the col below Osceola. This took more time than I was expecting. I was very happy to find a fantastic camping area at the base of the Osceola ridge with a little lake for water supply and great views. I arrived at the camp at 4:50pm (7200’) and called it a night. Monday: I left camp at 7:00am heading up the ridge to the summit of Osceola. I reached the summit (8587’) at 8:30am. The summit registry was frozen shut, so no sign in. There was a rock engraved on the summit in memoriam of Robert William Metlen, very cool. I headed down towards Lake Doris, lots of loose rock along the way. I was very happy to be back on trail again at the lake. I was back at the base of the Shellrock Pass trail by 11:30am. I climbed the trail back to the Slate Pass trailhead arriving at 4:30pm. This was a great fall season trip in a beautiful area with lots of excellent camping options. I didn’t see the cliffs off the side of Hart’s Pass road on the way in but I did on the way out. It was like something out of the Raiders of the Lost Ark. If you go off the side you will die a fiery death for sure, but it would be one hell of a ride. Some Tips and Notes: 1. Bring comfortable boots, there is a lot of walking on this trip. 2. The trail after Lake Doris is hard to find due to the network of trails around the area. The trail to Shellrock Pass angles down toward the valley. 3. The trail after Lake Doris is lightly travelled with several downed trees and faint trail sections. 4. Shellrock Meadow is awesome for camping. 5. Climbing these peaks from Shellrock Pass is a long ridge climb but the views are great. 6. There is a great camp area at the base of Osceola Peak ridge on the east side at 7200’ with a small lake water source. Travel Time for reference: Saturday: Trailhead to Camp – 9 hours, 15 miles, 3000’ vert. Sunday: Camp, over 2 Summits, to Camp#2 – 9 hours, 8 miles, 3800’ vert. Monday: Camp#2 to Summit to Trailhead – 9.5 hours, 14 miles, 3700’ vert. Total Mileage: about 37 miles Total Elevation Gain: about 10,500’ Gear used: Trekking Poles & Helmet. Mount Rolo from Pass above Fred's Lake. Osceola, Carru, Lago from Pass above Fred's Lake. Trail to Shellrock Pass after Lake Doris. Valley to Shellrock Pass. Mount Lago from Shellrock Meadow. Osceola Peak from Shellrock Meadow. Route View from Shellrock Pass. Carru & Osceola from Lago Summit. Osceola Col Camp 7200'. Osceola Peak Memorial. Another glorious fall day on the trail. Heading back up to Slate Pass. Gear Notes: Trekking Poles & Helmet. Approach Notes: Slate Pass Trailhead, Shellrock Pass Approach
  3. 3 points
    Trip: Chiwaukum Range - Chiwaukum High Route Trip Date: 09/09/2021 Trip Report: This definitely isn't alpine climbing, and nothing exceeded class 3, but I think it is kinda interesting... John Berude and I completed a high traverse of the Chiwaukum Range in a single push. We started at the Lake Ethel Trailhead and ended at Hatchery Creek, summitting Big C, Big Lou, and Big Jim along the way. It was definitely the hardest high route thing I have onsited in a day and one of the best days I have had out there with the scenery and fall colors. It measured 32 miles and 14k ft gain, mostly off trail, and took us 16 hours. Full TR: https://climberkyle.com/2021/09/09/chiwaukum-high-route/ The most interesting part was getting between the Glacier Creek and South Fork Chiwaukum drainages. We utilized the pass to the east of Pt 7955. The south side of the pass looks improbably on a topo map, and there is indeed a cliff there. But one can follow ledges westward and through the cliff band miraculously. A beautiful morning in the Chiwaukum. Above Cup Lake. Some exposed scrambling on Big C. The beautiful Glacier Creek drainage. Looking back on the key ledge that gets you through the cliffs near Pt 7955. Vibrant orange near Cape Horn. On the summit of Big Lou. Nearing the summit of Big Jim. Gear Notes: Running shoes, poles, running vests. Approach Notes: Leave Lake Ethel Trail right before going down to the lake and enter the alpine! Hatchery Creek has over a hundred blowdowns.
  4. 1 point
    Love the bungee system on that pack.
  5. 1 point
    Trip: Beebe Mountain - NE ridge Trip Date: 05/02/2021 Trip Report: A few weeks ago, @Trent and I missed the Seattle memo that everyone was to leave town with their bikes and convene at the Ross Dam TH to bike the highway before it opened. Because of that we started early enough to be quite surprised upon our return to see a steady line of bikes on the highway, going both ways! We also missed the dude backing his Sprinter over a carbon fiber road bike in the parking lot (his bike, thankfully). Apparently they make quite the pop when they explode. But I digress. BEEBE! BEEEEEEBEEEEEEEEE! Why isn't this peak more popular, given the views and access? There isn't any brush to speak of and you are pretty much guaranteed solitude in the increasingly slammed North Cascades. Is everyone on the Birthday tour? Maybe the lines will form when the snow melts and people are stuck in traffic on 20. May as well pull over and grab a summit! Just be warned that there isn't flagging any longer. We pulled a ridiculous amount down on our way up, filling our pockets. C'mon people, it isn't a hard mountain to find! Oh, and just make sure you wax your snowshoes if you go early in the season. We saw what my wildlife biologist friends called wolverine tracks Gear Notes: Bikes and .....sigh....snowshoes Approach Notes: From Hwy 20 follow timbered ridge just south of Beebe Creek
  6. 1 point
    convince the mountain bikers that they need trails that happen to scoot near the cave. them guys (evergreen mountain bike alliance) are trail builders extraordinaire.
  7. 1 point
    Ah! Was wondering if anyone was going to take a look at that....and yes, I think you are right about the season that it would be the most "fun". Here is another view to whet your appetite: Access in the winter would be "reasonable" with a sled, if you are into that sort of thing.
  8. 1 point
    Trip: Hadley Peak (7515') - Skyline Divide Trail to South Ridge Trip Date: 09/25/2021 Trip Report: Hadley Peak (7515') – Skyline Divide Trail Approach – Sept 25, 2021 (Sat). The weather was perfect, 60 degrees and clear skies. Last time I climbed the Skyline Divide trail was about 24 years ago. I had forgotten how beautiful this area is. Saturday: I headed out from the trailhead (4400’) at 7:00am. The trail is in excellent condition, lots of traffic. The trail starts climbing right from the start. The trial starts to open up around (6000’). I ran into a couple hunters on the way up. There are lots of hunters in the area currently, it probably would be a good idea to wear some bright clothing to help standout a bit more. I made it to the top of the Skyline Divide Trail Bluff (6600’) at 9:00am. I arrived to the Lake (6400’) at 9:45am. The lake is the only source of water along the route that doesn’t require down climbing to get to. The route starts climbing steeply up the ridge from the lake. There is a trail pretty much the whole route up to the summit. The trail is a little hard to follow in a couple spots, but it is there. I spotted a herd of 25 mountain goats on my way along Chowder Ridge. I made it to the summit of Hadley Peak (7515’) at 12:00. I climbed the South Ridge to the summit. The ridge was Class 2 with a little Class 3 here and there. The rock is loose but not that bad by Cascade standards. The views from the summit are fantastic with Mount Baker right in your face. There was another herd of 12 mountain goats that I spotted from the summit. I’ve never seen so many mountain goats in one area before. I started back down at 12:45pm. I made it back to the trailhead at 5:00pm. This area of the Cascades is so beautiful that it almost looks fake. This was a great, laid-back day climb, perfect for Fall. Some Tips and Notes: 1. The only water source on route is the lake at 6400’. 2. Lots of hunters in the area currently, wear something bright. 3. The route starts to get steep right after the lake but levels out after achieving the ridge. 4. There is no snow to cross on route. 5. The South Ridge route has the least amount of loose rock, Class 2-3. 6. There are nice camping options all along the ridge and on connecting ridges. Travel Time for reference: Saturday: Trailhead to summit back to trailhead - 10 hours. Total Mileage: about 15 miles Total Elevation Gain: around 4000’ Welcome to Valhalla. Ridge after ridge. Lake at 6400'. Ridge above Lake. 25 Mountain Goats along Chowder Ridge. Chowder Ridge to Hadley Peak. South Ridge to Summit. Mount Baker close and personal. View on the way out. Gear Notes: I used Trekking Poles and a Helmet. Approach Notes: Skyline Divide Trail Approach to the South Ridge of Hadley.
  9. 1 point
    A couple of DIY ice axe/tool carry options for packs with just a daisy chain system. A simple loop will work with and ice axe or tool that had a full size hammer or adze. I made some toggles out of aluminum similar to the Arcteryx packs. They'll hold an ice tool head if the hammer or whatever is too small to get captured by just a loop. Any toggle that will fit through the head on the narrow side but is still long enough to sufficiently hold the head will work. Plastic or metal toggles that get used for clothing can be found online. A loop of shock cord and a cord lock is used to hold the shaft of the axe.
  10. 1 point
    Trip: Mount Despair - southeast face/east ridge Trip Date: 08/14/2021 Trip Report: This is essentially the standard route for Mt Despair, approaching from the south via the Thornton and Triumph Creek basins, then traversing a third drainage (a west fork of Goodell Creek) before finally reaching the objective. Despite being such a well-known landmark, I was somewhat surprised by the scant route details I found in guidebooks or online, and wanted to post a few helpful or clarifying details for others headed this way, particularly in late-season conditions. Mount Despair was among my original list of North Cascades objectives, yet languished more than 20 years untried --- largely due to an approach sounding somewhere between grueling and grim. In particular, the travel from Triumph Creek's rim to valley bottom, somehow traversing along or across the steep lower buttress of Mount Triumph's southwestern "rampart", retained an evil mien -- and spiced the prospect with an atmosphere of morbid speculation. In the end Paul and I found a line that, while challenging, did not have the dire character we were fully expecting, and may warrant noting. [Imagery notes: we had the misfortune to venture here during a peak period of forest fire smoke, which shrouded the northern Cascades in a dry gray-brown pall and greatly diminished the scenic value of this outing; you have the misfortune to read a trip report illustrated with pictures in such conditions. Most of the route pictures that follow were taken on the last day on our way out, when the smoke-haze finally began to dissipate. I actually heightened the contrast in many of the other images, but still couldn't bring much detail out of the murk. Finally, note that in all the route images the yellow trace represents the more favorable line of travel we found in this season/conditions, whereas the pink trace are other route options that we either didn't attempt, or shouldn't have.] On prior trips I had tried both the south ridge (dividing Thornton and Damnation Creeks) and trail approaches to the 6120' col west of upper Thornton Lake, and found their times comparable. Since we were starting out amid another heat wave, we opted for the Thornton Lakes trail and its greater watering opportunities. (First view of Thornton Lakes basin on way in. Note spectral Triumph lurking faintly beyond the col leading to its celebrated NE Ridge route.) Between the lake outlet and the Thornton Lakes campsite, an obvious climbers trail departs to the right, contouring above the west shoreline of the lower lake and northerly toward the middle lake before bending hard west and ascending a forested ridge to and above timberline. (Note: On our return, we tried a more direct tread toward the Thornton Lakes camp, but after crossing some open granite barrens, the tread diverged and disappeared into a warren of trail-like runnels of sand fed by the decaying granitic hummocks above... so we didn't confirm whether/where that boot path goes through.) The climbers tread continues west well up the spur ridge, but before the final high point we departed the ridge rightward -- traversing northwest across a snowfield, then north through blocky terrain to the 6120' col on the divide between Thornton and Triumph Creeks. (this is section of traverse out of sight in view above) At 6120' saddle/col: view into next (Triumph Creek) drainage, and first glimpse of Mt Despair looming in the background. The descending traverse across talus and heather slopes of upper Triumph Creek drainage (with one hidden, raw ravine/water supply midway), toward the timbered rampart of Triumph's lower SW buttress. We aimed to take open talus as far as possible toward the stream course before the buttress, but ended up dipping unnecessarily into a few yards of dense slide alder/yellow-cedar thrash before reaching the stony streambed. In dry conditions, at least, one can stay higher and avoid that unpleasantness by contouring north through thinner alder before entering and downclimbing more of the broad, slabby stream bed. (view up stream along rampart, near top of timber at roughly 5100' elevation) (view down stream course to Triumph Creek valley bottom, ~1000' below) The uppermost timber was a bit thin on cliffy footings, so we crossed the stream and carefully downclimbed its dry slabs a couple hundred feet before entering more continuous timber. From here descending through the forest was steep but straightforward, initially straight downhill (W or SW) paralleling the stream, then angling more rightward lower in timber where the forest widens beneath a face of the buttress. The bottom (~W) edge of this rampart timber seems to end in steep drops and slabs, so we worked further to right to the far side (NW) of the timber band, where toward the downhill end we found a walk-off exit onto steep meadowy slopes leading to valley bottom. Nothing about this line was particularly difficult, but as several accounts of this traverse left us expecting something more harrowing, I wanted to add that at least in these late-season and dry conditions, that isn't necessarily one's experience here. (bottom of forest rampart, where we were finally able to exit to valley floor of Triumph Creek) (Given the reputation of the timbered rampart approach, the principal alternate I had identified was Kearney's early-season (June) route, which descends a timbered rib ~directly W/downhill of the 6120' col before traversing northward lower in Triumph Creek valley. This is my estimate of that line, which we did not attempt in the present snow-free condition, but I include here for general interest or those planning earlier-season trips.) It was evening by the time we exited the timbered rampart, and we decided to camp in the valley bottom rather than re-ascend 1000' to Triumph Pass as planned. We were able to quickly clear debris for a couple of sleeping spots next to the snout of this lingering snowfield, whose cool breath and running water made for a comfortable bivy. The next morning we continued up to Triumph Pass. This line is actually the way we descended that evening... ... but not knowing better [yet], in the morning we tried following the easy stream ravine west of the larger timber patch midway to the pass. around the corner the ravine steepened at a bedrock gorge, and it took some class 3+ scrambling--both dirty and airy--to exit the chasm and regain reasonable terrain above. From there up it was just steep heather with stringers of dry stream rocks (at this date flowing surface water vanished at least 500' below Triumph Pass). At the pass we noted several established bivy sites, though we didn't look in the timber patch camp Beckey noted just south of/below Triumph Pass (background). No water here, though it is available in the form of snow a few yards down on north side of pass. Speaking of, we found the snow on the remnant glacier (or perennial snowfield? - no sign of crevassing anywhere) to be in excellent condition--hard but not icy, and were able to quickly work down toward lake. (view north from Triumph Pass of traverse route and waiting objective) Exiting the lake basin, we immediately turned up-ridge and regained 500-600' to easily cross a gully high on good bedrock... not far below the same stream course quickly unravels into a messy, raw defile. This is also a good elevation for the continuing northward traverse above timberline. (view south from Despair over the ~2 mile approach from Triumph Pass) From the outlet of the pocket lake beneath Despair we initially ascended the timbered ridge northward out of the cirque-like basin. Where the continuous rock face on the rib to our left ended, we immediately crossed leftward over that rib to a parallel meadow-gully, which we ascended until it forked beneath an odd, oval headwall, where we again went left and followed a meadowy stream-course a short distance to coarse talus, which we ascended the remaining 800-1000' to base of the summit pyramid. We found the escarpment band below the upper face guarded by variable cliffy ramparts; we picked the most favorable looking section near center, where an area of slabby ledges promised a potential line through, but ultimately involved some exposed class 3-4 and pack-hauling before gaining the steep heather leading into the shallow boulder and bedrock basin of the upper SE face (finding our way up through the stony escarpment guarding access to Despair's upper SE face) In this season the snow-free upper face appears to offer lots of route latitude among the slabby rock outcrops, blocks, and heathered interstices. However, the right (E) side of face nearer the East Ridge looked likely to exceed scrambling terrain; we found a central line more promising, which eventually converged with and reached the East Ridge next to a conspicuous axehead step. Here we found a broad ledge wrapping around the backside of the ridge--roomy enough for a bivy site (at least for those who don't roll in their sleep). From here the route took an excursion on the shadier NE face for the better part of the remaining couple hundred feet and 15 minutes to the summit. (Initial part of route across slabby terrain of upper NE face, class 3-4 with some exposure. Note there is a hidden, narrow chimney-gully near center of image.) After down climbing a few yards from the ridgecrest ledge and crossing the hidden slot-chimney, the route bears upward and right across the blocky terrain of the NE face, till eventually regaining the crest. Here I opted to step back through to the sunnier south side, where the final crux was a 12-15' chimney-crack back up to the crest (and past a weathered rap station), then easier scrambling terrain to the summit just beyond. (view down final chimney-crack on S side of ridge) Happy to finally be on top! Since getting here already pushed beyond our turnaround time, it was a very brief summit stay, abetted by the near-absence of views. (A previously-reported summit register was not found in/around the large cairn there.) View NE past past Despair's North peak (and saddle joining the E & NE glaciers) toward shadowy hints of the snowfields in the Mt Crowder/Northern Pickets area. Descending the summit pyramid we tried the lower East Ridge and found a much more reasonable class 2-3 line that we should have taken on the way up. (This route is right on Despair's lower skyline, reaching/starting from the 6600' notch next to a distinct haystack pinnacle.) Once off the upper mountain we began the long traverse back down and around (west-) Goodell's headwater basin... in the late afternoon sun we noted that Triumph's classic features were beginning to emerge through the thinning haze. It would be twilight by the time we regained Triumph Pass, and full darkness overtook us partway down. Fortunately we'd the foresight to leave out an enormous white pointer, which guided us back to camp without incident (and once more provided cool breeze and colder water). As a final note, despite the appreciable cumulative elevation gains and losses of this approach across/through three drainages, the route described is essentially brush-free -- an uncommon pleasure for a remote objective in the North Cascades. The nearest to brush along this line is where the climbers tread around lower Thornton Lakes is somewhat overgrown, a bit (mostly avoidable) when reaching the slabby streamcourse below Triumph's rampart, and a trifle of brush amid timber on the rampart, and again on the rib leading from the pocket lake up toward Despair -- each and all notable only for their paucity. Gear Notes: ice axe, crampons, scramble rope (we only used for pack-hauling when essentially off-route) Approach Notes: south approach via Thornton Lakes and Triumph Pass
  11. 1 point
    Trip: Dragontail Peak, NE Towers - This, My Friend Trip Date: 09/12/2021 Trip Report: Yesterday Kat and I climbed "This, My Friend" on the east aspect of Dragontail Peak. The route is only a year old at this point and is getting alot of attention, for good reason. Hats off to the FA party for the vision and the work cleaning this thing up. Its five pitches and all but a short connector pitch are 55m of clean, fun climbing. We got moving at the trailhead around 5am Sunday morning and reached the base of the route around 8am. I lead the first pitch which is also the crux of the route. The general consensus of this pitch so far is that its 5.10-. It starts with really easy climbing then heads straight up a shallow, flaring thin hands and ring lock crack followed by slightly easier terrain. Pro is tricky on this pitch, but I found three bomber #1 placements. From there Kat lead pitch 2, THE money pitch and an absolute gem. A full rope length of 5.9 awesome finger locks and perfect hands. Stupid good. After that, Kat lead the 5.meh connector pitch to the base of the headwall so I too could have a money pitch. Thanks again Kat. Pitch 4 goes up a clean headwall split by a 5.7 varying crack, mostly hands. Awesome jams peppered with knobs all around it. Pitch 5 is wandery 5.7 crack and face climbing to the summit of the East Pinnacle. From there we followed the descent description trending southwest down ramps and ledges to the Dragontail trail. We found a way that stayed in 3rd or 4th class terrain with only one spicy no falls allowed section. I built some cairns along the way. Its a quick hike back to the base following the Dragontail southside trail to Asgard. We got back to the base around 2pm. We both climbed with little packs to carry our shoes, puffies, and a little water. That all could fit on your harness if you want but I liked my harness being a bit less crowded. None of the climbing felt cumbersome with a small pack. The hike out went just fine and got back to the car around 5:30pm. This is an awesome route that will no doubt become a crowded classic due to the quality moderate climbing. Me starting the first pitch. it veers left from here: Part way through the first pitch: Kat on the 2nd pitch: Me starting up the pitch 4 headwall. Kat photo of the headwall cracks: Kat coming up the final moves of the Pitch 4 headwall: Last Pitch: Me coming up the last pitch: Coming down the steepest part of the descent: Gear Notes: 60m rope. At least a double rack of cams .2-2 and one #3. Metolius 00-1 proved quite useful too. With this route triples of certain sizes would not go unused. We had triples of .4-2, which we thought was just a bit overkill. If doing it again I'd bring triples of .75-2 instead. Selection of small to medium stoppers. 10 alpine draws and 2 double length slings. Seasonally dependent snow gear. Approach Notes: Colchuck Lake to Asgard pass. Cut over headed west on scree and talus at approximately 7300-7400'.
  12. 1 point
    Trip: Buck Mountain - Northeast face Trip Date: 08/11/2021 Trip Report: Summary: I climbed Buck via the seldom-used northeast face above King Lake, then descended via the long standard route to Buck Pass, tagging Berge, Cleator, and Rally Cap along the way. This isn't anything groundbreaking, but it's an interesting line on a peak whose standard route(s) can be a bit of a slog. 26 miles, 10,000 feet of climbing, ice axe and probably crampons required. And if your dad left his axe up there, you're welcome to it: (Original TR here: http://www.drdirtbag.com/2021/08/12/buck-loop-ne-face-to-buck-pass/) Summitpost describes Buck as "one of the man-mountains of the Washington Cascades." Though only three miles from the Trinity trailhead to its southeast, and only class 2-3 from the southwest side, a high and rugged ridge extends north and south from Buck, and there is no road or even trail up the lower Napeequa River to the west. The "normal route" is therefore shockingly roundabout, approaching the peak's west side either over Little Giant Pass to the south, or on a high route from Buck Pass to the north. There is also a direct class 3 route from the east near Alpine Creek, involving a river ford and a savage bushwhack through steep and brushy forest, that is recommended for descent but can of course be done both ways. The Summitpost page also mentions that the northeast ridge is "class 4 or 5," which sounds like my kind of route. With these options in mind, I made the long drive up the Chiwawa River Road to Trinity, and started off around dawn planning to do at least one of these routes. Passing the place for the Alpine Creek route, I decided that I did not want to do that to myself. I continued after the split toward Buck Pass, finding that the bridge was not "out" as advertised, but was probably no longer suitable for my horse. Nearing the turnoff for King Lake and the northeast face, I entered the burn area for the 2016 Buck Creek fire. The forest was in a near-perfect state for cross-country travel, with the trees and underbrush incinerate, but the nasty things that follow a fire not yet established. The main type of plant was fireweed, a bush that is easy to whack. I contemplated the route while I ate a sandwich, then took off across the wasteland. The first obstacle was crossing Buck Creek, but I found a perfect log bridge almost exactly where I needed it. There was even a sort of tunnel through the otherwise-impenetrable alders. Beyond, I followed various deer tracks up the burn, staying on the left side of the drainage and well away from the unburnt alders to the right. I eventually entered steep woods above the burn, and the deer trail faded. Not sure what to aim for, I decided to traverse right to reach open terrain I had seen from below. This turned out to be a savage hell-schwack, variously fighting my way through alders, steep scrub pines, and cliff bands littered with fallen burned trees. After avoiding some of these cliffs, I realized that the rock was fairly solid with a grain that worked well for climbing this way, and simply headed up some class 3 crags, grateful to finally be making upward progress again. Reentering the woods higher up, I found myself on the left side of a deep cleft with a healthy cascade running through it. This was rocky enough to discourage the plants somewhat, so I stayed near the edge as I made my way upward, hoping I could cross the cascade easily higher up. I saw what I thought was a cairn in an open, slabby section, then a few cut branches and a bit of boot-pack higher up. Success! I lost and re-found the ancient fisherman's trail a couple of times, taking my time and eventually ending up in an open, grassy ravine leading easily almost to the east side of King Lake. I have no idea what this "trail" did lower down, and that part has been obliterated by the fire, but I was grateful for what I found. King Lake proved as spectacular as I imagined it would. Buck's small northeast glacier sits perched in a bowl above the lake, sending cascades of milky melt-water down the cliffs that ring the lake to its southwest. I found a couple of fire rings with fresher-than-expected ashes in them, but I can't imagine this cirque sees much traffic. Making my way around the lake's north side, I climbed rubble and easy slabs to the toe of the glacier, putting on crampons to cross one hard snowfield. I avoided the snout and broken-up lower glacier to the right on decent rock that became grittier as I progressed, then returned to the glacier where it was a bit more continuous. The travel was mostly easy, but it was surprisingly possible to fall in a crevasse if one were oblivious, as opposed to having to find one and jump in it. The top of the glacier is separated from the mountain's east ridge and south face by another wall of cliffs, the only potential exit being at the upper right side. I made my way for the highest tongue of snow, passing someone's father's ice axe on the way. This tongue probably used to extend into the gully above, but it was now separated by an expanse of steep dirt and scree. I sketched my way up this, aiming for the obvious gully to the left. The gully was made a bit more obvious by an ancient piece of tat, originally yellow and now bleached completely white. I was once again annoyed at Cascades mountaineers for leaving garbage on routes (who would rap this?!), and at myself for not bringing a knife to remove it. There was a bit of easy fifth class to pass the webbing, but above it looked like the angle eased. If only... Earlier in the season this would probably be a steep snow climb to the summit ridge, but now it was wet gravel, choss, and gritty slabs that often angled in the wrong direction. I worked my way up the right side of the gully, using the wall for handholds or to stem against the dirt. After a failed attempt to exit early to the right, I exited out the top, making a few wide stems against some reddish rock. Above that, I finally managed to traverse right on improving rock, and soon popped out between the north and south (true) summits. The south summit looks incredibly imposing from this saddle, showing only its narrow east-west profile. I scrambled up the layered slabs to the summit, where I quickly pulled the register out of a cairn guarded by flying ants, then sat a safe distance below to look around in the remarkably clear air. To the west were recently-climbed Clark and Luahna, along with the rest of the Dakobed Range, showing the glaciers that clearly make them a better ski than scramble. North was Berge, across a weirdly broad and flat saddle. I also had great views of the Entiat peaks, Bonanza, and even Baker and Rainier at the far ends of the range. Descending from the summit, I crossed the small, flat glacier nestled between Buck's summits, then descended toward the saddle with Berge, entering a surreal landscape of pumice and larches. As this region demonstrates, the Cascades' geology is incredibly complex. Between Buck's ancient dark rock (schist?) and Berge's Sierra-esque white granite lies a small region of pumice reminiscent of a recent volcano. This is presumably from the same event that created Glacier Peak, but does not seem to connect in an obvious way. Through this section I began picking up bits of use trail, leading more or less where I wanted, toward Berge's northeast summit. Most maps incorrectly label Berge's southwest (easier) summit as higher, but as seems clear to the naked eye, and as Eric Gilbertson demonstrated with a surveyor's level, it is not the highpoint. I tagged both for good measure, finding the northeast no harder than class 3 and reminiscent of the Sierra except for the green things between the granite boulders and the deposits of black lichen on some aspects. Berge's north and west sides are cliffy, so it is necessary to circle southwest to a saddle and descend west before circling back around north. Fortunately I had downloaded some other climbers' tracks, as otherwise I would have dropped all the way to the valley bottom instead of making the improbable high traverse. I finally reached a trail in this Sierra-like basin, with its clear, shallow lake and white granite, and from there it was a short hike to High Pass. The trail from these lakes to Buck Pass is one of the most scenic and runnable I have found in my years in the Cascades, reminiscent of nearby White Pass but lacking the PCT hordes. I had miles to go before home, but they were all downhill and easy trail, with clear views of the glacier-y sides of the Dakobeds and Glacier Peak. With time and energy to spare, I decided to tag a couple of easy peaks along the way. The first was Mount Cleator, named for Trinity local Cletus McCoy's tabletop D&D character. Cleator met his untimely end when Cletus' cousin Brigitte "Berge" Hatfield made him promise to give up his boozy Friday gaming sessions as a condition of their engagement. Despite its unfortunate genetic consequences, the union was a key step in reconciling their feuding branches of the family. Mount Cleator has two summits, a grassy walk-up separated from a fierce crag by a steep notch. The grassy one looks a bit higher and has a register, and I did not have enough curiosity or energy to try to reach the other. I returned to the trail after Cleator, then took a side-trip to Rally Cap on the way down to Buck Pass. I pulled out my map to find my way through the mess of trails here, but eventually got on the popular Buck Creek trail. I am not a trail runner, but I had been enjoying my jog from High Pass, and the Buck Creek trail was pleasant in its own way, smooth and gently-graded, with good shade and frequent water sources. I started to feel pretty run-down once the trail reached the valley bottom, but managed to mostly hold it together and maintain a jog back to the car. According to my phone, the whole excursion was about 26 miles with 10,000 feet of elevation gain, all in a bit under 12 hours. It was a satisfying use of what may be my last (smoke-free) day in the Cascades this year. Gear Notes: Ice axe and crampons for short glacier crossing Approach Notes: There's a fisherman's trail leading to King Lake, but you probably won't find it until quite a ways up. The 2016 fire has made travel easy lower down as of 2021, but it will only get worse.
  13. 1 point
    Variations on a theme. Bladders don’t work well here in the cold, so I hang all these from my shoulder strap and leave them warm in the pack otherwise.
  14. 1 point
    Trip: Eldorado Peak - North Ridge Trip Date: 09/07/2020 Trip Report: Climbed one of the lesser trafficked routed on Eldorado Peak with Will Gordon. Very nice climbing and managed to get in and out before the smoke For those who care: gethighonaltitude.com/2020/09/07/eldorado-north-ridge/ Gear Notes: Standard alpine rack Approach Notes: Camped at 7400' camp
  15. 1 point
    A few no-sew dcf stuff sacks using instructions from the video above. I use the .5" double sided dcf tape from ripstopbytheroll.com. I make the reinforcement patches by applying the tape to the fabric and then cutting a patch out and then peeling the last paper strip off the adhesive tape. Then I just apply it like a piece of tenacious tape or whatever tape style patch material. For those of you who don't want to pay for the dyneema stuff and maybe just would like to pick up some light nylon ripstop, 3M makes a double sided tape that bonds to fabrics with a PU (polyurethane) coating as well as dcf. It does not work with SIL coated fabrics. It's called "3M 9485PC". https://www.rshughes.com/p/3M-9485PC-Clear-Transfer-Tape-1-In-Width-X-60-Yd-Length-5-Mil-Thick-Densified-Kraft-Paper-Liner-63477/021200_63477/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI4-3P0O6g4gIVCMDICh1QwQhTEAYYAyABEgJs__D_BwE&utm_source=rshgs&utm_campaign=021200-63477&ef_id=EAIaIQobChMI4-3P0O6g4gIVCMDICh1QwQhTEAYYAyABEgJs__D_BwE:G:s&s_kwcid=AL!4414!3!207031288217!!!g!335067319566! If you don' make want to make stuff with these tapes, they still could be used to make repair patches. They would end up being more permanent than tenacious tape or some of the other tapes people use. A bead of seam grip around the edges of any tape patch will prevent peeling and add another level of durability. A few things to note would be that for maximum strength these taped seams need to rest a few days to bond fully. They also destabilize or loose strength in temperature extremes. As far as most stuff sack applications or most repairs are concerned, it's not really an issue.
  16. 1 point
    @kmfoerster This is awesome! Thank you for sharing. I think I need to adhere more closely to the KISS principle. I mocked up some cardboard and some card stock into the general shape I wanted, then traced the bottom panel portion from that. It yielded the cutout piece of paper. Definitely worked but a bit more of a process. I also made a little cord organizer for a quicker little project. Do you use a binding attachment? Thanks again, Adam
  17. 1 point
    Looks like you hit the nail on the head with what I would also consider a good climbing pack. Heres my most recent 30l climbing pack I made, blending what I like about Cilogear and Alpine Luddites: Very similar and just slightly smaller than a cilogear 30l. Used a different closure system because if the pack has a removable lid, I'm often not using it. Permanent lids tend to work better I think, less flop factor. The body of the pack is made from a newer woven dyneema hybrid (around 45% dyneema). The stuff is bomb proof (and expensive...), got bored trying to wear a hole in a test scrap with 80 grit sandpaper. So far It's been out for one climb and a few ski tours this winter.
  18. 1 point
    So, not a mod I made, but mods I requested. Randy Radcliff at Cold Cold World customized an Ozone to meet my specs, all to get a pack as simple and functional as my Serratus Genie worn thread bare by 48 seasons of hard use. Still cost less than similarly sized CiloGear or WildThings packs, the only other packs in contention. Full 201D Dyneema Grid fabric Ice axe and crampon attachment system Side daisy chains for securing pickets, foam pad, trekking poles, or skis Weight: 1 lb., 8 oz. (Roughly, used a bathroom scale)
  19. 1 point
    Maybe, probably? I haven't seriously looked into it. Trying to keep a dying forum alive
  20. 1 point
    No problem..... I just tend to get mad cuz i feel like the older guys pick on me for my lack in special gear and 'stylish' climbing clothes.... I just do my best to get out and climb so when im older and can go to more extreme places I will have more experience...