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  1. 13 points
    Trip: Bear Mountain - North Buttress: Beckey Route Trip Date: 07/15/2018 Trip Report: Bear Mountain: Two new dads trying to keep a 10 year dream alive For me, mountains can become obsessions, sometimes to the point of irrationality. In my life, no mountain, or route has been more indicative of this than the North Buttress of Bear. I stumbled upon Bear in 2007 in my early days of climbing WA by devouring each page of the Beckey guides like they were some gripping novel. Trip reports from this site only further set the dream of someday ascending this monster objective. Being nothing but a budding sport climber at the time, this peak seemed out of my grasp. As the years went on, I honed my mountain skills. I learned to trad lead, sent my first few alpine rock routes, got on my first glaciers, and began developing the mind for the rigors of schwacking in the cascades. By 2011, I began thinking this dream could possibly become a reality for me. I even found a climbing partner, Andrew, who shared my dream. Each year we'd talk about making our dream a reality but each Summer would come and go without an attempt. For 5 years in a row we'd try to make plans only to see them fall through. Timing, schedules, obligations, weather, forest fires, and work all conspired against us. Fast forward to 2016, and each of us became fathers of our first children. Yet another reason to push Bear farther from our grasps. During the first year of fatherhood I discovered, although not surprised, that being a father does not easily co-exist with committing alpine objectives. My fit physique, lead head, and drive for summits began to recede like the glaciers surrounding the peaks I had grown to love so much. Over trail runs, occasional crag days, and family outings, Andrew and I still spoke of our mutual dream contrasted with our diminished abilities. One thing was clear from these conversations: the dream, and our stoke was still alive for our beloved Bear. Spring of 2018 came around. It had been a dismal Winter of training. Trips to the crags confirmed, family obligations and our lack of training over the Fall and Winter had left both of us less than prepared to crush in the coming Summer, but we began to discuss plans for Bear as we did every year. We settled on the dates of July 13-15 and began attempting to play catch up with our training. As the dates drew closer, one thing became certain, neither of us felt strong. But the week of July 4th came and still nothing looked to foil our set plans. So early July 13th we made the early morning drive to the end of the Chilliwack road along Chilliwack Lake in British Columbia. The bushwhack across the border and out to bear camp lived up to its dreaded hype. Six hours of magical, rarely touched old-growth forest contrasted with the torturous efforts required to navigate and move through said forest left us bewildered and uncertain. This uncertainty as well as the contrast of beauty and torture would be a reoccurring theme over these 3 days. From bear camp to the bivy on the western shoulder of bear is 4000 vertical feet up. A quarter of the way up, late afternoon, and we were beat. I am on liter 5 of water, schwacking in my underwear due to the heat and effort. Both of us are bonking and cursing ourselves for thinking we could pull this objective off. We were not fit. We had not trained enough. Doubt began to dominate our thoughts. It has already been 8 hours of this shit and we still had 3,000 feet of trail-less hell ahead of us. Who were we kidding? There was no way we were going to make it to camp before dark. We sat, uncomfortably, on a steep slope, in the middle of nowhere and began talking of retreat. "Squamish isn't too far away, is it?" "I guess we could always just crag at Mt. Erie on our way back to Seattle." Inside, a voice screams at my exhausted brain, "MT. ERIE!!!!???? Are you fucking serious!!?? I am never coming back into this valley again. It is now or never for Bear. The dream either lives or dies on this shitty, viewless, insignificant slope." My senses kicked back in. Remember, anything too big to fathom all at once needs to be broken into digestible chunks. The decision to push on grew from this and we decided to at least try to make it to the lake for the night and we would make the next decision from there. Two hours later, after 1,000 feet of extremely steep blueberry bush pulling, we broke out into the alpine and our spirits began to soar like a vulture in a thermal updraft. It’s amazing how something as simple as alpine views can change the mindset and determination of a climber. I began to feel rejuvenated. Maybe we could make the bivy site before dark. A heather-strewn meadow on a gentle shoulder gave us the first real physical break of the day. Panoramic views of remote North Cascade summits rose all around us. A mother Ptarmigan and her brood of chicks sprinted out of the bushes, snapping me from my alpine daze. Discussions of a potential closer bivy site gave us a closer goal. Running on fumes, past the lower bivy spot, and we still have light. Must, keep, moving. At last, 12 hours after leaving our car, we collapsed at the col. We had made it. I promptly gave the double middle finger to the valley below, clearly showing the shit-show we just wallowed through. We promised ourselves we would not make a decision about what to do about the next day until after we ate. Dinner went quick. As we crawled into our bags, we listened to the cacophony of a thousand tiny flying vampires trying desperately to find a way through our netting and into our skin. Twilight lit the sky with a rainbow of color. We both agreed that since we had overcome the uncertainty and brutality of what many, including us, consider the hardest approach in the Cascades, we felt obligated to throw ourselves at the North face the next morning even as our bodies screamed in opposition. We awoke with the sunrise. I shook the heaviness of last nights sleep from my head and felt somewhat shocked that yesterday wasn't some dream/nightmare. I was here. We were about to start our summit day. A day we have both been dreaming of for at least 10 years. With each sip of coffee, my stoke began to rise. We strapped on our crampons and make a quick and pleasant descent onto the north side of the mountain. We turned a corner to catch our first glimpse of Bear's north buttress. Ominous, glorious, stunning, perfection on ice. Words cannot really describe the feelings I had, but these are close. Upon seeing both the direct north buttress and the north buttress couloir, we checked in. The direct looked safer as the couloir looked broken up near the top, but our energy levels and dismal cumulative rock pitches for the year had us thinking that the extra rock pitches might not be reasonable. We settled on following the couloir and Beckey's footsteps. In hindsight, this might this might have been a bad idea, but I am pretty sure I would have said the same thing if we had taken the other option. Either way we felt the collective weight of our dreams, the debilitating approach that we vowed never to do again, and the sheer power of what we were trying to accomplish. I felt as if every step upwards tightened the grip of the vice we were in. Committed, for better or worse, to move upwards. We switched back and forth from approach shoes to crampons a few times and quickly found ourselves in irreversible territory. There is terror and clarity in realizing the only way out of a predicament is forward. We broke out the rope to lead our first pitch out of the couloir. A shit show of snow, poor pro behind detached blocks, and slopey ledges littered with rocks of all shapes and sizes. My rope skirted across a ledge and sent a microwave down towards Andrew. Our years of work together in the mountains gave us the foresight to expect such events and was glad Andrew had set himself out of harm’s way before I led. We had reached the 4th class ledge system that would get us up to the North buttress proper. Kitty litter, slopey ledges, and the exposure below made for careful, calculated movements while simuling, often without adequate gear between us. Trust in each other became paramount and again I found myself thinking that I was thankful to be climbing with such a trusted partner. At last, we reached the first real quality pitch of the route. Beckey's glorious left facing 5.8 corner. Andrew led and we both laughed at the idea of "5.8" at the top. It felt like index 5.9+ but would be an instant classic if situated at the lower town wall. We were finally finding some type 1 fun. I linked the next two pitches of fun and deposited us at the base of the infamous 10a offwidth. DE8DD876-06ED-4585-BEE2-4CF80B5ED29B.MOV It was at this point that we began to feel the efforts of the pat 36 hours. Dehydrated, low on energy, and stoke, Andrew reluctantly agreed to lead the next pitch and quickly made the decision to take the 5.8 bypass pitch. We ended up breaking this pitch into two because the lower portion of the offwidth took most of our small cams and the upper 5.8 portion looked to take nothing bigger than a .75 BD. Crap. We swapped leads under the only stance Andrew could find conveniently under a car sized detached block. I was tasked with leading over it and him without touching it. Yikes. I led to a nice ledge and brought up my partner. Both of us feeling both physically, mentally, and emotionally drained, we began to flounder. Neither felt the desire to lead the next pitch. Bonking hard, I finally took the sharp end. Staying on the crest I mantled to the base of a steep featured, but unprotect-able face. I began to lose my cool. 15 feet above a ledge and my last piece and seeing committing climbing and no cracks above me, I retreated. Reversing the mantle had me nearly hyperventilating but I, somehow, safely made my way back to the anchor. We discussed our predicament, spied a horn with rap slings 30 feet down to our right and consulted our beta. We both thought that this was the Beckey rappel that would take us to a 4th class gully exit but our position would not allow us to confirm it. Below us, the gullies looked vertical, smooth, and crack-free. Committing to the rappel felt serious. Andrew rappelled at a diagonal across ribs, at times placing gear as directionals to reach the farthest gully. Upon reaching the first gully, Andrew looked up. There is no way that is 4th class. Second gully. Sweet baby jesus! It goes! Relief washed over us like a warm caribbean breeze. I rappelled down and we quickly began to lead. We both just wanted to be done with this endeavor. How quickly a dream becomes dread. My mind screamed, "Get me the fuck off this mountain!" After two rope stretching pitches and some mid fifth climbing (another sandbag) the Sun hit our darkened spirits and the tomb I'd climbed myself out of was no more. A few hundred feet of 3rd class was all that separated us from the summit. Elated, exhausted, and emotional, we hugged. I looked over the edge, down the north face and wept. Tears of joy, relief, and sadness fell hundreds of feet down the alpine face of my dreams. I always pictured myself feeling triumphant at this moment, but instead all I felt was relief and the intense desire to hug my wife and two year old son. We had done it. We had fought through constant moments of fear and uncertainty to obtain our dreams, but I felt far from dreamy. As we began the descent, I turned around and gave one last look at the summit of my dreams and gave it the double middle finger. I was done. I could close this chapter of my climbing pursuits. Fatherhood has changed my drive, my dreams, and my abilities. I am unsure if I will ever climb anything like this again, but much like any overwhelming obstacle, I will take it one decision at a time. Who knows how I will feel about such commitment and risk taking in the future. We hit a mellow snow slope and just like any decision we made that day, we assessed the terrain and made the best choice for moving forward. The joy in the glissade took me by surprise and I burst out into a giggle fit. Type 1 fun!!!! What a wild ride of emotions. We reached our bivy a half an hour before sunset. We smiled and laughed as we recapped the day. Feeling thankful and shocked to have pulled the ascent off, we crawled into our bags, passed a joint back and forth and fell into philosophical ramblings about life and reality. What a life we live. The next morning we made the long march back down to bear camp and through what felt like endless old growth shenanigans pushed by the thought of a dip in Chilliwack lake and the beer stashed there. Upon reaching the lake we found the beer gone, hoards of people on what I thought would be a secluded beach, and leash-less dogs aggressively charging us while the owner continued to flirt with some bikini-clad girl. WTF. I thought that was the shit-cream on top of a long and miserable day, but oh no. Upon reaching the trailhead I saw my car in the distance but somehow it did not look like my car. The back window was missing! Someone had broken into my car! Son-of-a-bitch! As we got closer, the horrific reality set in. My car had not only been broken into, it had been set on fire. The tires, the windows, the interior. Everything that could have burned did. My car was a hunk of metal and nothing more! I was in disbelief. How was this possible!?? How are we going to get out of here? Is this a nightmare? Am I still in the mountain sleeping in my bag and this is some horrid hallucination fueled by the joint and exhaustion? Nope. This was reality. Whoever did this also nearly set the entire forest on fire based on the completely burnt cedar behind my car. Jesus Fucking Christ! We could have been trapped in that valley if they had succeeded in doing so! As my mind swirled with the gravity of our situation, the last car in the parking lot approached us and gave us a ride into town dropping us off at the Chilliwack police. After reporting what had happened, expecting surprise, they just smiled and said, "Yep, this has been happened a lot this Summer and there was little they could do about it. They gave us our police report number and directed us to a local bar and motel. I called the border to confirm they would let me back into the states without my passport (burnt in the car) and made arrangements for a friend to come pick us up. ”the urban mountaineer” This trip will live in my mind till the day I die and will hopefully entertain many. Journeys like this are great reminders for what is important in your life and just how lucky I am to be apart of this amazing planet. Get after what fuels your soul people! Gear Notes: 60 m rope Double rack tops to fist. Single 4 and a set of stoppers. Lots of alpine slings Approach Notes: Follow the tape till you can’t then turn on your zen and be one with the forest.
  2. 13 points
    Trip: Inspiration Peak - South Face Trip Date: 09/02/2018 Trip Report: Before last weekend I hadn't been to Terror Basin in almost 10 years. Back then we had spent a week in the Southern Pickets, only seeing one other party in Terror Basin. How times have changed! This past weekend there were three other parties for a total of a dozen people in Terror Basin. Thankfully all the others were headed for West McMillan Spire so we had the decidedly unpopular South Face of Inspiration all to ourselves. However, like Alan Kearney, I really think it should be more popular. It is quite a route! But it is also not for the faint of heart. Steep, intimidating, with a bit of scruffy rock and so-so pro - it would have been a challenge back when I was in good rock climbing shape. And I am most certainly not in good rock shape these days! Luckily I had @therunningdog to gun my sorry ass up it. And gun he did, leading all the gash pitches. But there was plenty to keep my mind humming below- a chaotic glacier with some delicate bridges, slabby rock right off the glacier (should have put on rock shoes earlier), and an increasingly exposed 4th/low 5th class ramp that terminated in the intimidatingly steep "Great Gash". And thenn once you are on the summit, the involved descent awaits. 4-5 raps down the West Ridge, some ridiculously exposed scrambling, and then more steep rappels down the south face. It was about 12 hours camp to camp. But what a place. Even more beautiful than I remembered, perhaps due to the changing weather and swirling mists? The best pictures are never during the best weather, perhaps the same is true of our memories? I'll be back, but I won't wait another 10 years this time. Looking down into Terror Basin from the "trail" in: Looking out to Triumph, Despair, and the Chopping Block (L-R): Despair and the Chopping Block: Thornton Peak and Triumph at sunrise: The Southern Pickets!! Morning light on the South Face of Inspiration: Ptarmigan and grown chick: I should draw the line on this but basically you climb up the buttress to the left of the face to the prominent ramp that is followed right a long ways to the start of the "Great Gash", which shoots steeply up and left to the upper West Ridge. A pitch on the ridge finishes the climb. The Descent follows the left skyline to the col then down the steep face/buttress to the glacier: The glacier approach proved challenging, but we found a way that will go into the fall this year: No super dad friendly. Scrambling a lot of 4th and low 5th to the belayed pitches up the gash. I should have taken more photos but I was pretty focused on not screwing up! @therunningdog in his element! Did I mention that the South Face of Inspiration is steep? @therunningdog coming up the final bit to the summit: It is an exposed descent as well. Rapping the West ridge: On the first set of raps, before you drop off the South Face: Whew. Down on the ice! Or should I say gneiss? TEEBOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONE! Despair in the mists: Triumph: Despair: This felt good after the punishing descent: Gear Notes: 60m half rope, medium rack to 2", ice axe, crampons, helmet Approach Notes: Terror Basin trail from Goodell Creek. 6 hours to camp. From camp follow the climber's path toward Inspiration and West Mac, picking the best line up the glacier to the toe of the buttress just west of the South Face. We roped up here for a bit until we gained the prominent ramp where we packed the roped and scrambled. It seemed about 5.6-5.7 for one ptich to gain the ramp, with low fifth below that. The "Great Gash" is about 3, 30m pitches, to ~5.8. I think we did about 12 rappels down the west ridge and west edge of south face right back to our boots. Stations are established for a single 60m rope. Bring tat since the route isn't climbed regularly.
  3. 13 points
    Trip: Washington Pass, Liberty Bell - Thin Red Line Trip Date: 09/01/2018 Trip Report: My buddy Andy Traylor and I had set this as a goal route to free for the summer season. Neither of us had really approached a bigger route like this with a redpoint mentality before and weren't sure exactly how to do it. With many different ways to consider an ascent "free," we settled on what we believe is a pretty commonly followed set of rules. We wanted to swing leads, and either redpoint or follow cleanly on every pitch, lowering back to the belay if necessary. Our plan was to spend one day and check out the first six pitches to get a feel for the moves and the gear then try and send the next day. On day 1 we took our time climbing the first six pitches, with no real pressure or time crunch. We TR'd the cruxes a couple times and feeling pretty good about going for it the next day, rapped off and headed down for a big dinner. The next day we set out a little nervous, but also feeling good about our chances. Once we were on the route we were moving and climbing well. Thoughts on the pitches for anyone that cares (some gear beta here so purists need not read on): P1. Straightforward crimping and edging straight up to the anchor. I actually headed right after the last bolt, going more directly to the anchor on day 2 and thought that was slightly better. Andy getting all artsy with the iPhone on P1 P2. Short pitch. Boulder problem over the bulge through the mini changing corners. Good pro and the pin at the end of the crux seemed in good shape, not tested. Belay on gear. P3. Awesome and memorable pitch I thought, shorter than it looks in photos. Super thin edging and stemming in the dihedral leading to a roof with wet holds that allow you to exit the corner and gain a stance. I basically punched myself in the face popping out of the wet locks first go round. Pin in the corner seemed good, I tested it and it held. Mostly finger sized cams. Belay at full on hanger. Andy in the corner/roof that ends the crux on P3 P4. Fixed gear in the roof seemed only ok, hard to tell with the tat and I didn’t spend much time examining it, but you probably won’t come off under the roof anyway, clip and go. Andy exiting the roof on P4 The last bit traversing back toward the anchor we both found a little awkward and harder than it seemed it should be. On the traverse back to the belay on P4 P5. Business #1. Super fun 5.10 traversing and edging to the corner. Corner gets progressively harder with the real business starting at the bolts. I will say on my initial go I was not super happy to have left basically all the rack at the belay, expecting only a few pieces then bolts. I'd take mostly finger sizes, but I was happy to have a black Metolius and a #2 C4 (certainly not necessary but provided me with some mental fortitude to try hard). Bring lots of slings, I think I had like 14 and ran out somehow, placed too much gear I guess. The crux moves are technical, a little powerful, desperate and amazing. The last move, while not the hardest, has the potential to be a heart breaker and I can only imagine being very desperate if you’re under, say, 5’9. Belay on medium sized gear above the bolts, significantly better stance. Andy sticking the last move, he never fell once climbing this pitch over the 2 days. P6. Business #2. No picture. First roof is super casual. Leading up to the second roof the climbing gets less secure but good small finger gear is there between pins. The boulder problem is powerful, but pretty straightforward cranking (V4ish?) on pretty good holds. We were a little confused by all the talk about a necessary and specific red C3 placement. We couldn’t find anywhere by the beak, or below the roof for that matter, where this would go. Any clues? However that piece or a blue Metolius or equivalent went in bomber just above the lip. If that’s the placement everyone is talking about, then there is no need to scavenge around for a red C3 if you don’t have one. We left it out in favor of a blue Metolius on round 2. Climb past the bolts (if not rapping from here) and belay on the better sloping ledge with hand sized pieces. P7. Only dog pitch on the route. Thought the rock was poor quality, basically a connector pitch. Ends on the scary looking “how is it still hanging there” block creating the ledge. P8. Another techy and pretty thin 11+ pitch. Really really good. Looks super thin but there is gear to be had and both the head and pin are in good shape, Andy tested both and approved. Some small hand sized gear higher. P9. Excellent and fun 10+ climbing again builds as you get higher. Looks like the seam dies out at the top, but keep going up instead of traversing left. That’s probably super obvious but I was getting tired and moving more timidly by this point. P10-12. Progressively easier climbing. Nice to have Scott's topo for P10 to know where to get started. The last belay sits basically on the arête between the east and north face, we came back into the sun here. There are brand spanking new bolts here instead of the pin/fixed wire combo some guide mentions. Maybe it’s obvious, but the climbing heads left up the lighter colored dihedral. This looked too steep to us to be the 5.7 climbing, so Andy headed out right on the lower angle terrain and we had a bit of an epic on the easiest and last pitch of the route. The rock quality deteriorated into kitty litter, so Andy tried to sling a chockstone to lower back to me, only to get the rope got stuck forcing even more shenanigans (face palm). All in all we wasted some hours and all hopes of pizza. Once corrected we soloed to the top without further incident. Don't go this way. Why is this photo so big? All in all, neither of us fell following any of the pitches. On lead, some of the pitches took a try or two, but in the end we pulled it out and nabbed a free ascent. We learned a lot about climbing in this style and really enjoyed the process. Thanks to Mikey Schaefer for figuring this out, it provided one of my all time favorite experiences in the mountains so far. Psyched for the next one! Gear Notes: Doubles from purple Metolius to .75 BD, singles to #3 BD. Our second set of cams were Metolius offsets. They worked amazing (as always for granite) and I always carry them as doubles, but far from necessary. Nuts. Placed 1 RP but probably not necessary. Lots of slings, like ~16. We used a 40M tag line and hauled the bag on most pitches. Approach Notes: Most casual "alpine" approach ever. Like 25min from the car.
  4. 13 points
    Trip: North Cascades - Southern Pickets - Southern Pickets Enchainment (Traverse) – Second Ascent Trip Date: 08/17/2018 Trip Report: Climbers/Scribe/Photos: Jeff and Priti Wright Priti and I completed the Second Ascent of the full Southern Pickets Enchainment (Traverse) between 8/12/2018 and 8/17/2018 via the first ascensionists’ agenda (VI 5.10+, ca. 3 miles). Thirteen peaks in four days staying on technical terrain enchaining every peak in the Southern Picket Range from East to West. The Chopping Block was our 14thpeak on the last day à la Bunker-Haley-Wallace. We were lucky to have splitter weather the whole time except for our approach day which was non-stop drizzling and kept us from jumping on the rock right away. We had previously attempted this climb during the July 4thweek earlier this summer but were stormed off at the base of Mount Terror. View of the entire Southern Pickets from Mount Triumph. Photo Credit: James Blackmon (1) Little Mac Spire, (2) East McMillan Spire, (3) West McMillan Spire, (4) Tower 1 summit of the East Towers aka "Don Tower", (5) Tower 5 summit of East Towers, (6) Inspiration Peak, (7) Pyramid Peak, (8) Mount Degenhardt, (9) Mount Terror, (10) The Rake aka "The Blob", (11) The Blip, (12) East Twin Needle, (13) West Twin Needle, (14) Dusseldorfspitz, (15) Himmelhorn, (16) Ottohorn, (17) Frenzelspitz, and (18) The Chopping Block The Chopping Block is on the left. History: FA: In 2003, this visionary line of 13 summits (Little Mac Spire to Frenzelspitz) was first completed by Mark Bunker, Colin Haley, and Wayne Wallace in an incredibly speedy 4 days car-to-car. http://c498469.r69.cf2.rackcdn.com/2004/34_wallace_pickets_aaj2004.pdf https://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/topic/15094-walking-the-fence/ 2011: Dan Hilden, Jens Holsten, and Sol Wertkin completed 12 of the Southern Pickets summits (Little Mac Spire to Ottohorn), but were halted by an impassable moat under the South Face of the final bookend peak, Frenzelspitz (a lesson we borrowed to not take the snow approach). https://www.outdoorresearch.com/blog/article/chad-kellogg-jens-holsten-tackle-complete-picket-range-enchainment http://www.alpinist.com/doc/web15s/wfeature-never-ending-holsten-kellogg https://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/topic/82900-tr-picket-range-complete-enchainment-attempt-922011/?tab=comments#comment-1029444 2013: Jens Holsten and Chad Kellogg traversed 11 of the Southern Pickets summits (Little Mac Spire to Himmelhorn), and carried on to the Northern Pickets to do a mind-blowing Southern and Northern Pickets traverse. Even though Jens humbly calls their climb an “attempt” since they left out three minor summits, their ascent was easily one of the greatest alpine achievements in the lower 48. https://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/topic/92032-they-made-it/?tab=comments#comment-1101276 http://jensholsten.blogspot.com/2013/07/desperate-country-seven-day-enchainment.html https://www.outdoorresearch.com/blog/article/chad-kellogg-jens-holsten-tackle-complete-picket-range-enchainment Legend In the topos below, note the following color codes -Blue circle: belays that we chose to take (all are optional, obviously) -Yellow arrows: Bail options, or ways to enter/exit shorter segments of the Enchainment -Green tent: bivy sites (note the comments) -Red lines: Ascent -White circles: Rappels -White lines: Descent Day 1 With our packs each weighing in at 28lbs, we hiked in to Terror Creek Basin via Goodell Creek through wet bushes and a light drizzle and bivied at the Terror Creek Basin High Camp. Day 2 As we roped up at the base of the start (Little Mac Spire) on Day 2, Priti glumly pulled two left-footed red Moccasym rock shoes out of her pack, but decided to keep going like the hardcore badass that she is! We climbed from Little Mac Spire (5.8) through East McMillan Spire (5.6), West McMillan Spire (5.8), the East Towers (5.8) summiting Don Tower and Tower 5, and finishing the day with Inspiration Peak (5.9). We had to climb up 1/3 of Pyramid to find a small snow patch for water and dinner. On our last trip in early July there was a lot of snow at the cols, so it was easy to find water. There was a lot less snow in the cols in August, making finding water along the traverse very tricky, to say the least. We filled our dromedary up every time we found snow. The smoke made the views hazy, but we could tell how far away the later peaks were, and how far we had to go. The base of Little Mac Spire The start of the technical climbing (5.7) on the face of Little Mac Spire The upper ridge of East McMillan Spire View looking West in July View looking West in August Upper face of West McMillan Spire Starting up Tower 1 Priti is belaying below Pitch 2 (5.8 with a hand/fist overhang) Inspiration Peak Summit is the impressive overhang on the left Day 3 On Tuesday (day 2 of climbing, day 3 of the trip), we started out on Pyramid (5.8), and traversed over Degenhardt (3rd class). We chose a steep face crack for the first pitch on Terror to start. This may be the 5.8 start Jens and Chad did. Starting further out left might go at 5.6. After finding the piton rappel off Terror, we downclimbed about half of the Rake-Terror col before starting up a loose gulley on The Rake (skier’s right). The climbing didn’t feel too hard, and we must have avoided the 5.9 R climbing described by previous parties. However we didn’t make it to the nice bivy at the summit, instead hunkering down on a slopey grassy ledge for the night. Snafflehounds poked me in the face and jumped on my feet to start the night out. The meteor shower sparkled above us. In the morning, Jeff found his helmet strap had been gnawed through, his crack gloves stolen and the nut butter munched. Nothing a little duct tape won’t fix! Starting up the technical climbing on Pyramid Peak Inside the crux chimney Day 4 On Wednesday (day 3 of climbing, day 4 of the trip), we only climbed for a few hours doing lots of fun ridge climbing on the Rake (5.8) which took us to the best bivy spot of the trip: on top of the West Rake Summit. It was so nice, we decided to relax the rest of the day and camel up for the next day. The choosy 4th class gully which exits the Terror-Rake col (about halfway down) on climber's right The entire Rake ridgeline is pictured here. Priti is on the initial ridgeline, heading to the Rake's deep, major notch (right of center). Stay high on this initial ridge to get to a 5.6 traverse about even with the notch to get over to the notch. Starting the traverse too soon may result in 5.9R climbing. The vertical ridgeline just left of the major notch is the technical crux. The technical crux of The Rake. This is the second pitch after getting to the major notch which takes you to the The Rake's ridge proper. 5.8+ ledges with small gear. Starting out on the Rake's ridge proper. Looking back at the Rake (Eastward) from the summit Guns out! Amazing bivy site! Don't stop at the col (aka "Ice Station Dark Star"), but continue to this bivy after a short pitch. Day 5 Thursday morning we woke up stoked for the Twin Needles and Himmelgeisterhorn. The Blip between the Rake and the Needles was a quick jaunt (5.6). In the descent gulley, Priti kicked a small rock down, which tipped a precarious car-door sized boulder over and core-shot our rope. She literally had two left feet! We just climbed the rest of the way with 40m of rope out. East Twin Needle (5.10a) had some of the best climbing on the trip, following an aesthetic line up the knife edge ridge, that looks like a gothic tower. There was a TCU that the previous party stuck behind a flake, and was reminded of the giant footsteps we were following. The last couple moves were extremely dirty though. The left variation of the crux is much easier than sticking right. West Twin Needle was chill 3rd Class. Then came Himmelgeisterhorn (5.10), the “Horn of the Sky Spirit”. The climbing was fantastic: engaging, with great position, and unique au chevaling! We climbed over Düsseldorfspitz, on the way to the summit of Himmelhorn. We rappelled down the North Face of Himmelhorn with our 60m rope which worked out perfectly. Ottohorn took about an hour to summit and get back down to the Himmel-Otto col. The 3rdclass route that Bunker-Haley-Wallace took is gone due to some fresh rock fall. Instead of taking the 2 pitch 5.7 variation that Hilden-Holsten-Wertkin took, we attacked the fresh rock scar directly which was splitter 5.6 hand cracks for maybe 15 m to the ridge and summit. In the fading light, we then headed over to Frenzelspitz (the final peak of the Enchainment) from the Himmel-Otto col, traversing along rock on the north side of Ottohorn. The ledge/gulley traverse had the most heinous, scary, exposed choss. Luckily the climbing on Frenzel was pretty great 5.7ish. We made four fresh rappel anchors, starting with a runner on the summit block, two double-nut anchors, and another slung horn. 5.8 ridge (vertical blocks) The fantastic climbing on the technical crux of East Twin Needle. Priti leading out onto the technical crux (and I mean technical!) - face climbing on crimps with small gear Looking up and over Dusseldorfspitz. Priti is belaying between Dusseldorfspitz (foreground) and Himmelhorn (background). The crazy outcropping (Dusseldorfspitz) just East of the summit of Himmelhorn Looking back down from the Himmelhorn summit at the belay. Left to right: Dusseldorfspitz (the small spire along the ridgeline, just below the summit), Himmelgeisterhorn ("Horn of the Sky Spirit", also a small suberb of the German city of Dusseldorf), Ottohorn, and Frenzelspitz...three names taken from the label of a mustard bottle brought along by Joan and Joe Firey (kindred spirits and personal heroes of ours) during their first ascent of these peaks in 1961. Ed Cooper, also on the trip, was "aghast" at the names chosen! The magnificent Northern Pickets Frenzelspitz, a perfect pyramid Day 6 The last day we climbed the Chopping Block via the NW Route (4thClass) and hiked out via “Stump Hollow” to Terror Creek. Mega thanks to Wayne, @solwertkin, and @jensholsten for their great beta, inspiration, and support. Priti and I have been dreaming of this climb for years now since reading Alpinist 47 magazine’s expansive article on the Picket Range and being inspired by Jens Holsten and Chad Kellogg’s 2013 Pickets Traverse (of both the Southern and Northern Pickets, 10 miles) after we had just taken the @boealps Basic Climbing Class. The next level of alpinism in the Southern Pickets may be to complete the entire enchainment in a day! This seems like an entirely reasonable feat (especially for a soloist) given enough familiarity and speed. Bivy Beta: Primo bivies (East to West) base of West McMillan Spire descent (snow through the summer, nice bivy walls) base of Mount Terror, cross over ridge to North side - late season snow available on top of the Rake sub-peak (1 pitch past the “Ice Station Dark Star”) – lots of snow just a short scramble distance away along the Rake descent. Himmel-Otto col (if no snow on the col, make one rappel toward Crescent basin to find snow) Terrible bivies (East to West) base of East McMillan Spire descent (sloping ledges, snow early season) slabby ledge about 1/4 the way up the Inspiration West Ridge (exposed) Pyramid-Inspiration col (no snow late season) grassy ledges down and climbers left when you first gain the ridge proper at the start of the Rake “Ice Station Dark Star” (as coined by Hilden-Holsten-Wertkin) which is the col after just rappelling from The Rake summit (snow early season, but rappel north late season to find snow down a heinous choss gully)…if no snow just at the col, then recommend continuing on to the Rake descent to find tons of easily accessible snow in late season Himmelhorn summit (no snow) Gear Notes: small set of nuts and some brassies doubles BD UL Camalots .4-2 single BD UL Camalot 3 (for Inspiration East Face) singles BD C3 000-1 (extra green 0) single BD Camalot X4 Offset 0.1/0.2 single BD Camalot X4 0.3 singles Metolius Mastercam 0-3 4 double-length runners with 2 Camp 22 biners each 3 double-length runners with 1 Camp 22 biner each 9 single-length runners with 1 Camp 22 biner each (can’t have too many runners) 30L Patagonia Ascensionist pack (for him) and 30L Black Diamond Speed pack (for her) Patagonia Micro Puff jacket (each) Patagonia Alpine Houdini jacket (each) Patgaonia Nano-Air Light Hybrid Jacket (for him) 2L MSR DromLite (essential!) Garmin inReach Mini (love this little guy!) Beal Escaper (for emergency bails) Petzl Leopard FL crampons (each) Petzl Sirocco helmets Petzl Sitta harness (for him) and Arc’teryx harness (for her) Metolius Feather Nut Tool (each) Camp Corsa Nanotech 50cm (each) chalk bag, each (didn’t use) tape gloves (for her) and OR Splitter gloves (for him) x2: Mammut Smart belay device (not the Alpine Smart) + Grivel Sigma Wire D carabiner 3 lockers for group: Grivel Tau K12L, Grivel Lambda HMS, Grivel Plume 60m 8.5mm Beal Opera rope 15m 5mm cord (did not use ever) 1 medium fuel canister 1 small fuel canister (did not use) Jetboil Sol stove Safety ‘biner (each) – Edelrid 19g caribeener, Petzl Micro Traxion, short Sterling Hollowblock, Trango Piranha knife Bivy setup (each) – Short Thermarest NeoAir XLite sleeping pad, Exped Air Pillow UL, Feathered Friends Vireo UL sleeping bag 8.5ft^2 tarp by Hyperlite Mountain Gear TC Pros (for him) and Moccassyms (for her) La Sportiva TX2 (for her) and TX4 (for him) approach shoes Petzl Reactik headlamps (each) + 3 extra AAA batteries + Petzl e+LITE headlamp Other things: 1 long spoon to share, chapstick to share, small Joshua Tree sun stick to share, Kenu iPhone tether, lighter, whistle, duct tape, Thermarest repair patches, Voke tabs, Nuun, pain killers, 1L Platypus soft water bottle (for her) and 750mL HydraPak Stash (for him), warm headband, glove liners, 1 pair thick long socks (each), sunglasses, ear plugs, WRFA emergency form, small pencil Dinner: 2 AlpineAire meals, 3 Near East Couscous boxes repackaged with small olive oil packets in ziplock bags, salt Day food was mostly bulky, yummy snacks: vegan jerky, dried mango, nuts, Cheese-Its, sesame sticks, Gu, nut butter, etc Approach Notes: Excellent Approach trail Goodell Creek to Terror Basin. The descent from Crescent Basin is tricky The luxurious tree marker where one descends from the ridge below "Stump Hollow" towards Terror Creek Log crossing Terror Creek on descent
  5. 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)
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 8 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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.
  13. 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
  14. 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.
  15. 6 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: UNDER CONSTRUCTION..... Will circle back around in the coming days to finish the captions..... 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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!
  19. 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
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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
  24. 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).
  25. 6 points
    Trip: Mount Chaval - Standard Western Ramp Trip Date: 09/28/2018 Trip Report: Ahhhhhhhhhhh.....fall in the high country. Perhaps my favorite time of year. Crisp air, vibrant colors, no bugs, and long enough nights to actually get some sleep. Sure the glaciers are wrecked and the rock often damp, but it give you an excuse to head off the beaten path and do a bit of chossing! And chossing Kit and I did this past weekend on Chaval. We had the pleasure of zero trail between the car on the Illabot road and the peak, flavored by terrain that was always just a bit more rugged than the map would suggest. Given the modest altitude and barriers to admission, I was a little surprised that 2-3 parties a year climb Chaval. I guess its prominence from Darrington draws many potential suitors. At least one likely got more than they bargained for. We found a pair of Merrell boots neatly tied to each other and hung over a tree branch on the ridge leading to camp. Huh? We couldn't come up with a good reason to leave a pair of boots like that in the middle of such rugged terrain, or at least one that didn't involve a rescue. Just another Cascadian mystery that I probably will never find the answer to. And isn't mystery a big part of what draws us back to the hills time and time again? CHAVAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!! Mount Chaval, "It's like rehab for fat people" . Kit pauses at infinity fat camp. It doesn't get much better for fall colors on the west side: There she be, from camp. Kit had steel, I had aluminum. One was better than the other. Snowking: This wasn't mandatory, but it sort of was, just because it was there. Kit just below the summit: The view east from the top of Chaval: Dome: Snowking: Trying to beat the sunset: Time to get out the headlamps: The gloaming has begun: Yes, it looked like we attacked North Korea: My favorite: Dakobed: Sloan, Monte Cristo Peaks, and Pugh from camp: As we hiked out, the rain began to fall: Gear Notes: Helmet, ice axe, crampons Approach Notes: Park on Illabot road, on the western end of the old clear cut near the bridge over Illabot creek. Diagonal across lower part of unit, cross small stream to gain rib which is followed steeply upward to the top of the old unit. Angle up and left to ridge, topping out near small tarn on USGS quad. Follow ridge, generally, to 6100' col where good camps lie with year round water. You'll need to deviate here and there from ridge as it is craggy in sections. Past 6100' col you'll drop off north side to glacier via crappy gully (late season) or steep snow. Follow glacier up to ridge again and the prominent ramp which splits west face of Chaval. Take that ramp all the way to summit ridge and summit via some exposed class 3.
  26. 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
  27. 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.
  28. 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
  29. 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.
  30. 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
  31. 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!
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. 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.
  35. 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.
  36. 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
  37. 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.
  38. 5 points
    Trip: McMillan Spire - South Face to West Ridge Trip Date: 09/28/2018 Trip Report: The idea first occurred to me last spring, during a casual jog around Green Lake. Solo trip to the Pickets. I’d been in Terror Basin once before, in 2014, but our packs were too heavy (camera equipment and booze), our route finding skills abysmal (lost the trail, twice), and our timing wrong (hiked into a storm front). Now, with a toddler at home and a heavy work load, light and fast was paramount. But my summer was full of other adventures and commitments. By the first heavy rains of mid-September, I’d almost given up on the idea. Then a one-day weather window opened on Friday 9/28. I was in need of a raw experience, and decided to act. After a long day at work, I pulled into the Goodell trailhead at 10pm on Thursday night and started hiking. I forgot to check the batteries in my headlight, and suffered under a dim bulb for the first 4.5 miles of overgrown trail. The number of spiders at this time of night was truly frightening. I took hundreds of webs to the face, finally calling it around 1am at the base of the great big hill. The upwards slog began at 7am. Unlike my previous trip, I was rewarded with increasingly spectacular views as dawn broke over the North Cascades. After the first 4000 feet, I “took my time” traversing the heather bench, occasionally stopping to pick the last ripe blueberries and photograph mountain goats. Dropping into Terror Basin from the notch is an exhilarating experience -- the abrupt face of the range in your face, glacial rivers pouring down polished slabs, big talus fields erasing any hope for a trail. It’s even more spectacular you’re the only one there. With no other cars at the trailhead, and a storm scheduled to arrive Saturday, I was blissfully alone. I dropped my pack at Terror Creek, directly below the southern face of Inspiration. When I climbed that peak in September of 2014, the glacier was significantly more established. Anecdotal evidence of a trend that is sure to worsen in the coming years. This trip I headed for McMillan spire. The typical approach takes a snow tongue that traverses under an unstable looking cliff. It was littered with rockfall. Without a helmet, I made the decision to take a different route up the lower part of the south face. It appeared that a few fifth class moves would be required, but I’ll trust my climbing ability over objective hazards any day. The route turned out to be relatively straightforward, and I gained the west ridge 1/3 of the way up. The west ridge itself is more of a hike than a climb, besides a few interesting moves over the final 100’ of summit blocks. But the views couldn’t disappoint even the most cynical. In fall, the lower valleys are filled with bursts of red and orange. The north side of the southern pickets were already covered with a thin layer of snow. There was an eerie calm floating in the air: the last strained grip of summer before winter’s relentless blast of snow and ice. Truly incredible. I spent the night atop a rock perch in the middle of Terror Basin. After a peaceful sunset, the weather rapidly deteriorated. Without a tent, I was blasted by wind the entire night and hardly slept. I began the hike out at 5am amid dark clouds. The rain hit at 7am, and I was soaked and cold by the time I reached my car at 11:30am. Gear Notes: Approach shoes, aluminum crampons, axe Approach Notes: Strong legs and a desire to suffer
  39. 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
  40. 5 points
    Trip: Thornton Peak - SE scramble Trip Date: 08/05/2018 Trip Report: Triumph is a well-known peak, and for good reason. With one of the more classic ridge routes around (the NE), it gets a lot of traffic. But immediately next door lies a fantastic scramble (Cl. 3) to the top of Thornton Peak. Due to a variety of factors, our planned ascent of Triumph morphed into a scramble of Thornton which, it turns out, makes a great destination in its own right. Or, as we saw with another team of ladies we met on the summit, Thornton can serve as great backup to Triumph in case of weather/time constraints. And, since it is so close to Triumph and the Pickets, the views aren't half-bad either. Just make sure you bring a tent with the proper poles and fly if it may rain. @cfire enjoyed a bit of a refreshing evening the night before we scrambled Thornton. Like the tough SOB he is though, it didn't seem to dampen his enthusiasm the next day. Ah......... the yin and yang of the North Cascades! Thornton Lakes on the approach. Thornton peak lies just to the left of Triumph: Chris, working his way around middle Thornton Lake (above). Lower and Middle Thornton Lakes (above). The wedder approaches: Kim and Chris - "Do you think it is going to rain Jason?" Triumph: Ptarmigan: Upper Thornton Lake: Triumph: Me, the Lovely Kim, and Chris on the summit of Thornton: Chris heads for home while Kim and I stay to enjoy another night up high: The Lovely Kim descending back to camp: I'll take it: I had bats flying around me eating moths while I took this shot of Triumph and the Big Dipper about midnight: I want the story of whomever was up at midnight at their camp below the Ottohorn-Himmelhorn col? Smoke, smoke, and more smoke. The story of 2018: Looking from camp across the Skagit trench at the North end of Teebone Ridge: The Lovely Kim surveys the way down to the upper Thornton Lake. She said, "Why can't we take trails like normal people do?" A parting look at Triumph: It's sort of a trail, isn't it? "No". Gear Notes: Footwear of some kind. We were able to stay off snow for the most part and the rock isn't too bad where you feel like you need a helmet. Approach Notes: Use the approach to Triumph col and take a left. Descent camps a bit above the pass without much water late season
  41. 5 points
    Trip: Tupshin and Devore - SE Routes Trip Date: 09/01/2018 Trip Report: This year I decided to celebrate an extended Labor Day weekend near Stehekin. For a bonus, the recent rains had cleared out the smoke we've been engulfed in and the forecast showed no rain. On Saturday we rode a very crowded Lady Express from Field Points Landing to Stehekin. We then caught a late (30 min) but almost empty Red Bus to Harlequin Bridge and hiked up the Stehekin River Trail and Devore Creek Trail to Bird Creek Camp. From here we turned uphill and schwacked our way to flat terrain around 5400' and camped. Time to camp was just under 7 hours. Sunday we arose pre-dawn (which is late and luxurious these days) and hiked straight uphill over towards Tupshin. At about 7000' we attained the ridge leading to the basin below Tupshin's SE face. We crossed the talus fields and ascended to about 7600' and the base of the route. There was no snow whatsoever on our approach which made for a lot of tedious travel, but fuck, it is September! We scrambled the first bit of the SE face and tied in just below the minor block that marks P1. I opted to lead the exposed class 3 around the 5.2 block and flipped my rope over the top of the block before proceeding to a 4th class quasi-chimney. P2 was mostly scrambling. P3 and P4 were more interesting, each with a nice (but short) low-fifth section (5.4-ish). At the top of the fourth pitch, we untied and scrambled to the summit. Although there is a ton of loose rock, the ascent seemed mostly safe and secure. The descent - not so much. We ended up rappelling five times, including the section at the bottom that we had scrambled. It was a constant fight not to knock rocks down and move carefully to stay out of each other's fall line. Once off the route, we made our way back to camp. There whisky awaited me, and I drifted off to sleep happy to finish this one off safely. On Monday we ascended to the 5800' basin below Devore and hiked up the steep gully leading to a basin. From here we ascended the steepening basin to rock bands that we scrambled to the edge of the lakes at 7000'. We ascended some horrible shitty choss to the shoulder of the ridge (7500'). then ran the ridge to a large gendarme. To compensate for the choss-slog we were treated for some of the most spectacular views I've seen: Our route descriptions said "do NOT go around the S side" (of the gendarme). We ended up wasting 2 hours trying to get around the N. The snow patch here was too melted back and icy (rotten ice). Eventually we gave up and I checked out the S side. It went! From there it was a quick shit-slog through choss up and right about 300' to a notch in the ridge, a short ridge traverse to a 4th class step and finally a scramble finish to the summit. We did 2 rappels down (both short) and retraced our steps to camp. Everyone was tired and wanted to head out the next day so we set our alarms to allow for plenty of time to get to the bus in time. Tuesday was an easy hike back to Harlequin where we all rinsed off in the river and relaxed waiting for the bus. We got some goodies at the bakery and a beer on the boat. By that morning the smoke was back in force so we were not too sad to save Flora for another trip. Gear Notes: 60m rope, small alpine rack, helmet Approach Notes: Open forest with some schwacking
  42. 4 points
    Trip: Sinister Peak / Dome Peak - West Ridge Trip Date: 07/21/2019 Trip Report: 3ish day trip to climb Sinister and Dome. Hiked in the first 6 miles on Fri night to 6 Mile Shelter. Saturday hiked the 8 miles in just over 7 hours to Iswoot Ridge (thick wet bushwacking for a mile, hornets and a bit of off-route travel here and there). 21 hour day on Sunday. The route to Sinister is just about out and we weren't even sure it the glacier would be passable. So we considered it a bonus if we could get there. Had to do a much longer downclimb and side traverse around the bergschrund and over another lower crevasse just to get started from the Dome saddle. There were faint previous tracks that went down a shorter downclimb and over a snow bridge that has now collapsed (you can see that 2 pictures down). Only had to backtrack from one path that was a dead end, then the final crevasse leading to Sinister had one small snowbridge left we could cross. Other than that the navigation was pretty straight forward even if it did involve some weaving around a number of large crevasses. Burned most of our time getting there and only had an hour before our turn around time to climb. We figured if we could do a quick run up we could make it in time to get back for Dome. After re-reading the route beta we had printed out that it was some 3rd class with a + move and then to easy 2nd class and no mention of gear or ropes we went up without rope and gear, which in hindsight wasn't a good idea. Turned out the people who had written that trip report had pitched it out and rappelled and one thought it was 4th class. Found that out after we got back. With approach shoes I thought the climbing wasn't bad, just 4th class exposure in a couple places. But everyone else had heavy boots which made those moves more thought provoking. The first 3rd+ moves after getting up the gully turned back half our group and the other 2 of us up higher had to descend a 2nd parallel gully that had a 4th class move to get down into. Plus I had to poach rappel slings off a couple rap anchors to use as makeshift handlines to lower down a couple moves on longer slab to get people down a move on each of the gullies. So if anyone sees a couple free hanging pieces of webbing, that was us... The gully that is snow filled that could be scrambled down early season was melted out to the point it cliffed out about 15 feet above a moat. So, we burned another couple hours getting a rope up to rappel down. The other half of our party walked back around to where we dropped the gear and was able to lead up about 20 feet next to the gully and tossed the rope over to us and we rapped back down. After doing some exploring where the right gully cliffed out and scrambling up climbers left and out of it and moving left about 10 feet its possible to get out of it without a rope, but would involve about 10 feet of kitty litter angled slab with questionable holds. We didn't have to resort to trying that as by then we had the rope to rap down with. In hindsight double checking what we did we were on route but it was confusing and didn’t match up with the beta we had. Plus 2 different gps devices showed us in different places which added to the confusion. Finding 4 rappel stations and 4th class climbing when we were expecting 3rd class made us wonder if we were on a different route. We could have done a better job digging around for more beta on this one. Busted back to Dome as fast as we could and barely had time to summit that just at sunset which was an awesome view. Spent the next 3 hours navigating back to camp in pitch dark. Halfway there 2 rechargable headlamps without spare batteries had died and we were navigating back with cell phones. Late dinner at 1am. Slept in late on Monday and had a more relaxed day with a long hike out with dinner at Taco Bell in Arlington at midnight. Good times. This one throws a lot at you. Might be one of our favorite trips so far - except for that getting cliffed out part. We'll be back but for the North Face next time. We got the best and hardest parts of that route, good enough for the first try on this peak. The concerning part turned out at the end of the trip. Back at the cars the next day ran into a guy who had the next morning summitted Dome right after us who had met a 20 something year old with little glacier experience and wearing tennis shoes with crampons and an ice axe doing the Ptarmigan Traverse who he saw following our boot tracks solo over to Sinister. And he had made it past the first bergschrund. No idea what the rest of his skills are or what he knew about Sinister. Gonna have to keep our eyes open for any reports on if he made it back and how far he got. If anyone hears about a kid soloing Sinister this weekend drop us a note how he faired. Gear Notes: 40m rope, light rack, ice axe, crampons, stuff Approach Notes: Heavy wet brush on the way in, dry and fairly beaten down on the way out.
  43. 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.
  44. 4 points
    Trip: Eldorado Peak and Dorado Needle - E Ridge and NW Ridge Trip Date: 06/16/2019 Trip Report: Conditions are quite good in the Eldorado area right now. We made a casual ascent of Eldorado on our approach day and climbed the NW Ridge of Dorado Needle on Sunday. The climbing was easy but damn... that descent to the car was pretty punishing. Full trip report and photos: Spokalpine Gear Notes: Crampons/Axe for Eldorado. Light rock rack for Dorado Needle. Approach Notes: Wear a knee brace
  45. 4 points
    Trip: Mt. Baker - Coleman Headwall Trip Date: 05/30/2019 Trip Report: Trip dates: 5/30 - 5/31 Party size: 2 Met couple parties did NR with good conditions feedback. We camped at ~6525ft on the way to NR with a clear view of our right side route. We were the only party camping in that area. We can see boot path going towards the base of our climbing route, but just up to the last crevasse close to Roman Nose and it was turning left. We started our approach to the base of the climb following boot path and latter we were on our own. Met a family of crevasse around, like we were on some kind of an island. We had to set up a belay while one of us jump over, otherwise approach to base of the climb was navigating around few other crevasses. Our climb started crossing a bergschrund on the right of the big alpine ice walls that was having a nice bridge. After crossing, we went up straight on a mix terrain of snow & ice until we got another bergschrund and a vertical ice of ~7ft on the other side. The bridge was a block of ice ~2.5ft in length and ~1ft in width and the narrow gaps around. We crossed setting up a pitch with 2 pickets and 2 ice crews. We got semi soft snow above the ice wall, we were able to get over the wall. We continued going straight up close to the rock and went on right side, continued going up weaving around the rock until the only snow exit was on the left. We went on the left and continued going up and looking for a way to go over right side between rock bands. Once we got our way to the right side, we continued traversing and going up the slope, got on the ridge and to The Summit! We put on 2 pitches, the 2nd pitch was just with pickets. We simul-climbed the climb otherwise until little after we gain the ridge. The whole climbing route was a fun sustained steep! Descending Coleman Deming route was postholing. There are 3 easily visible crevasses on the route. Glissade was fun. It was a great day to seldom climb this beautiful Coleman Headwall route. Gear Notes: Used 2 ice screws, 4 pickets, 2 ice tools, 60m 8mm single and standard glacier travel gear. Approach Notes: Trail is clear of trees. Snow on trail starts little after toilet & camp signs.
  46. 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
  47. 4 points
    Trip: Mt Hood - NF right gully (IV, AI3+, 50-55 degrees) Trip Date: 04/20/2019 Trip Report: Noah Kimmes, Ben Luedtke and I climbed the right gully on the north face of Mt Hood last Saturday. No issues to speak of on the approach. Glacier travel was very straight forward. We followed the left flank beneath the cliffs. There are a couple WI3-4 flows still in here if you feel like a warm up. We crossed the bergshrund on the far right. Thin ice/crumbly mixed and a bit of overhung snow but it goes. Partially fell through the snow bridge. A short snow ramp above this leads to the first WI2 pitch which we simuled. Rock and ice fall hazard from the cliff face above to the right at this point. Middle snow slope was in great condition. Solo'd with solid boot steps and good sticks in the icier sections. Exit ice pitch at just below 11,000' went at WI3+. Ice was a bit thin and aerated but solid enough. Lots of features for feet. Good screws on the pitch but anchor was tough. Chopped through snice to thin ice for a stubby, got a decent 13 and a buried tool. Snow was a bit deeper from here to the saddle at Cathedral Spire (amazing position). More of the same booting to the top. Summit cornice was minor to nonexistent. Super fun route! Definitely my new favorite on Hood. Full story forthcoming on erikofthemountain.com Cheers! Approach to Eliot Glacier. Noah leading an ice pitch on the approach. Crossing the bergshrund. Snow right above the WI2 pitch. A look down the middle snow section. Lots and lots of front pointing with epic views. The upper part of the center snow section. The upper ice pitch. The crew! Cathedral spire from near the summit. The summit block. Gear Notes: What we used: 1/10, 4/13cm screws & 1 picket (tool belays most effective) What we brought: 1/10cm, 4/13cm, 2/17cm, 0.4, 0.5, a few nuts & 2 pickets Approach Notes: Left TH at 3:00am. We could skin from the gate but had to boot a couple dirt sections.
  48. 4 points
    Trip: Mt Jefferson - South Ridge Trip Date: 10/22/2018 Trip Report: Don't listen to the haters, this route is damn fine. I was lucky to snag the very last Pamelia Lake permit Thursday night. Because I knew I needed sleep before my big trip, I got none and I was really droopy heading out Saturday morning: had tea with a nice person about to travel far away, printed my maps/permit, texted plans to my coparent, and overshot Pamelia Road by 15 mins all in a dizzying podcast muffled blur. The low point of my trip was at Pamelia Lake. It turns out the BeFree filter's bad reviews have merit: with a hard squeeze drops were coming out slower than I was perspiring. It's been used for about ten nights total. For some reason, after sucking on it hard (no, there's no pun there) the flow upgraded to an infuriating trickle and my trip wasn't ruined. I got to Coyote Lake after a few hours of slow and sleepy PCT, mostly nondescript except for this huge owl. There were a few peeps on the other side; I was surprised by how few I'd seen given all the cars at the TH. I heard the climber's trail is hard to find, so I decided not to try and just bushwhacked uphill starting right where the PCT meets the lake. I love bushwhacking. I love the expeditionary feeling, the independence, the navigation, and the mindfulness it mandates. As a bonus, no predator could hunt me without making a lot of sound, so it's safer than a trail. Right? Well, I had a mild navigation problem. I'd intended to camp at a flat spot at 7100 ft. I popped atop a knifey ridge and utterly failed to read the terrain, so I did my best and (finally) read the altitude instead: 7700 ft. I'm way off, but in a good way? I scramble a bit more with headlamp and find a narrow perch at 7800 ft to call it a day after trying and failing to pinpoint myself on the map by moonlight. Wake naturally at 6:10 after sleeping well. I still don't know exactly where I am, but uphill seems sensible. I consistently find excellent boulders to use for climbing, next to no scree. If you're one of the many annoying folks that whine about this route, I'm so excited to tell you that if you stick just a bit to the SE you'll have nothing to complain about. Traversing to the N side of the pinnacle was certainly not trivial, but easier than I expected: dry at first, then with some ice I could navigate around, then the crampons came on. It was wicked to dislodge rocks and see them explode into many pieces 1000 ft down seconds later. Took a few false starts till I found the way to the summit; I'd agree with peoples' fourth class assessment, though there's one narrow snowy ledge on the North side of the pinnacle that has some crazah exposure facing East (fourth pic down from here). This was the one spot where conditions weren't ideal: snow was soft and a few inches deep. Slippery, no purchase. Did I mention conditions? Extremely good, everything in shadow was very firm snow or dense water ice. Very trustworthy. This is my first mixed snow/ice/rock experience and it was SO rewarding, made me feel so competent :->. Descent was similar, though I opted for screeing instead of the boulders. Accidentally found the climber's boring trail and followed it. Decided to descend via Hunt's cove, got my bushwhack fix there with a nice, steep shortcut. So dreamy in the fall. I might've picked some boletes on the way back as an offering to my dad, who expressed want for them and specifically asked me not to climb Mt Jefferson. Back in town only five minutes late to pickup my daughter this time. Such a rewarding excursion! Gear Notes: Crampons, ice axe, Assam tea Approach Notes: I'm 80% sure the mushrooms are called Fat Jacks, and 100% sure they're nontoxic by way of human experimention.
  49. 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.
  50. 4 points
    Trip: Twin Sisters Range - Green Creek (Lite) Circuit Trip Date: 08/28/2018 Trip Report: I've really only dabbled in the Twin Sisters area since moving to Bham for school a couple years ago, but what a surprisingly complex, interesting and under-appreciated resource it is, so close to town. The recently cleared air got me giddy, and after being unable to find a partner for any adventures further afield I set my sights closer to home. The Green Creek Circuit looked like a great way to familiarize myself with lesser-traveled corners of the range, and it was. Definitely gained a new appreciation for this area. I crossed the Middle Fork and began hiking the Elbow Lake trail in the deep blue, pre-dawn glow graciously accompanied by the feeling that some apex predator was eyeing me from the bushes which tends to happen while hiking solo in unfamiliar places. The "bushwack" into the cirque has apparently really cleaned up since previous TRs I've read; I've had harder times following trails to popular crags in Squamish. There's solid tread the whole way and the route is generously marked with blue reflective diamonds, perhaps excessively so, but it eased any worries I had about potentially having to hike this section in the dark. Some of the ancient cedars and firs in this area are really impressive. The Green Creek cirque is gorgeous. It wouldn't even be unreasonable for the highly motivated boulderer to haul some pads out here - there's some great looking boulders and lines. I couldn't have felt any further way from Bham or other familiar places up the Nooksack. Truly wild zone, that is until I had to pick up someone's pile of plastic food wrappers that were clearly too heavy to pack out. Seriously? I started up Green Creek Arete as the sun poked over Mt. Baker and began to fill the valley. Solid, clean rock, nice exposure, great scrambling. I haven't felt that relaxed and in tune with the mountains in a while. As I topped out, smoke began to fill the air and Kulshan was temporarily obscured - bleh. It slowly cleared, though, and crossing slabs and tarns en route to the Sisters Glacier was another unexpected scenic highlight of the trip. Easy travel, great views and lots of peaks ahead. The moat crossing to S Twin NE Ridge was easy, and the ridge was a lot shorter than I expected. On top around 10, I started to relax and slow my pace down with all the daylight still in front of me. As I scooted down the south face gullies, I was eyeing Skookum with a little apprehension. I didn't bring a rope, and the Jaws Tooth downclimb didn't sound very up my alley, so I was looking at climbing directly up to the Jaws Tooth notch and finishing up Skookum. It looked like a large moat to steep choss - which, in hindsight after climbing other things on this traverse, I'm sure it wasn't, but I also became more worried about sketchy looking conditions crossing the Hayden Col, Little Sister Col and dropping back on the glacier, and ended up passing Skookum by. I know I probably missed out on the best climbing of the whole outing, but that was my call in the moment. I'll be back. A common theme of the Sisters area appears to be things looking much steeper/chossier/more difficult than they really are from a distance. Despite being totally melted out, the Hayden Col was casual, so I scrambled over to a summit I thought to be Ribbon Point, but was actually the one just to the north of it. Either way, cool spot. The talus crossings weren't nearly as bad as I'd heard they might be without snow, though my bruised tailbone might think differently. Slower going, but reasonable. Not wanting to miss out on any more good climbing, I eyed up my line on Little Sister's NW face and settled on the rightmost of the two ribs on the left side of the face. Surprisingly good 5.4ish up and sometimes left of a little corner system, stepping left onto a beautiful, highly featured and varnished slab to bypass a small bulge, leading to class 3 up the rib to the summit. Stellar! selfies are hard with an slr! stoked on top of little sister route up little sister with the easy-ish access to green ck glacier marked I dropped my pack at the notch just above the Green Creek Glacier, sussed it out and found passage via a collapsed snow bridge. All around, the schrund was huge, and I decided to go with the devil I knew and hop across here, as opposed to traversing Little Sister and Cinderella and potentially not being able to get back down to the glacier. This I think was a good call, the normal col where people drop onto the glacier was severely melted out with a large looking moat. The hike down the glacier, into the valley and out was calm and tranquil. The smoke had fully cleared, I don't think I've ever had as good of a view of Lincoln and Colfax as this. Grassy benches without a trace of human travel, bright orange rock contrasting with Baker's white, and the jagged cirque and glacier at my back. 15 hours car to car, for what little peakbagging I actually accomplished I'd say this is a modest time that could be significantly improved with less lollygagging, summit naps, routefinding snafus and blueberry pit stops. But I like all those things. Gear Notes: axe and pons, sense of adventure Approach Notes: now equipped for the masses
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