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  1. 9 points
    Trip: Mt Hood - DKH- Elliot HW linkup Trip Date: 04/03/2021 Trip Report: Unable to secure a partner for Saturday, I opted for some soloing on Hood over the less preferable slog-to-climb ratio in the Three Sisters. Drove up from Bend at 3am and was skinning by 5 from Timberline. Ok skinning to Palmer, complete trash above that. Should've ditched the skis there, or booted the whole thing. Looking up DKH1: Looking down above the crux: DKH1 was spewing a near constant stream of little rime pebbles despite the freezing temps and there's a considerable debris field at the base. The main couloir itself was in pretty gross shape, lots of exposed rock and thin plastered ice, but not too steep. However the crux was a bit fatter and better ice than when I climbed it in late January. I climbed it carefully, anticipating being hit in the arms or head at any moment, but went off without a hitch. At the fork I headed right for a couple more fun moderate ice sections. There was a fork about 200ft below the ridge, went left, looked more fun, delicate move over a little rock and ice bulge then more easy ice and snow. I had to make a couple awkward, catwalk like moves to bust out left from the top of the couloir onto the very upper Wyeast face. Here I found the least consolidated snow of the day. Easy walk to summit from there. The weather had been looking marginal, cloudy with chance of increasing winds, but at the summit it was calm and the clouds seemed unthreatening and happy to remain pretty high. I figured I'd head over to check out the Elliot, taking a look at the exit options from the summit ridge. Looked steep! The leftmost exit in Mullee looked like very steep snow and shitty ice to gain the ridge, the rightmost exit looked nicer. Elliot from the base. I took the flow just left of the rock center of photo: I sat at the little saddle above Horseshoe rock to have a bite and look at the route. The amount of ice back there is incredible! Go get it folks, it's fat, and it's good. I traversed in and down on steep snow, above the schrund, to the base of a pretty fat WI3 ish flow that seemed like a logical way to start. From there I trended slightly left, then back right, aiming for the obvious "Wallace 5.7 chimney" exit described in Mullee. Many more WI2 ish sections followed, all on bomber ice, interspersed with some steep snow. It's truly a pick-your-own-adventure headwall! The exit looked steeper and steepr as I got closer and I could feel the adrenaline starting to pump through my veins; thankfully it was filled in with a nice little WI3/3+ ribbon. There seem to be lots of fun mixed exit options all over up there on half decent looking rock. I plugged a couple screws at the base of the last pitch and took a breather, psyching myself up. It was surprisingly steep, but was able to get good stems up it with the occasional pon-on-rock stem. The exposure was a little heady, I took my time, and soon enough was on epic easy ice and a few feet of steep snow back onto the ridge, a nice cornice-free top out. The cloud cover kept the snow above Palmer nice and rimey all day, so I had to take the walk of shame back to Palmer where I could finally ski back to the car. Pretty psyched on the linkup possibilities on Hood! It's go time in Oregon! Gear Notes: 3 screws, 3 alpines, 4 pins and 60m x 6mm tagline for bail options (not used) Approach Notes: Standard
  2. 8 points
    Trip: Broken Top - Full Richardson Trip Date: 04/05/2021 Trip Report: Yesterday my partner Artem and I got up close and personal with the slog to climb ratio in the Three Sisters. Spoiler alert: it was worth it. I’d soloed the North Buttress of Broken Top the week before and had seen the Full Richardson in fat shape. The amount (for Central Oregon) of ice back there is spectacular; the potential for harder/ bolder mixed and smear lines is exciting. I knew I’d be back very soon. It’s a special thing to be able to sleep in your own warm bed before an alpine climb, and I met Artem at Dutchman Flat at a leisurely 4:30am. A long but pretty flat and beautiful approach ensued, taking us down to the Todd Lake area before heading up to Ball Butte and eventually dropping onto the benign Bend Glacier. We saw a group camped out below the glacier but they sadly didn’t echo our hoots and hollers. Sad day. The Richardson and the North Buttress couloir are obvious once on the western end of the Bend Glacier. We soloed the first optional step in the couloir, easy WI2, easily avoidable but more fun and a good warmup. Steep snow ensued, and the second WI2 step was similarly short and easy. I went ahead to slam a picket and screw to belay Artem on the money pitch. Artem wrapping up the first ice step: Artem headed up, carefully working his way up the steep and blobby ice, looking cool and poised. It was silent other than the rhythmic thuds of kick kick, swing swing that echoed through the amphitheater. He decided to belay 3/4’s of the way up the ~35-40m flow. I was glad to move again after cooling off severely in the shaded amphitheater below; fighting off the barfies proved to be the crux of the pitch! I climbed through his belay and topped out, finding another bomber screw and picket belay a few feet above the flow. I put the rope away and we headed up the snow slope to the northwest ridge. The week before, the summit eluded me as I was turned around by bottomless sugar snow on the snow ramp option on the east side of the summit block. Not wanting to down-solo the regular summer route, I called it good. But this time, armed with a rope and a partner, I was determined to get er’ done. We followed my tracks up the snow ramp. The snow hadn’t gotten better above my dead-end, so Artem put in a picket in the somewhat hardened snow in our tracks. I traversed a few feet right to where I could hook some “rock,” slung a partially detached horn of choss, and climbed a few pretty moderate mixed moves to get us on top! From there we slung a block, unable to find tat, and rapped off to the west, joining the NW ridge walk off. We down climbed some steep snow back onto the glacier and back to our packs. I finished my last sip of water (suffer mode engaged!) and we prepared for the 8-ish mile ski out. We were pretty psyched to find the Cascades Lake highway freshly groomed for us as we skinned back out. The golden hour light and the calm of the evening faded some of the fatigue as we stumbled back to the car. Overall this took us about 14hrs round trip from Dutchman’s at a pretty relaxed pace all day. The grade of WI4/4+ feels about right; the climbing is sustained on the pitch, and while not dead vertical, the blobby ice made it interesting. We are both pretty psyched on the potential of at least repeating some of the burlier looking lines back there; any additional info on other routes would be appreciated! For now though I need a bit of a break from that approach! Gear Notes: 11 screws, 1 picket, 60m half rope Approach Notes: Slog from Dutchman's
  3. 8 points
    Trip: Mt Hood - Black Spider - Center Drip Trip Date: 03/17/2021 Trip Report: @Nolan E Arson and I climbed Center Drip on Wednesday. I usually write overly detailed trip reports but am going to keep this brief and possibly vague because 1) I'm busy/tired, and 2) I feel it's important to preserve the mystique of this route. Here's the quick Cliff Notes version with some pictures. - We started stupidly early because the forecast looked warm and I had a work meeting at 3 (you can guess how that worked out). - We reached the top of Palmer 1:12 after leaving Timberline. I compared our packs when we stopped and mine was about 20 pounds lighter. Sorry dude! - Traversed the White River around 9000' where the big ramp always is and tried to maintain this elevation across the Newton Clark. Uneventful. - From below the face looks barren, dry, uninspiring and crumbly: - But the following very zoomed-in aerial photo had me fantasizing about a vein of climbable ice on the upper mountain: - There's some serious bergschrund action at the bottom. We delicately tiptoed between two massive cracks and then almost stumbled into a third (really, who expects there to be 3???): - First rock band at the base of the couloir = covered with snow. Walked over it. - Second rock band is exposed, we belayed a short pitch. There's a smear of ice that's maybe not actually ice, thankfully it's not that steep because the anchors were probably not actually anchors either. - Below is a picture of the (very thin) ice that matches the line drawn on Wayne's original topo. We did not climb this but instead continued up the couloir to the right maybe 30 meters, for a variety of mundane reasons. - We pulled out of the couloir on this short curtain which basically follows the line on the Mullee topo. Not sure why Mullee's line doesn't quite match Wayne's but they eventually intersect part way between the couloir and the upper snowfield. - Above that there was a bunch of fun, moderate ice climbing! It was a bit hard to believe but I was beginning to think the whole idea wasn't totally stupid. - @Nolan E Arson led into the snow field and somehow recognized one of the rocks or something (??????) from Wayne's trip report. The ice was super thin and I wasn't convinced that this was actually the line, but eventually I traversed out and committed since there weren't any more appealing options. It's not really visible in the pictures but there was a consistent 1-2' wide smear of protectable ice weaving its way up through the rocks. - A ways up I lost the thread and I think took a wrong turn when the ice disappeared under some snow. I climbed a few meters of improbably steep, unsupportive snow, and then did a couple traversing mixed moves to get back on the route, while being ferociously blasted in the face with spindrift of course. I placed a decent cam and a really bomber nut. - Looking down on the upper pitch: - @Nolan E Arson led the last short but very mixed pitch up to the summit snowfield. Delightful crampon-on-slab action: Other notes and thoughts: - I found this route quite stressful simply because we were never really sure what we'd find or if we'd be able to finish it. Rapping off always would have been possible but a giant pain in the ass. The ice on the upper pitch, seen in the aerial photo, is not easily visible from below. - But overall it was pretty reasonable, I'd hesitantly say "safe," even in these thin conditions. There were ample opportunities to place short screws and the anchors were actually pretty confidence inspiring above the first pitch. There was seemingly decent rock pro in the two spots where it was needed. And the climbing was never hard. - I agree with the WI3 grade, though of course it's a bit weird and funky. We had to do a small amount of mixed climbing but it was never very steep, just balancy. - It took us a long time to climb the route but thankfully it remained very cold and there was no rock or icefall. I stayed in my belay parka the entire time. - Fric-Amos is still icy. The lower pitch from the previous trip report is totally buried and ramp-like. Gear Notes: Many screws, 1 picket, a few cams and nuts, a few pitons (not used). Approach Notes: Started from Timberline.
  4. 7 points
    Trip: Wyeast (Mt. Hood) - Linkup Trip Date: 04/11/2021 Trip Report: Hood Headwalls: For a long time I've been thinking about linking a route on each of Wy'east's 6 headwalls in a day. Black Spider, North Face, Eliot Headwall, Sandy Headwall, Reid Headwall and DKH. I gave it a shot today and got 5/6. I figured I'd share to inspire others. Obviously someone needs to be fit, but this is only about 12k' of vert, not crazy in the scheme of things. The real challenge is finding conditions that leave all routes climbable and allow fast movement. I had intended to start with Center Drip but the orange avy forecast had my partner sketched out. For those concerned with doing my risk assessment for me I will say that those watching the time-heights this week will have noticed that 90% of the weather happened below 7k' (NWAC does not forecast for the upper mountain). Also worth noting: the wind loading was from the W, and even if this hadn't scoured the approach up the S Side to check the upper mountain, the S side is not steep enough to classify as avalanche terrain until well above Palmer. But I digress... With no partner for Center Drip, and a small chance of pocket slabs on that aspect anyway, I changed plans to start with Reid. @zaworotiuk was also partnerless for the same reasons and joined last minute for the start. 2:15am hiking start from T-line, had us at Illumination saddle at 4am. The Reid was the usual post hole for the first couple hundred feet and then changed to nice neve. Unfortunately high winds were still hitting the upper mountain and caused quite a bit of rime shedding. I managed to take a blob to the face mid way up but it was luckily not bad. We reached the summit ridge (could have traversed lower) and Matt took off for DKH and meeting other friends for a possible Eliot route. I turned down Cathedral and descended until I could down climb to the Sandy. I hadn't been on Cathedral or Sandy before so I had to back track and down climb some ice through a rock band to reach the glacier. Sandy itself was chill (its a ski run, not sure how the guidebook called it AI3). Once I topped out I walked over to the Queen's Chair and traversed into Eliot, climbing a middle-right line (starting a little L of Adrien's from earlier in the week and finishing with the same steep section). I traversed over the summit and took a break before down climbing Cooper Spur (very good conditions for this) and using Timmy B's beta to trend skier's L and get onto the Eliot glacier. The L hand sneaker ramp past the gaping schrund is still in and R gully went smoothly (except slowly cause I was feeling a little tired at this point). Once back on the summit I took a long water break to slurp awkwardly from my bladder (I somehow thought it would be warm enough for a hydration pack setup and it froze in the hose so at this point I'd probably had ~1/2 L in 8-9hrs of exertion). I then descended Pearly and met Matt again (he had soloed DKH and Elliot and done some PMR rescue practice during all this) and we climbed next to each other up DKH #1 for my last route. I had thought about looking at the Spider after all this, but I was too bushed to safely consider soloing Center Drip and my friends Lindsey and Riley had tried it earlier that day and bailed due to lack of ice. Wy'east could have been subbed as an alternative but, that is more of a ridge climb and just a lot of snow slogging after so much good ice, so I declined and plodded back down to our cars. Matt topping out Reid Coming up Sandy Looking down Leutholds Eliot Summit views Down Cooper R gully Summit again DKH w/ Matt Final summit Strava map Strava track: https://www.strava.com/activities/5111832990 Gear Notes: pointy things and a helmet Approach Notes: Palmer
  5. 5 points
    Trip: Mt. Index - Lake Serene photo trip Trip Date: 03/23/2021 Trip Report: I did a morning hike up to Lake Serene last week to fly my drone and get some new views of Mt. Index. Thought some of you might enjoy a couple images. Gear Notes: DJI Mavic 2 Pro Approach Notes: I thought there would be a good boot pack but the last traverse was snowshoed and I punched through a bit.
  6. 4 points
    Trip: Mt Hood - Cathedral Ridge Trip Date: 04/03/2021 Trip Report: Images https://imgur.com/gallery/qoDJPvE 10:00 PM Climbers lot at Timberline 12:00 AM Top of Palmer 01:10 AM Illumination Saddle 02:40 AM 7775 feet at Yocum Ridge crossing 03:30 AM At bottom of Cathedral Ridge ramp 05:20 AM At top of ramp and on ridge 06:30 AM 9345 feet 08:30 AM Past crux pyramid rock tower 09:45 AM 10540 feet 10:50 AM Summit Climbed Cathedral Ridge on Saturday on foot from Timberline. A little bit of breakable crust but not bad from Palmer to Illumination Saddle. Downclimb onto the Reid was easy. Across the Reid had mostly semi firm nice snow. No crevasses in sight. Crossing of Yocum at 7775 was easy. Ran out of energy in the middle of crossing the Sandy Glacier. Only had a single bar to that point, not that my stomach would have like more. Sounded like a river of small ice pieces was coming down from the cliffs to the left of the ramp up to Cathedral Ridge. Also, there was a ~4-foot-wide rock that had recently fallen down off the ridge sitting on the Sandy. Not good signs but oh well. Went up the ramp. The right side was getting a good bit of ice fall. One barrage had several 2-3-inch sized chunks and one football sized or larger. Seriously contemplated turning around. Staying to the left kept me out most of it, was hit only once and not too bad. Got up into the rocks on the left side of the ramp and around something that I though might take me to the ridge but was a dead end / cliff on the left. Traversed right back to the route and then up to the ridge proper and was able to stay out of any icefall. In the future, if I try this again it will have to be where there is a better freeze. Freezing level this morning was only forecast for 7800 feet. Getting around the gum drop was super easy, barely noticed there was exposure on the right. The crux pyramid rock tower had good snow and the lower part was easy to climb. About half way up traversed left and then climbed that side. Seemed a whole lot safer than down climbing out on the Ladd Headwall or whatever it is called on the left side even though it is much less steep. One slip and that’d be it. Another option would be to stay at the same elevation and climb through the rocks - a bunch more work and still have to climb up later in maybe worse conditions. Went on hands and feet along the knife edge traverse though it was still better than expected. Gear Notes: Crampons, 2 tools, helmet Approach Notes: Normal slog up cat tracks. MtHoodCathedralRidge.gpx
  7. 4 points
    Trip: Mt. Hood - Steel cliffs south face Trip Date: 03/17/2021 Trip Report: Climbed the south face of steel cliffs on a beautiful sunny Wednesday. We were expecting the initial "step" (that gets us from the lower snow ramp to the upper snow ramp) to be steep snow/ice but it ended up being a full pitch of thin drips and rock. We climbed the east side of the prominent "boulder" (west of the cave). There were short and narrow vertical steps (6-10 feet) between more tame slopes. Placed an ok screw here and there, slung some horns, occasionally put the tools away to stem and pull on holds inside slots between rock. After the step we traversed left to the upper ramp. Snow conditions were great for easily kicking steps. Though there was some rock hidden under thin snow at the low end. The Wy'east traverse was a slog. Deep soft snow and wind almost the whole way (skiers paradise though...). We had some scares punching all the way through the 18-24 inch slab into hollow caves/holes below. Despite following a faint boot pack (when visible), I fell in to my chest at one point. Luckily my feet hit the rocky bottom. The "crux" traverse was in great shape and we had no issue at all. But the final ascent up to the ridge proper (shortly after the crux traverse) was scary. 45-50 degree soft soft snow. Post holing to knees and beyond. At one point we punched clean through that slab and couldn't see the bottom. Despite the "Low" avy danger that day, we did not feel happy on that slab. Maybe we're paranoid but had we known it was that soft and hollow we wouldn't have done that part of the route. After a few minutes on the windy summit we descended the gates. Gear Notes: 4 screws, 4 pickets, 50m rope Approach Notes: Good snow for skinning all the way to the glacier but we dropped skis at palmer
  8. 3 points
    Trip: Mt Hood - Devil's Kitchen Headwall (4/2/21) DKH Trip Date: 04/02/2021 Trip Report: Climbed on 4/2/21, very solid climbing conditions. Not "super fat", but still very possible to get good sticks and place screws and protect without any rock gear or pins. Full trip report: http://gethighonaltitude.com/2021/04/03/mt-hood-the-devils-kitchen-headwall/ Gear Notes: Screws, pickets Approach Notes: South side, you know what to do
  9. 3 points
    Trip: Tahoma / Mt. Rainier - Gibraltar Ledges Trip Date: 03/13/2021 Trip Report: @aikidjoe and I hiked / climbed Gibraltar Ledges on Saturday, March 13th. Left the parking lot Friday evening about 5:30pm and returned about the same time Saturday. Skinned to Muir with a great track(s) and easy snow conditions. Had our fingers crossed that the hut would be open - alas, four to six folks had set up in there. Given we're not done with the plague quite yet, we elected to dig a little double-wide snow coffin and settle in for an open bivy. Thankfully the wind was light and our 20 degree bags were sufficient. I want to thank the gentleman who came out of the hut and insisted we stay in there, the gesture was appreciated! We felt good sleeping out despite the insistence that there was 'no covid' in the hut. After a solid 6+ hour sleep, we left Muir about 6am. A superb bootpack led all the way up to, across, and out of the ledges. Roped up at the shoulder of Gib Rock (~12,500), shortly after Joseph put his whole left leg in a hidden crack. Wands on the upper mountain were helpful in navigating crevasses and led pretty nicely to the top. We ran into three skiers who got to enjoy some chalky, not really icy snow on the upper mountain. There was also one set of ski tracks in Gib Chute which appeared to be in great shape. Looking down the Ingraham, it was clear no one was descending that way and getting down it would be a pain with how broken up the glacier was. We hit the summit crater about noon and decided to call that good, based on having to re-cross the ledges in the afternoon sun, as well as some threatening clouds gathering on the other side of the summit zone. Descending was made easier by whoever left the wands up there. Not to let Joseph be outdone, I also managed to put a whole leg in a crack that was thinly covered by some wind transported snow. Getting back across the ledges after noon was a tad stressful, fortunately no rockfall occurred on the way through. The nice snow we had skinning up the night before had transformed into a crusty nightmare just below Muir. It got softer and more consistent by Pan Face, which made for some fun turns on tired legs. No trip to Rainier is complete without a wildlife sighting - this parking lot fox was pretty tame and hardly wild. Can't believe it had been almost 4 years since my last time up Rainier, almost forgot how much fun the slog can be! It helps to have great weather, a solid partner, and nice folks ahead to break all the trail. To paraphrase a dear friend, the mark of a good weekend is whether or not one's soul was refreshed. By that measure, it was certainly a soul refreshing weekend. Spring is here and the mountains are calling! Gear Notes: 60m skinny cord, glacier gear, sunscreen, warm layers, splitboard w/ ski boots Approach Notes: Well established trail all the way
  10. 2 points
    Trip: Wai‘ale‘ale - Alaka‘i Swamp Trip Date: 12/01/2020 Trip Report: The Summit of Kaua‘i: Kawaikini, Wai‘ale‘ale, Weeping Wall, and Blue Hole Since I was a kid, I thought of Wai‘ale‘ale as an inaccessible, spiritual place filled with adventure that only the hardest humans in history have ever visited. I never thought it would be possible to get to the center of Kaua‘i, the highest point, one of the wettest places on Earth surrounded by swamp, dense vegetation and vertiginous cliffs. Two decades since I first learned of this place, many folks have blazed a path, and the DLNR has even installed a fence line for much of the journey (intended to discourage invasive, wild boar from rampaging the inner parts of the island). The installation of the fenceline in 2011 has made the challenge much less daunting. The entire hike is located in what’s called the Alaka‘i Swamp which is a large, high (relatively flat) plateau on the Northwest side of the island. If you’ve heard rumors of heinous, hardcore adventurers going to Wai‘ale‘ale before, it’s not as serious an endeavor as the rumors make it out to be. On the flip side, if you’ve never heard of Wai‘ale‘ale, it’s WAY more serious than you can ever imagine. Chances are, if you’re on this website, you’re already a badass. This hike may be the most challenging non-technical adventure you’ll ever do…and I can’t recommend it enough! I’ve devoured every bit of information on this hike with a Bibliography at the end, and hopefully this can serve as a single source for everything you need to know about getting to Wai‘ale‘ale. Stats on Wai‘ale‘ale -Dirt Road (Mōhihi-Camp 10 Rd): 12.2 miles round trip. 1000ft of gain and loss each way. -Trail from Mōhihi-Wai‘alae Trailhead to Kawaikini: 23.3 miles round trip. Going towards Kawaikini includes over 2200ft elevation gain and over 950ft loss. Stats on Blue Hole/Weeping Wall -Loop Road (Keahua Arboretum to Jurassic Park Gates and Blue Hole/Weeping Wall Trailhead): 9.8 miles round trip. Going towards the trailhead includes over 1,000ft elevation gain and 500ft loss. -Hike to Blue Hole/Weeping Wall: 4.86 miles round trip. Going to Weeping Wall includes over 1,350ft elevation gain and 50ft loss. Tracks https://caltopo.com/m/KK6B Here is a link to all four GPS tracks: -Road to Wai‘ale‘ale: 4x4 Mōhihi-Camp 10 Road (red) -Hike to Wai‘ale‘ale: Trail to Wai'ale'ale pond and Kawaikini (orange) -Road to Weeping Wall: 4x4 Loop Road to Jurassic Park Gates (red) -Hike to Weeping Wall/Blue Hole (blue) Summary Over three days (Nov 30 – Dec 2, 2020), myself (Jeff) and my wife, Priti, traversed up and over the island, summiting the highest point of the island (Kawaikini), then paraglided off near the shores of the sacred Wai‘ale‘ale pond, landing at the film location of the Jurassic Park Gates (the beams are still in place today). For the Wai‘ale‘ale hike, we were joined by a good friend Flip who took video of our takeoffs and expertly drove us to the Mōhihi-Wai‘alae trailhead. Flip is an adventure guide on Kaua‘i but had never done this hike, and was looking to get all the beta before taking potential clients. After landing, Priti and I headed back towards the mountain, from whence we came, along the Wailua River towards its source, Weeping Wall, 3,000ft directly below Kawaikini, passing Blue Hole along the way where three rivers converge. Wai‘ale‘ale and Weeping Wall are two completely distinct hikes that I’ll explain separately. Wai‘ale‘ale is the seldom-visited, central high point of the island, reached from the West through the Alaka‘i Swamp via Koke‘e State Park (Waimea Canyon…the Grand Canyon of the Pacific). Weeping Wall, however is the impressive wall of waterfalls that cascades 3,000ft down from Wai‘ale‘ale (the most sacred water) to feed the Wailua River below (the most sacred river) and is reached from the East (Kapa‘a). We just linked these two adventures together with paragliders. So, this is really two trip reports in one. Hire a Guide There are several local guides who can take you on either adventure if you are nervous about doing it alone, although no guide companies to my knowledge will even advertise Wai‘ale‘ale as an offering. Blue Hole, on the other hand, is a popular, guided hike. For many years, “The Ultimate Kaua‘i Guidebook” guidebook said it was not possible to reach Wai‘ale‘ale, but the most recent addition has some good beta on this trek as well as the Blue Hole/Weeping Wall hike (both of these are not really “hikes” and have no trails). Also, the companion app (“Kaua‘i Revealed” which is a great app!) has a description and downloadable GPS tracks (for the road and the trail) for offline use. Two local guides I would highly recommend is Andrew Hewitt (808) 651-7429 or Flip (415) 517-8408 (it’s just “Flip”, like Cher or Prince…he’ll teach you backflips and handstands too if you want!). But in all honesty, you really should give it a go on your own, especially if you have a Mountaineering background and can reasonably take care of yourself in the wilderness. You can basically just grab the GPS tracks, download a copy of this trip report, and start now! As much as I’ll be hyping this up, it’s not that hardcore. The Blue Hole/Weeping Wall hike, while extremely difficult, is much less of an adventure. This hike starts on the totally opposite side of the island, at the Keahua Arboretum parking lot. Many hiking guide companies will advertise taking you there (or take Andrew or Flip!), and they will even drive you in Jeeps up Loop Road if it’s open (a fun drive for the adventurous driver). Wai‘ale‘ale Driving Directions The adventure begins up Waimea Canyon Road in Koke‘e. The crux of the entire trip is the infamous Mōhihi-Camp 10 Road. Rental cars are only ever allowed on paved roads, even the 4x4 vehicles and Jeeps. If you have any concerns, it really isn’t a big deal to just park your car at the Koke‘e Natural History Museum and start walking up the Mōhihi-Camp 10 Road. It’s all a dirt road as soon as you turn off of Waimea Canyon Drive. The nice thing is that most of your elevation gain is already out of the way anyway. If you are feeling adventurous, you can drive as far as you can up Mōhihi-Camp 10 Rd, and leave the car. You can maybe even get as far as Sugi Grove pretty easily. But leaving your car along the road at a random spot for a night or two is less-than-ideal as well. You can also consider taking bikes (mountain bike preferred, of course, but you can still get far with any old bike). Our friend’s truck got stuck on the way out, and he is very experienced with the rough Kaua‘i backroads. As of March 2020, the last few miles of this road are absolutely trashed and you will definitely be hiking on the road for at least the last few miles anyway. In Google Maps, your first turn off of Waimea Canyon Road is “Kumuela Road” (N 22.129186° W 159.656790°), directly across from the museum parking lot, follow signs for Camp Slogett (a YMCA camp). However, Kumuela Road corresponds to “MOHIHI RD” shown in the park map below, passing Camp Sloggett along the way. Don’t use Google Maps for this part! Google Maps will tell you to take the next right off of Waimea Canyon Road (N 22.130806° W 159.653717°) onto “Mohihi Rd”, but this is not possible because it forks into private property and also is too overgrown. Therefore, start at Kumuela Road (N 22.129186° W 159.656790°) until it joins with the original Mōhihi-Camp 10 Road. Follow the GPS tracks for this drive/hike/bike. Even the map above is not very detailed and does not show every turnoff. The last .5 mile (or so) of the Mōhihi-Camp 10 Road is a prominent fork. They are both really rough roads, but the lower (right) fork is significantly worse. The lower (right) fork is called the Mōhihi Ditch Trail on some maps. Whether you are driving, biking, or walking, I would advise you to take the upper (left) fork. Strategy One strategy if you are walking/biking since the road adds 6.1 miles and 1000ft of gain and loss each way (up and down and up and down), is to camp at the Mōhihi-Wai‘alae Trailhead (there are picnic shelters there too), cache your gear and try to do the entire trip to Wai‘ale‘ale/Kawaikini in a day. That would be a huge day! Instead, I’d highly recommend bringing a light bivy kit to enjoy it more, and as a safety backup in case you underestimate the journey. If you are a total boss, you can try to bike from the Koke‘e Natural History Museum and do the entire hike and back in a day. If you’re hiking the road, there’s a good chance you can catch a ride for part of the journey since the road is popular with truck-riding hunters. Note that there are also cabins you can rent at Koke‘e lodge if you don’t want a long, early morning /late night drive up and down Waimea Canyon Drive. Gear There is generally no cell phone service in Koke‘e and especially in Alaka‘i Swamp, so taking an inReach or two-way satellite communication device is highly advised. Also, I wouldn’t recommend recording tracks, since you really are depending heavily on your GPS tracks to get you in and out. For this reason, consider taking a small battery pack and a miniature phone charging cable for backup. A map and compass are not really helpful since you don’t have many landmarks to sight along the way. Other items: -Headlamp and spare batteries. -Bug spray is not needed… no mosquitos here! -Emergency bivy gear. -I lined my backpack with a trash bag which worked well, instead of the silly backpack covers. -Pants and a long sleeve since you’ll get scratched from ferns. -Hardshell jacket and rain pants were very nice to have. -A cheap, plastic poncho could be a very effective backup too (Gore-tex works…up to a point). -A covered hammock or a single-wall Mountaineering tent can be an acceptable lightweight solution. The smaller the footprint the better. -Synthetic sleeping bag (we brought down and just made sure to double bag it) -The tent floor will be wet, so a thick, inflatable pad will be a welcome luxury. -An extra tarp to hang over everything is pretty standard for hunters who spend a lot of time out here. Leave a totally fresh set of clothes and shoes at the car and a trash bag to dump all your ratty clothes when you get back so you don’t trash your rental. Bringing dry clothes in a dry bag is nice for sleeping in as well. Be sure to put on your wet clothes in the morning! They will be wet immediately, regardless. Don’t bring a machete! Unless you just want it for the Instagram. There is no need to do any real bushwacking for any of this trek. You want to be as light as possible. Bring all of your water with you (3-4L). The streams are heavily silted with decaying volcanic organic matter. Some OK water sources include the Wai‘ale‘ale pond at the very end or some off-route streams near the end that are a pain to get to. You still want to filter all your water! Footwear If you watch the video above, you can see the type of mud and murk that you have to wade through. You have to have footwear that you can comfortably plow through all of this terrain to cover the miles. You don’t want to pause and skirt around every mud puddle because you’re trying to protect your expensive La Sportiva shoes. You want to plow through with confidence! Note that approximately half of this hike follows a fence that is buried in mud. There is jagged rusty fence ends buried in the mud, so you absolutely want footwear that covers your whole foot to avoid getting your feet injured. Open sided sandals are not recommended, even with socks, be careful to avoid the fence in places where there may have been hidden wires under the mud. You will be hiking frequently in shin, knee (or sometimes deeper) mud so be prepared for your entire foot to be submerged in the sticky, red clay. You can wear just about any footwear for the first 4 miles to the Koai‘e Stream crossing, then cache those shoes in a bag and wear another pair for the rest of the trek (so have a relatively dry pair to put on for the way back). Good options for the hike past Koai‘e Stream are water shoes, reef walkers with felt bottoms ($20 from Walmart/Cosco in Lihu‘e), or just regular tennis shoes or trekking shoes that fit snugly so you don’t lose them when pulling them out of the mud (they will get trashed). Make sure to wear socks for blister protection. Rubber boots may be OK, but will be terrible to walk in for so many miles and you will surely get your feet deeper than the lip of the rubber boot anyway. I wore technical water shoes from OluKai with an aggressive sole and socks (a bougie option but turned out amazing). My OluKai’s are 8 years old at this point, and they are similar to the current ‘Imaka Trainer model and well worth the investment (the only shoes that I know of that are specifically made for this kind of terrain). Ankle protection is not really important for Wai‘ale‘ale, but be aware on the Blue Hole/Weeping Wall hike that there is lots of ankle-busting wet-rock hopping that may warrant the extra security of an ankle-protecting boot. When to Go Locals say that there are usually only 20 days out of the year that you can actually SEE Mount Wai‘ale‘ale from town and usually that’s just a partial-day viewing (usually early morning). It is one of the rainiest spots on Earth with over 450inches of rainfall annually, and it’s no joke. The hike is between 3,500ft and 5,000ft so it is also COLD…hypothermia is a real threat here. If you plan to camp overnight, make sure you have an entirely dry set of clothes to sleep in (even underwear), and be prepared to put all your cold, wet clothes back on in the morning. The Cascades are GREAT training for this hike. We checked weather.gov and meteoblue.com for the summit weather for over a month before we found a good weather window. It usually just says “Rain” non-stop every day. Just wait for a good forecast; this could mean the difference of just being miserable or absolutely hating life. It will still be unenviable suffering under normal, wet conditions. Even if the forecast says “Sunny”, you will get rain, you can count on it. Sometimes it can just be a fog or mist, but it can also be hard rain. Our forecast was full-blown sun for three days and we still got hard rain each day for many hours. Don’t be disappointed if you don’t get a view at the end, either. The best way to ensure you get a view at the end is to go on a splitter weather window and camp at the rim since the early mornings are your best bet for clear weather. This was the most spectacular sunrise of our lives as it rose over the Pacific Ocean with the lights of Lihu‘e gently dwindling beyond the sweeping green valley walls below. Winter and spring get the most rain, but you can do this hike year round with the right weather window. https://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lon=-159.4976234436035&lat=22.065755331828683#.YEmYkC1h1WM https://www.meteoblue.com/en/weather/week/wai‘ale‘ale_united-states-of-america_5854158 You should also check the discharge and gage height of this nearby stream to judge if the Koai‘e will be passable: https://waterdata.usgs.gov/hi/nwis/uv?dd_cd=02&format=gif&period=31&site_no=16019000 Bob Burd recommends not going if the cfs discharge is greater than 7fps and also the gage height is greater than 2 ft, and I think I agree (although that may be overly conservative). Here is an example of when NOT to go (from recent torrential rain): Also check the Mount Wai‘ale‘ale Rain Gauge and don’t go after extended periods of significant rain: https://waterdata.usgs.gov/hi/nwis/dv?cb_00045=on&format=gif_default&site_no=220427159300201&referred_module=sw&period=&begin_date=&end_date= The Hike OK, you made it to the trailhead on the Northern/Upper/Left fork. I’ll walk you through the hike and point out the “gotchas” where we got lost (you may get lost at other places, so stay vigilant). Just download the GPS track and input the Gotchas on your map. We basically just followed GPS tracks the whole way, frequently pulling them up on our phones. Without the tracks, we would have never found the way. Some reports mention flags and broken tree limbs, and arrows scratched in logs. Don’t count on any of it; it’s all bullsh&t. For your first time, you are blindly following a GPS track. Period. I could probably find my way again if I went again without tracks, though. The “mountain sense” is totally gone up here. It is otherworldly, and compass needles just spin around because you’ve entered another dimension. You are in a misty, boggy, heavily spiritual place that feels more dangerous than any mountain I’ve ever been on. You must respect the ‘āina. Also, ignore all flags. I think hunters use various colors to show boot paths to other destinations. Trailhead (upper/left fork): N 22.11872° W 159.60389° This looks like an official trailhead. There is a trail sign, a covered picnic table, and plenty of flat spots to camp (although the lower/right fork trailhead is a better place to camp imo). Start on the maintained trail which turns into a road and joins up with the end of the lower/right fork road after 1000ft (about 5min from the trailhead). When you get to another covered picnic table, this is where you leave the trail/road and enter the forest. Jeff, Priti, and Flip **Gotcha #1** At this point, we did not enter the forest at the picnic table, but instead just kept walking back up the lower road (back towards Koke‘e) for another 15min until we realized our mistake! Instead, when you get to the second picnic table, LEAVE THE ROAD HERE AND ENTER THE FOREST, descending to cross a small stream (the Mōhihi Stream), which is also an OK water source. **Gotcha #2** After walking another 300 ft, just after the Mōhihi stream crossing, you’ll see a shack on the right with a faint trail that keeps going past this spot. Instead, you want to take a right almost immediately after the stream crossing and about 10ft before the shack. There is a faint boot pack through grass/ferns and a “0.25 mi” marker. The shack, just past the "0.25 mi" marker Turn right here, past the marker to stay on trail From here, you’ll follow a nice, semi-maintained trail with occasional views into Waimea Canyon. Your next waypoint is an overlook with a bench (N 22.10940° W 159.59376°) about .83miles from your last turnoff. Amazing views of Waimea Canyon Overlook and bench **Gotcha #3** N 22.11432° W 159.58414°. The end of the semi-maintained trail (the “Mōhihi-Wai‘alae Trail”). When you get to this point, make a right turn at a small clearing. **Gotcha #4** N 22.11424° W 159.57655°. The trail is still a pretty decent boot pack but it gets a little squirly at this point, so consult your track. You make a sharp left turn to go up and gain the ridge line. It will be pretty obvious and overgrown if you get off track. N 22.11369° W 159.56335°. Here you start descending 60m down to the Koai‘e Stream with the aid of some old, fixed ropes. It’s obvious to find. **Gotcha #5** N 22.11231° W 159.56267°. This waypoint is more for your way back out. The bottom of the fixed rope to Koai‘e Stream can be hard to find in the dark on your way out as you steeply ascend back to the ridgeline. Koai‘e Stream N 22.11253° W 159.56192°. The Koai‘e Stream can be impassable when it’s high. Some parties carry rope with them to belay across. I’d say leave the rope, take your chances, and don’t go if the stream telemetry is reading high. If you really want to bring a rope, 40ft of cord should do it with a bowline on a coil harness and a hip belays. When we did it, the crossing was a trivial rock hop, and we didn’t even get wet. You can cache your dry pair of shoes before the crossing, because it’s immediately going to get gnarly. The Koai‘e Cabin Just across the stream is the Koai‘e Camp Cabin. It’s a fairly nice shelter that used to be littered with trash and old hunting gear but was totally empty and clean when we found it. You can sleep several people on the floor of this covered shack. This could be a good strategy to split up the hike over 2 or 3 days if you were really resistant to bringing your own shelter. **Gotcha #6** At the Koai‘e Camp, the next 100ft of the trail is lost in a maze of swamp and ferns before it becomes clear again, so keep an eye on your track. There are pink and orange flags everywhere that lead to other hunter boot trails, so don’t get suckered. The trail here is pretty nicely maintained, so if it feels to bushwack’y, then you’re off-route. Logs have been laid along the trail to stop it from eroding, and even a few ladders have been put in place! N 22.11115° W 159.56113°. There is a short, tricky rope ladder here. Continue following a decent trail and you will eventually find the new (tall) fence on your right (N 22.09163° W 159.55107°). Follow the fence, keeping it to your right (it will be too tall to get over anyway). This side of the fence is luxuriously clear and easy to walk (enjoy it while you can!)...almost sprint-able. At a certain point along the fence, there is a very nice bivy site option with tree coverage to help if it’s raining (N 22.08494° W 159.54131°) and sturdy fence pickets for a hammock or tarp. About 50 yards beyond, the new (tall) fence ends and the old (short) fence forks off left and right. You want to go through the gate on your right (through the tall fence), then keep the short fence on your left (N 22.08497° W 159.54094°). You are now entering “Sincock’s Bog” which is a long, flat clearing on your left that you will skirt around Shortly after, you be in the trees again briefly and come out to another bog called “Bogette” (yes, it’s a smaller bog than Sincock’s). Both bogs can provide flat, open camping options, but I highty recommend the one mentioned above. Camping in a bog is exposed to rain and wind. You’re pretty exposed from here on out. The end of the “Bogette” clearing is what Bob Burd listed as “Start Hell”. In reality, it’s all hell, so his “Start Hell” and “End Hell” are not worth keep track of anymore since we now have a fence to follow. For the original trailblazers, this was more difficult because you are no longer in an open bog, but dense swamp. Continue following the fence, keeping it on your left. At this fence intersection, make an abrupt right turn to keep the fence on your left Soon, you will start to noticeably ascend a hill. This is the rim of a small, ancient caldera called “Kapoki” which created much of Kaua‘i. Looking back at Alaka‘i Swamp from atop the crater rim **Gotcha #7** N 22.07620° W 159.52241°. The fence line T’s off at the top of the hill (caldera rim). The fence continues straight while another REALLY TALL FENCE cuts right. Do not go right, along the tall fence. Instead, climb up and over the fence “T” to continue on the same trajectory following the shorter fence. Note that if you have a hammock with you, all of these spots where the fence T’s off at an angle is a great place to pitch a hammock because the fence pickets are quite sturdy. The wood in the Alaka‘i swamp is very soft, old, and decomposing which doesn’t make for good hammock posts. You continue along the Kapoki caldera rim (with the crater on your left). Some past parties bivied inside the caldera in a clearing, but it is way out of the way and didn’t look like a good spot to camp. Note that THIS is the real crater, although there is nothing left to see here, really. Weeping Wall/Blue Hole/Wai‘ale‘ale, while not a crater or the remains of such, is an impressive erosional feature (box canyon) and the main attraction. N 22.07138° W 159.50919°. You’ve kept the fence on your left so far, but now the right side becomes too overgrown and you will need to hop over it and keep the fence on your right, briefly. We also set up camp here, although there is nothing special here that makes it an especially good campsite. The terrain foliage begins to open up here. On your left, you’ll see a rather idyllic shire and a clear, running stream, but it is very difficult to get down there and not worth going out of your way. The Shire...Very pretty, but not worth going out of your way for (just stay along the fence) Smaller footprint, the better Drying out gear in the morning while we have some sun After a short ways along the left side of the fence, it becomes apparent to hop back over to the right side of the fence again, keeping it on your left all the way to the rim. Looking out at Ni‘ihau (The Forbidden Island) The terrain really opens up as you get closer to the rim Looking over the West Side of Kauai‘i and Ni‘ihau N 22.07138° W 159.50919°. Allegedly some ancient ruins are located here, although we saw no sign of anything. N 22.06849° W 159.49850°. Congratulations! You’ve made it to the rim. The fence impressively continues to go down over the cliff to keep out those pesky cliff-climbing hogs. The fence T’s off and goes left here towards the Rain Gauge and the Wai‘ale‘ale pond. There is a sturdy “T” in the fence to pitch a hammock. The ground is wet and soggy here, but you can easily set up a tent anywhere…or fly your paraglider off (although the rotor/updraft can be really dangerous)! Go left (heading Northeast) to get to the USGS rain gauge then just a little further to the sacred Wai‘ale‘ale pond. At one point, ancient Hawaiians built a short canal to connect Wai‘ale‘ale (literally “rippling waters”) to make it feed the most sacred Wailua River, 3,000ft below. There is a heiau (Hawaiian sacred stone terrace temple) called Ka‘awako at the head of the pond. It is absolutely magical and a must-see…way more interesting than the slight bump that marks the island’s high point. There is a water level gauge in the center of the pond, too. You can continue exploring along the ridgeline, or turn around back to the end of the fenceline. The sacred shores of Wai‘ale‘ale The heiau is at the far end of the pond Rain Gauge and other equipment Wide angle views looking back from where we came, across the Alaka‘i Swamp No more fence, drop gear and head to the summit hill, Kawaikini Kawaikini, viewed from the North From where the fence ends and goes over the rim, you head Southwest (right) along the rim to get to Kawaikini (hint: it’s not close). There is no fence in this direction and you are weaving around cliffs, sometimes entering bands of stunted tress near the rim with some fragments of trail (many options). Allow another 45min to get to the “summit”, and another 15 min to get to the Southernmost point of the rim (“Kawaikini”). Looking West into the impressive Olokele Canyon "You can fly, You can fly, You can fly" Summit selfie Olokele Canyon Kawaikini is the name given to the high point of the island. “Kawaikini” literally translates to "the multitudinous water", referring to the island's high rainfall. Most maps label it as the southernmost point on the rim, however the actual highpoint does not correlate to this point. The actual summit is about 400ft before the end of the rim (see screenshot from peakbagger.com). If you’re concerned about peakbagging, consider tagging both points: the summit (N 22.05865° W 159.49734°) and Kawaikini (N 22.05688° W 159.49678°). Supposedly, there is a USGS marker somewhere, but no trip report has verified its location. We tagged the true summit, but we did not go over to Kawaikini since it is way out of the way (you have to back up a bit and go down around a bluff), but the views over there are also supposed to be worth checking out. 3,000ft below is the incredible Weeping Wall of waterfalls. Supremely wet during a splitter weather window The end of the fence line, looking southeast towards Kawaikini - the pyramid summit on the left is an unnamed sub-peak We camped again at the rim even though it was early in the day, since we were shooting for an early morning flight when it was clear and calm. An epic sunrise Looking down at the Wailua River and the J-shaped box canyon of Weeping Wall Looking East towards Kapa‘a and Lihu‘e The Weeping Wall The Lights of Lihu‘e Lihu‘e and Menehune Salt Pond Visible Priti and I took off in perfect conditions with a slight headwind and an ideal takeoff field. We had several landing options scouted already along Loop Road depending on how far we could get, but with our mono-surface wing and a headwind we had to land at our last-resort location: the fern clearing behind the Jurassic Park Gates. Loop Road is mostly covered over with tall trees, but there is a small clearing here with tall, devilish ferns to softly land in if you can’t stick the landing on the open road. It was heinous to untangle everything from the ferns, but at least we were closer to the trailhead! Flora and Fauna As you hike, notice the foliage and birds. The ecosystem up here is really unique to be able to survive in this permanent dampness. The rare puaiohi (Myadestes palmeri), also known as the small Kaua‘i thrush or Palmer’s thrush is an endangered species and known only to live in the Alaka‘i Swamp. The rare puaiohi (stock image, did not see one) You’re also likely to see an ‘elepaio. There are three species of this monarch flycatcher, one endemic to each of the three islands of Hawai‘i, Māui, and Kaua‘i. An endemic ‘elepaio (my image, we saw one!)...they are very friendly and bold There was a pack of goats running around near Kawaikini while we were there, and you may also run into wild pigs or deer. Don’t mess with a pig! They can be highly dangerous. Ohia Lehua flowers You’ll also see a lot of beautiful Ohia Lehua flowers. While tempting, DO NOT PICK THESE FLOWERS. If you pluck this vibrant, red flower, you will separate ancient lovers and cause it to rain! Read more about the legend of the Ohia Tree and the Lehua Blossom here: https://www.lovebigisland.com/big-island-mythology/ohia-lehua/ Blue Hole We really didn’t do much research on Blue Hole and we literally only had the GPS tracks. The road to the trailhead (“Loop Road”) is a well-maintained dirt road that can get closed for long periods of time while they are repairing it after heavy rains (I believe it is closed for repair at the time of this writing). Even if it’s open, there are several really difficult river crossings that are for expert-drivers only. I wouldn’t recommend taking a rental here, even a 4x4. The Jeep and 4x4 rental places expressly DO NOT want you to take their cars on Loop Road. Even if you were to do it on the sly, it is very difficult and a tow will be very, very expensive. Hiking Loop Road is fast, easy and trivial with no navigation tricks and no car-stresses. Takes about 1.5hrs to walk it each way (or less). Just park at the Keahua Arboretum (or up the hill at the yellow gate where the Powerline Trailhead is located). You will pass the beams that remain from the old Jurassic Park gate film set (queue the music). At the trailhead, you really just stay along the Wailua River. It is long, slippery, dangerous, time consuming, and NOT A TRAIL. You are going in and out of the river constantly, whenever you can find short stints of trail on the river bank. Sometimes there is flagging, but local guides like to take them down so you get lost and hire the guide instead. If you have the tracks, navigation really isn’t an issue. Lots of boulder hopping. Go slow and don’t bust your ankle. Blue Hole Looking back down onto Blue Hole Eventually you get to a large beautiful blue pool where three rivers converge. Some sources call this spot “Blue Hole” while other sources call the J-shaped box canyon of the Weeping Wall the “Blue Hole”. Two of the rivers form an impressive waterfall. Take a rope on the left side to gain the path above the waterfall. Further down, about where the river makes a sharp left bend, there will be fixed ropes to help ascend the steep, slippery hillside. Go through the gate in the pig fence and enter the magical world of the Weeping Wall. Depending on the season, it can be engorged with waterfalls all around you. Looking back down the J-shaped box canyon and the Wailua River source The Weeping Wall If you are in decent shape, you can easily make this a VERY long day trip from the Arboretum. Start early, in the dark, so that you are back on Loop Road before nightfall. There is also a nice place to camp at the trailhead (big, open field) if you prefer. The river makes for an excellent water source (always filter). This is another one that everybody loves to over-hype, but it’s really not that intense…unless you’ve never heard of it, then it’s INSANE! A Note on the Hawaiian Language Hawaiian script is very phonetic (unlike English) and there are only a few rules to follow in order to pronounce the words correctly. Hawaiians had no written language prior to Western contact, except for petroglyph symbols, and the modern Hawaiian alphabet is based on Latin script just two centuries ago. If you’d like to participate in respecting the language and culture, please follow the few simple rules (just don’t be an asshole about it): -Vowels are pronounced the same way every time (car, bet, city, for, and moon for ‘u’) -Consonants are (nearly) the same as in English (except for “w”), with “p” and “k” being softer (but don’t worry about that). -Inside of words, W can sound like V: -After i or e: usually a “v” sound (i.e. “Haleiwa”) -After u or o: most frequently like “w.” -After a or at the start of a word: either (i.e. Hawai‘I or Wai‘ale‘ale or Wahine) Fake it ’till you make it: When in doubt, you can split it down the middle and use a softer “w” sound somewhere between the two. I’ve never heard anybody say “Vai‘ale‘ale”. **The kahakō accent** A macron ( ¯ ) over a vowel extends the sound, and is called a kahakō in Hawaiian. The macron is also very frequently omitted. For example “Māui”. **The ‘okina accent** The ‘okina is a glottal stop, similar to the sound between the syllables of “oh-oh”. In print, the correct mark for designating an ‘okina is the single open quote mark (a.k.a left single quotation mark) or the turned comma (Source, University of Hawai‘I style guide: https://www.hawaii.edu/offices/communications/standards/hawaiian-language-considerations/). In computer publications, you may also see it as a grave accent (`) (a.k.a “backtick” or “backquote”), the right single quotation mark (‘) (a.k.a curly apostrophe), or the ASCII apostrophe ('), but these are all less preferred to the turned comma or left single quotation mark. Consider this important character, the ‘okina, the next time you pronounce Hawai‘i or O‘ahu or Kaua‘I and attempt to select the correct character in writing (Mac: alt + ]) **In conclusion** -Don’t be lazy and say “y-ollie-ollie” but try to use “y-alay-alay” with glottal stops (even if you find that local Hawaiians don’t!) -Most locals pronounce Wai’alae (the trail name) like the sport “Jai alai” (but with a “w”): Y-ah-LIE. Instead, it’s pronounced WAI-ah-LA-ay (with the glottal stop!) -Kaua‘i (KAU-WAH-ee) with a glottal stop and an extra feature called the “w-glide” which follows “u” vowels when they precede another vowel. -Kawaikini. The “w” can be pronounced either way. KAH-WHY-KEE-nee -Koai’e Stream (the major stream crossing): KOH-WHY-ay (with a glottal stop!) Geology The tourist industry has taken to refering to the semicircle of cliffs along the summit rim as "The Blue Hole" and "Waialeale Crater" but this is an erosional feature (J-shaped box canyon) and not a crater or remains of a crater. It feeds the sacred Wailua River. Sometimes, you’ll also hear Wai‘ale‘ale referred to as “the rainiest spot on Earth. Most signs have now been updated to “One of the rainiest spots on Earth”. It usually always makes the top 10 list, and has made #1 a few times in the 20th century. In fact, “Big Bog” on Maui usually gets higher annual rainfall. Regardless of the ranking, it’s rainy as heck! Wai‘ale‘ale literally means “rippling water” or “overflowing water” which is the name of the sacred pond at the end of the hike, just 15ft away from the rim. This name is also given to the entire geological massif, called “Mount Wai‘ale‘ale”. Kawaikini is the highest point on Kaua’i. It is attributed to a small blip on the summit ridgeline of Wai‘ale‘ale. Although most maps attribute the spot to the southernmost end of the ridge, and not the actual summit hill. When viewed from Kapa‘a or Lihu‘e, Kawaikini is obscured by an unnamed sub-peak on the far lookers-left. History An excerpt from Summit Post: With the summit guarded on three sides by cliffs thousands of feet high consisting of wet, slippery and loose volcanic rock, the only possible approach is through the forbidding Alaka‘i Swamp. A trail once existed up what the ancient Hawaiians called "The Great Ridge of Kane" from the NE to make offerings to Kane, the god of creation and fertility. The last documented ascent of this trail was about 1902 and the route has long been lost to the jungle and landslides. Another trail was built to service the rain guage about 1911, but after the hurricane of 1959 and the advent of helicopters, that trail was abandoned. A couple of additional hurricanes in 1988 and 1992 finished the job. The route of the trail still appears on some maps but only exists beyond the mid-swamp bogs as a workable "trail" in a few short sections and is very difficult to follow. The modern hike through the Alaka‘i Swamp is the easy way! You take your car up the vast majority of elevation gain and simply trudge a long distance horizontally through the Alaka‘I Swamp. Here is an account from Hank Sobeleski (and also a call to action for the Cascade Climbers community!): Scaling Waialeale’s Eastern Face In ancient Kauai, Mount Waialeale was a most sacred place. Each year, Hawaiian chiefs and priests would climb Waialeale’s forbidding eastern face to the summit, where they would make offerings of flowers and wreaths to their god Kane at a small, stone heiau called Kaawako. The Hawaiians began their annual journey near the mouth of the Wailua River. From there, they traveled upstream by canoe, following the northern course of the river until it was no longer navigable. They would then walk in the shallows until they came to the base of a ridge that would lead them up to a false summit called Pohukapele and then on to the top of Waialeale. Atop this ridge (which today forms part of the boundary separating Kauai’s Hanalei and Kawaihau Districts), the travelers would camp for the night at the 2,300-foot level. The next day, they would follow the spine of the ridge upwards to the northern end of Waialeale at 3,200 feet. The climb from there to the summit, another 2,000 feet above them, was steep, slippery, and treacherous. Rope ladders, secured at the summit, were needed to climb the final leg. They would then make their offerings at the Kaawako heiau while chanting praises to Kane. When the United States Exploring Expedition led by Navy Lieutenant Charles Wilkes visited Kauai in 1840, it learned that Hawaiians still regularly climbed Waialeale’s eastern face to the summit in clear weather to view Oahu about 100 miles away. Historian James Jackson Jarves also noted likewise during his observations between 1827 and 1842. In 1870, Grove Farm Plantation owner George N. Wilcox also climbed Waialeale to the summit by following the same trail the Hawaiians had climbed, but when Wilcox climbed it, the trail was overgrown and rarely, if ever, used. George Wilcox repeated the climb in 1874 with George Dole and Fred Smith. About 100 years later, Valdemar Knudsen, with Kauai helicopter pilot Jack Harter aloft in radio contact, made a dauntless attempt, but was turned back at 3,000 feet by impassable terrain. No one has scaled the eastern face of Kauai’s sacred mountain since 1874. http://great-hikes.com/blog/pure-speculation-2/ Links Here is a list of links that we used to prepare for the trip. While useful, you don’t need to open them as I’ve done my best to distall all the essential and interesting information here. https://www.summitpost.org/kawaikini-and-rain-gauge-in-one-day/968920 (a good TR, but slightly out of date) https://www.flickr.com/photos/59798762@N00/sets/72157627235468118/ (neat history lesson with great maps of old and current routes!) https://www.peakbagger.com/climber/ascent.aspx?aid=291803 (very detailed report) https://www.peakbagger.com/climber/ascent.aspx?aid=1548392 (a recent report from 2020) https://www.peakbagger.com/climber/PeakAscents.aspx?pid=11862 https://www.summitpost.org/mountain/150983 http://www.cohp.org/personal/Hawaii_2013/Hawaii_January_2013.html http://www.cohp.org/hi/Kauai_1.html http://www.cohp.org/hi/Kauai_2_textonly.pdf http://www.cohp.org/hi/hawaii.xml http://www.cohp.org/hi/Kauai_2_textonly.pdf https://www.snwburd.com/bob/trip_reports/kapoki_2.html?reports=kapoki_2.html http://www.cohp.org/personal/Hawaii_2013/Hawaii_January_2013.html https://www.snwburd.com/bob/trip_reports/kapoki_1.html https://www.snwburd.com/bob/trip_reports/kapoki_2.html Gear Notes: Non-technical hiking Approach Notes: Included in the TR
  11. 2 points
    Trip: The Mighty Tooth - Regular Trip Date: 01/17/2021 Trip Report: Took a spin up The Mighty w/ a lad from work for his first mixed climb. Mixed as in slush and rock, with just a hint of ice. Oh man, if it gets cold before it dumps again... Gear Notes: Tricams Approach Notes: Separate cars, slowshoes
  12. 2 points
    Eleven years later a comment...I've been searching all over trying to see if anyone has put up a North Face route on The Castle via the direct ice flows. Like you, when we first saw the ice, we knew we had to come back and get it done. I just came across your post. Your yellow lines were exactly what I was looking at and even further to the left with a more direct approach. Unfortunately, it was far too exposed with little to no chance of protecting the route. We took the first pitch, WI3 up to the first clump of trees just east above the daggers. The second pitch, WI4 was further to your right where I found a nice bulge in the ice. The direct line was too thin. I traversed across that section "sewing" the route up with a combination of 4 stubbies and 13's until the fat bulge where I was able to place a nice 16. Surprisingly enough, we intersected your route at the top after climbing through an off-width chimney with a nice spire we could run a cordelette around. When I made it to the rock wall, I tried to go left to gain the summit. I placed one KB but couldn't commit to the exposed face without additional pro. We were already on a very long run-out. Instead, we decided to go west through a second rock section and more than likely intersected your route at that pitch on up to the summit ridge. Great climb!
  13. 2 points
    Not exactly a hardman or in the 80's or in a assisted care facility yet but almost! good job finishing the crux pitch, I had twice tried to lead it and had to leave it, although I did top rope it. It's definitely some spicy climbing. I'm surprised you didn't see any of my gear I left(probably buried) although I liked the name I gave it a little better sorry about the huge photos, not sure what happened.
  14. 2 points
    Trip: Mount Shuksan - NW Couloir Trip Date: 03/10/2021 Trip Report: I've been wanting to do this route for years; this was my fourth attempt, all others ending ridiculously far from success (although on one we did summit and ski the summit pyramid instead, so how can that really be a failure. Last weekend me, @MGraw, and @thedylan got the idea that conditions would likely be just right for a real try at the NW Couloir mid-week this week. After many weekend storm days skiing near the resort we had a pretty good read on conditions. We decided to play hooky on Wednesday and go for it. Everything worked out great, the warmup on Monday even mysteriously held off trashing the powder down low in the White Salmon valley. We were patting ourselves on the back pretty good when we topped out the north shoulder at 11:30, 5.5 hours after starting out. Then for the hard part... The route is pretty straightforward so I don't need to say much. It rocked! It was scarry getting in and across the traverse; when I took the photo of the traverse from above my hands were shaking. We had all watched the Cody Townsend video the day before where they make it sounds really scary. After doing it there is the possibility that they are playing it up a bit for the camera. Althogh the pucker factor is actually a million-bajillion as stated. Especially with the traverse fairly thin and rocky as we had it. Gear Notes: Axes for the upper S-curves & traverse. Approach Notes: Travers into the White Salmon Valley
  15. 2 points
    https://www.thisamericanlife.org/727/boulder-v-hill/act-two-11 I spent nine months holding up an iPad in front of someone’s parent, sibling, loved one, as they gasped for breath and died alone. I eventually left that job because I just couldn’t take it anymore and didn’t want to become even more callous to death. Btw, the anti vax covid deniers are just as scared as everyone else as they get intubated. The vaccines are not being rushed, or having safety checks skipped over. It’s a spike protein, which has the potential to cause anaphylaxis in a very small percentage of people, and is why they have vaccinated individuals wait for 15 minutes in an area with medical personnel before leaving to resume their lives. Listen to that segment if your interested, the individuals who created this vaccine are just people like anyone else. They care about doing their job, they care about other people, they care about ensuring safety and following the protocols and proving that something is safe before it is put into a product. Respectfully, go fuck yourself for sharing and believing this garbage.
  16. 2 points
  17. 2 points
    Darin is a old school ‘ham curmudgeon. Bellingham was ruined in the 1990.
  18. 2 points
  19. 2 points
    Trip: MT HOOD - Sandy Glacier HW Trip Date: 03/13/2021 Trip Report: With the long Conga Line heading up the mtn Saturday morning our plans to head somewhere different was set. Sandy Glacier HW being the last face we haven’t climbed this year seemed like a great choice. Made great time up to Illumination and quickly headed down and over to cross Yokum at 8600ft. Made it up and mostly over Yokum but a huge fracture line had me second guess that variation so we down climbed and traversed back down to the Reid and made our way down to the normal low crossing route around 7600ft. At this point the snow wasn’t too bad and travel was fairly quick. Once we hit the Sandy we encountered some really amazing powder and had a few thousand painfully slow feet of snow swimming intermixed with a few feet of front pointing on ice. Overall the route is more of a hike than a climb. Definitely can be done with just ski poles With the conditions we had. Overall summary/recommendations for anyone looking to head over to the Sandy HW would be definitely jet down to the lower traverse around Yokum. in my opinion it is an overall faster option. The HW itself is not technical but is a really long slog up although it’s a beautiful side of the mtn that most of us rarely see. Gear Notes: 30M rad line for the glacier crossing Approach Notes: TImberline to IR down and over to Sandy.
  20. 1 point
    What kind of psychosis is this? It is kind of fascinating. Do you think this guy is a functions enough to hold down a job? Or does he live in his mom’s basement? Imagine if he had a job were people had to depend on him. Or even just having to share a work space with him…would you you hear about the “dark elite” on a daily basis? I imagine he drives a garbage truck, and his co-workers wear earplugs to cut out the noise.
  21. 1 point
    It’s all about joining the centipede and feeding on the “alternate facts” that could only come one source. An ass. And then passing that on to the next fella.
  22. 1 point
  23. 1 point
    @JasonGMost of our climbs, we were too poor to afford film. You can see that is Steve's shirt. However, if I get a chance I will scan a few more shots. A shot of Greg on Index.
  24. 1 point
    Awesome! Thanks for the report... I've had this one on the list for a while!
  25. 1 point
    Howdy folks, Just moved up to Bellingham and am looking for partners for fast and light alpine climbs in the north cascades and surrounding areas. I prefer big single push efforts and am comfortable leading up to low 10s and easy ice. Im pretty flexible on objectives and really just want to spend as much time in the mountains as possible. Ideal partner will be focused more on efficiency and safety than crushing the most epic line. Have gear, experience and all that jazz. Also able to ski approach/descents. I will be working a normal mon-fri schedule.
  26. 1 point
    Went up last Saturday, 3-5 feet of snow at the last 1000 feet or so, lot of postholing going on. Overall trail was in good shape. A few trees and limbs to climb over due to the storms. Saw about 20-25 people all day. On a trail that long, there were moments of not seeing anyone which was nice. My friend's first time on Defiance and after a couple of hours, he said out loud "this trail is UNRELENTING"....I laughed and said yup, this is the hard one in the Gorge.
  27. 1 point
    You don’t say! Btw, do you have a white lab named Caddis?
  28. 1 point
    I'm glad someone else "enjoyed" our "useless variation" at the top I also did the "right" exit above the crux that you mention last weekend. I'd never gone that way but recalled the book mentioning it. It was... weird. Not totally clear where to go and we ended up belaying a short section of traversing downclimbing to get onto the finish of the Wy'east route.
  29. 1 point
    Awesome! Thanks for the beta, looking to get out there too
  30. 1 point
    Cellular reception has greatly improved since my second shot.
  31. 1 point
    The one more “thing that can be done against covid”? It’s disinfectant. You inject it into your lungs. You should definitely try it, works great.
  32. 1 point
    I've been aware of UW's time-height forecasting system for a while but really started using it this year. There have been several days where NOAA pt predicts clouds or high winds but the time-height shows its calm and clear above 5-6k' and its right on. Reading them takes some getting used to, they are definitely not the most user friendly, but once you've practiced a bit it's easy enough. Time goes from R-L on the x-axis in UTC (date/hour, 00=4pm PST day before and 12=4am day of), elevation is on the y-axis in mbar pressure (800 is aprox 6k', 700 = 10k'). Green = clouds/precip, arrows = wind (more fletchings = more wind, they point in the compass direction), temp is deg C shown in red lines ("0" line is the freezing level). Here is the link to a map of the time-heights. Click on the location down wind of where you want to go. Look for white above 800mbar with small wind arrows, there's your window. https://a.atmos.washington.edu/mm5rt/rt/timeheights_d3.cgi?GFS+current_gfs+
  33. 1 point
    Trip: Mount Index, North Peak - North Face Trip Date: 01/29/2021 Trip Report: @Michael Telstad and I have a wonderful climbing partnership. He sniffs out all the beta and nails down logistics, while I tell bad jokes and ensure the ropes get hopelessly tangled at least once on-route. When I heard about his FA on Chair and adventures in Mazama with @Doug_Hutchinson, in the throes of FOMO and inspired by Doug and Mik's report of 'cruiser alpine conditions', I sent him a text on Tuesday asking if he wanted to climb the North Face of North Index. Between the Scylla of the work-week and the Charybdis of storms for the next month, we decided on Friday as our best and only shot at the beast. Fortunately Doug was stuck with Michael on the long winter drive from Mazama to Seattle, so there was plenty of time to shake him down for beta. There is not too much information about the route out there, so Doug’s info was invaluable. (Another useful source is Jim Nelson’s Selected Climbs in the Cascades, Vol. 1) We decided to meet in the parking lot at 2:45am on Friday. After a few hours of fitful rest I rolled into the Lake Serene parking lot my traditional 15 minutes late at 3:00am (Michael was 10 minutes early). We exchanged groggy greetings and set off by moon and head light. Easy trail hiking in approach shoes to the north end of the lake led to the base of a slide path and some tedious steep snow climbing to the saddle of the northeast rib. (We changed into boots at the end of the trail before stepping onto the lake, and put on crampons partway up the snowfield) Some unexpected light snow gave us pause but we decided to climb until it became problematic. I set off on the first lead, simul-climbing ~3 pitches mainly steep snow with sparse slung trees, with a few short mixed steps protected by cams and nuts. I tried placing ice screws in aerated flows while extremely runout on steep snow, but they were just too marginal to bother. Runout snowfields for the first ~2 pitches took me to a left-leaning gully. At the top of the gully I looked down and gulped at the sheer exposure below me to the east. Wild. A moderate and short but annoyingly snow-covered mixed step took me to the slung blocks marking the ‘hidden ledge’ traverse. (It’s not very well-hidden if you’re looking for it.) I belayed Michael up from here since I would’ve liked a belay on the mixed step below and I believe in the golden rule. At this point I made the inconceivably foolish decision to try scooping up the stacked double ropes and walking them across the hidden ledge. I made it about 15 feet before realizing the error of my ways and setting up an intermediate anchor. Fortunately it only took 15 minutes of cursing and thrashing to untangle the ropes. Michael then belayed me on a short, fun, and confusing simul block through a slide alder grove. I followed my nose through a steep groove of alders to a lower-angle mixed ramp. I wandered around trying to find an easy way up, but eventually gave up and belayed Michael to the top of the alder grove. He decided to down-climb to search for a lower continuation of the traverse, but found only improbable cliffs. He climbed back up and cruised the mixed ramp around whose bushes I’d beaten earlier. We simuled over the ramp and up the awesome snowbowl pitch to an obvious large tree. From here we simuled up ~2 pitches of very fun AI3- (mediocre screws, great sticks) to yet another grove of trees at the base of yet another snowfield. I led a short snowfield to the base of the crux mixed pitches. Michael led us up two cruxy snow-covered mixed pitches, first a narrow ridge-traverse and then a funky slab to a short steep corner protected by a fixed piton. The climbing wasn’t so hard, but it felt tres insecure and poorly protected. I took over the lead and we simuled across a wild knife-edge ridge, up a snowfield, over and around several false summits (with some tricky mixed steps and brutal rope-drag), and finally to the base of the true summit. (From a distance I thought it was the Middle Peak of Index. ) Michael took us to the top, and we mustered the happiest faces we could for some summit pics. As we prepared to descend, a raven floated next to us cawing a blessing. I felt glad then, that the spirit of the mountain was with us. We thanked the raven and began the slog down. Michael led us back to the base of the summit ridge snowfield, and we followed Doug and Mik’s rappel stations for a seemingly interminable, mind-numbing descent. We finally reached a snowfield at the base of the north face. We unroped and contoured around to the base of the route. Unfortunately they added about 3 miles to the Lake Serene trail while we were on the mountain, so the hike out was a bit more tedious than expected. We finally arrived back to our cars alone in the parking lot at 11pm, just as we’d left them 20 hours and many lifetimes before. I grilled up a couple celebratory beyond burgers and we drove off into the night, grateful and dead exhausted. Many, many thanks to Doug and Mik for all the beta, and for setting up so many rap stations! This route is highly condition dependent. This winter and weather window has yielded easy snow climbing, thin and poorly protected but easily climbed gully ice, and snowy but manageable mixed climbing. I think significant time would be saved on the mixed pitches if there were no snow. Suitors should be prepared for sporting runouts on steep snow, tenuous mixed climbing, and a tricky descent after a long physically and mentally tiring day. Descent: Reverse climb along summit ridge to trees at base of the snowfield which leads up to summit ridge, i.e. just after the knife-edge ‘last pitch’ of the climb. Make 4-5 plumb-line rappels (60m double-rope) to large trees atop snow-bowl pitch. Rappel trending east (climber’s left) to small trees near base of snow-bowl. Continue for 5-6 raps along this slightly east trajectory, following shrub and block rap stations to base of the north face. Some of these are rope-stretchers with 60m ropes, 70m would help a lot. Once down contour easy but exposed snowfields to the east until reaching the saddle where the route begins. We mostly used Doug's webbing and carabiner stations, but added green tech cord to the station at the top of the snowbowl. Cut all the other tat there but unfortunately couldn't extract it from the ice. (it was late and we wanted to move fast) Lecture time: Knot both your ropes (and untie one end before you pull the other). Double-check your tether and rap setup every time before you commit your life to them. Pics: Setting sail, snowflakes like shooting stars Michael just after the first cruxy mixed step, taken from the hidden ledge blocks moments before the sun rose The sun also rises Michael heading up the gully at the top of the snowbowl Michael starting the first mixed ridge pitch with the false summit ahead Looking down at me from above first mixed ridge pitch Michael at the mixed crux Selfie from snowfield before summit ridge with Michael on the knife-edge False summit after false summit Moody Sky from summit Happy to be halfway home Classic pose on summit block (might not be there next year, the summit ridge seems to be mainly loose blocks glued together by ice) Index Traverse looking intimidating and appetizing Reversing the summit ridge traverse Possibly the worst rap anchor, but not by much Arriving at the large tree atop the snowbowl as headlights trace out Highway 2 below The result of bounce-testing the rap anchor at the large tree Rope stretcher with 60m ropes Dave Summers got a photo of our headlamps on the descent Gear Notes: Ropes: 2x 60m 7.5mm half/twins (70M recommended) Slings: 15 singles, 4 doubles, 1 quad. (good amount, but bringing more would allow for longer simul blocks. Had 2 carabiners per single sling and 1 per double and quad) Ice screws: 2x 10cm, 2x 13cm, 1x 16cm, (1x 22 for v-threads) (good selection, even though some placements were marginal due to conditions) Cams: single rack .1-2 (perfect, every cam was useful but didn't want any bigger) Nuts: About a dozen from small to large (didn't use too often but glad to have) Tricams: Pink and red (clutch) Pitons: selection of 3 small knifeblades, 1 short Lost Arrow, 1 beak (didn't place any, clipped one fixed pin) Cord/webbing: 20 foot 5mm tech cord useful for slinging large blocks. 40+ft of rap tat highly recommended Microtraxions: 2x for simul-climbing insurance Tools: Less aggressive quark style tools (Thanks to Michael's partner Tess for letting me borrow her quarks so I didn't have to haul the nomics up) Crampons: Dual point preferable, lots of snow Emergency gear: Inreach (+cell service most of the way up), lightweight emergency bivy sacks, small isobutane stove, hardwarmers and dry warm socks in case of epic. Climbing tape for in-situ surgery. We didn't bring any pickets and never wanted to place any, but if you desire protection on <60 degree snow you should bring one. Approach Notes: Took the Lake Serene Trail all the way up, skirted around on the NE shore of the frozen lake to the obvious slide path, ascended to saddle, stashed approach packs in small tree grove and racked up. ~1.5 hours car to base
  34. 1 point
    Too late. I am more than a month past my second shot. For the record, I think you are out of your mind. I'm sure you feel the same about me. Time will tell which of us is right @DanO.
  35. 1 point
    Slightly wider shot, worse lighting—probably not super helpful:
  36. 1 point
    Nice work! I'm glad our bootpack and wands were useful
  37. 1 point
  38. 1 point
    Trip: Mt McLoughlin - Through rock in North bowl Trip Date: 03/03/2021 Trip Report: Somehow I stumbled across this image of Mt McLoughlin and decided the route in red would be fun. Is this covered in any guide books? https://image.shutterstock.com/shutterstock/photos/1105471811/display_1500/stock-photo-mount-mcloughlin-oregon-1105471811.jpg For the past couple of months mountain-forecast showed a good weather window a week or more out but every time the forecast changed and spoiled the party. I tried once before, https://imgur.com/gallery/uB410zr, but gave up en route since conditions weren’t suitable. This time looked good and after a storm cycle that ended on Sat - Sun, three clear days in a row were forecast. Headed down to Summit Snow Park after work on Tuesday and caught a nap before heading out. Arrived too early at the saddle between the North and NE bowls so hung around for the sunrise. Should have brought a long ice axe and a stubby but had two ice tools. There was 0.5 inch crust with no too consolidated snow underneath. Easy to kick in but not solid. A few more pictures here https://imgur.com/a/H4XqwZC Gear Notes: Snow shoes, helmet, crampons, two ice tools - should have brought axes. Approach Notes: From Summit Snow Park headed down FS 3650 and up the normal hiker route. Off trail traverse wasn't too bad with just a bit of side hill action. See attached GPX for the route.
  39. 1 point
    I'd check out https://turns-all-year.com/ TRs!
  40. 1 point
    "They will be logging around the Heliotrope trailhead right up to the Wilderness boundary" is somewhat inaccurate. If you drill down on the map on Pg.5 of Appendix D, you will see that the project area does not extend south of the Grouse Creek tributary bisecting the road turn where the trailhead is located. Grouse Creek, the wilderness boundary, is almost certainly a fish bearing stream downstream of this trib's junction and will get a no-cut 100' buffer. The language on the NCCC's webpage is so over-the-top emotional that I strongly urge diving into the USFS documents before commenting. Makes a person long for the smell of the GP tissue mill to give the crack "pulp farm for Trump's business cronies" a veneer of respectability. Just a sample after a quick perusal of the documents: NCCC's cited acreages bear no resemblance to either Alt.1 or Alt.2 acreages shown on Fig.14 of the DEA. Road runoff & fill/cut slope failures are a legit concern among others. However, if you look at Pg.26 of the Draft EA this proposal will ultimately reduce road mileage & density of roads. This project is expected to take 10-15 years. Recreationalists of all stripes are bound to be inconvenienced for some period of time near these units. I believe most don't lack imagination. Have at it.
  41. 1 point
    Eric and Rat are our reigning choss emperors. Felt like to me this was the crown climb for this site for some reason. There are some great TRs, many perhaps more technically difficult, but this was one...for those that value virgin exploration in desolate and beautiful places, that felt different. Imagine what Kerouac would have thought if he had read this TR. Have we seen anything close to it since? Will we again? For this community as it is or was, which has faded in number and gotten older, perhaps not. Will someone prove me wrong? Kerouac’s Void has been climbed, and I’m glad it was Eric and Rat that did it, because that meant we got Eric’s words here, with his literary gifts, encrusted with understated sandbaggery. I would not blame them at all if they both just chose Squamish henceforth. And yes there is still more that can be done I suppose in the world of choss grovelry, and plenty of things that have been done that deserve many repeats and the story of those repeats can hopefully be told, whether it is here or where ever stories are getting shared these days. But the days of exploring virgin territory like this...what of any significance is left? Can you share a picture of it? and thanks @lunger and @rat you crazy fuckers, hope you are well.
  42. 1 point
    Just moved to Boise and I can confirm there is no (winter alpine) climbing in Idaho.
  43. 1 point
    Thanks for writing this Sean! It's an honor to be apart of the first full N-Index winter trip report. This route is so much bigger than I could have imagined. In it's current condition there is a direct ice line that bypasses the N-rib mixed climbing and goes straight up some sweet looking alpine ice. I wish we would have taken this, as it would have shaved probably an hour or more off of our climb. I would probably give the route in these conditions AI3- M5. Strava Track HERE And the only decent photos I got from my camera. Racking up at the base The belay below the N-rib Sean leading across the gendarmes
  44. 1 point
    I'll second that motion ..... the following has been linked here in the past .. a fun read Ode to a pink Tricam
  45. 1 point
    Trip: North Howser Tower - All Along the Watchtower Trip Date: 08/06/2019 Trip Report: Climb Date: August 4-6, 2019. Summit August 6, 2019 Climbers: Jeff and Priti Wright Climb: All Along the Watchtower (Grade VI, 3000ft, 32 pitches, 5.10/C2- or 5.12) Style: Follower jugged every pitch in the Dihedral with micro traxions and runners. Heavy French/Aid utilized by the leader in the Dihedral. Two packs brought. Leader climbed with light pack, except in the Dihedral (where follower jugged with one pack on, trailing the other). Two bivouacs (one at base of Dihedral and one on the Summit ridge). With so little beta out there on the route, we found the route finding tricky. This post is intended to be a beta sheet to help with route finding. All Pitch numbers are per Jenny Abegg's topo which was very useful (https://jennyabegg.com/climbing/trip-reportsbeta/all-along-the-watchtower-north-howser-tower/). Pitches 2 and 3 were confusing and we split each of these into two pitches. If you stay on route and watch rope drag, you can avoid splitting these up. They are both full-length pitches. Pitch 3 is so wander-y that rope-drag might be unavoidable - recommend splitting this into two pitches. Pitch 16 (5.12 crux roof) in the Dihedral was only pitch where we thought it was mandatory to disobey Jenny and split into two pitches. Topos Jenny's topo was pretty spot on. Pitches 8-11 on Jenny's topo are the dyke variation that Westman/Haley did (on accident) which ascends directly up from the bivy ledge. Jenny's topo does not show the original route option, which splits off 30m below the bivy ledge. If you wanted to get snow at the bivy ledge and continue on to the original route, you have to rappel or down climb 30m 5.7 to meet back up with the original route. The party behind us did the dyke route and we did the original route. After talking to the party who did the dyke route, it's very safe to say that the dyke is better way to go. The Mountaineer's guidebook (the green book) topo shows both the original route and also the dyke route options, but the High Col topo shows only the original route. The High Col topo is not accurate at all, so be careful. Keep a copy of Jenny's and the Mountaineer's topo on you. Bivy sites: -We didn't see any good bivy sites until atop Pitch 7 (flat, walled, snow in early season). Some descriptions said there was one atop Pitch 3, but it's more of a sitting bivy. -Another good bivy site is out-of-the-way, about 20m left of the base of the Dihedral (flat, walled, no snow). Some descriptions said this was 4-person, but it fit the two of us pretty snug. To get from here back to the base of the dihedral, you have to down-climb 10m (5.7) then ascend 10m (5.7) to the base of the Dihedral. -Some bivy options along the ridge (four of us stayed at one, very snugly, about halfway on the summit ridge above the seventh rifle gully). -A flat, walled bivy spot on the summit (lots of snow throughout the season). When we saw it, it had thick snow/ice on it, so you'd be sleeping on top of snow. Photo Credit above: Tim Banfield Descending down to East Creek from the Pigeon-Howser Col. Left to Right: North, Central, South Howser Towers, Minaret. Priti is just below the Beckey-Chouinard Route From East Creek descend until you can scramble up to the ridge. Stay low on ledges if you want to cross over into the gully ("B" in picture, not recommended, loose scree and hard ice). Recommend staying on the ridge (climber's right side, "A" in picture) as if approaching for Beckey-Chouinard on South Howser Tower. From the base of Beckey-Chouinard, it is easy to scramble down to the snow to traverse high over to the North Howser Bivy Rock. This is a big, obvious boulder just at the next ridgeline. There is a luxurious, sheltered, covered bivy cave here (recommended instead of East Creek if you only have bivy gear and you want to get an early start for the route in a push). Four rappels (two hangers, chains, rap rings) take you to the snow below. The first rappel is heavily cairned and easy to find (even in the dark), requiring a bit of down-scrambling to get to the lip of the ridge. The rappel line is straight down. Each rappel is easy to find and on obvious ledges. You'll want crampons and ice axe for the snow below, on the way to the base of Watchtower. We used a Beal Escaper for the rappels which worked like a charm... we did not bring a pull cord on this trip. Note: rappels shown in picture above are approximate (just use cairns to find the first one, then take the plumb line). The picture is not intended to help you find the rappels. The first rappel. Crossing the moat. Another party of rappelers above. The approach snow after the approach rappels. You're committed now! Looking up North Howser Tower. Approach at the base all the way left to big ledges just before the large, obvious gully. Take ledges all the way left to dihedrals. Pitch 4 (above), 5.10, full 60m: a striking dihedral (protect on the face on the right) which starts as an easy stem/chimney and ends in an overhanging, difficult off width. Photo credit: Dane Steadman Bivy site along ridge. Looking down the ridge from the summit. Photo credit: Dane Steadman "Hand crack on the right side of crest". Party on the summit. Photo credit: Dane Steadman Simul Rappelling over the bergshrund. Photo credit: Dane Steadman Joining up with the Beckey-Chouinard steps. Photo credit: Dane Steadman Gear Notes: Double Rack to #3. Single #4. Triples in finger sizes for dihedral. Offset nuts, brassies. Did not bring offset cams (did not think they were necessary). No aid gear. 1 sleeping bag to share. 1 bivy sac to share. 1 Jetboil. Beal Escaper for rappels. We did not bring a pull cord. Recommend a pull cord to 1:1 haul packs in the Dihedral. Approach Notes: Started from Kain Hut, ended at car.
  46. 1 point
    No, its way to overgrown for bikes. Plus, the culverts were also pulled, and the resulting gullies are the crux of the hike!
  47. 1 point
    Nice perseverance, but you were not in powder but Cascade Cement :-)
  48. 1 point
    If you haven't yet checked out the Training Beta podcast I would recommend taking a gander at the various episode topics. I listened to all of the ones with PT Esther Smith after tweaking a finger this summer. There are some free videos linked on the Training Beta website with exercises and she discusses a specific finger protocol for injured fingers in the episodes. I've been following the finger protocol and it has been working great so far. I was also using her exercises to try address what I thought was elbow tendonitis but eventually resolved to medial nerve irritation stemming from the shoulder. A friend showed me Dave McLeod's book where he recommends a "shoulder slide" exercise with your back to a wall for shoulder antagonists which resolved 90% of my shoulder and elbow issues almost overnight. Both these rehab regimens have been so effective for me I felt like I should share them with people here... hopefully someone can benefit.
  49. 1 point
    Half a lifetime ago when I was Josh's age, my partners and I discussed if it was possible to climb routes like Triple Couloirs car to car with the road closed. Doing these routes with just a day pack seemed so audacious that we tried, and succeeded, and learned a lot about ourselves in the process. I am continually impressed by Josh's infinite persistence and big successes in the mountains. He reminds me of another young partner, Colin Haley, but without the resources at his disposal. Good for you Josh. Keep it up, and be safe. These moments will be etched on your very soul and when you are old and unable to climb you will remember when you were a tiger.
  50. 1 point
    Trip: Mount Snoqualmie - Pineapple Express Date: 1/25/2009 Trip Report: So Marko and I decided to have a go at The Pineapple Express on the north face on Snoqualmie on sunday. The first crux was getting out of bed and on the road before 5am but eventually I met Mark in North Bend. Note to self; partying the night before an alpine start looses its appeal sometime past your 30th birthday. Excellent snow conditions meant that the approach was pretty much cake although it's still quite a hike. We met Colin and friends at the saddle - they'd slept in and taken the Phantom Slide approach (see below). We chatted to them and geared up before descending into the bowl below Snoqualmie's north face. We went to check out the Pineapple while Colin and Dillan tried their luck on NY Gully and another of their party soloed the slot couloir. Dillan had looked at our route the day before and said it was thin but we thought we might as well take a look. Hey, we'd walked all that way right? Half way up the first pitch I was revising the "what the hell" sentiment as I contemplated the holding power of a tied off bush with respect to my substantial 200lb frame. I muttered to Mark about having second thoughts but continued upward to find something better to bail off if nothing else. Thereby successfully conning myself into climbing the whole 60m. The pitch definitely lived up to the R rating. Mark summed it up nicedly with "I knew you'd brought your sense of humor when I saw that first screw". Mark led off up and left on more thin ice with slightly better gear. At least the belays were all equiped with substantial trees. As Forrest Murphy once said to me "in the Cascades in winter trees are your friend". Mark belayed me up and we inspected the next pitch - apparently the crux at M6 with good gear. We'd discussed the small wrinkle in our plan during the approach, namely neither of us could really say we were M6 material. No matter... we had age and cunning on our side, Mark said he could even do a pullup (just one) and "good gear" is really a secret code for "you can aid it if you have to". Standing below it aiding seemed a little problematic but clearly the first couple of moves looked feasible. Having been offered the plum pitch is seemed rude not to at least try. Besides there was a nice soft snow slope to land in and a big tree belay. The pitch disappeared up a long right facing corner with the promise of another tree 150' above. The first moves off the deck were strenuous but with several OK gear placements. After that the angle eased for a bit and along with more (thin but good) ice there was TURF! Oh yeah. Ice is great and all but big fat lumps of frozen moss and dirt... now that's where it's at. More good gear could be had in the corner on the left. All in all... Cake. Of course that would have all been too easy. Above the angle steepens again. The corner was completely dry - providing good gear but harder climbing on the compact rock that's typical of Snoqualmie Pass. Thankfully there was a very thin ice smear out to the right. Good gear high in the corner and a quick step down to reach a few inches of well adhered ice and Robert's your father's brother, thirty feet of upward progress and... more TURF! Mr Turf say hello to my little friend, Mr Spectre. A bit more climbing, more rock great and some entertaining tree pulling and cursing and I was belaying Mark up from another nice fat tree. Mark led the next pitch which moved right onto a spectacularly exposed ridge before taking a snow slope up to just below the ledge system leading across the base of the headwall. Given that I'd gotten the nicest pitch Mark led us home... We simul-climbed the next four pitches to the base of the last pitch on NY Gully. Mark led across easier but exposed mixed ground including some not so easy sections with huge exposure over the whole of the north face. Anything that fell of plummeted into the mist below. The 5.8 crack that represents the last of the difficulties on NY Gully was iced in. Mark did a stellar job of aiding it and tackling the thin ice above to the end of the difficulties. Usually this pitch is dry but still hard, as evidenced by the growing collection of fixed gear. I followed with the pack and somewhat less elegantly. We descended in thick fog trying to make the most of the remaining half hour or so of daylight. Mark's navigational genius, or blind luck (you choose) got us back to our gear stash without any real hassles. We followed tracks down the Phantom Slide and were back at the car in next to no time. Surprisingly we had taken just under twelve hours car-to-car. Plenty of time for Pizza in North Bend on the way home... Ummm... A big helping of alpine climbing followed a serving of fat and carbs. What's not to like? Gear Notes: Full rack up to #3 Costalot including wires and (thin) pins Slings are useful for slinging trees, bushes and anything else that might slow rapid downward progess. Take some stubby ice screws for comedy value and to make yourself feel better. Pictures: There are none. Between the two of us we were too lazy and incompetant to bring a working camera between us. Somethings its nice to just climb and not worry about a camera. Approach Notes: We approached as per Nelson's description. Colin and co. hiked up the Phantom Slide directly from the Alpental lot. We descended this way. Colin's description "it's five times easier" is not an understatement. I'd use the Phantom next time. Obviously this is dependent on snow conditions.
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