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  1. 11 points
    Trip: Patagonia - Fitz Roy Smash 'n' Grab 9 Days Seattle-to-Seattle Trip Date: 02/03/2019 Climbers: Jeff and Priti Wright Location: Patagonia - Chaltén Massif - El Chaltén, Argentina Peak: Monte Fitz Roy (Cerro Chaltén) Route: Franco-Argentina 650m, 55deg 6c (6a C1) High-Res Video (turn up the volume!): Google Street View Photo Sphere: https://goo.gl/maps/nLvcGHAQTqu Trip Report: Feb 3, 2019 Priti and I summited Monte Fitz Roy in Patagonia near El Chaltén, Argentina via the Franco-Argentina Route. We had been watching the weather every day each season for the past three years and finally saw a good enough window to buy last-minute flights and make use of the beta sheets we made four years ago. The trip was 9 days Seattle-to-Seattle. We climbed the Franco-Argentina link-up which is a variation on the first ascent route and is the "normal" route up and the standard rappel line for all routes on the mountain. Franco-Argentina is a highly aesthetic line combining glacier travel, steep snow, mixed terrain, and hard/pure rock climbing. The technical portion of the route is 650m long containing 14 (or so) rock/mixed pitches up to 5.11b (or 5.10b/C1...heavy emphasis on the C1) and many hundreds of meters of 45-55deg hard snow/ice. Starting from the town of El Chaltén which sits at roughly 1,300 feet, you ascend 9,710 vertical feet over 10.5mi to reach the summit of Cerro Fitz Roy (Cerro Chaltén) which towers over all the surrounding granite spires of the Chaltén Massif. The upper summit slopes require crampons, boots, and ice tools which were carried in a single pack by the follower. We were four days and four nights away from town which included bivouacs at Paso Superior, La Brecha de los Italianos, the summit (for a 1hr sit-rest waiting for sunrise pictures), then hiking all night back to town on the fourth/final night. From La Brecha, we woke on the third day and moved sleeplessly for 48 hours to get back to town so we could make our bus for our flight back (and we had 20min to spare!). We were lucky to experience rare, cloudless, windless, perfect weather in this harshest and otherwise unforgiving land. We've suffered so much in these mountains on our previous two trips; this was a welcome change. For those of you who don't know, the Patagonia (r) logo (tm) is an actual range, called the Fitz Roy range which is located in the Chaltén Massif. The big peak in the center of the logo is Fitz Roy. The founder, Yvon Chouinard, was a member of the Fun Hog Expedition in 1968 who road trip'd from California to Argentina, surfing and skiing along the way. They completed the third ascent of the mountain and established a new route, Californiana (or the "Fun Hog Route"). Note: whenever I mention "the topo", I'm referring to the topo as found in the 2nd edition of Patagonia Vertical, by Rolando Garibotti and Dörte Pietron, published by Sidarta Guides, which can be purchased online or in the States at most Patagonia retail stores. Rolo has a companion website to the book, PATAclimb.com, which is an equally invaluable resource. All pictures below are high resolution. Click on the pictures to open them in a new tab and zoom in. The adventure begins from the town of El Chaltén where you hike the popular trail approximately 10km to Lago de los Tres. Then scramble up the left (Southern) slopes of the lake to find a fixed line. The fixed line is hidden away from tourists and is very difficult to find. Stay low as you scramble up the slopes, maybe 30m until you find an obvious, lone, random bolt along a ledge. If you were to continue from here, you would see a smattering of 4 more random bolts which (I assume) make a rappel anchor for guided parties. Instead, go straight downhill from the first bolt to a large cairn and another bolt with the fixed line. 3rd class down climbing will take you back to the shores of the lake where you will soon see the second fixed line which ascends the 4th class hillside to a scree field. Cross the moraine (bivy options here) between the larger and smaller lakes to the glacier (Gl. de los Tres). Ascend the glacier to find yet another short (15m) fixed line on a low-angle rock or mixed corner (shown below). Ascend the ridge on the North side (climber's right) and make your way back to the South side (climber's left) to gain the upper snow field. Follow easy snow to Paso Superior (high camp). A very snow Mermoz and Guillaumet Paso Superior is a popular advanced base camp from which most objectives in the Massif may be accomplished in a push. It is relatively sheltered in a snow bowl, but may be exposed in high winds. On the back (North) side, there is a fixed rope down 20m of 4th class terrain to get down to the glacier (Gl. Piedras Blancas). Ascend the glacier to get to the bergshrund (1-2hrs). According to the guidebook, there are three ways to gain the ridge: the rappel couloir (just below the Brecha de los Italianos), the rock spur just left of the couloir, and the steep snow further left. Approximately 100% of all parties (give or take) approach via the steep snow (the third option), as we did. From the bergshrund just below the toe of the rock (usually just a step-across, but may go "out" in late season), we harnessed up with rock and ice gear, ascending steep snow and ice (up to 60deg) for 250m. We stayed close to the rock and protected with rock gear since the angle was steep enough and the consequences fatal enough, but many parties solo the snow/ice, roping up for the last rock portion. Since the steep snow was endless, calf-burning front-pointing, we were glad to have steel, hybrid, horizontal crampons here and also on the summit slopes, although many climbers just wear strap-ons (of the aluminum variety). Once near the ridgeline, there are likely a few ways to ascend the rock from 3rd class to low 5th but rock shoes are not necessary. Choose your adventure. The entire technical portion of Franco-Argentina is shown in red, above, which starts at the end of the snow bench ("la Silla"). Once over the ridgeline and on the West side, you are rewarded with views of Desmochada, Cerro Torre, and Aguja de la Silla. There are a couple bivy spots where a tent can be set up just under Brecha de los Italianos (shown above). From here, in order to gain the ridgeline from la Brecha to la Silla, there are many possible low-5th class routes. However, the best way is to find a 45m fixed line on the right, just past la Brecha and climb 4th class terrain to a 3rd class walkway just under the ridgeline (still on the West side) until you get to the snow. You can also climb various 4th/low-5th class gullies (seen below). La Silla is usually always icy but is low angle (and exposed!) to the base of the route and may be protected with ice screws if you like. Crossing la Silla to the base of the route. Looking back down at Glaciar Piedras Blancas. Our tracks from Paso Superior can be seen, faintly. Pitch 1, finally!! 5.10c diagonal hand crack. There is a rappel anchor just at the end of the pitch, over the edge, but there is a comfortable belay if you go up on top of the ledge. Approximate pitch layout shown side-by-side with original photo (open picture in new tab to zoom in). The lines in yellow are the two options for the actual Franco-Argentina route as shown in the topo. We diverged (on purpose) where the actual route is in yellow. Priti high on Pitch 1. Above: Looking back down Pitch 2 which takes a corner then goes out on an easy crack system on the face (5.10b). Priti leading Pitch 3. Looking up at the 5.11a corner system (Pitches 6-7) while on Pitch 5. Another view of the corner system (Pitches 6-7) while on rappel. Above: Priti starting up Pitch 6 corner system (5.11a). We swapped leads after Pitch 7, and I started up the 5.10a corner/chimney system on blocky terrain. Pitch 9 was harder corners and chimneys (5.10b) and the cracks started to get icy up here! Looking down the blocky Pitch 9. This view is just nuts! Crazy granite monoliths that look like a cluster of orange crystal formations. Looking down, you can see the swirly line of snow on La Silla which separates Aguja Poincenot from Fitz Roy. Pitch 10 (5.9) and looking up at the remaining 4-5 pitches on the upper headwall. It was during this pitch that the cracks became prohibitively icy on the standard route which would have required two tools and crampons for the leader, so I chose to explore off-route. Just above where you see me in the picture above is a long roof. There is a rappel anchor (off-route) out left of the corner system. This anchor is shown in the topo with three pitons on a ledge and is normally only used as a rappel anchor. I bailed to this anchor, then continued left (left of the prominent arête as shown on the topo) and found icy, mid-5th class ledges. The final 5 pitches were off-route from the topo but made for a fine alternative if the cracks are too icy on route. The final pitch! In yellow on the right, the 6c (5.11b) variation as shown in the guidebook topo. This overhanging crack was chock full of weak ice when we rappelled it and would have been nearly impossible to climb free or even get any pieces in to French Free it. We took the variation in red (left), not shown on the topo, which has many fixed pieces and pitons from previous parties and probably also goes free at 5.11a, although we climbed it French Free due to the icy cracks, darkness, and weak climbing abilities! Priti followed in the dark, jugging with two Petzl Micro Traxions. I would recommend following the zig zag in red (as we did) and not going straight up as that would be much harder. This is a good alternative if the rest of the route is icy, although you have to get off route during Pitch 11 (much earlier) to get to the base of this variation. Note: two more pitches of low-to-mid 5th class were required above this pitch before getting to the snow field. Rappel ropes shown going down the 6c variation. For reference, the line we took (red) is also shown again. Once past the technical climbing, you reach 250m of hard snow/ice up to 50deg (more endless front-pointing). This leads to the summit mound, which looks intimidating, but we went hard left to the left-most rocky ridge which was easy 3rd class scrambling to the final summit ridge. There is a small bump along the summit ridge which is not the actual summit although appears to be the high point! Continue to the end of the horizontal-ish summit ridge to reach the actual summit. There is an AMAZING bivy site for 1-2 with a roof and walls just under the summit block. Advertising for our awesome hostel, Aylen-Aike, from the summit. Cerro Torre behind. The first rappel down the upper snowfield. After 3-4 rappels down the upper snow field, we couldn't find the rappel anchor that's shown in the topo which is just (climber's) left of the prominent prow/arête at the top of the route. Instead, we rappelled straight down the 6c (5.11b) variation from the topo with no difficulty. If in doubt, just rap down this 6c corner. The next rappel (shown above) is from a ledge just to the left of the prominent prow/arête. You can see a giant block jutting out in the photo above. To the right of this block is the 6c (5.11b) variation. This is generally the most popular way to finish the technical portion of the ascent. The 5+ variation is further right (out of view) from the prow. In general, the rappel lengths and locations of anchors were spot-on on the topo. There are so many anchors everywhere, so be sure to follow the topo guidance for rappel lengths if you want to skip some anchors and have longer rappels. The rappel block above "La Araña" snow patch, which looks like a spider halfway up the route. A particularly harrowing rappel just below La Araña which goes down the shear, overhanging wall which is above the dihedral (Pitches 6-7). The leader has to make sure not to miss the belay ledge and do some free-space swinging to catch the ledge. The first rappel down the East side of la Brecha de los Italianos. The second to last rappel. Stick to the (skier's) right in this photo and hug the wall. There was an anchor just above the bergshrund where you make the final rappel. The Chaltén Massif from the air. Tracks: https://caltopo.com/m/CVF0 More info: https://pataclimb.com/climbingareas/chalten/fitzgroup/fitz/french.html#franco https://pataclimb.com/climbingareas/chalten/fitzgroup/fitz.html https://www.summitpost.org/fitzroy/153622 Gear Notes: Double Rack to 3 with triples .4-1, single #4, 4 ice screws (1 shorty), 1 picket each (approach only), 60m single rope, 60m Esprit pull cord, steel hybrid crampons, 2 tools each on approach (we brought two tools total on route, although many parties bring three tools total on route). On route, the follower carried a single 40L (Patagonia Ascensionist) pack with both of our boots, crampons, pull cord, 1 sleeping bag, one therm-a-rest pad, water/food for both, summit jackets, summit mittens, and two tools (total). For the upper slopes, each person had a single tool, but two each would have been luxurious. Approach Notes: Approach on steep snow left of serac ('S2c' from the guidebook)
  2. 10 points
    Trip: Sloan Peak - Corkscrew Trip Date: 11/17/2018 Trip Report: Fred and I took a romp up Slan Peak on Saturday. It had been a while since I had summited anything so it was great to get on top, plus there was a bit of early season adversity that made it just hard enough to be sweet. We expected slogging through powder on the north side, but there was a nice rain crust above about 5300'. The east face traverse across the "heather ledges" was also better than anticipated with fairly good step kicking snow. Some rime ice on the scramble made it pleasantly spicy. Rain crust on the approach to the glacier, photo by Fred: Me in the rain crust, on the descent, photo by Fred: Fred on the traverse on the east face, on the descent: Fred near the summit: Fred looking smug on the summit: Me descending, photo by Fred: Gear Notes: Axe, crampons, glacier gear, snowshoes for training. Approach Notes: Bedal approach, it was a bit brushy, seems worse than the Sauk if the river crossings are OK.
  3. 8 points
    Trip: South to North Pickets Traverse- Goodell to Access Crks - Wild Hair Crack, East and West Fury, Luna Trip Date: 07/24/2019 Trip Report: Images stick with me. So much so that often I'll plan a trip around a specific place that I've seen either on a screen, a print, a slide, or in just my mind, after looking at a map. Frenzel camp is such a spot, its draw powerful enough to compel a 7 day traverse from Goodell Creek to the Big Beaver just to spend a few hours (well, a few more hours than planned) looking all around in wonder. The yin and yang of such trips, at least for me these days, is that they aren't getting any easier. Some of that is age, some of that is self-induced suffering from my own stubbornness of carrying a full frame dSLR and several lenses, NO MATTER WHAT. I cursed this decision more than a few times on this trip, but when I slip that card into my desktop and get to work, it all melts away. I know I was heard saying that I'll never do another 7 day Pickets trip, but....... This one started like most- swatting bugs, dividing up group gear, and taking swigs from a bottle of Hunter stashed in the car. Hey, this isn't the Olympics, and a whiskey morning jacket can do wonders for morale. My pack was way too large, as usual, but it turned out I did an even worse job than normal of packing food. This would be apparent on day 7 as I packed probably 4 lbs of extra food out of the Big Beaver AFTER spending the week trying to give it away. I really should be better at this by now. Anyways, the pain began.... and continued. By the time we reached the Chopping Block col I was thoroughly wrung out and cramping, trying to look as carefree as Tyler (who had climbed J'berg THE DAY BEFORE). I wasn't fooling anybody though, especially myself. So, I went off to get water for the group and have a good cry (Well, maybe on the inside, a little). Recomposed, I came back and guzzled some whiskey. Much better. Next, through the wonders of modern technology, I cheerily texted my wife to tell her how much fun I was having and that it was just an easy stroll over the ridge the next day. Oh, and maybe she could move the boat to a day later? I was going to need it. The easy stroll the next morning started with some talus side-hilling and steep snow traversing that led to more boulder hopping and a general team mutiny as we all sought a line that was superior to our teammates. Somewhere in there we spooked a bear (surprising for all involved), met a party of ladies headed to Terror ("The Terror Twins"- not actually twins), and had some fun ascending the the steep snow and "loosey goosey" rock to the Ottohorn-Himmelgeisterhorn col. Whew. Gearing up, we joked about who was going to lead the first pitch. "Not I" came the reply from General Weakness (AKA me). Tyler gamely stepped up and promptly gunned us all to the the false summit before we knew what happened, including a sparsely protected section of off-width that he exclaimed was "fun" as we all clenched our butts in solidarity. It is quite a climb though, and my hat's off to John, Silas and Russ for establishing such a gem on probably the best rock in the Pickets. Highly recommended! Next stop was Frenzel camp after the usual moaty rappel shenanigans off the col. Suffice to say, the camp didn't disappoint, it truly is a remarkable spot. I'll leave it at that. Listening to the weather radio that evening, General Weakness declared that the next day the team would remain in Frenzel camp to wait out a squall coming through. Coincidentally, it also meant that the General's load, which had to be carried over Outrigger and to the summit of East Fury, would get a tad lighter. Post dinner activities that first night included feeling sorry for the Terror Twins who we could see having an unplanned(?), open bivy on the NF of Terror (photo below). Tough ladies! The next day was spent lounging at one of the best camps I've had the pleasure of staying in, watching the weather deteriorate, and keeping tabs on the Twins as they ascended up into the mists. Packs were lightened, whiskey stores reduced, and tired legs rested. It was a great spot to spend a weather day. That night, the forecasted rain and wind arrived and we were all glad that we weren't up on the summit of East Fury. This was especially true the next day as the weather continued to linger into the afternoon. Fearing that our chances for West Fury were fading, we opted to pack up in the mist and grope our way over to the the summit of Outrigger just as the weather began to improve. It was still harder than it should have been to get off Outrigger and ascend to the summit of East Fury. The General arrived crabby and didn't relish carving out a platform in the snow, melting snow, and generally having to pretend to be a tough alpine climber. Thankfully I had one of those bourgeois NeoAir mattresses to insulate my sorry ass from the snow and provide some much needed rest. I can't imagine spending THREE DAYS up here in a flapping megamid. West Fury. Why? Well, why not? We were here, we had the time, and in the words of @Trent, "It must be climbed!". And so we did. It is actually a lot better than it looks from East Fury, but still takes some time and a rope (if you're partial to such things, as I am). I think it was about 7 hours RT East Fury to East Fury, including about an hour on the summit. We were the 20th party to sign in, I believe, but I don't think I saw @wayne in there? So maybe it was the 21st ascent? Anyway, always cool to see the complete ascent history in a register. And then it was down, down, up, down, and over, over to Luna col and the comfortable camps there. At this point a weight was lifted from the team since it was all pretty much downhill with the pigs and we were on friendly and familiar ground. Watching the sunset, listening to tunes, and chatting with a team from Salem headed to East Fury the next day was a very civilized end to a few days of ruggedness. The last few drops of whiskey sealed it- tomorrow we would set the alarms and watch sunrise from Luna. Because, why not? Well, I could think of a few reasons when my alarm went off the next morning. But I gamely tried forget all of them and keep @tylerhs01 in my sights as he streaked for the summit like a well-chiseled alpinist fired from a cannon. I failed, of course, but arrived on the false summit in time to capture the scene pretty well. Like most places along our trip, though, pictures really don't do it justice. But no matter, the summit of Luna has 4G now (??!!) so you can pretend that the pictures you're sending everyone are EXACTLY HOW IT IS, RIGHT NOW. No wonder the Luna XC zone is full most weekends in high summer. Listening to the weather radio again at Luna col, more rain was on the horizon so we broke camp and headed down into the head of Access (Axes? Pickaxes?) Creek. Again, this turned out to be a good move, driven home our final morning when I awoke to find my mattress floating in a bass pond while rain pounded on the fly. D'oh! Access creek is brushy, but at least it was going to be wet. We were long out of whiskey as well, so it was going to be a character building descent which, in the case of General Weakness, might actually be a good thing. But that extra character was never beaten into the weak General since Tyler had a gpx track that he had recorded a few weeks prior WHEN HE CLIMBED LUNA (??!!) on a casual three day romp with some family friends (a record for shortest time between Luna ascents?). We even found bits of a trail! And a couple large logs across the Big Beaver! And a freshly logged and brushed Big Beaver Trail! It was all just so reasonable, right down to the customary dip in the lake while waiting for the water taxi. I guess there is always hope that the General will get some character beat into him on the next one. Until then.... (Captions refer to the photo(s) below the words- seems to work for scrolling? Let me know if not) The Mac Spires: John approaches camp: Der Shuksan: "Has the General always been this weak?": @tylerhs01 photo of us headed up to the O-H col, on the fun part (it ended in less fun when the snow ran out): Wild Hair Crack!! Tyler gunning us up the crazy good rock: Almost at the summit of the Himmelgeisterhorn... @tylerhs01 and @Trent contemplate the drop off each side: @Trent on the way to Frenzel camp I think this is the West Peak of the Southern Pickets? I could be wrong: The top of the "Thread of Gneiss" remains unclimbed to the summit of the East Twin Needle. Will you be the one?: For the full story behind this photo (and you really need the full story, trust me), read THIS: The Terror Twins building character: While the General fluffs his pillow: Looking past Terror to the NF of the Mac Spires: Frenzel Camp: Jack as the weather comes in: Frenzelspitz: Watching the storm brewing on Fury. Glad we aren't up there!: But this is the next day and it wasn't a lot better. Getting wet and wild on the way to the summit of Outrigger: Figuring out how to get off Outrigger as the weather begins to clear. Luna behind: The team approaching the summit of East Fury: (L)Uh, does this really need to be climbed? "West Fury MUST BE CLIMBED!" Summit camp lyfe on East Fury: Well, I guess it is time to climb this thing: Auspicious start to the day, looking east from the summit of East Fury: @Trent photo of @tylerhs01 and the General leaving the summit of East Fury heading west: @tylerhs01 posing effectively: The FA party carried a brass can and this register up there. Impressive!: Much of the way to and from West Fury is better than it looks, but still requires care: I was much faster back then: Larrabee and American Border Peaks: @tylerhs01 on the true summit of Luna at sunrise: Fury at first light: Terror: McMillan Spires: Worth waking up early for every 12 years whether I want to or not: You really should go climb both North and South Hozomeen: The Big Beaver pointed right at Jack: West Fury (L) and the team walking towards Elephant Butte (R): I think I saw an old Crowder or Tabor photo from this vantage many years ago. The hook was set: Luna: Last Camp: Dark Eyed Junco with a good meal: Mount Prophet. The prominent rib on the right is known as Jacob's Ladder : Good times crossing the Big Beaver. PM me for a GPS point if you need one: Gear Notes: The full kit- ice axe, Al crampons, helmet, whiskey, etc. One 70m half rope sufficient for Wild Hair. Medium rack to 2" Approach Notes: Crescent Creek climber's path to Access Creek Climber's path. Both are getting more defined by the year. Expect Shenanigans between the two.
  4. 8 points
    Trip: Mt Stuart - Stuart Glacier CouloirTrip Date: 04/05/2019 There is no bergschrund, the ice pitches are so minor that we barely slowed down. The top West ridge was full value, ice & mixed conditions were fantastic with cracks open to take gear, but accumulation in the backs of cracks in the top pitches making the best mixed conditions I've ever had in the Enchantments, but I would say that since Danny lead the technical jazz. No photos up there as we were hauling ass & cold. Very scary avi conditions on the descent with propagating cracks on the Sherpa Glacier & enough slabs peeling off to make a guy very happy to be down. Also white-out & nuclear winds on summit were unforgettable. We climbed straight up the west ridge after the tiny notch on exit from the north. I thought this was great, but the ledge ~30 below the tiny notch may be a better route.. 14 hours tent to tent (in the 5400vf meadow) Photos are not in order..... Looking down N face exiting to tiny notch:Exit top of couloirIce pitches...minor Gear Notes:Small cams 0.3 -2", rack offset wires, pins: LA, KB, beak, didn't use screws except one shit one.Approach Notes:Snowshoes from 1/2 way up road & to camp. No snowshoes above 5400vf. Very bad avi conditions on descent on Sherpa Glacier. GPS (or solid previous knowledge) essential to get off summit in nasty storm.
  5. 8 points
    Trip: Johannesburg - NE Rib 1957 Trip Date: 13-14 October 2018 Trip Report: started 715 Sat AM from the parking lot. took the lowest start posible, scrambling a few hundred feet before a 100m roped pitch into the trees. lots of unroped climbing before realizing we were too far right. we did another roped pitch thinking we'd be out - wrong. a single 30m rappel down and skiers right put us back in business. a long stretch of unroped climbing into a gullet. roped back up for a few of the moves and that deposited up on the main ridge's shoulder. this was the large climbers right trend in the topos. lots of steep vegetated climbing and steep exposed climbing brought us to a short (10m) knife edge ridge crossing - officially out of the shit. this is where you could drop into the gulley to climb up to the bivy or stay on the rope. gulley obviously looked nasty in October. we scrambled another short distance to where we needed a rope. either the ugly offwidth or the steep face up and right. not entirely sure if the face is what others had chosen, but it's what we opted for. it was a little hard down low, but opened up nicely. we hauled packs on this particular pitch. from that beltway we were a 150m pitch then a 45m pitch to the bivy site. arrived around 530pm - just under 10 hrs on the route. no running water for us, so we went ultraconservative with fuel only melting water and saving some fuel just in case. we were treated with an awesome sunset and sunrise. we were nestled between the snow and the rock and stayed protected from the wind. next morning we were moving by 745am and summited around 920am. glacier was very simple all things considered. snow arete was very cool and truly unique. started to descent around 10am, opting to downclimb vs rappel. some serious exposure on sometimes pretty delicate climbing. we were pretty close to the top, only dropping to maybe 100 feet below occasionally and not for very long. we reached the main descent around noon. on the main descent we made one anchor for a belayed downclimb relatively high up, then lots of downclimbing snow and rock until an obvious rappel station. this was a real rope stretcher (full 30m) to a subtle ledge skiers left of running water, we loaded about 1.5 liters knowing we'd get more soon - it was euphoric to get nice cold water. more snow and rock brought us to a second obvious station, going skiers left. another 30m with some downclimbing and we were onto a broad apron. traversing skiers left, going more directly to C-J Col, we found three more rap stations, plus a lot of downclimbing. we reached the col around 230pm. we were moving quite slow. after quickly adjusting layers we were off to Doug's direct and searching for water. we were at the top around 5pm and made fast work down to the 6k foot level. here is where were made our only route finding mistakes: dropping too low too early twice. this cost us probably a at least an hour. we then got back on track and were to cascade pass by 8pm and the TH by 930pm. all in all, full value route that was surprisingly straightforward. I'd do it again. Gear Notes: single rack to 3in was nice to have, 60m rope was shortest we would have wanted Approach Notes: short, or long, depending on your perspective
  6. 7 points
    Trip: Mt Cleator - Tubby Needs Cheese 5.8+, 9 pitches, 1,000'+ Trip Date: 09/01/2019 Trip Report: It's been a spell since my last report; I offer a tale of an ascetic and a hedonist climbing yet another irrelevant obscurity in their quest for entertainment and raw truth. The weather forecast pointed them east, and Mt Cleator appeared to fit the bill. After a pleasant trail tramp past Buck Mtn and establishing camp, the dialectic duo scouted and debated a number of lines available, and provisionally settled on the cleanest looking one. The line emanates from near the main summit (not the N tower), and is a NW jutting rib that appears to share the granitic character of the pluton on nearby Berge--very little schist encountered. (Other options abound on the N side of this peak up to the N tower, but even these impaired codgers reckoned unappealing the primarily grubby schist on these longer lines toeing down more directly to Buck Cr. They agreed to buy beer for any whippersnapper climbing one of these lines.) For the full Cascades sub-alpinism experience, approach directly from a camp near Buck Creek, where the trail passes close to the creek. Romp up pleasant alp slopes to a band of cliffy terrain, then bunk-jungle up steep alder to pass a waterfall. This approach grants access to the upper basin and the several lines available on the northwestern quadrant of the mountain. For the descent enjoy the scenic trail tour return via Buck Creek Pass. Lots of wildlife encountered--bear, coyotes calling at each other (probably about the bear), deer, etc. The climb's more-technical and mental challenges are concentrated in pitches 2, 3, 8 and 9. (Unfortunately, not many climbing pics taken.) Pitch 2: while the self-styled epicurean showered his pathetic self with sod digging for pro and holds, the wannabe stylite laughed derisively. Pitch 3: the ascetic got his come-uppance, "I wanna go home", but eventually pieced together a lead to the crest of the rib. The middle pitches were more scrambly, mostly mid-fifth and easier. Pitch 8: a sweet, relatively steep and juggy corner. Pitch 9: interspersed short splitters and varied climbing, beautiful and exposed ridge rambling with steeper steps. P1: P3: P6(?), climber low center: On average, the over-indulger and the self-depriver make for a balanced human. In an alternate universe the roles could be switched, and maybe the pair would climb splitter cracks on impeccable stone; but in this one, they reconcile themselves to seeking new lines on inconsistent rock with their mercifully impaired memories. On this climb, a somewhat dirty beginning becomes more enjoyable higher (and with distance). It's difficult to get a well-defined shot of the line. Here's a flavor: Tubby Needs Cheese begins to the left of the shaded red streak on far right, a few hundred ft below that tiny spot of sunshine on the ridge, and continues up to and then on the right skyline. Tubby tops out in the horizontal strip of sunshine, or perhaps just out of view behind the pyramidal feature to the left of it. (The sunlit tower is in the foreground relative to the main summit.) Beckey's CAG vol 2 (2nd ed.) has a good pic of it along with Buck on page 160, swooping down from the main summit clearly marked MT CLEATOR. And from the west, hiking toward Buck Pass: A shot on the way home on Labor Day, TNC in the shade on right toeing down just left of the snow in the basin: More pics (recommend click on 'info' to see descriptions for many): https://photos.app.goo.gl/P2U5SJgB8jU1eQBo8 Gear Notes: Double rack through 3, a 4, some nuts. We didn't use our pins, but some folk might want to. Approach Notes: Park at Trinity. Buck Creek trail, etc. -- see above.
  7. 7 points
    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.
  8. 7 points
    Trip: Stuart/Enchantments - The Enchanted Enchainment Trip Date: 06/30/2019 Trip Report: On Sunday June 30th, I managed to complete a whirlwind tour of the Enchantments' 9 tallest peaks. I think "enchainment" is the right word, since I did not stay true to the ridge crests like a "traverse" would imply. Ever since my route through the Core zone last summer, ticking off the 7 major peaks from Mclellan to Cannon to Argonaut (and also Prusik), I’ve been pondering the feasibility (and stupidity) of adding Stuart to the list. I'm no Peter Croft, so I'd start with Stuart's west ridge. Much route-planning was done. At first I was considering an approach from the south side, to facilitate an easier romp up Stuart, but I think the mileage for that route would be too much for my non-trail-runner legs. So I settled on the Stuart Lake approach and hoped I would be able to find a shortcut to Stuart’s West Ridge (since the West Ridge is almost always approached from the south). Jake Robinson and his buddies did a 3 day trip, ticking the same peaks and provided helpful beta. The ridge from Stuart to Sherpa is fairly straightforward, but I knew from them and others that Sherpa to Argonaut was gnarly. I considered dropping all the way down to the valley trail after Sherpa, but decided I would try a high-ish traverse to save some calf-burn. The only other route-planning decision was to drop straight off Cannon to the car. It is just so friggin alluring!! Cannon is such a slog via the normal route, and the fact that it is geographically so close to the trailhead was too much for me to pass up. Future Tyler be fucked, I suppose. I created an illustrated route overlay of what went down (with actual gpx data), using fancy color-coding and dashed lines to indicate difficulty and tediousness of terrain. (gpx file here). Cause information and maps are fun. I started my pilgrimage at 1:30am, in order to have some light once it got steep on Stuart. I pandered my way through the burned stuff past Stuart Lake and managed to ascend the slopes toward Long Pass without too much difficulty in the dark. I encountered some steep snow to get up to the 7950’ notch on Stuart’s NW face. From the notch I dropped down a bit and traversed some more snow to get to the shortcut gully. The gully had continuous snow, but I was sick of the hard snow in my cramponed approach shoes, so I scrambled up class 3 rock to the right. All in all, shortcutting the west ridge was pretty straightforward and required no technical climbing whatsoever. ^ the view back toward the 7950 notch Everyone and their uncle has posted their version of the west ridge, so I won’t dive into that. I reached el primero cumbre at 7:40am, a bit behind my self-prescribed schedule. From Stuart I meandered down the Cascadian and stepped off toward the Stuart-Sherpa Col. I encountered a short 4th class downclimb, and didn’t reach the col until 8:40am. ^ Fun clouds from the top of Stuart Sherpa’s west ridge was great fun, and I was almost suckered into a beautiful splitter crack before I more responsibly found easier terrain off to the left. I reached Sherpa summit around 9:10am, looked auspiciously at the balanced rock, and decided to save it for another day. The descent off Sherpa was quite straightforward after reading beta on folks descending from the north ridge. A short 4th/5th downclimb followed by trending skier’s left into a scrambly gully until I reached a big-ass vegetated ledge at about 8100 ft, and then more leftward traversing to a broader gully, which I took all the way down to 7200 ft. From here I began the long, much-not-looking-forward-to traverse to Argonaut. In actuality, it was not bad at all, and perhaps even vaguely enjoyable! There are some huge swaths of granite on these high slopes, many of which are littered with fun knobs for easy scrambling. The rest of the terrain was quite straightforward goat-trail meandering. Time-consuming, but not god-awful by any means. I eventually reached Argonaut’s southern gullies and ascended easy terrain until right below the east ridge where I climbed a probably unnecessary section of easy-5th. From there I scampered to the summit (at 12:30pm), with a bit of apprehension as storm clouds began rolling in. From Argonaut, I descended a rap route on the east face, which I had done the summer before. I had found some unused webbing/rings on Sherpa, and used the rings as a nut placement to aid down a somewhat tricky section near the base of Arg (for the next party wondering what the heck is going on there). From here, spirits were high, as I knew I had completed most of the tedious stuff and would be on fairly well-traveled terrain for the rest of the day (not including the hail-mary off Cannon at the end of my route). ^ Looking back at Argonaut A few splits: Colchuck – 2:30pm Dragontail – 3:40pm Little Anna – 4:30pm Mclellan – 6:20pm Enchantment Peak – 8:10pm (I only tagged the NE summit, which may be lower than the SW?) Cannon Peak – 9:40pm ^ Into the core... ^ Stuart & friends from the Enchantment Peaks ^ Stuart & Enchantment Peaks & friends from Cannon Managed to top out on Cannon with a bit of light to admire a hard day’s work (damn Stuart looks so far away!) From Cannon I was feeling pretty good about making it down before my 24 hour goal. After all, the car was only 2 miles away… In the weeks prior, I had done some route-planning using satellite imagery and a topo to figure out the least-bushy way off Cannon. This was helpful but not a perfect solution to the hell-hole that is the 5000 vertical feet of bush, dirt, rock, bush, scree, and bush. Maybe I’m exaggerating, as I was quite delirious at the time and it was dark. The first 3,000 ft were fairly straightforward, with a few cliff-bands to avoid but mostly loose dirt/talus. The next 2,000 ft of vert went from bad to worse. Many cliff-bands were not hinted at by my topo map, and where I had previously plotted a viable line through rocky terrain (while comfortably sipping tea in front of a computer at work), was not actually viable terrain. So into the bushes I went and I didn’t arrive at the trail until around 1:00am. From the trail it was a short, but damn-did-my-feet-hurt, hike to the car. Roundtrip was 23 hours and 35 minutes, 16,865 ft of gain, and 27.4 miles. Frankly, those numbers seem pretty small considering, which I attribute to all the little (and big) shortcuts I connected to make quite an aesthetic loop through some beautiful country. I hope some of this beta is helpful for those looking to enchain some peaks out there or just get some damn good exercise. Gear Notes: Axe, crampons used. Approach Notes: Stuart Lake
  9. 7 points
    Trip: North Cascades- Boston Basin - The Boston Marathon Trip Date: 07/10/2018 Trip Report: This is super delayed, but i was looking though old pics and thought this trip was worth sharing with y'all. Kyle was most certainly the brain-child behind this absurdity. I think it was sometime in the summer of 2017 he mentioned this idea of solo circumnaving boston basin. I was a bit suspicious that things might be a little more involved than was anticipated so told him i'd join in for a recon mission. We trail ran the sahale glacier route one day and gawked at the rest of the ridge, reading the unknown v known terrain and looking at the way the ridges tended to run. It was clear we were going in the wrong direction. For one, we would have to do the tft backwards, which would have honestly been the most chill weirdness. Downclimbing the ridge to sharkfin looked damn near suicidal. So we regrouped and planned a 2 day mission from the other end. We decided to start at the hidden lakes th and start on the triad via the sibley pass approach. When we hit the triad it was clear the "triad traverse" approach as described for marble creek basin didn't really let on to how gnarly the scrambling would be if one were to stay true to the ridge. We estimated summiting the triad sometime before 10 am, somewhere around mid afternoon we finally were running up the eldorado glacier. After tagging eldo via the east ridge, we ran over to the torment col while the sun was setting. After soloing the s ridge of torment in the morning, we realized we again had underestimated our objective, so we bailed down b basin and gorged on berries. One last attempt that summer would be thwarted by an overuse injury. And the september rains came, and boston basin stood like that itch you just cant reach all friggin winter long. Summer came around again and we were racking up at our first opportunity. Sometime in early July. looking back towards eldo and the triad on an early recon We Again set up the car shuttle, but this time the road was closed at the eldo th, and we had 4 days off, so we figured we'd tentatively plan on just tossing the triplets, cascade and j-berg in on the final day (our plan was to scramble the j berg summit ridge and bushwack down the gnar forrest straight back to the eldo th.). Weather ultimately meant this final link would not go, but its certainly something to aspire to. We set off from the trailhead for the triad. This time, we were prepared for the choss. early scrambling Kyle down-soloing some 5.6 choss on the triad Some 4th class funk on the triad 100ft tower we climbed along the way, 5.7 nothing on top suggested we were the first to visit such a bizzare place some more down climbin w face of w triad 5.6 R super aesthetic The first time we visited the triad we stayed true to the ridge crest east of the eastern summit and down-climbed somewhere about a third or half way down the east ridge. This proved to be an extremely dangerous experiment in natural jenga. We pushed off multiple oven to mini cooper sized blocks that impeded safe passage. We ended up bailing down some 500 ft 5.4-5.7 wall to the glacier. This was the boldest down-soloing i've ever committed to and would never be recommended. Remembering this experience, we opted to drop off the ridge after the eastern summit of the triad. A quick jaunt accross the glacier brought us over to eldo. We decided the truest line would be to climb the south ridge of eldorado. We found info on the south face, but none on the south ridge. We thought this odd, but the ridge looked quite reasonable. It ended up providing 4-6 epic and high quality pitches of easy rock climbing. A worthy stand alone mission and my second favorite (second to the west arete) way to summit the mountain. the first pitch gaining the s ridge of eldo second pitch some good ol' fashioned knife ridin good conditions meant a casual walk down the e ridge From the summit of eldo we decided to stop and rest at eldo camp rather than push through the dark to the torment col. I mean, there is a toilet there, thats pretty darn good motivation. We woke up early the next day and scurried across the feint climbers path leading over to torment. The torment col is always a neat place to hang out and fill up water. The true line here is the NW ridge of torment. We quickly glanced at the beckey bible the first time, and saw that it had gone. But when we got to the base of the ridge the gnar choss was quite strong, and we weren't entirely sure if we had the beta memorized, so we bailed back around the mountain to the south ridge. This time around we had taken some photos of the guidebook and decided to turn reason off. Getting on the ridge was the crux, purely mental, it turned out to be fairly easy going. There was one exposed and runout 5.8ish knife-edge pitch somewhere in there, but it all kinda blurred together. Soon enough we found ourselves on the summit of torment and in familiar terrain. The TFT awaited, finally some classic easy ridge travel! A classic b basin white out slowly creeped up as we reached the w ridge notch. It became apparent a storm was comming in so we scrambled to get the tarp up. We knew we were in for a wet night. looking over at the nw ridge of torment the entrance to the ridge, what looked like 5.10 from afar turned out to be 5.6 some more ridge scrambles on torment topping out the crux pitch of the nw ridge looking back at the entrance to the tft. getting on the glacier required a 20ft pendulum, then we had to rap down that high bergshrund. our first overhanging rap off a snow bollard. things were wet and snowy on the "3rd class rock" bypass variation We woke up on day 3 soaked (i say woke up, but there wasn't that much sleep). Rain stopped around 1 pm. The whiteout however persisted. We eventually got restless and started up the w ridge of forbidden. Neither of us had been down the east side of the mountain before, so we knew we were in for a good challenge when the whiteout lingered, but we knew we had to keep going if the traverse was going to go down. Finding the raps down the east ledges was tricky, but not unreasonable, we eventually got onto the e shoulder of the mountain below the start of the east ridge route. and knew that we had no clue what layed ahead, so we tucked tails and pitched the tarp. west ridge with a fog break another little break in the whiteout while descending the east ledges our bivy the next morning, j-berg looking classy as ever We awoke on day 4 with the sun and our first view of the nw ridge of boston. And we were decidedly a little concerned. Nonetheless we packed up and found our way down to the end of the e shoulder of forbidden. if ya think boston peak is choss, try scrambling around out here, it will change your understanding of the word. We reached the end, and the large cliff that would feed us to the the notch below the sharkfin ridge. this was truly un-rappellable terrain. So we backtracked to a low 5th class gully. A very stressful hour of downclimbing and rappelling spat us on the edge of the Qiuen Sabe. Another gully by the notch led us up to the steep hanging snowfield below the sharkfin ridge. We were short on time because of weather and opted to leave the subsummit west of sharkfin for another time. We quickly found ourselves at sharkfin. We climbed something on the sw ridge of the tooth, hard to remember exactly what we did. It was solid, exposed and 5.8. Had a hanging belay and no other signs of climbers. Not sure what we climbed, but it was fun. After some victory food on the summit we rapped off and set sail into a sea of virgin choss. I think there was maybe 1 more rappel to access boston, then we started up the ridge. We soloed about 1500 ft of low 5th class before hitting a vertical section and roping up. A circuitous combination of rappeling and ridge climbing brought us to the famous "ore" describing boston. A knife edge ridge guarded the easier looking summit headwall. The prospect of bailing at that point seemed worse than climbing the ridge, so i pushed up. The rock was best described as feta cheese. And i had to mow about a foot of the surface rock off as i au chevaled to ensure the entire ridge wouldn't collapse with me on it. I fabricated a belay half way across this called "off-belay". Kyle didn't look convinced i had found gear. Climbing delicately through the remaining pitches we found ourselves in unprotectable low 5th. So we soloed to the summit. The register up there is pretty rad, its a neat summit and the regular route doesn't look that bad. A few rappels and we knew we had done it, sahale was like the icing on the cake. And a 2000 ft boot ski down to the sahale arm was the reward. We blasted obscene music and trudged down to the cascade pass th. Overall we pitched out 26 pitches, rappelled 26 times and the gps read 26.2 miles back at the eldo th. A proper cascades test-piece. Some day we might go back and add j-berg. Maybe when memory fails us. "The Boston Marathon" VI 5.8R scouting the downclimb to the qiuen sabe looking over at the nw ridge of boston starting up sharkfin the final approach to boston. We ended up climbing just under the ridge crest for good 4th and low 5th class traversing until the gendarme right before the ridge starts gaining elevation, thats were we roped up the first roped climbing on boston finishing up on the first pitch of the au cheval Heres the track i took of the traverse loaded into caltopo, my phone died for about half of boston peak, so there is a straight line through that section. Gear Notes: Single Rack to 2, 50m half rope Approach Notes: We approached via the hidden lakes th with a car shuttle to the eldo th
  10. 7 points
    Trip: MT. HOOD - Wy'East Face Trip Date: 01/26/2019 Trip Report: With the warm inversion taking place and fairly certain most other routes would be full of falling ice Mike and I decided to climb the Wy'East. We left the car at 4:30am with the temperature in the mid 40's, but the surface/snow temps fairly reasonable. Mike and I left the car with the intention of getting to the top of palmer in under and hour but unfortunately for the 5th time so far this year we just missed it and managed to hit the top of palmer right at 5:36am. Once at the top of palmer we traversed slightly up as we made our way over to the White River glacier. We did rope up to cross the glacier although everything is pretty covered up right now. From here we had a quick look at the South face of the steel cliffs just to see if it might be in condition and it definitely was not so we continued down and around to the standard Wy'East route. This was our first time climbing the full Wy'East route and overall we think that the conditions were pretty good. The guide book is pretty spot on with the description although the traverse really inst that exposed and the overall climbing is extremely straight forward and mellow. With surface temps being a lot better than we had planned we topped out and then decided to run down to illumination rock and see if we might be lucky enough to hit one of the south west side routes before they became ice/rockfall funnels. Unfortunately once we got there and started to head down we quickly realized that we might be a dollar short and a day late as ice was just screaming down. Overall it was a great day with stellar spring like conditions. Gear Notes: 2 x pickets (didn't use them and not really any need for them on this route) Approach Notes: Standard south side route up to Palmer then traversed up and over to the White River Glacier. We roped up for this crossing although everything is pretty closed up right now.
  11. 7 points
    Trip: Mt. Hood - North Face Right Gully Trip Date: 01/02/2019 Trip Report: New year new objectives! Plans, partners, and conditions finally aligned for the north face of Hood. I parked at Timberline and my friend drove us to Tilly Jane. 12am sharp we were on the trail. The approach to the A-Frame was super mellow and took us slightly over an hour. From there we followed a well compacted path to the carin on Cooper Spur. The snow on the glacier was boot deep most of the way. Not bad conditions at all. By 4:20 we stopped at about 8500 feet to nap because none of us got any sleep the day before. Sleeping at the base of Cooper 30 At 5:50 my partner woke me up. I'm pretty sure I was hypothermic but that nap felt soooo good. The slog up to the base of the route uneventful but the sunrise was well worth it. We crossed to the right of the bergschrund. The snow was kind of spooky but it went with ease. After some more slogging we got on the first ice step. It felt WI2-3ish overall. After about 50 meters of climbing I made a belay with a screw and picket. First ice step Me leading up the step The snow between the ice steps was quite pleasant. We comfortably soloed through it, kicking in deep if we needed to rest. Here's the second ice step. It felt pretty easy as well. WI2 probably. A few hundred more feet of slogging brought us to Cathedral Spire. It looked like a fun climb for another day. Climbing up one of those cracks looked compelling and fun. What the snow looked like Summit pyramid. At the summit pyramid we faced the first alpine ice we had seen on the entire route. Opting not to simu-solo, we unroped for the last stretch. Pulling the summit cornice was bittersweet. Throughout the entire route we faced no wind, relatively mild temperatures, and perfect visibility. When we got to the summit, it was a different story. It was a total whiteout, icy wind made everything freeze, and things got pretty damn cold. We decided to descend the old chute because the pearly gates were iced up. We made it down in record slow time, mistaking ice formations for buildings and people a number of times. The descent to Palmer had very little snow, it was mostly these ice rock things. Our lack of sleep was finally catching up to us. When we got to the car, I began seeing imaginary hot air balloons and large apartment buildings. Overall though, it was an exceptional trip. The snow was great. The ice was great. Even the approach was pretty mellow and fun. All in all it took us about 15 hours including the impromptu nap time. I honestly have no idea when we got to the summit. It was a fun but relatively easy romp up the mountain. here's what the descent conditions looked like Gear Notes: 4 Screws 2 Pickets Approach Notes: Follow the trail, descent at the carin
  12. 7 points
    Trip: Lundin - Southeast Ridge Trip Date: 11/17/2018 Trip Report: Ahhhhhhh......... Smooting. Is there ever a better fall activity? Wait, don't answer that. Just look at the photos below and don't feel so sad that the ski season hasn't really started yet (have you bought your Smoot copy yet?). And get a warm fuzzy feeling knowing that @cfire, @genepires, @Kit, and myself all had a very nice friendship hike to the top of a snowy ridge. "Congratulations! it wasn't terrible."- @cfire #moderatealpinism Gear Notes: half rope, ice axe, crampons, helmet, light rack (this time of year). When the rock is dry you can probably scramble it all at a grade of exposed Cl. 4. Snow and ice made it a bit more exciting. Approach Notes: Commonwealth Basin trail to the end and then follow the ridge up.
  13. 7 points
    Trip: Washington North Cascades - West Ridge of Colfax Peak Trip Date: 10/06/2018 Trip Report: With a minor storm dumping snow and quite a few days with sub-zero temperatures, Paul and I headed from Squamish down to Baker to try the Cosley-Houston Route on Colfax. We endured the Friday evening traffic to Sumas and then blasted on to the Heliotrope Ridge TH and bivvied in the back of the truck. Our alarm went off at 0500 and we were on the trail at 0545 by headlamp. We transitioned to boots at the toe of the glacier and immediately started dodging thinly bridged crevasses up to the football field and beyond. One major detour and a pitch of steep neve climbing and we found ourselves at the base of Colfax. The crux on the CH looked a bit too thin for our bravery levels and we weren’t sure how the snowfields above would be - we were a bit worried we'd find fresh pow over kitty litter. So, feeling a bit dejected, we decided to go have a look at the view towards Lincoln Peak from the col and get a photo of Ford’s Theatre. Crevasses were well hidden and a hassle: We noticed the West Ridge looked pretty chill and that aside from a rock step, it might give a reasonably quick access to the snowfields above the CH crux. So we decided to go for it. One mixed snow/rock simul-pitch took us onto the ridge crest (amazing views of Lincoln Peak). A second pitch got us up the ridge to a rock step. It seemed unlikely but a 10m downclimb on the E side dropped us into a perfect SW facing snow couloir with super cool rimed up rock walls. One pitch to the top of this and back onto the ridge crest and we were at another difficult looking rock step. Instead of taking the step, we delicately traversed to a snow ramp and a 20m downclimb to the top of the ice of Ford’s Theatre. From here we followed the route and simuled up perfectly crunchy snow to the top of the CH. Paul doing the downclimb into the convenient SW facing couloir: Descent was via the normal route with one rappel and a MAJOR detour around a full width crevasse on the Coleman at 2650m. More photos attached at the bottom. It would be hard to believe the W Ridge hasn’t been climbed before but I have no idea. Seems pretty unlikely that no-one has wandered up like we did. It would be interesting to find out if anyone had finished the W Ridge directly without bumping left over to the CH snow slopes as the rock walls above us looked serious enough that we didn't give them a serious look. There's probably a way through though! Route: Gear Notes: We used one stubby screw in rime ice, a handful of cams and pins and, actually for the first time in my life, used a picket as pro (and was kinda glad to have it). Approach Notes: Standard Heliotrope Ridge/Coleman Glacier
  14. 6 points
    Trip: Summit Chief - Standard Scramble Trip Date: 09/21/2019 Trip Report: I'm normally not one to hike in and out in the rain, but desperate times call for desperate measure and the end of summer is one such occasion. So, armed with a glimmer of hope in the forecast we marched in to Vista tarns last weekend with our sights set on Summit Chief and Little Big Chief. The former was a Smoot and the latter, well, it looked cool. Spoiler alert, we got the Smoot (straightforward Cl. 3 once you deciphered the description correctly) but not the little one, which proved to be more time consuming in late season than we had the desire for. Still, the area has much to recommend, as you'll see in the photos below. It isn't nicknamed Snoqualmonix for nothing- probably the most rugged terrain south of Hwy 2 is found in this area, and not a lot of peak baggers....yet. Judging by the summit register on Summit Chief, this area is rapidly becoming popular. Going from 1-2 parties a year to 11 this year. So, I guess, I'm part of the problem. And so it goes. Lucky shot: East Face of Chimney Rock: Summit Chief on the left and Middle Chief on the right: Stuart and Waptus Lake: Rainier, Chimney Rock, Overcoat Peak (L-R): Summit of Summit Chief: RIP Franklin: Glacial recession is a bitch: Little Big Chief: We opted to scramble up here and enjoy the afternoon, rather than rushing to climb LBC and arrive at camp after dark: Last dip of summer in an unnamed lake on the way back from LBC : This one: LBC: Three Queens: Bear's Breast (L) and Mount Daniel behind on the right: Overcoat: Chimney Rock and Overcoat in early morning light: Chicken of the Woods: Cooper River in the rain on the way out: Gear Notes: helmet, ice axe, crampons Approach Notes: Pete Lake Trail to PCT to Vista Tarns. We cam out the Escondido ridge "trail" but I wouldn't recommend going up that way.
  15. 6 points
    Trip: Glacier Peak Wilderness - Dakobed Range Circumnavigation Trip Date: 07/13/2019 Trip Report: Did a nice two day solo circumnavigation of the Dakobed Range. Started at the White River TH, went up the Indian Creek Trail (completely overgrown, nearly impossible to follow) and took the PCT to White Pass. Then went into the Whitechuck Basin, over Kololo Peaks, down the Honeycomb Glacier, beneath Tenpeak into the Napeequa Valley. Bivied this pass before tagging Neyah Point in the morning. Took the brushy trail through the Napeequa and up over Boulder Pass and back to the trailhead. It totaled about 50 miles and 12k ft gain. All but four miles (PCT section) of this route were either off trail or on brushy trail, so the mileage was a little more difficult than one might think. The terrain from Kololo Peaks to the Napeequa was pure magic, some of the most remote, stunning scenery I have ever seen in the Cascades. Nothing about this route is too difficult, but there is substantial low angle glacier travel and a bit of tiring side hilling beneath Tenpeak. https://climberkyle.com/2019/07/13/dakobed-range-circumnavigation/ The off trail section of my route. 8 ft tall brush on the Indian Creek "Trail". Deer near the PCT. Nearing White Pass. Tarn in the Whitechuck Basin. On the Whitechuck Glacier. Honeycomb Glacier. Honeycomb Lake. Tenpeak Tarn. Butterfly Lake and Neyah Point. My bivy at Butterfly Pass. Sunset on Glacier peak and Butterfly Lake. Marine layer flowing over Butterfly Pass into the Napeequa. Dakobed and Tenpeak from Neyah Point. Following the stream into the Napeequa. Cirque of the Butterflies - a truly magical place. The Napeequa River. Grassy meadows don't tell the truth... slide alder! Boulder Basin. Gear Notes: Trail runners and poles. You might want crampons, ice axe, helmet, glacier gear depending on conditions and your safety levels. Approach Notes: Terrible, terrible bushwachking. The Indian Creek Trail was miserable.
  16. 6 points
    Trip: Alpine Lakes Wilderness - Mt. Daniel via Snoqualmie Pass (The Alpine Lakes Crest Traverse) Trip Date: 06/30/2019 Trip Report: Over the weekend, Logan and I completed a high route from Snoqualmie Pass to the summit of Mt. Daniel, traversing the remote 7,000 ft+ peaks we call the "Alpine Lakes Crest". We started at Snoqualmie, took the PCT to Chikamin, went over Chikamin, down to Iceberg Lake, up to the Overcoat Glacier, across to Summit Chief Pass, down to the Dutch Miller Gap Trail, up to La Bohn Gap, over Hinman, across to Pea Soup Lake, up Mt. Daniel and down to the Cathedral Pass Trailhead. 37 miles, 14-15k ft gain. The meat of the the trip is a spectacular 20 miles of nearly continuous off trail, above treeline travel. We didn't see a single other soul in those 20 miles. The crux was definitely traversing from the Overcoat Glacier to Summit Chief Pass. Stay high on the ridge and aim for the "key ledge" an obvious sloping ledge about 100 ft below the ridgetop that gets you through the obvious vertical cleft that splits the ridge. The scramble up to the Overcoat Glacier from Iceberg Lake was also a little cruxy near the top on the wet 2nd and 3rd class ledges. On a side note, we figured out a great alternate route up the Lynch Glacier. Climb the ridge on the west side of Pea Soup Lake to a snow finger and ascend this to the Upper Lynch Glacier. This gets you by the lower icefall, which is difficult to even access once the lake melts out. This region may not have any Bulgers, permits, or a national park to its name, but we think it is as raw, rugged, and stunning as any other part of the Cascades we have visited. We crossed four glaciers, passed dozens of sparkling lakes, and danced across remote summits. The terrain was huge: everything we dreamed of and then some. There were so many special spots I don't know where to start. And the line felt so pure and alpine. We did the traverse comfortably in two days, having to route find along the way. Our first day was 11 hours and second was just over 9, so it is definitely doable in one big push, but it is also worthy of 3 or 4 days to enjoy the marvelous spots along the way or maybe bag some more summits. If you want to get it, I'd recommend sooner rather than later because the snow cover makes all the boulder and talus less painful. For more details and beta, see: https://climberkyle.com/…/…/the-alpine-lakes-crest-traverse/ Descending Chikamin. Nice tarns on the backside of Chikamin. Iceberg Lake. Looking up to Overcoat Peak. Crossing the Overcoat Glacier. Chimney Rock. Summit Chief Pass. Little Big Chief. Williams Lake. Chain Lakes. Shoulder of Hinman. Lepul Lake and Baker in the distance. Hinman Summit views. Descending to Hinman Tarns. Hinman Tarns. Alt route: Ascend the ridge and snow finger on the right up to the Lynch Glacier. Pea Soup Lake. High on the Lynch Glacier. Daniel Summit! Daniel summit views. Racing down before the storm hits. Gear Notes: Waterproof running shoes, crampons, ice axe. Didn't bring a rope but some might want to for the Lynch Glacier. Approach Notes: PCT to Chikamin, then straight up the face.
  17. 6 points
    Trip: Banks Lake, WA - Zenith, Emerald, Cable, Razorblades plus others Trip Date: 03/03/2019 to 03/14/2019 Trip Report: With reports of an incredible season at Banks Lake, my partner (Joe Peters) and I decided we needed to get over there. We drove over on March 3 to find a good place to set up a camp. Joe had to finish a couple things at work, but my wife Trisha came out to climb for the 1st two days until Joe got back. Then Joe and I were able to spend another 9 days climbing some of the wildest ice I have ever been on. Banks lake is that good!! I didn't list any grades in this trip report. Banks is a funny place and I found that grades were tricky to judge. In the end I decided that Wayne Wallace was right when he said..."Grades don't matter, everything here is hard." We camped in Joe's tipi tent which is pretty luxurious complete with stove for heat and drying gear. The best spot we found to camp was right across from Salt and Pepper. Camping limit is 15 days, it was free, and there was a toilet. We were able to sit in camp and stare up at Salt and Pepper every evening. Evening light in our camp. The view of Salt and Pepper from camp. (photo credit Joe Peters) Living it up inside the tipi. With that stove we could be sitting around in a t-shirt. It was absolutely essential for drying out boots and other wet gear after climbing every day. Here is a brief overview of our trip. 3/4 - Peewees #2, 3, 4, 6, and 7 3/5 - Climb below Emerald, Trotsky's Folly and Trotsky's Revenge (also called Phase Transition) 3/6 - Peewees #1 and 5 3/7 - The Emerald and Satan's Panties (also called Absent Minded Professor) 3/8 - Tea 'n' the Sahara 3/9 - The Cable and H2O2 3/10 - Unnamed climb in Moses Coulee 3/11 - Bombs over Old Baghdad (the climb across Banks lake at MP3) 3/12 - Shitting Razorblades 3/13 - Salt and Pepper 3/14 - Zenith I will just let the pictures tell the rest of story with a few captions. Peewee's Playground. I referenced these from right to left starting with 1 and ending with 8. Me leading Peewee #4 on the 1st day. A great place to start getting used to Banks ice! (photo credit Trisha Thorman) Craig Pope had just put up this line which he thought was probably an FA. It transitioned from the ice through the rock and out to the hanging dagger. It is Peewee #2 and he named it Turn the Page. This is a couple guys from MT climbing it on TR in the beautiful afternoon sun. The next day Trisha and I climbed this little flow. It was fantastic steep climbing that eased off about half way up. It is right off the road at the Emerald Pullout. It is amazing to me that there are so many of these lines that don't have names. Anywhere else and these good pitches of ice would all be named! Trisha doing a TR lap on Trotsky's Revenge. Day 3 Trisha headed back home and Joe arrived. Here Joe is arriving at the top of the fantastic Peewee #1. This is Satan's Panties (also called Absent Minded Professor). Rumor is that it hasn't come in for multiple years. It was a really fun multi-tiered climb that was a great warmup for the bigger climbs at Banks. The Emerald sits tucked up in a small valley above the main Banks Lake proper. It was a fantastic steep pitch of excellent climbing. It even faced north so it didn't get any sun to ruin the ice! Me leading the Emerald. (photo credit Joe Peters) Joe topping out on the Emerald at the end of a great day! With a cloudy day we decided to brave the lake and head across for some of the bigger lines. Thankfully the lake ice was thick and solid with no noises. The climb directly above me is Tea 'n' the Sahara. The one to my right is unknown.....it never came in this year unfortunately (or at least the dagger never touched down). (Photo credit Joe Peters). A closer view of Tea 'n' the Sahara. This was definitely my favorite climb of the trip. It consisted of 4 steep pitches each about 90-120 feet in length. The ice was typical Banks with plenty of excavating but the position and length of the climbing make it a classic for sure. Joe climbing the final steep 4th pitch. Looking back up at pitch 4 of Tea 'n' the Sahara from rappel. We were able to rappel the entire route with 2 rope stretching 70m rappels......take 70m ropes! (photo credit Joe Peters) The Cable....it is such an amazing, steep, crazy, gymnastic, different route. An absolute must do at Banks. Here Brian Williams is a little past halfway up the long pitch. Me leading the Cable. It is so good......just go do it! (photo credit Joe Peters) The Cable in the setting sun. Next we went to climb H2O2. Here are a couple of unknown climbers on it the night before. Yet another great pitch of climbing right next to the road. Here Joe is putting up H2O2 in the evening sun. The following day we drove over to Moses Coulee. Unfortunately Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were pretty wrecked by the sun. This is an unnamed climb on the same road about 1/2 mile before Butch Cassidy. Looking up at the Unnamed route was awe inspiring. There were so many hanging daggers through the steep upper roofs. I gave it a go on lead but ended up sitting on a screw in the roof. I found out I wasn't fit enough to lock off on a tool and clean hanging daggers for that long. Still an awesome experience! Me approaching the large ice roof of hanging icicles. (Photo credit Joe Peters) The next day was cloudy so we headed back across the lake. This climb is right across from MP3. It isn't in the WA ice book and nobody seems to know what it is called. After staring at it disappearing into the fog above we decided to call it Stairway to Heaven. (Edit: sounds like it is called Bombs over old Baghdad) Here is Joe leading up pitch 2. The next day was time to get on Razorblades. This is a climb that had been on my list to do for a while and it didn't disappoint. Some years the first pitch isn't in or so thin that you can't protect it well. This year it was fat! Me leading up the crux first pitch of Razorblades. I don't think I have ever climbed ice by pulling on ice mushrooms with my hands instead of swinging my tools into the ice....fun but funky! (Photo credit Joe Peters) Finally after staring at Salt and Pepper every night for a week, we decided we needed to go and do it. The guidebook made the 1st pitch sound hard and scary. It climbs the loose rock on the left and traverses up the snow ramp to the ice. It was loose, but I found a decent pin and a couple cam placements. You definitely don't need a #3 C4. I would take a couple of KB pins and a set of cams from BD .3 to #1. The crux step of rock is easy 5th but it is loose and a fall would be very bad. Joe climbing up the steep ice of Salt and Pepper. It was a fantastic climb with big exposure. This is looking straight down for about 300 feet. We wrapped up our trip with Zenith. A fitting end to a fantastic trip. It was very fat this year but still steep and long! (Photo credit Joe Peters) Joe and I on Zenith. Being a roadside crag, many times a few people stop and watch. Sue Tebow was one such person but she was kind enough to leave us her contact information so we could get a couple pictures she took. It is always a treat to get both the leader and the follower in the same picture. Thanks Sue! (Photo credit Sue Tebow) A final parting shot of the huge deathcicle above Zenith. It was so fascinating to look up at but we wasted no time in getting out of there. It consisted of a thin hollow tube of ice that extended 30 feet or so below the cliff. Out of the center poured a huge amount of water. (Photo credit Joe Peters) Gear Notes: Ice screws and 70m ropes Approach Notes: Short and easy unless you are crossing the lake!
  18. 6 points
    Trip: Mt. Hood - Infinity Loop Trip Date: 06/21/2019 Trip Report: After a hard day and a half in the mountains, I'm stoked to report the Mt. Hood infinity loop goes! The past few weeks I was busy with graduation stuff and couldn't get on the mountain. Finally, on the 20th, the weather looked alright and I decided to head up to attempt the loop. My plan was to climb up Cooper Spur, run half of the Timberline trail, climb Cooper Spur again, and then run the other half of the Timberline trail. Knowing how much gear I needed, I cached some food, water, and clothes by Timberline Lodge before I started up. The rest of the supplies I would hike up with and stash at Cloud Cap Campground. At around 4 or so I arrived at the trail head to go to Cloud Cap Campground. The gate was still closed so I hiked up the trail to camp in about an hour and half. The weather was pretty nice despite some wind and clouds surrounding the summit of the mountain. I was all alone at camp which is always welcome. After eating some dehydrated pad thai, I was asleep before the sun set. The beautiful approach hike 4 am rolls around and my alarm goes off. I throw some food in my small pack and head up trail. Everything is going pretty good until I start the switchbacking up to the route. Visibility could have been better, the wind was howling, and I was pretty cold. The tee shirt plus R1 was probably not the best clothing choice for the conditions that day. When I got to tie in rock, I hid behind it and warmed up for a few minutes. Having never been on Cooper Spur before, I was surprised at the type of climbing. The first few thousand feet were basically a moderately steep snow slope, however, the last 600 or so involved thin ice climbing, mixed moves, and lots of exposed rock. I was glad I decided to bring 2 tools. After about 3 and a half hours I was on the summit. There still wasn't any visibility but the wind was gone. I cruised down the old chute and was at Timberline by the early afternoon. Part of the trail up Summit selfie When I got to my cache, I put on running shorts, ditched the boots, crampons, and stocked up on more GU and water. I decided to take the west side of the Timberline Trail first, the west side was longer and would provide less down time before the second summit. The first few miles of the trail were pretty snowy but after Paradise Park it was largely dry. It was pretty wet and fog obscured any scenic view. I think I made it to camp around 7 pm that night, the first climb slowed down my pace on the trail significantly. At camp, I was no longer alone. Apparently the gate opened that day! I was stoked because I could hitch a ride down after my trip instead of hiking back out. After eating some apples and changing into climbing stuff again, I was off on the second lap. This time conditions were absolutely perfect. Clear skies and no wind allowed me to enjoy the stars and see the lights of the city. That view will never get old. This time it took me about 6 hours to reach the summit. I took liberal breaks because I didn't want to be tired for the mixed section. At 2:30, I was on the summit for the second time in 24 hours. It was quiet, clear, and very enjoyable. This time, the descent was harder. The hard snow put a number on my knees during the descent. At this point, the lack of sleep was catching up to me. Cool rock I saw The stunning, but haunted Ramona Falls Creek crossing with huge carin Enjoying better conditions later in the day When I made it back down to Timberline, I had 16 more miles to go. My legs felt surprisingly fresh when I headed out. The first 6 miles or so were cruiser, however, intermittent snow slowed me down on the last little bit. I made it back to the parking lot after 32 hours, 28 minutes, and 8 seconds. This trip was one of my favorites in recent memory. I hope the infinity loop catches on on Mt. Hood. I would love to see some hardmen knock down the time. In total it was 56.65 miles and 20,445 feet of elevation gain. Get after it Gear Notes: Tee shirt and R1 Approach Notes: Road to Cloud Cap is now open
  19. 6 points
    Trip: Bolivia - Cordillera Real - Pequeño Alpamayo, Cabeza de Condor, Huayna Potosí, Illampu, and Illimani Trip Date: 05/26/2019 Trip Report: I just returned from a 3-week climbing trip to Bolvia and figured some folks here would be interested in hearing about the climbing down there. We stayed mostly healthy, had perfect weather and conditions, and the logistics went smoothly, which made it possible to pack in a lot of climbs: May 26 - Arrive in La Paz May 28 - Pequeño Alpamayo (17,618') - West-Southwest Ridge (III, AD) May 30 - Cabeza de Condor (18,530') - Southwest Ridge (III, AD+) June 2 - Huayna Potosí (19,974') - French Direct Route (III, AD+) June 6 - Illampu (20,892') - Northwest Headwall to Southwest Ridge (III, AD/AD+) June 12 - Illimani (21,125') - West Spur / Normal Route (II, PD) June 15 - Depart La Paz My partner and I had previously done similar trips together to Patagonia and Peru, so we felt comfortable designing our own itinerary and climbing alone without guides. I'd recommend this for experienced climbers who appreciate a "faster and lighter" mentality (and only if you have at least one person who can speak enough Spanish to get by). We bought Yossi Brain's 1999 Bolivia Climbing Guide and found enough beta online as well. We did a healthy amount of Google Earth scanning to identify camps and approach trails too. In my trip reports linked above, I've included Strava links with our GPS tracks to save others some trouble (just ignore if you want more suspense : ). In terms of logistics, we flew into La Paz, which is crazy city of nearly a million people in a valley with another million or so on the sprawling altiplano called El Alto. The city is an interesting experience in contrasts, with everything from folks living in dirt-floored huts to a shiny cable car system. La Paz is about 12,000' depending on where you stay and El Alto is about 14,000'. We opted to rent an Airbnb in La Paz for the whole trip as a basecamp (at ~$30/night, this was pretty economical). We started in La Paz for 3 days / 2 nights to acclimate before our first objective, which we deliberately chose to be one of the shorter peaks (Pequeño Alpamayo at 17,618'). This worked well for us. We slowly ratcheted up the elevation over the course of the trip and never felt worse than headaches and throwing up breakfast once. You can hop into the links above to hear more about our experiences and the routes. I've put a few pictures in here to whet your appetite! - Jeff Gear Notes: We brought 5 pickets, 8 ice screws, some nuts, and some pins, just in case. We ended up placing pickets only once or twice on the trip and simul-climbed or simul-soloed almost all of the terrain. Approach Notes: See each trip report for some details on how we got there and a GPS track.
  20. 6 points
    Trip: Kulshan - Coleman-Deming Trip Date: 01/15/2019 Trip Report: I want to give thanks and raise my hands to the Lummi Nation for this safe, successful and amazing trip into their territory and for the company of Kulshan. Drove fairly high up near the trail head with a Subaru WRX, hardly within a 10 min. walk in fact. Super awesome, just need to navigate a thick berm roughly 3 miles down from trailhead. This short distance probably saved us an hour, so starting by 0345 looked super good. Skinned maybe 15 minutes on road before reaching trailhead, transitioned into walk mode on some thin forest coverage. Trail was 95% clear until it wasn’t. Walked for around 40min – one hour before switching into touring. Gained the bottom of Heliotrope Ridge. I was able skin directly up in Magic Carpets, sadly my buddy was forced to carry with his set of mole-hairs. Upon gaining a lower terrace of the ridge, we encountered two gentleman who were super stoked on their coming attempt on Cosley-Houston route on Colfax. After stoking each-others’ fire, we parted. Shortly after we threw on ski crampons, which turned useless as I fell about 5m about hitting their tent. Sorry guys, it hurt my pride than anything. So thus, started the stair-master climb for about 1,000’ up to around 6,8000’ where we returned to the sweet skinning life. Gliding out towards the far skiers’ right of the ridge, after examining the route we pressed on maintaining a high traverse along the flanks of Coleman-Deming. Moving towards the center of the football field, encountered possible wind deposited snow, was harmless but still there. From there navigated through football field, opting for a middle-ish route, towards gaining a small hump parallel to a fatty which was slowly filled in. Containing only one real bridge crossing, it appeared to be filled in more to the right (skiers’ left) and surely with quick movement – or luck – it held, providing no gut-wrenching moments for either of us. Moving forward, the glacier turned more into terraces featuring zigzagging crevasses, although small, daunting and thinner than expected. The decision prior to the climb was to not bring crevasse kits in expectation of a larger snowpack, it will be there after this storm cycle this week but not thick enough for my taste. Thus, below the serac directly skiers’ left, we turned around. Switching back to ski mode, careful navigation down was required. Once reaching 500’ lower, we encountered the two men from around 5am – they were not so stoked this time as they were death marching along our path in boots. Anyway, continued back our ascent path, but opting for gaining the top of Heliotrope for a small photoshoot. Enjoying the clear skies and beautiful company of Kulshan, we had not failed at the end of the day. The ski down, for me, was alright. Not the best with weight on my back, it looked quite more enjoyable for my buddy though. Seems like the route would be much better all-around after a good cycle. Followed ascent path down, was able to ski a solid distance into the forest before carrying skis for maybe 20-30 min. Upon reaching the trailhead, the forest service was delightfully groomed. Back to car around 12, Bellingham 1330. Drove out to Bellingham for a fat burrito lunch and beer – highly recommend, their Mexican food options were superb. Photos courtesy of my awesome homie, Billy K., he's da man Gear Notes: Ski crampons, whippet, crampons, ice axe Approach Notes: Forest walk was alright, just bring some music.
  21. 6 points
    Trip: Three Fingers Lookout - Meadow Mountain Trail Trip Date: 01/26/2019 Trip Report: Me and Fred took advantage of the prolonged crappy skiing to do some mountaineering for a change. We had thought about biking the closed road to the summer trail, but it didn't look that much shorter and I remembered the lower portion of the trail as being pretty crappy from years ago when I did it. With the high snow line it seemed like a good choice... not too sure now. We shouldered our snowshoes and walked from the road closure to 3900' on the Meadow Mountain Trail before we needed to put on snowshoes. The abandoned trail was in great shape, better than some maintained trails I've been on. The snow was pretty soft in the old growth and icy in clearings, so side-hilling was tough with snowshoes on, but we toiled upward. The route it turns out is circuitous in three dimensions... up and down, side to side, all around the map we went, mostly upward. At Saddle Lake we were astonished to learn it was 1 pm. Thoughts of camping early flashed through my mind - and oh yeah, I forgot a pot for the stove, so anywhere but the lookout means no tea, coffee, or mountain house dinners. Bummer. We assumed there would be some kind of pot at the lookout... If we can get in. The north side traverse was thought-provoking on firm sun crust. No-fall terrain for sure. We missed most of the sunset traversing on the north side. At dark we were within 600' of the summit. The rimed rocks of the summit area threw perspective out the window in the headlamp's beam. We seemed to fly upon rocks that seconds earlier appeared hundreds of feet above. It would have been eerie if it hadn't been for the tiredness and the ever-present thoughts of what if. What if we can't get in? What if there is no pot? We had watered up so there was little chance of death by thirst, but it would have been decidedly unpleasant. We dug for an hour and a half through multiple hard ice layers interspersed with sugary snow. It was hard work, and we didn't really know where we were digging. For future reference, the door is on the far lookers left of the building, not near the middle. In short, we figured it out, got in, and spent a lovely night lying about in luxury. Thanks to all the volunteers that keep this place together. Sadly one of the window panes in the door was broken out which let in a bunch of snow that piled behind the door. This made our entry tricky. We removed all the snow, but it will just come back. We couldn't figure out a way to block up the window with the supplies we had. If you go there take a bunch of duct tape or something. The hike out was uneventful, though footsore with wet socks. Next time I'll try the shortcut listed in the comments here: Fred checking out a huge log across the road: Our entry into the lookout: The view from the front door in the morning, photo by Fred: Tricky downclimbing for the first steps of the day, photo by Fred: Looking back at the summit from Tim Can Pass in the morning. The lookout is on the middle peak in the photo: We hiked down into the sea of clouds we saw from the summit: Gear Notes: Axe, crampons, snowshoes. Approach Notes: Meadow Mountain Trail from road closure.
  22. 6 points
    Trip: Buckhorn Mountain - High Traverse Trip Date: 11/18/2018 Trip Report: Sunday was summer-like t-shirt weather in the Olympics! I took advantage and did a high traverse over Buckhorn, NE Buckhorn, Iron, and Worthington from the Big Quilcene valley. The views were incredible and the terrain was engaging albeit a bit chossy. Surprisingly, despite the traverse being well above 6000' elevation, there was zero snow on the entire thing. The difference between the Olympics and Cascades right now is significant. Approximate route: Foreshortened view of Buckhorn(s) and Iron from the Big Q trail: Marmot Pass: Buckhorn from Marmot Pass. The main peak is an easy walkup on trail: Constance, Warrior, and Inner Constance from Buckhorn trail: Mystery, Fricaba, and Deception from Buckhorn trail: View of the traverse from the top of Buckhorn. NE peak in the middle, Worthington on the left. Iron is hidden behind the NE peak. The descent off NE Peak (pictured here) was easily the crux. In general, stay on the east side and pick your way down various chimney/groove/ledge systems. It's never more than 4th class, but a rope could be useful here. Choss lovers delight: Easy slopes up to Worthington: Looking back on the traverse from Worthington. Iron Mountain is middle left, NE Buckhorn middle right, and Buckhorn proper on the right. Big Q Valley from Worthington: After tagging Worthington I dropped down on the east side and traversed below cliffs back to ~4800' on the Big Q trail to avoid any bushwhacking. A staged bike and a continuation over Hawk, Welch and all the way to Townsend (pictured here) would be a great alternative exit: That'll do summer 2018, that'll do... Gear Notes: Helmet! Approach Notes: Nice trail
  23. 6 points
    Trip: Argonaut Peak - North East Couloir Trip Date: 11/17/2018 Trip Report: Yesterday Conrad and I climbed the North East Couloir of Argonaut. We found fun, and challenging conditions. We left Leavenworth around 3:20am and were headed up the trail by 4:00am. We moved quickly along the trail to the spot we had decided we would branch off and cross mountaineers creek. Upon crossing, we filtered more water and started our bushwhack as it became light. After a while in the trees we ended up in a small boulder field and found a string of cairns. Though headed more toward Stuart we opted to follow. This proved to be fruitful as they led us toward the tree finger that allows one to avoid the bushwack from hell in the slide alders. We followed the beta from Jens Holsten posted on a previous TR that said "Here is the beta: After crossing Mountaineers Creek, cross over a wooded rib or two and then head straight south through the woods. DO NOT enter the boulder field until you have literally walked out the end of the woods as far south as the trees extend. At this point you can hook back left on a talus finger that avoids all that nasty bush whacking." Posted on a TR from 2011. This beta proved to be key and accelerated the approach. We ascended the talus and frozen dirt and caught up to a group of three. We never were close enough to talk as we went futher left to climb some approach ice smears. Approach Ice Once in the Couloir we soloed up to the first rock step. This had a steep smear of ice and proved to be great fun. The ice filled the crack enough that I had to run it out on the smear but felt pretty secure. From here we unroped and continued booting up the snow with a few sections of easy rock mixed in. We passed the alternate route that Jens mentions and opted not to take it due to it appearing to not take any gear. (Thin ice line in right of photo, will definitely take if I climb this again) Above this there was another steep rock step which we climbed on its right and turned out to be a one move wonder, one hook over the top followed by lots of grunting to pull myself up the to top of it. Following this pitch we unroped and continued all the way to the notch looking south. Should have gone right to gain the snow slopes at some point but we ended up here and wrapped around on to the south face. We found what looked to be our easiest line up from there and Conrad led this feature up mostly rock with a snow dusting to the snow slopes (sorry, no photo, but it was very difficult and pretty heady, glad I didnt lead it). We booted up a nasty breakable crust to the summit ridge. This was exposed but fairly easy and we opted to solo everything. After a summit snack around noon (I think??) we retraced our steps and following one rap on tat we were in the col at the top of the couloir. (Photo climbing on to summit) Retracing our steps: We continued down the East ridge another 30ft to another tat anchor and rapped from here into the top of a snow gully leading south.We booted down this to the flatter southern slopes. We chose to descend the col between dragontail and colchuck peak to colchuck lake so we started our sunny slog to there. Once at the col we could tell light was starting to fade and we had long since finished out water so we didn't lollygag. We started down the Colchuck Glacier and quickly hit the bergshrund. There was a thin snow bridge that we chose not to trust and instead took the leap... We found lots of steepish exposed glacial ice and spent a lot more time on the front points as we climbed down toward the lake. Eventually we ran out of snow and ice and switched to approach shoes and started walking down the rocks (now covered in frost). We made it to the trail right about when we needed our lights and has a nice (read: long and tired) walk out, arriving back at the cars at 7:00. For future fall climbers, the thin ice line to the right in the third photo appears that it would be a very fun alternate route. This is a very fun fall alpine route! GPS Track, (disclaimer, we didn't follow the best route 100% of the time) http://www.movescount.com/moves/move254799988 Gear Notes: We took 3 screws and never placed one, but would still take one or two because ice was around. A few nuts and a few cams from fingers up to bd #2 proved to be most useful. Had pins but never placed any. Approach Notes: Follow the cairns if you find them and take the tree finger up as much of the talus slope as you can (stay further right than you'd expect).
  24. 5 points
    Trip: Snoqualmie Pass - Commonwealth Ultimate Ridge Linkup (CURL) Trip Date: 07/28/2019 Trip Report: Anthony and I did a fun enchainment of Guy Peak (south side), Snoqualmie, Lundin, Red, Katwalk Peak (north of the Katwalk), and Kendall. There was some exceptional scrambling, hours of exposed "Beckey 4th class". We tried to stay on the ridge proper as much as possible except for when it was simply too sketchy in trail runners or it was too vegetated. Here's some beta: - Guye Peak: approached from underneath the west face, we climbed a rib to the left of the South Gully, this offered some amazingly steep, hero juggy scrambling. - Snoqualmie to Lundin: There is an incredible knife edge just after Snoqualmie. West ridge of Lundin is cruiser, bypassed the impassable gaps on the left with some low 5th. - Lundin to Red: There is an optional gendarme (which we took) partway down the ridge which was probably the crux of the entire route for us. We left the Red Pass trail and the talus field and climbed a gully system to the summit. - Red to Katwalk Peak: The descent off Red was nowhere near as bad as people describe. Partway along the ridge, we ran into "The Cleft", a vertical impasse that splits the ridge. We had to descend a few hundred feet before finding a fourth class weakness through it, then climb back up to regain the ridge. - Katwalk Peak to Kendall Peak: mostly vegetated at first, but with some fun knife-edge right before the Katwalk. Kendall North Ridge is cruiser. It totaled 12 miles, 6.5k ft gain, and took us 8:23. Apparently it has been done in four hours . https://climberkyle.com/2019/07/28/commonwealth-ultimate-ridge-linkup-the-curl/ Scrambling steep terrain up the south face of Guye. More fun higher on Guye. Full view of the CURL. The middle summit of Guye. Awesome knife edge after Snoqualmie. West Ridge Lundin. Red mountain and the ridge. Crux gendarme. Some loose scrambling on Red. Fun slabs on the downclimb of Red. The 4th class weakness through the Cleft. \ Above the Kendall Katwalk. Red mountain with the Cleft visible on the right. Nearing summit of Kendall Peak. Gear Notes: Helmet, running vests, approach shoes. Approach Notes: Start up the neighborhoods beneath the west face of Guye, climb talus to the base, then curve right to the south face.
  25. 5 points
    Trip: Mount Stuart - Upper North Ridge via Stuart Glacier Trip Date: 07/23/2019 Trip Report: On Tuesday, July 23, my friend Alex and I climbed the Upper North Ridge of Stuart via the Stuart Glacier and notch, car to car in 18.5 hours. I've never posted a trip report before, but I thought I would now that I've climbed the ridge twice and learned a few things - the first time climbing the complete North Ridge two years ago. We made all kinds of mistakes on the complete North Ridge at that time, spending an extra day on the mountain. I wanted to climb the ridge quicker and smarter with a good idea of what to expect. Although Alex doesn't have a lot of alpine experience, he's an endurance machine and a great climbing partner. We left the car at 3:20 a.m. after spending the night in Alex's cozy Honda Element. Topping off our water at Lake Ingalls, we could see lightening flashes in the distance to the south. As we crested Goat Pass it looked like Rainier was getting blasted. We hit the Stuart Glacier a little over four hours in. Almost at the end of the glacier traverse, the thunder and lightening were very close together and we were getting hailed on. We huddled together on a flattish scoop to let the hail pass, weighing our options. Before too long it looked like things were clearing so we headed up the gully to the bivy notch, arriving there at about 9:45 in good spirits and with more blue sky. Alex and I mostly simul-climbed to the gendarme with a few belays set up. We climbed the gendarme in two pitches, as normally done, and hauled packs up both pitches. There were some issues with the axes getting jammed, but we were able to free the jams pretty easily. I was feeling worked at the upper section of the first gendarme pitch and pulled through on a few pieces (the mental crux for me). I find the second gendarme (off-width) pitch much more enjoyable. The right forearm jams feel secure and the exposure on that pitch is exhilarating. There are two fixed pieces on that pitch - one on the initial steep face climb and the #4 that's been there forever. After the gendarme we passed the spot where my friend Gabe and I had to bivy two years ago. Glad to move past that! There's an airy traverse shortly after which looks way harder than it is (two years ago we used the rappel slings to go into the gully and picked our way back up some less enjoyable pitches to the top). The traverse led to a fun 5.7 hand-crack that felt super secure, then one more airy traverse a little above that and the summit at 4:00. It felt great to put our sore feet into tennies as we picked our way down to the false summit and Cascadian Couloir. (Two years ago I started heading down the first couloir - what a dumb mistake that was!). Make sure you use caution on the top entrance to the couloir. Everything is pretty unstable but then leads to some easy plunging through dirty scree. Scree trails eventually disappear, and then come and go through the couloir. After making it out of there we finally found a solid water source at the first creek crossing on the Ingalls Creek Trail. After a brief rest there my body started to rebel. It's amazing how, when the body doesn't have to be on guard anymore, it can start to bonk. I had a hard time controlling my heart rate even on the flat trail and tried to get calories and water down. It was a slow slog for me back up to Longs Pass, which we hit around sunset, and our adventure culminated in a windy, tired cruise back to the car, clocking in at 9:50. Alex still had enough energy to drive all the way back to Bellingham while I passed out. A few lessons I've learned on this ridge (one of the best alpine climbs I've ever done): Do not underestimate the scale of this mountain. The approach is long, the ridge is long, the accumulation of a lot of fun climbing moves starts to wear you down, and it takes a lot of mental concentration over a sustained period of time (including all the way down the couloir where there are opportunities to slip or cause rock fall, and it would not be fun to descend that in the dark). It's a committing route. Once you get high on the ridge, up and over is the way down. I've bivvied high up with very little food and water, and it wasn't a fun experience. A lot of parties find themselves with unplanned bivies. Respect the mountain! If you don't bring a stove, you may not have any water sources until the bottom of the couloir. That's a long stretch (for me, it was a little over two liters from Lake Ingalls, all the way up and all the way down the couloir to the first creek crossing). Be thoughtful about water. Don't forget to pause along the way and enjoy your setting on the ridge, which is one of the most spectacular places I've ever been. Attached pictures include Alex looking at distant storms, Alex on ridge between notch and gendarme, Kevin on slab with crack just below gendarme, summit photo. Gear Notes: One 60m rope folded in half for simul-climbing and hauling packs over gendarme, rack: singles to 3" with an extra .75 and small set of wires and hexes, 9-10 slings, ice axes, crampons Approach Notes: Southern approach from Ingalls Creek Trailhead
  26. 5 points
    Trip: Colchuck Balanced Rock - West Face Trip Date: 06/23/2019 Trip Report: Some people use the solstice for really long days from sunrise to sunset, getting in as much adventure as possible. We used it to sleep in and still get in a full day of awesome climbing. Leaving the trailhead at 9am we made quick work of the hike up to the lake. From there it was uncharted terrain for the both of us. The climbers trail was way easier to follow than we expected, very well cairned and worn down. The wall looking very very good Two guys crushing Let it Burn. They looked very cool from our route. Such a cool looking route! The corner had one serious wet patch that thwarted my OS. Not bad at all though. I got very cold at the belay under the corner, making for some numb tips on the traverse. Sean about to onsight the freaking crux! Unfortunately I got no photos of the chimney. I thought it was fun. Sean did not. The descent to the base was pretty cruiser. About 50/50 kitty litter to snow. A fall on the snow could be pretty bad if you don't stop but definitely not worth bringing an axe on route, just be careful. There are currently no bugs at the base or on route. Overall the route is in great condition. Only one small wet patch up near the top of P4 and the only fixed gear is the nuts and pins at the top of P4. I cleaned a fixed nut out of the crux thinking my partner had placed it. It came out very easily. Our time came in around 11.5 hours C2C giving us enough time to go get some dinner in town. Gear Notes: Double rack .1-2 single 3&4. A bunch of slings and a single rack of nuts, mostly small. There is no longer a fixed piece at the crux. Sorry. Approach Notes: All snow free and in good condition.
  27. 5 points
    Trip: Mount Constance - Finger Traverse Trip Date: 05/23/2019 Trip Report: This past Thursday, Zorina and I climbed Mount Constance via the Finger Traverse. I know there's a lot of route info out there, but this website needs trip reports and maybe someone wants a conditions update The trip was great: the route was interesting and in the conditions when we were there, a little taste of everything: talus, steep snow, scree-skiing, slab, class 3/4/5 scrambling, and sweet ridge-walking. And an improbable-looking giant summit block! Wednesday we made the approach to Lake Constance. We didn't want to mess around with bikes, but it wasn't a big deal. It's about 5 miles along the Dosewallips from where you can park to the turn-off for the unmaintained trail up to the lake. The trail is flagged/marked the entire way and easy to follow. Cool trail: burned out steep section, flatter middle section with crazy moss and enormous boulders (glacial erratics?!), and then some root pulling up top. Lots of blowdowns the whole way. Saw lots of wildflowers and trees in bloom, including rhododendrons, lupine, indian paintbrush, and a dogwood. Lots of some big beetle and an interesting black and yellow millipede-like insect. At the lake, we did have to cross some sections of snow to get around to the north side where there are a few camp spots. Bear wire and toilet intact! TONS of fish, wish I had a fishing setup! (I think we saw a sign that said after June 1, fishing is allowed.) The snafflehounds were out in full force, and it appears that one gnawed a hole through Zorina's water bladder (of course, right at the bottom...) In the morning, we got going around 6 AM and were on talus then snow and a bit of scree gully up to the notch with a rainbow behind us. Descending traverse over to the next gully system, and then up scree or more solid rock scrambling. Not bad! At the next (E-W) notch, a rising traverse and some steep snow. Working our way over, finding a few cairns, we finally found the finger traverse, which is exposed but manageable; it was still under snow for probably half of it (I think?) so it might be harder once all that melts out. As it was, there was a nice moat for your feet for part of it. Then some more ridge walking, some steep snow traverses, then a descending traverse to the base of a gully in these crazy choss pinnacles. Ridge scrambling fun, then to the summit block -- spiral scramble staircase up the back, and then you're on top! I really should have brought my skis... Photo by Zorina A pair of bald eagles soared on thermals for a good 3 or 4 minutes while we were up there. Spectacular summit views including Puget Sound and islands, Mount Baker, Mount Rainier, The Brothers, Jupiter, and Olympus! Photo by Zorina Photo by Zorina The descent was uneventful, with some down climbing and plunge stepping and boot skiing (both on snow and scree) and some glissading. The steep descent after the lake was not for the weak-kneed. Owch. Luckily, no one had broken into Zorina's car! A great ending. Times: 6ish hours up from lake, 3.5ish hours back to lake. Gear Notes: Light axe, light pons, 30m rope and a few nuts if you want to protect the finger traverse Approach Notes: Dosewallips River Road to road end; walk/bike road to well-signed turnoff for Lake Constance
  28. 5 points
    Trip: Forbidden Tour - Standard plus Eldrorado ski Trip Date: 05/05/2019 Trip Report: I'd been wanting to do this tour for more than a dozen years and I wasn't disappointed....Let's just say that. We did it in a leisurely three days (camp one below Sharkin) which allowed for a full afternoon of oogling at one of the premiere deep holes in the range - Moraine Lake. Often looked at, but rarely visited, it has vistas that even Harvey Manning would struggle to translate into words. If you follow our itinerary, on days one and three you should expect shenanigans, which are mostly unavoidable, but such is the price for one of the great adventures in the range. It is worth the price of admission. Special kudos to the young Tyler, for putting up with the predictable banter (chronic pain, kids, politics, etc.) from a bunch of middle aged dudes for a few days, and gamely signing onto a trip where he didn't know any of us. Your enthusiasm for the range will serve you for many years! I could've spoiled it for you with a lot more info, but I'll let you dream about it for a few years and imagine, like I did. Gear Notes: Skis or splitboard. Whippet or light axe. Boot crampons, ski crampons, helmet, crevasse rescue gear, enough rope for a 30m rap. Approach Notes: Sharkfin col (go up the easy gulley but not all the way- turn left halfway up to established station) to Boston Gl. to Forbidden Gl to Moraine Lake to Inspiration and out standard Eldo trail.
  29. 5 points
    Trip: Buckner Mountain/Mount Buckner - North Face Trip Date: 05/14/2019 Trip Report: Last week, Tyler and I skiied the Sahale Arm. This past Monday/Tuesday, though, we decided to ratchet it up a bit and go check out the north face of Buckner. Our plan: Boston Basin > Boston-Sahale Col > Boston Glacier > camp > Buckner > Horseshoe Basin > Sahale Arm. With skis/splitboard! We had a beautiful, amazing adventure! We discussed our hesitation with Tuesday's 2-4" snow and gusty winds forecast; I really appreciated Tyler's rational explanation of how it probably did not mean certain death, but that he was open to other objectives, too. "I just want to be in the mountains." We decided to take fuel and food for an extra day if we ended up needing to hunker down.We left the Boston Basin trailhead with a fine alpine start of a bit past 11 AM. Tyler decided to try carrying his splitboard as Star Wars thrusters. I decided not to ski strap my skis together, and we both thought our mods worked well! I think he's doing a shakedown, stability-test dance We were able to get onto snow relatively quickly and start skinning. Conditions were great, fairly cool and mostly overcast. We were able to skin all the way to the col with no issues, then switched to crampons and made our way up and around the ridge toward Boston. There was a little section of steepish snow to go around to wrap onto the Boston Glacier side: About to get over onto the shoulder of Boston; Boston Glacier in background. Photo: Tyler But then we were on the glacier, transitioning to skis/splitboard, and having a blast on the great snow!! The sun had come out for a bit, and it was amazing. These two photos are looking toward Sahale: We skiied/splitboarded around the huge crevasses and made our way toward the bottom of the north face. We had to skin a bit, but then soon we were making a sort of snow lean-to in the slope. Tyler made sure to put in a skylight/window. The sunset over Forbidden was fantastic, and the night was wind-less. Tuesday at 5 AM was when the weather was supposed to move in, but there was just light overcast and nothing ominous in sight, no wind. We packed up and started uphill... about 20 minutes or so after we began, I punched through some rock moat thing up to my chest (feet dangling in space until I realized I could kind of stem). Exciting! After I extricated myself, our headlamps revealed ~8' down to some big rocks. I was super super slow on this section and Tyler was extremely patient! About halfway up the face, we saw the nasty black clouds coming in and the snow finally arrived. As we got toward the summit, the winds picked up. Finally we were on the summit (Tyler signed the register/log and noted that the last entry was last October, hmmm) and then quickly off, downclimbing steep icy-ish slopes to the southwest in very low visibility. Photo: Tyler Photo: Tyler We found a shallow moat to shelter in as we refueled ourselves, and then we continued downclimbing for about 800ish feet to where the angle eased up a bit. We put on our skis/splitboard and carefully made our way across the icy-ish slopes of Horseshoe Basin and all of the avy debris. By this time it had changed to rain, and the snow was softening up. We got some good turns in! Finally we were toward the bottom of the exit gully and put the skis/splitboard away, and booted up and up and up in very low visibility. Some phone GPS-checking confirmed our route in the (did I mention?) very low visibility: Finally, within sight of Sahale Glacier Camp, we put on our skis/splitboard and got some good turns in without succumbing to too much vertigo, using our Sahale Arm ski memories to get into the Soldja Boii Creek drainage and with only a few minor tree shenanigans, finally got to the end of the snow, and then popped onto the Cascade Pass trail, and then back to the car! The pizza and beer were well-earned. I'm really grateful that I was able to go on this adventure with Tyler. He's patient, kind, generous, and encouraging. Thank you, Tyler! :-) Times: Day 1: 8ish hours Day 2: 9ish hours Gear Notes: 1 60m half/twin rope --> not used 3 pickets + 2 long screws --> not used One regular axe + one tool --> good Skis/snowboard --> worth bringing! Ski crampons --> yes Bivy sacks + shovels --> dope Goop --> yes (Tyler's calorific concoction of peanut butter, chocolate chips, and oats, in a ziplock bag) Approach Notes: Through, up, up, over, down, around
  30. 5 points
    Trip: Mt Hood - North Face Trip Date: 05/01/2019 Trip Report: For the detailed version, check out the post on my blog. Went up the North Face Right Hand Gully on May 1st, 2019. The climbing was in great conditions. The shrund is definitely opening up and may become more complicated to cross over the next few days. The right gully fully goes all the way to the summit without any significant difficulties. The two ice pitches are in fat/easy condition. Get at it! Gear Notes: Alpine ice climbing gear Approach Notes: Tilly Jane trail in good condition!
  31. 5 points
    Trip: Bryant Peak, Melakwa Flows - Possible FAs: Ice routes on West Face Bryant Peak (WI4, 60-70 degree snow) and Melakwa Flows (WI4-) Trip Date: 01/27/2019 Trip Report: On the warmest weekend of a warm winter here in Washington, Jacob Krantz and I set out to explore some undocumented ice lines near Snoqualmie Pass I had spotted earlier in the winter. We did some research on the internet, Beckey Guide, and WA Ice guidebook but found nothing about these climbs, so these are possible FAs or FRAs at least. We climbed an awesome 4 pitch route on the West Face of Bryant Peak to the summit and a fun 2 pitch route in an area I've been calling the Melakwa Flows. The Melakwa Flows are an incredible group of ice flows of varying grades near Melakwa Lake. It's mind boggling to think we could not find anything about climbs in the Melakwa Flows, considering they are probably one of the densest concentration of reasonably accessible ice climbs in WA, especially impressive considering the warm temps lately. Hot Tubbs (WI4, 60-70 degree snow) West Face Bryant Peak Although only 4-5 pitches, we thought this route was awesome, offering a substantial amount of moderate ice, steep snow, and wild exposed summit pitch. It packed a lot of punch for such a short and accessible route. We also managed to stay in the shade the whole time, starting around 10 am. We'd love to see others get after it and some other possible ice lines on the west face! P1: Climb thin low angle ice to the vertical WI4 curtain. Send the curtain then continue up easier terrain to set a belay in fat ice. P2: Climb up progressively steepening fat ice to a WI3+ bulge. Above, continue up another 20-30m on 45 degree snow to a group of trees for the belay. P3: This is a long pitch (~80 m). Simul climb up snow, trending left as the cliffs force you. Establish a belay on a snag at the notch on the spine of the North Ridge. Watch cornices here. P4: Traverse right across wildly steep and exposed snow (60-70 degrees) on the north face, using trees for protection. At the third and tallest tree, make a few thin ice or mixed moves up a slab and continue straight up another 10-20m to the summit ridge. Descent: hike down the west ridge a few hundred feet until it flattens a little, then make a single 60 m rappel off a big tree down to the bottom of the west face. Approaching the first pitch. Top of the flow is part of the second pitch. Jacob crushes the WI4 crux. Looking up at the second pitch. Navigating between the two pillars at the top felt like WI3+ to me on lead. The ice here was FAT! Simulclimbing bomber snow on the third pitch. Steep exposed snow traverse to start pitch 4 out onto the north face. It was super unconsolidated and unsupportive. Would have been terrifying if it wasn't for all the trees! Jacob finishes the last bit of steep snow to the summit ridge. Walking along the wonderful summit ridge of Bryant, Kaleetan and Chair in the background. The Line of Fire (WI4-) Melakwa Flows These routes are on a cliff band just north west of Upper Melakwa Lake, easily visible from the upper lake. They look like they have considerable avalanche danger above, so beware. Even though we approached in the dark from our camp Sunday morning at Melakwa, we still only got in one two pitch route before this face got blasted by the sun and snow started coming down. The ice was often pretty soft to take screws, but I imagine if you hit this area in a cold snap or even just normal temps it would be incredible! It is a total ice playground, with easily a dozen routes 150-300 ft long ranging from a rambly WI3 to free standing WI5 pillars! There were incredibly fat sections of ice by WA standards. We hope this inspires others to go explore this gold mine of WA ice climbs! P1: find your way through mixed terrain or thin ice up to the base of the FATT pillar. The pillar is vertical or near vertical for 15 feet and super bomber, WI4-. Make a belay in some thick ice across the snow ramp above. You could skip this first pitch by ascending the snow ramp to the right. P2: A long pitch (~150ft) of rambling WI2-3 terrain, with at least half a dozen WI3 steps one to two body lengths in height. It's choose-your-own-adventure here. Total type 1 fun. Except for at this point, I was on lead getting pummeled by huge clumps of snow. It was still awesome. We ended at a big tree anchor. Descent: Single 60 m rappel down to the steep snowfield ramp, down climb as quickly as possible to get out of the line of fire. Climbing steep snow to the base. We took the pillar in center right of the photo. Jacob led up this thin section to gain a ramp leading to the pillar. We don't recommend this start. There were other options to the left. Approaching the beautiful pillar. So big and wide. An abundance of options on the second pitch. There's even more rambly ice to the left out of this photo. Me leading some awesome WI3 fun. This was right before I started getting pummeled I believe. Looking down from the top of P2. It looks like mostly snow, but you cannot see all the little ice steps from above. It was very high quality. Approximate location of the flows. As temps cool down next week, I think these climbs will just get better and better. If there's awesome WA ice on a blistering hot weekend like this, it ain't so bad! So get out there and send, WA ice climbers! Want more beta and photos? Check out my full trip report at https://climberkyle.com/2019/01/27/new-snoqualmie-pass-ice-climbs/. Gear Notes: We used 9 screws of varying lengths (much of the ice is quite thick actually, but still bring the stubbies), 1 picket, 8 slings, a few nuts. Double 60 m ropes are nice for the rappels, but there are walk off options also. Prepare to make you own rap anchor if you don't fine ours. We brought cams and pitons also but never really used them. Approach Notes: Either approach up the Denny Creek Trail to Melakwa Lake or over Bryant col (north saddle of Bryant) via Great Scott Basin from Alpental like we did. It took us 3 hours with overnight packs from Alpental to the West Face of Bryant, and about 3 hours from the Melakwa Flows back to Alpental with similarly heavy packs. Note there is considerable avalanche danger on these approaches, so proper gear and training is recommended.
  32. 5 points
    Trip: Mt Hood - Pearly Gates - Left Trip Date: 01/13/2019 Trip Report: Just a quick conditions update for Mt Hood. Took the left option in Pearly gates and found a short step of ice, maybe 5-6 feet. Followed by maybe 10 meters of low angle ice. It is in great conditions for those comfortable on water ice. Downclimbed the mazama chute. All the old chute routes are in and straightforward steep snow climbing. Saw several parties heading up DKHW and am interested to hear a conditions report there. Based on the ice in the gates I expect the headwall to be in shape with good ice. My 17th and first solo Hood. Well, except for the rest of the hoard. The hourglass: \ Crappy pic of the step: Top of the ice: Summit Pano: Gear Notes: 2 tools Approach Notes: Less painful in the dark.
  33. 5 points
    Trip: Alpental Source Lake - Rap Wall Trip Date: 01/20/2019 Trip Report: This was Priti and I's first pilgrimage to lay eyes on and pay homage to Rap Wall. We brought the tools and rope for a walk but had no idea what we were in for. This was a scouting mission to a get a lay of the land. I've since pieced the various Bryant Buttress routes together using the Washington Ice book and various trip reports/blog posts. The GPS Coordinates in WA Ice are spot on, btw. For an aerial view, see page 24 in the book "Backcountry Skiing Snoqualmie Pass": the number "2" is just over the climber's left-most flank of Rap Wall. Also, GerritD has a good far-away look in his comment here: Route Overlays: Since I couldn't find a good topo of the area anywhere, I overlaid some photos with some of my guesses. Please *respectfully* correct me, and I will update the overlays. Left to Right: Rap Wall, Bryant Buttress Left, Ghost Dog (the only route in the cave, aka "Hotline Wall"; the "Hotline" route is a freestanding pillar that will occasionally form over the cave), Bryant Buttress Right. Below Hotline Wall is Not Quite a Plum Conditions: -Alpental Falls: Not in -Kiddie Cliff: Not in (some short, thin ice on the right?) -Not Quite a Plum: short ice steps and deep snow -Bryant Buttress Right: Interesting, thin WI4/4+ flows! -Hotline: the right side of the Hotline Wall has an interesting-looking, steep WI4 traverse-y thing -Bryant Buttress Left: In mixed conditions (gear?) -Rap Wall: Icicles at the top of the cliff band. May want to rap in and hack them off first, so you protect the belayer? Some interesting WI3/M4 lines on the right side of Rap Wall (visible in pictures above) Approaching just beneath Hotline Wall (Ghost Dog) Interesting traverse up and right of Hotline Wall. Looks like WI4 traverse out left, then up for ~15m with good stubbies. Short, wide, thin sheet of WI4 on Bryant Buttress Right (further up and right from Hotline Wall). Continuing even FURTHER up and right from Hotline Wall (right of Bryant Buttress Right) is little mixed gully which could be fun. The cave at Hotline Wall Overhanging top of Ghost Dog Peering up at Ghost Dog. Can you pick out the swaying quickdraws? Very comfy spot to stash packs at Rap Wall (between Guru and Chuck D) Approach: Park in the furthest lot up Alpental, then take winter trail to Source Lake. Once you arrive at the lake and the terrain flattens and opens, up and climber's left is an open gully (visible in the third picture below) and you will see "Not Quite a Plum" and "Hotline Wall" (the cave where "Ghost Dog" is). You can easily skin up the left side of this gully. Gaze upward at the visionary line of Ghost Dog in the cave and pick out the dozen or so quickdraws blowing in the wind up and through the roof. In the book "Backcountry Skiing Washington Pass", this line is called "No Fog" and is also the approach to The Tooth (which cuts back way climber's left). If you were to continue up and left, you will get to Great Scott Bowl, Pineapple Pass, and The Tooth. If you are skiing down, stay in the open glade just below Rap Wall ("one of the best pow runs in the valley") since the open gully on skier's left (just below "Not Quite a Plum" is chunky and unpleasant right now. Gear Notes: Bring lots of stubbies. An adze to chop out bolts and anchors. Pickets if you're trying to rap in and set a top rope. Some routes are truly mixed, so sharpen those points. Approach Notes: Deep snow. Floatation required.
  34. 5 points
    I went up to Chair Peak last two Saturdays. I noticed a hard, 1/4" thick layer of ice under the snowpack. Last Saturday it was covered by 12" of unconsolidated snow. The steep slopes in Chair basin had slid below the SW Chimney all the way to the hard layer. I personally find the persistent sliding layer unusual for the Cascades, and I don't think the warm, wet weather this week will do much to consolidate the snowpack to the sliding layer or below it. I am concerned that the sliding layer will persist throughout the winter causing high avalanche danger until some kind of event or change in conditions bonds the ice layer to the layers below and above it. Please be mindful as you head out into the backcountry this weekend that avalanche conditions appear to me to be uncharacteristic of the Cascades. Be safe out there.
  35. 5 points
    Trip: Alpine Lakes Wilderness - North Buttress Couloir Trip Date: 01/12/2019 Trip Report: Began ascent around 0615, cruised up the road following tracks to trailhead for Cashmere mountain. From there broke trail all the way to turn around point. Navigation through the forest was quite poor, even though done this portion plenty of times, still got lost at certain portions. Took about 5 hours to reach Colchuck Lake, was humbled by process of breaking trail and poor skinning skills. Opted to not cross on the lake just wasn’t vibing with it. Sat around for around 40 min. warming hand and waiting for visibility to open up. Pushed out towards far side of Colchuck Lake where weather was much better even just 100’ higher. Hugged skiers’ left on boulder field proved worth it, wish I would have ascended even more on this side rather the Colchuck Glacier moraine, although it did have a handful of cornices which seemed solid and inactive. Transitioned into climb mode near entrance of couloir. Snow was not compactible at all, ice tools were more shovels making room for better steps. Had crampons on with intention of reaching higher and avoiding a difficult spot to slip them on but were not necessary. Overall snow seemed good until I transitioned from one aspect to another, where, the snow seemed to be even more bottomless and inconsolable. It was this point where I opted turn around – just did not have margin for my own solo attempt. The ski descent from this portion (see below) got to my nerves a bit. Due to the inconsolable snow, arresting was not an option. Your tool would simply slice right through, yet your skis would still float relatively well on the surface. Between this, the steeper grade and the looming cliff below, it was survival skiing until I reached my transition point. Dropped into the skiers left of the moraine and threw down my line. Opted to follow standard trail out so to avoid the lake. The descent through the forest was much better, skating out on skins proved much timelier with even portions of skiable slopes. The road out as also super, a little frozen at places, bit hard to turn and crashed but oh well. Upon arrival at the car, totaled 13:23 hrs. 16.6 miles & 6000’ gain with high point of 7000’. Gear Notes: Tools, crampons, self-belay setup, two screws, 30m 6.1mm rope, picket, used only tools for pushing down snow Approach Notes: Tunes highly recommended IMG_0434.HEIC Bailing on Colchuck NBC.mov
  36. 5 points
    I'm really surprised to read this bit and it's a pretty unfair version of history, although I'll be the first to admit that a lot of the trolls and general bad behavior likely caused a lot of lasting damage that will take time to fix. Yes, there was some really terrible behavior early on and those people were permanently banned. Should it happened quicker? I don't know, probably. Nobody handed us an owners manual when we started this; I was barely 24 when we went live. There are definitely people who I wish I had 86'ed earlier. But you of all people should have known how much we struggled with how to deal with these situtations, which is why I kind of find the "Ad impressions and the trolls won out" astonishing to read. We have never made a decision here for money. Did the trolls win? This site has been online for 18 years and has 8800+ TRs, so I'd argue no. Did they leave a lasting bruise, sure. I have however come to accept this world has changed, there was no iPhone, FB, IG, millions of apps vying for your attention when we first started. This was one of a handful of a small handful of climbing sites.
  37. 5 points
    Trip: Colfax Peak - West Ridge Trip Date: 10/14/2018 Trip Report: Brief TR and pictures from the west ridge of Colfax yesterday. Huge thanks to Eric Carter for bringing this line into the light and being willing to give a go beta-less. We had his beta so it was perhaps a less stressful endeavor. Sunday morning we looked at the C-H, hoping it would be in, but expecting it wouldn't be, and it wasn't (but getting there). So we wrapped around Colfax (on a pretty major boot pack) to take a look at the west ridge. With hard snow and a fun looking line we started up, following occasional faint boot marks from Eric's party. We opted to solo as we both felt comfortable with the positive, stiff, snow. Climbing was straight forward and very fun up the first steep section to gain the ridge, steepest slope was likely around 55-60 degrees. We followed the ridge to a rock face and saw the snow couloir down to the south, we tied an equivocation hitch, rapped into the gully, pulled and coiled the rope, and continued up. The gully was very easy, perhaps 45 degrees on great snow and steepening up to 55ish near the tight exit with some alpine ice. Here we followed the cliffy headwall left and after a steep soft down-climb into the upper chutes of the C-H (probably the scariest part of the climb, but would be easy to protect with pickets). From there we followed the standard route up to the summit, encountering our steepest climbing (65 degrees? Maybe a few steeper steps? Never actually measured) and a mix of hard snice (snow/ice), breakable crust over powder, and more stiff snow. We had a blast as we wove our way up the chutes toward the top. We must have had our heads down as we climbed because about 150ft from the top we missed an obvious left hand gully that has an easy top out. Instead we ended up with 15 to the top of very steep snice and rime covered rocks, we pitched this out, and Peter lead us to the summit plateau and belayed me up. Route took 3hrs bottom to top only stopping to rappel and pitch out the last section. We descended the East ridge (one rap on good tat) and had to end run a crack on the Coleman all the way to the east, long detour, just as Carter mentioned. Lots of new snow up there but with cold temps things stayed solid and we never punched through any cracks. Colfax ice, sorry no better photos, upper curtain on C-H is not yet fat enough for our ability. Looking at the start of the West Ridge Missed everything until we were in the couloir Sorry I didn't get many photos, here is the first stretch of the upper gullies of the C-H Next 2 photos we are already too far right to have an easy top out Baker, large y shaped crack requires an end run to the East One short rappel on tat to get off the east ridge and to the col between Baker and Colfax Long afternoon shadows as we near the trail Fun route, deserves more ascents!! If I were to grade it I'd say grade 3, steep snow 65deg ?PG13?. Not sure this route would always get a danger rating, would depend on what the gullies do in the spring, maybe they'd be easier to protect and slightly lower angle. Gear Notes: Brought screws, pins, cams, and nuts, used none. Approach Notes: Heliotrope trail
  38. 4 points
    Trip: Pickets - E & W Fury, Luna - Standards Trip Date: 08/15/2019 Trip Report: @Albuquerque Fred and I teamed up again... West Fury as the main event, East Fury happened to be in the way, Luna was convenient. Day 1: We took the water taxi to Big Beaver, leaving pretty late at 10:30am on Thursday. In about 4 hours of really good trail we were at the good log crossing right where it was supposed to be. A GPS was clutch here as there is no indication along the trail of where to turnoff and really no trail to the log. After thrashing some brush on the other side of Big Beaver Creek we wound up on the wrong (south) side of Access Creek. It is misplaced on the map by about .1 mile, shown to the south of reality; there is a tiny creek about where Access is shown on the map. After some bushwhacking upward we eventually found the climber's trail which was surprisingly good. I guess people heard about the 4G on the summit. We walked into Luna Col camp at 8pm, just in time to get one picture of the northern Pickets before they dissapeared for the next 3 days. Water is acceptably ample on BB trail and the traverse to Luna Col, lacking at the Col however. There is snow in the col and a tarn below the snow patch a 10 minute walk to the north of the col. Obligatory boat ride photo: The lake was a little low: Only good view of the southern Pickets, from the traverse to Luna: Our best view of the Furys: Day 2: We awoke at 4:45 am to lots of clouds. Onward to the Furies! Over 3 major humps and down into the basin SE of E Fury. It was all snow free which made for tedious travel. We found a ledge system at 6800' to round the SE buttress of Fury, then turned right and scrambled a talus and slab slope near a stream (last water!) We gained the east edge of the glacier at about 7400' due south of point 7820'. Crampons were required for the bare ice and moderately steep firm-ish snow ascending the east ridge of E Fury. There seems to be some mixed scrambling required at both the east and west approaches to the snowfield just below the summit. (We went up the east and down the west). Onward to West Fury! Down, up, down, up, down, up, down, up. Three towers and the summit block with loose crappy gullies between each. Tower 1: on a tip, we descended 100' on snow to a talus ledge, then scrambled up, left and up some more, then left again (you'll figure it out) to wrap around the tower not quite summiting. We soloed this. Oh, by the way, I should interject that since the lower glacier we were in total whiteout conditions and would remain so all day. This made route-finding challenging and despiriting. Tower 2: we climbed directly. Descending was trickier; scramble down an eroded dike/gully, when you approach a notch and a filthy gully on skier's right take to the arete and downclimb into the filthy gully. Legend has it descending the dike to the bottom leads to 5th class no holds traversing to get around the arete. Soloed all this. Tower 3: climb directly up a chimney just right of the obvious one. Easy soloing by now. Then we scrambled to the summit! Three times in fact; the whiteout kept making us think we were there just long enough to get excited, then another rise would loom in the white. Eventually we did make it and signed in as #22 in the register. We descended by rapping all 3 towers. Tower 1 required a 60m rope. Long and tedious trip back over E Fury, multiple basins, and many towers and rises back to camp. 12 hours round trip going hard, but with slow route finding. Morning right out from camp: Outrigger Peak and the south Fury Glacier: Mixed step on the east side of the summit of E Fury: Fred on the final summit ridge: Me descending somewhere between the Furies: Fred descending somewhere between the Furies: Gloruous summit photo on West Fury! Worth it for the views!!: Register: What, you dont mountaineer with manhattans? I left the shaker at home so we had to drink them warm, but it was pretty chilly out anyway: The rest is history. Sleep, lounge, climb Luna. We descended to Luna Camp day 3, then hiked all the way to the car day 4. Victory pose on Luna summit: Lots of this on the way out: The summit register on Luna was totally full, please replace it if you go there. 3 summits 49 miles 14,000' 12oz of manhattans Gear Notes: 60m rope for rappels Crampons Axes We took some rock gear but didn't use it. Manhattans Approach Notes: Big Beaver to Access Creek, cross Big Beaver Creek at 2520', cross Access Creek to south side at 3900'. Trail was great, trail into Access basin was decent climbers trail, good even, in places.
  39. 4 points
    Trip: Dragontail Peak - Dragons of Eden Trip Date: 07/19/2019 Trip Report: Sean and I have been having too much success lately. So we decided to step it up a little bit and give DOE a go yesterday. We promptly got our asses handed to us, but made it up in reasonable time. Taking our time on the approach due to a nice morning rain, we made it to the base in 3ish hours. I will say that this route has one of the shortest approaches in the range. The first pitch is properly dirty and harder than it looks. Looks like 5.8, feels like 10- dirty. The second pitch is so sweet! but like the rest of the route, needs some more traffic to make it even more enjoyable. There is a guillotine flake at the start that looks bad, but is solid, this is kind of a theme of the route. I linked this into the 5.9 pitch and belayed from below the crux on a big fat ledge. Sean coming up to the pitch 2 belay in the sun! This wall is COLD and doesn't get any real sun until late in the day. This was the only sun we got all day. From there we rested up and Sean gave the crux a solid effort, no send but that pitch is really fun and you're more likely to hit the pedestal as the follower unless your belayer isn't paying attention. Looking up at me on the headwall. The whole headwall seems to be comprised of scary hollow sounding tombstone flakes. They are solid for now, but it still made it feel pretty heads up for me. The position is all time exposed if you build a belay in the middle of the pitch, which is what we did. The second headwall pitch is hard and scruffy. Still a little crumbly, but takes great gear. I can't believe that Jens onsighted that pitch before it was properly cleaned, so awesome! Sean trying to untie his knot. Psyched on life and ready to start the scramble up to the summit. Can you spot Sean in his granite colored jacket? We soloed the NE buttress until this spot. I had read in Steph's TR about how loose the notch was, It is indeed absolutely horrible. The first hold that Sean grabbed in the gulley proper tore loose and triggered a big slide below him. To get around it he went up and right, then down-climbed to the rap station. We flicked the rope down and I TR'd directly up the notch. I can't stress how gross the rock is, but I guess it could be worse. We brought a tagline to bail and haul a pack. This allowed us to make one full 60m rap down the other side. Still more loose rock but a pretty straightforward rappel. From where the route drops you, you don't need snow gear to get down. Some fun scree and snow skiing took us down to Aasgard and the usual jarring hike down the pass brought us back to our packs. Overall it's a great route! Too hard for me to give a good RP attempt from the car right now, but I now have something to train for. Like others have said, with some more traffic this route would clean up well! I even think the average 10+ climber with some alpine aiders and a slightly bigger rack could have fun on it. Next time I come back I will probably rap the route. It was cool for both of us to top out since it was our first route on D-tail, but the NE-Butt is mostly just exposed loose walking and not a good route. Gear Notes: Doubles .3-3 and Triples .4-1 12 alpine draws Small set of nuts 60m 6mm Tagline Approach Notes: Around the lake and up to the base of the waterfall, then right over the waterfall and up some loose 4th class to the base. If you're gonna leave gear at the base, hide it under a boulder before you cross the waterfall.
  40. 4 points
    Trip: Sherpa Balanced Rock - West Ridge Trip Date: 06/15/2019 Trip Report: ***WARNING: This Trip Report contains mega beta spray for free climbing Sherpa Balanced Rock (and will take all the fun out of figuring it out for yourself)*** FA: Dave Mahre and Gene and Bill Prater, 1955 (shoulder stand + 5.7) FFA: Jens Klubberud & Scott Gg, 2006 (5.10c) The epic debate over whether the traditional summit of Sherpa Peak or the Sherpa Balanced Rock is the "true summit" remains legendary. I can tell you that it is true that whether you sit on the "summit" or the balanced rock, your head is surely higher than the other. They are within feet of each other in height. Having stood on both, I still can't tell you which is higher. Someone needs to go out there and shine two laser levels between the high points to find not only the true summit but measure the difference in height (you'd only need a 3ft roll of measuring tape). Still, climbing the Sherpa Balanced Rock is an adventurous and worthy goal since it is just so dang fun! Note: whenever I use the word "summit" in this TR, I am referring to the traditional summit (not the Balanced Rock). Fred Beckey's infamous "shoulder stand" beta seemed way too spicy for my blood. The base would lean at a 45 degree angle over a 5ft deep chasm on a shaky pile of human-made rocks from which the leader would climb on their arched partner and mantle onto a narrow ledge. The free variation is WAY more fun! (However, I'll give it credit that the shoulder stand pictures are probably way more entertaining). First free'd in 2006, it still sees very few ascents each year. From the summit, we made a short rappel down to the scrambly ledges on the south side which leads to the base of the Sherpa Balanced Rock. There may also be a scramble route on the East side of the summit block to avoid having to rappel. We left a 60m fixed line from the rappel anchor to the base of the Balanced Rock. If you want to descend via the West Ridge, you'll need to go back up to the summit and reverse the West Ridge route from there (which is what we did). This meant that we jugged back up our fixed line to get back to the summit on our descent. Picture above is looking up the West Ridge route. Two pictures above are looking back (from base of Balanced Rock) at the fixed line and rappel from the summit. View of the Balanced Rock from the summit. We made a belay anchor at the base which came straight out from under the lower rock. You can see the human-made pile of rocks on the ledge (we belayed from here). If you do the Beckey handstand method, you stand on that pile of rocks and lean wayyyyy over (over the scary gap). The leader then mantles on to the ledge. A fall would be really bad. Once at the pile of rocks, scramble down (climbers) left (South side) to start the free variation. We opted to do a rope toss over the southern horn, since a lead fall would be an ankle-buster at best. From the pile of rocks, toss the rope over and pull it into the wall. I found some beta that said you can place a #1 under the first overhang. I didn't see a good place for a #1 myself, but a #5 or #6 just under the overhang would be perfect if I were to free it ground-up. This is a committing move, but it's trivial with the top rope throw. 5.10c seemed accurate (an easy bouldering move). Grab a right hand hidden undercling/sidepull in the overhang (shown above) and extend left to grab a left hand 3 finger pocket (amazing!) just above the overhang (shown above). Find a critical, little edge for your left foot out and above the roof (shown above). Then, step up with your left foot (committing) and find a high right hand incut crimp (bomber!). Bring your right foot up to the sloping edge (shown above), and reach your left hand for bad crimps and slopes. Match your right foot with your right hand on the bomber incut edge and reach for great jams between the blocks. Mantle up to the ledge. You can then clip the old bolt (which is at head height). I placed a #1 in the crack at my feet between the two blocks in order to back-up the bolt if it failed. The upper block (shown above) is "5.7" if you can reach the jug. The wall overhangs slightly and there is a huge jug if you are 5-10 or taller. I'm 5-7, so the free climbing required tricky crimps to make my way up to the jug. Once at the jug, you have a good right foot and you're home free. I found the upper block MUCH harder than the lower block (for a shorter fellow). You can, of course, pull on the bolt and easily reach the jug no matter how tall you are (easy). For the top anchor, you can sling the top horn (shown above). The existing anchor is an old bolt and a bomber nut with new tat, which we only used for the final rappel. Jugging back up the fixed line to the summit. Enjoy! Gear Notes: #5 or 6 to free it ground-up (or do a rope toss). #1 to protect between the blocks (backup to bolt). Cordalette to sling the summit horn. Approach Notes: Scramble down (southward) from the summit. If you climb the East Ridge, you pass the Balanced Rock on the way to the summit.
  41. 4 points
    Very sad news. I'll miss Chuck's sarcastic sense of humor, his brotherly teasing, his intelligence, and his adventurous and ready spirit. I spent one of my all-time favorite mountain climbing days with Chuck when we climbed the full North Ridge of Mt. Stuart in a day, which was his idea and turned out great. It was one of those days of alpine perfection. We didn't see another human the whole day and we flowed up the route in the glittering sunshine. I can close my eyes and recall a dozen moments from that day. Memories that I have cherished to this day, but are now a bit heavier. Thank you for that day! I will miss you my friend.
  42. 4 points
    Trip: Mt Adams - Adams Glacier Headwall "Ice Extension" (IV, AI3+, 55 deg snow) Trip Date: 06/09/2019 Trip Report: @nkimmes and I climbed a variation of the Adams Glacier Headwall "Ice Extension" June 8-9. First ascent by @wayne and @YocumRidge July 4, 2011. Approach was straightforward from Killen Creek TH. Open air bivy at 7,000'. Minor glacier travel with little to no crevasse danger to base of the route. A long, moderate snow slope began at about 9000'. Some rock and ice fall as the sun hit the cliffs on the upper headwall. We solo'd a short WI2 pitch on the left side of the lowest cliff band at 10,400'. The WI3+ pitch began at just below 11,000'. In this case it climbed in one 60m pitch to the upper snow slope. Ice was a bit thin in spot but took 10 and 13cm screws well. From there we ascended a bit more to the rime at the base of the upper cliffs. We checked for an exit to the right but this is a no go. As mentioned in the FA report, the traverse to the left is sketchy with hardly any pro (hollow screws and some makeshift rimy/snow horns that I chopped out and slung). Unfortunately, the AI4 pitch in the left corner looked nothing like 2011, and was mostly rotten rock. Instead, we opted to traverse all the way left to the spine which divides the headwall from the next snow ramp over. We solo'd this to 11,800'. From there it's a long flat slog to the summit. We had initially planned a ski descent of the nf of the nw ridge. However, we watched another skier drop in and climb back up after about 1,000'. He joined us on the summit to report that it was completely bulletproof. We opted for plan b and found cruiser corn all the way down the north ridge to our bivy. 13 hours camp to camp. View of Rainier from the bivy. Ascent in red. Descent in blue. Solo'ing the WI2 pitch. Approaching the base of the WI3+ pitch. First moves of the pitch. Noah following the ice pitch. Route zoomed in. We actually stayed more left on the snow slope. Sketchy traverse. Summit! S Noah on the ski descent. Gear Notes: 2x10cm, 4x13cm & 1x17cm ice screws; 2-3 pickets Approach Notes: Approached from Killen Creek TH.
  43. 4 points
    Trip: Mount Stuart - Direct North Ridge Trip Date: 06/01/2019 Trip Report: Disclaimer: in 2019 snow melted very fast. At least three parties made it to the summit last weekend. All crux pitches are dry. Some running water on easy pitches below the notch. The slab pitch is partially covered with snow. Need to cross patches of snow on the upper mountain from time to time. There are four scattered bivy spots on a ground after pitch five, a few spots higher up along the route that are not covered with snow but can fit one or two, a large snow ledge about 400 ft below the end of last pitch towards a false summit. Descended via Sherpa glacier. Left side (skiers) of it gets early sunshine and snow was soft to descent without crampons at 9am. Though my partners used them. Right side that stays in a shade was hard as rock. Gear Notes: BD .1, .2, .4 to 4.; Metolius 0&1; small nuts (placed one nut just because I can); 6 singles & 6 doubles, cordelette, ice axe, bivy, 1/2 crampons Approach Notes: ticks are swarming
  44. 4 points
    Trip: Sahale Peak - Sahale Arm Trip Date: 04/20/2019 Trip Report: Me, Fred, and Max skied Sahale arm and summited yesterday, 4-20-19. The road was closed at MP18 so we had a nice 5 mile warmup to the summer trailhead. We started hiking in runners at 7am. After 4.5 miles we hit the abrupt beginning of continuous snow, it was glorious... the way spring skiing ought to be; hike dry road bet to 4' of snow. Bam. Skis on. We skinned up the gut toward the pass, booting a short section though the cliff band at 4800'. From there it was cake to 100' below the summit. We cached skis there and booted up, around the east side to the top. It was a one at a time affair up there, we each tagged it and bailed back to the skis. The exposure was real, on steep snow, and added a killer thrill. The snow was firm at the top, mashed potatoes at the bottom, but pretty good all the way to the pavement. Summited at 2:00, car at 6:00. 11 hours with a couple of long breaks. 7300', 18.4 miles. P.S. I did this on my phone in about 10 minutes... post your trips people! Its great to hear what is going on out there, and this forum is way cooler than facebook! Gear Notes: Skis, axe & crampons for the top 50' Approach Notes: Trail shoes. Lots of road.
  45. 4 points
    Trip: Dragontail Peak - Triple couloirs Trip Date: 03/31/2019 Trip Report: This last weekend a friend and I climbed TC's on Dragontail peak over two days. Ski'd in to and out of Colchuck Lake on the approach, continuous snow coverage on the road in the first day but on the way out on the second day there were several patches of bare road about 20-30' long. The trail was very firm, packed snow. got to the lake around 1pm the first day and just hung out as we were going to get an early start the next day. There was another group of two coming in about the same time we were to climb TC's as well. We got up at 2am the next day and did the morning routine and started to head up to the base of the route. The ice on the step up to the hidden couloir is in good shape and was very enjoyable. We made our way up to the base of the runnels in the dark and the first pitch had great coverage. Not super thick ice but enough to be secure climbing, couldn't put a screw in it or anything though. We ended up bailing off the runnels as the following options proved to be too thin for us. We then rapped down and opted for the runnels bypass, which was a mix of snice and sugar snow on slab requiring some excavating for dry tooling in spots. Rapped into just below the second couloir from there and climbed up the mixed chimney which I thought was really fun. Good sticks in thin ice and stemming. The pitch between the second and third couloir was in not great shape as it was sugar snow over slab. I chose to keep to climbers left as it offered more placements for dry tooling and protection. This turned out to be quite loose in places (very sorry to the party below us!) and steep. The third couloir was very straightforward with no complications. We either simul soloed or simul'ed the couloirs as they were very wind firmed dry snow and made for solid steps. The way back down through Asgard was pockets of loose dry over wind firmed snow. I was told by another friend who met us there on the second day (he was skiing) that the Colchuck Glacier was about the same. Glad we got a decent weather window that actually turned out to be better than expected. Just intermittent clouds the whole time. This was a really fun climb! Gear Notes: -Cams .3 to 1 -Half set of nuts -4 tri cams -2x 10cm and 2x 13cm screws (didn't use any) -A bunch of pins, mostly knife blades and one small angle, as I knew the snow wouldn't take a picket. Definitely proved the most useful along with small stoppers. Approach Notes: Still a bunch of snow on the road but it feels like its melting out fast. Was surprised how much bare road there was on the way out. The trail is packed and bootable in the morning but in the later part of the day post holing is pretty common. Same goes for the road too. I was glad to have skis as it expedites a lot of the travel on the way out.
  46. 4 points
    The rock is compact and polished; not much in the way of handholds or gear. The first half of the climbing, up into the basin, did not feel highly threatened to me; there is a lot of lower angle rock between the snouts of the glaciers and that area. The upper slab section, which we found entirely unprotectable and lies in the fall line of the right-hand glacier, might be avoidable climber's right (looking at some other photos), but you do still have to pass the fall line of that right ice cliff. Doing so on class 2 or 3 would be faster though, than the 4/5 we encountered. You'd have to cross the larger, right-hand outflow twice though, which could be an issue depending on volume. It's not a small amount of water, even in later summer. Almost 12 years later and I still get excited thinking about this route; having gazed up at it, studied it in photos, and dreamed about what it might be like in those upper basins for years. getting our asses handed to us the first try. Getting more and more hopeful as each successive obstacle was passed on the second try. So, so many rappels and so much downclimbing in the dark down the east ridge after getting the to summit. Shivering with one sleeping bag and a space blanket just below the CJ Col after 24 hours on the move, wondering if the predicted rain was going to soak us, and the glorious acres of blueberries we found for breakfast the next morning. There is an experience doing a new route that is entirely unlike repeating; no tat, no cairns, never looking at a route description or trying to figure out if I'm 'going the right way'. Look up, choose the way that looks like it goes, then go find out if it really does. Beautiful simplicity and true adventure.
  47. 4 points
    Trip: Three O'Clock Rock - various Trip Date: 11/19/2018 Trip Report: Wanting to see some rock before the snows came, I went up to Three O'Clock Rock yesterday, Monday, Nov. 19. First light comes late in this season so I enjoyed the luxury of sleeping in until five, left Seattle at six. Still a very cold morning in Darrington, I pulled in to the Shell station for a pit stop to let the day warm up a bit. I didn't tarry long, however, as the old pre-climb excitement took hold, didn't even go in the store, and motored on up the Clear Creek Road. The road is in good shape, with a new coat of gravel on the lower section. Thanks to the "Darrington Collaborative" for that! Besides the fairly alarming tilt of the roadbed in a couple of places, one new hazard is apparent: The trail is in the best condition I've ever seen it. Thank you to the work party earlier this year. Especially appreciated is the ramp up off the old miner's road: Years ago we had to cross over this log on the steps provided: Full sun was pulling me out of the frost toward the North Buttress: But I had designs on some easy pitches on the South Buttress: I wanted to warm up with Under the Bored Walk: Dry and clean, the knobs accepted my passage: Pointy elbows in the sun: Rapping off: That was actually scary enough that I decided against staying there to do Charly Chan's Number One Suspect. I moved gear over to Cornucopia Flake. Stout trees are plentiful under the route: It was fun placing gear again, so late in the season: I had only planned to do single pitches, no multi-pitch, but this looked so good and had to pass it up: Obligatory Exfoliation Dome shot: Feeling better about friction moves with lots of rope out, I decided to do the first pitch of The Kone. I saved time by using the same anchor tree. It was 1:30 and the sun was already going around the corner! From near the top of the first pitch of The Kone: On each of these pitches, I fixed the lead rope, rapped, and jugged up with a second rope for rappel. Last rappel of the day, from The Kone: I felt lucky to be out there for a beautiful day in November. Gear Notes: Minimal rack of cams. Two 60m ropes. Approach Notes: Thanks to the Washington Climbers Coalition and the Darrington Collaborative for the road work, and for the recent trail work.
  48. 4 points
    Trip: Three Fingers trail run - Meadow Mtn trail to standard ladder scramble Trip Date: 10/21/2018 Trip Report: As my free time for frolicking amongst the mighty cascades has shrunk over the past few years, my activities too, have changed with it. Trail running has given he the opportunity to tackle mountain objectives in less time. I get to really special places without all the time commitment. The “back in time for lunch” mentality. Although I prefer to soak in ambiance of a glacial cirque, I have developed a deep appreciation for a smash and grab kind of day. 396F23EC-9316-4ED8-8ABF-C3D2EB4A4780.MOV Over the past few years, my running buddies and I have slowly pushed our distances, elevation gain and loss, and comfort with venturing onto more technical trails and into more remote areas. This run was a real test for us and proud to say we pushed our comfort zones and it paid off. The human body’s limits reside in the mind. Lesson learned: don’t trust caltopo’s trail distances. What was supposed to be 20 miles ended up being 26! Combine the awe, love, and uplifting feeling mountain vistas give you with the chemical concoction your body produces during a long, sustained effort and you’ve got the recipe for the best drug on the planet. 12 years here and still so very much in love with our Cascades. Gear Notes: Brooks Cascadia trail shoes, MSR bladder Approach Notes: The road is closed after 8 miles just before it turns west.
  49. 4 points
    I'll find a more permanent home for it but it's attached to this post @diepj Kloke Winter Climbs Complete.pdf
  50. 4 points
    RBW!!! well though this site has always had more than its share of jackasses, there have been many gems as well; sometimes they were even the same people. I've met many friends and climbing partners and even my charming (??) curmudgeonly husband because of this site; so I have a lot to thank it for. I met rbw through wreckdotclimbing, though; talk about the primitive pre-social media days, wow.
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