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  1. 7 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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
  4. 4 points
    Trip: Mt Logan - Fremont Glacier Trip Date: 08/04/2019 Trip Report: "Did you go far..." a gray haired lady happily chirped at us, 100 feet from the parking lot. "Yeah..." John and I muttered back at her in unison, giving her the shortest answer possible, not breaking stride as we trudged past. We weren't trying to be rude, but our minds were focused on the truck, cold drinks, clean clothes, and comfortable shoes. The longer answer is that we climbed Mt Logan over three days via the Thunder Creek valley and the Fremont glacier. And yeah, it was far, clocking in around ~46 miles total. Thankfully much of that is on trail, ~18 miles to Thunder Basin Camp on Saturday. Temps were cool enough and with enough shade that the hike in was relatively pleasant. John and I had each been up the trail on independent solo attempts in the past couple years. Sunday we were moving my 8AM, up towards Park Creek Pass then the long traverse across alp slopes towards the Fremont Glacier. We lost the climbers trail several times, but it was never critical. Just keep traversing. A tough aspect of Logan is you never really see the summit until you’re on top of it. The snow feature to access the scramble is melted back quite a bit, but not overly concerning. We lugged a rope which was nice to have for peace of mind, but not a critical piece of gear. The backside was more exposed than I expected, but is well cairned and stays mostly 3rd class unless you get off route. Views were worth it! Seems like you can see EVERYTHING from up there. Monday was a long hike out on sore feet. Sorry to the nice lady trying to say hi... Gear Notes: nothing unusual Approach Notes: long
  5. 4 points
    Very sad news. I'll miss Chuck's sarcastic sense of humor, his brotherly teasing, his intelligence, and his adventurous and ready spirit. I spent one of my all-time favorite mountain climbing days with Chuck when we climbed the full North Ridge of Mt. Stuart in a day, which was his idea and turned out great. It was one of those days of alpine perfection. We didn't see another human the whole day and we flowed up the route in the glittering sunshine. I can close my eyes and recall a dozen moments from that day. Memories that I have cherished to this day, but are now a bit heavier. Thank you for that day! I will miss you my friend.
  6. 4 points
    Trip: Snoqualmie Pass - Commonwealth Ultimate Ridge Linkup (CURL) Trip Date: 07/28/2019 Trip Report: Anthony and I did a fun enchainment of Guy Peak (south side), Snoqualmie, Lundin, Red, Katwalk Peak (north of the Katwalk), and Kendall. There was some exceptional scrambling, hours of exposed "Beckey 4th class". We tried to stay on the ridge proper as much as possible except for when it was simply too sketchy in trail runners or it was too vegetated. Here's some beta: - Guye Peak: approached from underneath the west face, we climbed a rib to the left of the South Gully, this offered some amazingly steep, hero juggy scrambling. - Snoqualmie to Lundin: There is an incredible knife edge just after Snoqualmie. West ridge of Lundin is cruiser, bypassed the impassable gaps on the left with some low 5th. - Lundin to Red: There is an optional gendarme (which we took) partway down the ridge which was probably the crux of the entire route for us. We left the Red Pass trail and the talus field and climbed a gully system to the summit. - Red to Katwalk Peak: The descent off Red was nowhere near as bad as people describe. Partway along the ridge, we ran into "The Cleft", a vertical impasse that splits the ridge. We had to descend a few hundred feet before finding a fourth class weakness through it, then climb back up to regain the ridge. - Katwalk Peak to Kendall Peak: mostly vegetated at first, but with some fun knife-edge right before the Katwalk. Kendall North Ridge is cruiser. It totaled 12 miles, 6.5k ft gain, and took us 8:23. Apparently it has been done in four hours . https://climberkyle.com/2019/07/28/commonwealth-ultimate-ridge-linkup-the-curl/ Scrambling steep terrain up the south face of Guye. More fun higher on Guye. Full view of the CURL. The middle summit of Guye. Awesome knife edge after Snoqualmie. West Ridge Lundin. Red mountain and the ridge. Crux gendarme. Some loose scrambling on Red. Fun slabs on the downclimb of Red. The 4th class weakness through the Cleft. \ Above the Kendall Katwalk. Red mountain with the Cleft visible on the right. Nearing summit of Kendall Peak. Gear Notes: Helmet, running vests, approach shoes. Approach Notes: Start up the neighborhoods beneath the west face of Guye, climb talus to the base, then curve right to the south face.
  7. 4 points
    Trip: Dragontail Peak - Dragons of Eden Trip Date: 07/19/2019 Trip Report: Sean and I have been having too much success lately. So we decided to step it up a little bit and give DOE a go yesterday. We promptly got our asses handed to us, but made it up in reasonable time. Taking our time on the approach due to a nice morning rain, we made it to the base in 3ish hours. I will say that this route has one of the shortest approaches in the range. The first pitch is properly dirty and harder than it looks. Looks like 5.8, feels like 10- dirty. The second pitch is so sweet! but like the rest of the route, needs some more traffic to make it even more enjoyable. There is a guillotine flake at the start that looks bad, but is solid, this is kind of a theme of the route. I linked this into the 5.9 pitch and belayed from below the crux on a big fat ledge. Sean coming up to the pitch 2 belay in the sun! This wall is COLD and doesn't get any real sun until late in the day. This was the only sun we got all day. From there we rested up and Sean gave the crux a solid effort, no send but that pitch is really fun and you're more likely to hit the pedestal as the follower unless your belayer isn't paying attention. Looking up at me on the headwall. The whole headwall seems to be comprised of scary hollow sounding tombstone flakes. They are solid for now, but it still made it feel pretty heads up for me. The position is all time exposed if you build a belay in the middle of the pitch, which is what we did. The second headwall pitch is hard and scruffy. Still a little crumbly, but takes great gear. I can't believe that Jens onsighted that pitch before it was properly cleaned, so awesome! Sean trying to untie his knot. Psyched on life and ready to start the scramble up to the summit. Can you spot Sean in his granite colored jacket? We soloed the NE buttress until this spot. I had read in Steph's TR about how loose the notch was, It is indeed absolutely horrible. The first hold that Sean grabbed in the gulley proper tore loose and triggered a big slide below him. To get around it he went up and right, then down-climbed to the rap station. We flicked the rope down and I TR'd directly up the notch. I can't stress how gross the rock is, but I guess it could be worse. We brought a tagline to bail and haul a pack. This allowed us to make one full 60m rap down the other side. Still more loose rock but a pretty straightforward rappel. From where the route drops you, you don't need snow gear to get down. Some fun scree and snow skiing took us down to Aasgard and the usual jarring hike down the pass brought us back to our packs. Overall it's a great route! Too hard for me to give a good RP attempt from the car right now, but I now have something to train for. Like others have said, with some more traffic this route would clean up well! I even think the average 10+ climber with some alpine aiders and a slightly bigger rack could have fun on it. Next time I come back I will probably rap the route. It was cool for both of us to top out since it was our first route on D-tail, but the NE-Butt is mostly just exposed loose walking and not a good route. Gear Notes: Doubles .3-3 and Triples .4-1 12 alpine draws Small set of nuts 60m 6mm Tagline Approach Notes: Around the lake and up to the base of the waterfall, then right over the waterfall and up some loose 4th class to the base. If you're gonna leave gear at the base, hide it under a boulder before you cross the waterfall.
  8. 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.
  9. 3 points
    Trip: North Cascades - NW Face of Forbidden Peak Trip Date: 08/04/2019 Trip Report: Climbed the Northwest Face of Forbidden Peak on Sunday, Aug. 4. I believe now that we badly botched getting on the start of the route, exiting the glacier too close to the toe of the arete, rather than attempting to climb further around and up to the right of it. This resulted in some time consuming and stressful problem solving in unpleasant terrain. After crossing the Forbidden Glacier, we found a place where we could make a short down climb/rappel off the glacier and onto rock, near what we thought was the start of the climbing route. Off to our right was a gaping hole filled with ice and rock debris that's part of the moat. Once on the rock, we scrambled up 10 or 15 feet to where we were beneath a roughly seven-foot-thick snow patch, looking up at a corner system that we reasoned (convinced ourselves) could be the start of the rock climbing. (View from across the Forbidden Glacier of the rib on Forbidden where the climb is located.) (Rappelling off of the Forbidden Glacier. The snow was soft and we reluctantly opted to bury and leave a picket to do this.) My climbing partner Pat led the corner, and some terrain above it. There was some dirty rock and some of the climbing felt 5.8/5.9. He stopped after about 80 feet at a semi-hanging belay. I followed up to the belay and we decided after some discussion we were definitely not on the route. Some abandoned gear we passed on the way up indicated we may not have been the first party to have made this mistake. Looking down and climber's right we could see what appeared to possibly be the access ramp feature described in the Cascades Rock guidebook. We then watched as the top of a massive ice tower--a chunk of ice that was maybe about the size of a 55-gallon drum--collapsed into another debris filled hole in the glacier, next to the ramp. Short on good options, we lowered/rappelled down into a more sheltered part of the moat, and then climbed a short section of polished 5.8ish rock up out of it, over to the right, to reach the start of the ramp. In the place where we finally established a belay we were just above the debris hole where we'd seen the ice fall, and close to other threatening towers of ice that were by now baking in direct sunlight. But it appeared that we were far enough away that we were not in immediate danger if anything else fell. From here we followed the ramp system up and further right to the climb proper. Parts of the ramp felt mid-fifth class, with maybe some 5.6/5.7 moves, and sparse gear. As this ramp trended higher, the snow got closer to it, although I can't confirm whether there's a spot right now where you could get off of the glacier in this area and onto the rock. At this point, the climbing thankfully became more straightforward and matched with descriptions we'd read. Although the lower part of the route was looser and dirtier than I expected it would be. The 5.6 knife edge and 5.8 pitch were both stellar, with fun climbing, good gear, and an amazing position on the mountain. I stayed near the ridge crest approaching the 5.8 section and then climbed cracks and other features on the steeper rock straight ahead before cutting left. This seemed to work well. On the upper section of the climb, the rock quality improves somewhat compared to the lower portion. But don't expect to be romping up Leavenworth or Index grade granite, there's still plenty of loose rock. We simul-climbed after the 5.8 pitch, stopping twice to re-rack and belay before the summit. (Upper section of the climb, with the 5.6 knife edge in the foreground, the 5.8 section above it, and the rest of the route beyond.) All of the messing around at the base of the route meant that we reached the summit much later than expected. We descended the West Ridge, reaching the notch just after dark and decided to bivy there, rather than continuing with the rappels back down into Boston Basin. This meant we both missed a day of work without giving notice and caused a great deal of worry for our significant others who expected us back on Sunday night. But having not done the rappels before, I think we made the right decision. We woke up around 5 a.m. and descended back to the car without incident. One perk of staying out an extra night is that we got to see an impressive northern lights display from the notch on the West Ridge that lasted until around dawn. (Feeble attempt at capturing a dramatic northern lights display with an iPhone camera.) On the approach, the Boston Glacier wasn't too difficult to get across. We were able to pick out a line across most of it from the rappel notch near Sharkfin Col. We also watched another party headed to do the North Ridge hit a dead end that we were able to then avoid. (Boston Glacier, as seen from the rappel notch right of Sharkfin Col.) (Looking back at the Boston Glacier from near the gully that leads up to the low point on the North Ridge, that provides access to the Forbidden Glacier.) The Forbidden Glacier becomes more heavily crevassed nearer to the base of the route, but it seems like based on past trip reports that this is pretty standard. As for the rappels on the approach, two raps with a 60m rope from the notch right of Sharkfin Col will currently get you to the edge of the moat on the Boston Glacier. It's also possible to scramble down climber's right after one rappel onto the glacier. We went too high in the gully that leads to this notch and had to go back down to reach it. It's off climbers left in the same general area (can't remember if it's before or just after) as a slung rappel station in the gully. If you're getting too far above that rap station in the gully, you've gone too far. This gully is mostly snow free right now and very loose. We crossed over to the Forbidden Glacier via the low point on the North Ridge (there's another place to cross over just north of here, not sure if there's any advantage to using it instead). From the low point on the ridge, exposed scrambling (we roped up for it) down and skiers left of a bivy site will lead you to a rappel anchor that we backed up with a new piece of webbing and a second rap ring. One rap with a 60m gets you down onto the glacier. On Saturday night, we bivyed below this cross over point on the North Ridge, on the Boston Glacier side, near the glacier, where we had access to snow to melt for water. My overall impressions of the route are that it climbs a beautiful feature in an iconic part of the North Cascades--a great mountaineering adventure in a wild setting. (Eldorado Peak and Moraine Lake as seen from the climbing route.) That said, I thought it was short on good rock climbing. The crux for us was definitely getting on the route, but I also don't think we did it the easy way if there is such a thing. Don't underestimate the time it could take getting on this climb and the hazards that are present near the base of the route, particularly this late in the summer. And don't forget there aren't many easy alternatives to get back to Boston Basin once you're on the Forbidden Glacier. This was my first significant outing in the North Cascades after moving back to Washington state following a four year stint in Washington, D.C. It was a full on one. Definitely memorable. Gear Notes: Single 60m rope, double rack of cams from finger sizes to #2, one #3 (small gear seems to be more useful than big pieces on this route), set of nuts, two pickets. Approach shoes, aluminum crampons, ice axe. Approach Notes: See trip report.
  10. 3 points
    Trip: Mount Constance - South Chute & Finger Traverse & FT Bypass Trip Date: 08/03/2019 Trip Report: SummitPost wasn't kidding saying Mt Constance is one of the most challenging peaks to climb in the Olympics. Its the peak seen from Seattle that has the biggest prominence on the horizon. We did a "Leisurely" 3-day trip (24 miles & 9400ft gain) to climb Mount Constance in the Olympics. We figured it would be a 20+ hours of hiking and climbing and pushing bikes up the approach would only make the hot day hike in harder only to shave maybe an hour off the whole thing. In the end we were just fine having not brought bikes. Its a quick enough and easy hike out they really aren't needed. That said the rangers did warn us if we were taking bikes to hide them as people even 5 miles in will strip bikes of parts and just leave the locked frame behind. After picking up our permit we did the 8 mile hike and 3rd class tree root scramble on Friday to get to Lake Constance in 5 1/2 hrs. Maybe a bit slower than usual but it was hot and humid so we took our time since we really weren't in a hurry. Great campsite right at the lakes edge and not a bug to be seen. 6am start on Saturday, returned to camp 6pm. 6.5 hours up and 5.5 hours return. Great to not feel rushed trying to pack it into 2-day or even car to car. This would be a 20+ hour day trying to do it in a day and with it mostly melted out its a huge amount of boulder, scree and loose rock scrambling which would probably added some hours vs if it had been more snow covered. Did the Finger Traverse Bypass route on the way up which was some interesting navigation around a hidden ledge and chimney system around the backside of that block of rock. If you find two tiny rock bivy site rings near the start of the Finger Traverse you are pretty close to finding the drop down to a ledge that looks like it cliffs out, but if you work your way down a narrow 10ft chimney you almost have to wedge yourself into it drops onto another ledge that works its way around and spits you out on the other side of the Finger Traverse. No running water on the route once we left the camp but were able to refill water bottles from snow patches along the way and wound up with plenty of water. On the way back we soloed the first half of the Finger Traverse then broke out the rope to lead around the corner considering its a literal finger traverse with not much in the way of foot holds if you are short with a monster runout over a cliff. You can setup a belay about halfway across in a nice alcove with a boulder to sling. Then sling a horn on the way over, place a #1 cam, then around the tricky corner there is an easy to miss rusty piton as you angle back up to where you can setup a multi-point gear anchor. A solo climber we passed planning on doing the route in a day on our way out was planning on soling across the Finger Traverse but wound up turning back once he saw how exposed it was. We also saw a pair on our way out around 8:30am still an hour from the lake who were carrying light day packs planning on doing the route in a day but they were hours behind where they should have been to get out of the technical terrain before dark. If you like scree surfing coming down was a fun run down 3 long scree fields. I wouldn't want to do this route in wet conditions. We had great weather and everything was dry. I think this one set the bar for the most amount of scree, loose rock and boulder hopping we've ever done in a day. And a lot of twists and turns navigating a complex route. While it wasn't high on the technical scale its a beast stringing the whole thing together. Over 20hrs moving time between the climb and hikes in and out. Gear Notes: ice axe, crampons, light alpine rack (#1 and a couple smaller cams & a few nuts), 40m rope (the one that used to be 60m before a snaffulhound on Mt Cruiser chewed through it...) Approach Notes: boulders, scree, more scree, boulders, scree, little bit of snow patch, more scree.... don't under estimate the amount of scree, loose rock scrambling and boulder hopping once its melted out.
  11. 3 points
    Dana is a kind and patient man. He assured me repeatedly that my sluggish pace and frequent stops were no issue. But let's be clear, this trip kicked my ass. Everything still hurts. A few observations: When we climbed the North Face of Sinister in August 2016, we seemed more evenly matched. Now, at age 56, a lengthy three-day trip with zero conditioning has become a true suffer-fest. Since 2016, I've gained almost 20 pounds. See the photo of me on the glacier - that round thing in my mid-section may as well be near-full-term baby. At age 42, Dana still sits at his long-distance college runner weight. He still has visible abs! I try not to hate him for this. My pack was relatively huge; Dana's looked like a school girl's book bag. How does he survive for THREE WHOLE DAYS without the 110 essentials? Dana wore Solomon trail runners; I wore La Sportiva Trangos. This was a mistake on my part, as usual. Toe nails will be lost. I sweat like a Russian oligarch in a Moscow steam bath; Dana never even glistened, despite the heat. He says he's "air cooled." It's weird. Unlike *CutebutChossy69*/bluebagprincess and her partner, Dana and I remained fully clothed while tackling the summit pyramid. This was a good thing for all concerned. In sum, we had a fine time and I hope that by mid-September I'll be able to take a single flight of stairs without eating four Advil.
  12. 3 points
    Trip: SE Mox, NW Mox, Mount Redoubt - West Ridge, SE Face, South Route Trip Date: 07/25/2019 Trip Report: @Albuquerque Fred and I were at it again, this time up in the Depot Creek drainage over July 25-28. Fred had gone up a month prior to scout the approach and tick off the requisite easy Bulger peaks. Now we were back to get the ones he needed my help on. We hiked in on Thursday none too early after Fred graciously picked up the permit in Sedro Woolley. If you follow Steph's approach beta you will do fine. The trail was decent, we lost it a couple of times, but only once for more than a minute. There was brush... and deadfall, and mud and swamps and bugs and waterfalls and fixed ropes and bear crap and loose moraines and stream crossings. No problem. It took us 7 hours to 7200' camp at Redoubt saddle. If you are used to climbing in the Cascades it's a little worse than the average for a trail, but better than off-trail. Fred and the falls: Me somewhere along the trail photo by Fred: Redoubt N Face, photo by Fred: Me below the glacier on the direct route to 7200' camp, photo by Fred: Camp below Redoubt: Friday we climbed both Mox Spires beginning with SE (or "Hard") Mox. This turned out to be much easier than "Easy" Mox. The route finding was my biggest concern going in as it sounded complicated, but Beckey was dead on. Follow his beta, we never went wrong. Ignore Klenke and his heavy-handedness, the best beta has been available in print for decades. It was a great climb; if you like loose gullies and lots of route finding on moderate ground to a very moderate rock climb, with more loose rock, as I do, then this is for you. We did 6 hours Col Of The Wild to the summit and back to the col, exactly as Beckey states, with about 30-45 min on the summit. Fred on the approach: Col Of The Wild, photo by Fred: Me downclimbing the "major snow gully" photo by Fred: Fred's silhouette on route: Pickets: My favorite part, cleaning up old rap tat, photo by Fred. Please do your part too; if is not good enough to rap on, its trash. LNT!: Next NW Mox, southeast face route from Col Of The Wild. We followed Matt Lemke's beta here from his NW Hikers report: http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8028072 It was scary. The gully you climb is loose with lots of large detached blocks to pull on in the class 5 stretch. I lead the first pitch and I was scared; easy climbing, but no decent pro since everything is loose and/or detached. This was probably the most dangerous climbing I have ever done. Either we missed something or Matt was being ironic with his summit register comment of the route being 5 stars. Any comments would be appreciated. The scramble was easy though and we made about 4 hours round trip. The rappelling was actually pretty safe and easy. It was great to get both Mox peaks in one day and in reasonable time as well. If there is a better way up the SE Face of NW Mox it would be a spectacular paring. We did 13.5 hours camp to camp this day with good breaks on both summits and a long break in the basin in the afternoon. Loose death gully, photo by Fred: Victory pose, photo by Fred: We slept in until around 9 the next morning due to rain, this was expected. All we had left to do all day was Redoubt. We did a bit of a route variation and instead of trending left from the first snowfield into the second snowfield and the talus we continued from the first snowfield straight up a narrowing snow couloir to within 300' of the summit. Then we scrambled left in a rusty chossy gully to regain the standard route at a minor notch in a small buttress. The scrambling was easy with one tough move at the "cannon hole". We mostly followed Steph Abegg's beta here, limited but sufficient. The views were non-existent on top so we descended fairly quickly, going down the more standard route. View up-route from the basin on the south of Redoubt: Fred in the couloir we climbed: Me approaching the summit, photo by Fred: Best photo I had of our couloir from the standard route on descent: We ascended the right line and descended the standard route on the left: Drying out camp that afternoon: We did about 5 hours camp to camp on Redoubt moving fairly mellow with some route-finding in the fog. In the afternoon we went for a stroll on the glacier ice next to camp, it was way cool to just stroll and look around: We slept a lot again and hiked out the next morning, 6 hours to the car. Fred on the Redoubt Glacier on descent: In the falls: More falls, photo by Fred: Gear Notes: 60m rope medium rack (small would be better) crampons axe rock shoes (would skip if there is a next time) Approach Notes: Long and arduous, as advertised.
  13. 3 points
    Trip: Boston Basin - Torment-Forbidden Traverse in a day Trip Date: 08/03/2019 Trip Report: This was a big day for us! My legs are still aching and I've been sleeping like a dead man. I love the North Cascades. Check out the full trip report on my site: Spokalpine Gear Notes: Single rack .2-2, a few nuts, 60m twin rope Approach Notes: It's not bad, really
  14. 3 points
    Trip: Ragged Ridge - Mesahchie, Katsuk, Kimtah, Cosho - Standards Trip Date: 07/27/2019 Trip Report: It seems that this year every one of my trip plans has gone south for one reason or another and this was no exception. Initially hoping to get Challenger a weather blip got worse and worse as the week prior to the climb progressed. Not wishing to fuck around in a white out on Eiley-Wiley ridge and uncertain about Bergschrund conditions in this weird snow/snowmelt summer, we converted our four-day Pickets adventure into a three day Ragged Ridge consolation prize. Saturday still had a weather blip when we settled on the Chinook Slam and sure enough there was some rain and overcast skies as we drove to Marblemount and then Easy Pass TH early Saturday morning. The ranger station was the typical clusterfuck even at 8:30 am when we arrived and took a number. With permit secured we continued to the TH where it briefly dumped rain on us. With the next sucker window we headed up. As forecast the weather got better and better as we hiked in. Two parties of two with lighter packs and footwear passed us and we were concerned about choss bottlenecks and limited camping options. We made quick work of the hike to Easy Pass, then traversed around 6700' to the basin under Mesahchie and Pt 7430. To our surprise only a single tent was setup there and we threw down bivy sacks away from it on a decently flat spot. Later we spied folks descending from Mesachchie and Katsuk and chatted them up for beta. They were a party of three (so now there are 10 people up there total in four parties) who had arrived a day earlier and planned a 4 day climb with two separate twin-peak-bagging forays rather than a carryover traverse. Views back towards Easy Pass from the traverse towards Mesahchie: The basin we camped in on the first night. Running water right by camp: We set alarms for 4:30 am and got a great night's rest under clear skies. In the morning we broke camp and hauled heavy packs up to 7400' then stashed the overnight gear just above a cornice on the ridge and climbed Mesahchie, then Katsuk. The routes were as espected - loose rock, class 3-4. Great views on both summits. The "crux" section of gully up Mesahchie Peak: We then dropped back to our packs and began traversing the multitude of ribs and gullies on our way towards (we hoped) the E side of Thieves Peak, with a third summit on the way (Kimtah). Alas, this was not to be. About an hour along the traverse we ran into one of the parties of two we had seen a day earlier who were headed back home and reported they were "chasmed out". We soon got to said "chasm" and struggled to commit to the crossing ourselves. Basically there is an exposed 30' traverse with one horrible step on loose eroding dirt and no handholds. After scoping it out with no full packs for a long time and vacillating on what to do, I finally got out my small rack and we build a fixed line. All in all that cost us about 2 hours. It's funny how mental fatigue (this was 8 or more hours into the day already with a lot of exposed scrambling and traversing) can affect decision-making. The "chasm" crossing" Once past this crux we crossed one chossy rib and gully after another and wondered when the hell we'd ever see the Grotesque Gendarmes. At this point we ran into the party of three from camp returning from their summits of Kimtah and Cosho. They told us we had a ways to go and might consider bivying. They were right. We ended up arriving at the final gully before said gendarmes at 7:30 and set up a gorgeous bivy with spectacular views. Also, we had time to eat and get enough sleep to start early again. Our awesome bivy site: Alarms went off at 4:30 on the third day and we again broke camp and headed out. Despite all our beta and some cairns we still took some time to get through the gendarmes and find the upper red ledge. It took longer than we would have liked - that is for sure. We then crossed another seemingly endless series of ribs and gullies until we were finally directly below Kimtah. We dropped packs completely and headed up this short (800') scramble. We were surprised about how blocky this was and it took more than we would have liked but there was nothing super challenging about route-finding - just sniff your way up. From GPS tracks we had studied we knew most people would go up one gully and head down another. We saw why - pretty obvious from above how to go on easier terrain down. View from camp of the Grotesque Gendarmes and Kimtah: View back to the Grotesque Gendarmes and Katsuk: Ascending Kimtah: Once back at the packs we continue on another series of gullies and ribs (does this shite every fucking end?) to the final gully below the E side of Thieves Peak. We lost whatever bootpath we were following and ended up sniffing out a route to the col. From chatting with the team of three we knew the glacier was easily accessible. We roped up (30 m rope) and crossed to the col on the other side of Thieves peak, then dropped backs and scrambled up Cosho. there was a nice snow field giving access to a gully on Cosho making for easy travel. Accessing the glacier from the col E of Thieves Peak: Kimtah from Cosho: View W of Cosho summit: After five minutes on the summit of Cosho we headed back to our packs. We had a nice food and water break, then noted the time: 3:30pm. We were in for a long hike out. The gully below Cosho is honestly the worst place I have ever been. I'd rather be castrated with a dull butterknife than be there again. We methodically descended bullet proof dirt covered in loose rocks, polished slabs covered in loose rocks, waterfalls (some over and some around). We repeatedly fell on our asses and dealt with exposed face-in downclimbing or dirt/veggie bypasses with bad runout. Nearing dusk we finally got to the bottom and schwacked down a dry stream bed towards Fisher Creek. Finally at 9 we found the bridge crossing. After watering up we headed out - the wrong way. After 5 minutes, we realized our error and went the other way. Then we got confused because the trail on both sides of the bridge headed W and we wanted E. Finally after consultation of a map we determined the trail on the N side of the bridge is correct and must just start W and then turn N and E. That proved correct. One of many waterfalls that could be face-in downclimbed: View up the central gully to Cosho: We covered 6 miles in 3 hours arriving at the switchbacks up. Then we took 4 more to ascend to Easy Pass and down to the cars. Time? 4:30 am. A 24 hour day. Why do I do this shit? I dunno, but it did not prevent me from making it to a Slipknot concert that night and drinking copious amounts of beer. Gear Notes: Ice Axe, Crampons, 30m rope, Minimal rack Approach Notes: Very few bugs
  15. 3 points
    Trip: Mountain Loop - Mile High Club Trip Date: 07/20/2019 Trip Report: Finally made it out to climb Mile High Club, and it was a super fun and awesome route!! The update is that it appears that perhaps the intermediate rap station on pitch 3 was hit by rockfall; the chain and rap ring were gone, and one of the bolts is a bit bent and sticking out about a half inch. We were able to use a hefty tree and a boulder to the right to easily downclimb to the big unexposed ledge after coming off rappel, and walking over to the next rap station felt completely fine to us. Views of Glacier and Baker were awesome. The water in the gully is still flowing well. No other parties on the route (unexpected but awesome). Thanks a ton, @Rad and @dberdinka for a super fun route with such a short approach! My partner's knee limited our options to short mileage and elevation gain, and this route was perfect to allow us to do a multipitch to a little summit in an awesome setting ☺ (oh yeah, and it was his first multipitch alpine/alpine-esque route!) I hope more people get on this. Lots of really fun moves! Leading evens or odds, you'll get good climbing! Gear Notes: I appreciated how well-bolted this was. We brought 12 QDs and 3 alpine draws, and that seemed to work well. 70m rope! Approach Notes: Easy
  16. 3 points
    Trip: Cordillera Blanca, Peru - Tocllaraju - NW Ridge (D) (and others) Trip Date: 07/09/2019 Trip Report: I've posted a few trip reports on my site for my second trip to Peru's Cordillera Blanca. This range has many incredible objectives, relatively easy logistics, and is CHEAP compared to high altitude climbing areas elsewhere. Here's my report from Tocllaraju: https://spokalpine.com/2019/07/26/tocllaraju-6034m-northwest-ridge-d-ai4/ Gear Notes: Some screws, two ropes, pickets can be bought in Huaraz. Approach Notes: Make the donkey carry the good stuff
  17. 2 points
    Heads up y'all: There's been a bunch of rockfall from the side of Mt Parkes in the last few months, culminating in a large landslide (not quite Joffre sized), from right where the Crossover descent trail crosses the ledge under the summit of Parkes before beginning its descent through the meadows. Rockfall seems to be mostly to skiiers right as you descend the meadows but the top of the scar may or may not have taken out the descent ledge completely. Please be aware of this if planning to climb Slesse and be prepared to use alternate descents to avoid the rockfall hazard. The simplest descent is probably the west side Slesse Mountain Trail to Slesse Creek. You'll need a car shuttle or mountain bike to get back around from there to a vehicle in Nesakwatch Creek. Photo from Mike Garcia, taken from Slesse NEB
  18. 2 points
    Sausagefest, Chuck with a smile on his face
  19. 2 points
    Trip: Big Chiwakum and Snowgrass - via Grace Lakes Trip Date: 07/06/2019 Trip Report: The weather of the early summer was often not exactly bomber. Which means it was perfect for the scrambly peaks that are on the B (or Smoot) list. On this particular Independence Day weekend that meant Big Chiwakum and Snowgrass. We opted for a two day trip, camping at lower Grace Lakes. We were surprised to run into a pair of USFS backcountry rangers out of Leavenworth who were also camping up there. Given the mayhem of late in the Enchantments, it would seem that they were on an R&R assignment. One of them reported that the peak count at the Colchuck TH last summer was 800+ with over 400+ counted at Colchuck lake itself! Damn. We felt fortunate to share the lakes with three other parties (which still seemed like a lot for this obscure locale). But nobody was gunning for Big Chiwakum nor Snowgrass, despite the very non-alpine start @Trent and I got after accidentally consuming 750ml of whiskey the night before. These things happen in the alpine. Nevertheless, we pressed on, climbing the surprisingly engaging north side of Snowgrass in the mists, only to pop out in the sun on top. Well, how about that? Next, we backed down into the mists once again, and swung over to Big Chiwakum for the double Smoot. All that was left was a long slog back to the car, swatting bugs and planning our next adventure. The A plan, of course. There would always be Smoots for when the weather failed. Gear Notes: Helmet, axe, crampons Approach Notes: Decent trail to the lakes from Whitepine/Wildhorse creeks. Good camps at the lower lakes. We went to ridge north of lakes then up to upper terrace where upper Grace Lake is. From upper Grace Lake you can link both peaks easily. Best in early season when the North side of Snowgrass holds snow. Pretty steep in places, to about 40-45 degrees
  20. 2 points
    We climbed Magic and Mixup to celebrate our first wedding anniversary ( we did an entertaining corkscrew girdle traverse of Magic, that was...loose) and as I recall the summit registers on both peaks made for great reading. Lots of local history in there.
  21. 2 points
    Trip: Mix Up Peak - East Face Trip Date: 07/22/2019 Trip Report: The weather was too nice on Monday to spend it working for the man, so I ditched work and headed out to the alpine. The east face of Mix Up is a fun moderate climb with a couple pitches of low fifth and some of the best 3rd class scrambling I’ve ever seen. Good times! Views from Cascade Pass and Mix Up arm. First view of Mix Up East Face. Go through the lefthand U notch and circle around back to the righthand V notch. The moat was fine on the left. I self belayed a short low fifth class 10m pitch directly up from the V notch to a rap anchor, then scrambled up to the top of the east face shoulder. Surprisingly I ran into a party of 4 out-of-staters climbing the route right before the infamous white staircase. The staircase looks intimidating from afar, but the rock is clean, grippy, and FUN! And mostly only 3rd class despite the exposure down to the Cache Glacier. A final low fifth class 20m pitch at the top brought me just right of the summit. The summit register was a fun read and I spent some time snacking, enjoying the views, and chatting with the other 4 climbers as they made their way up. One of them “Ram” was making his fifth ascent of the peak. Fred Beckey June 25th, 2006, age 83! Two raps off the summit block and two raps down to the V notch got me off the technical terrain and a nice walk back to the truck ~10 hours after leaving. Overall a very worthwhile climb, I can understand why Ram was making his fifth trip up there. Gear Notes: 60m rope and light rack to 2" worked well Approach Notes: Easy peasy
  22. 2 points
    Trip: Forbidden Peak - East Ridge Direct Trip Date: 07/22/2019 Trip Report: Today my friend and I climbed the East Ridge Direct on Forbidden Peak 10.5 hours car to car. Spent last night at the trail head and started hiking very early. We got up into the upper basin around 4ish. I love how quick that trail shoots you out above the tree line. The approach was very manageable in the dark. We got up to the lone gendarme on the ridge and did a quick sorting of gear. We simul'd just about all of the route, taking turns leading out simul blocks. I thought the climbing and rock quality to be really good. Especially the 5.7 and 5.8 gendarme pitches along with the knife edge traverse section. We summited at 8:30 and stopped to take a few photos and rig the first rappel to get down to the east ledges. You see a lot of rap tat below you along the way while you're climbing but don't pay attention to any of those. I highly recommend doing exactly 5 single rope rappels that trend slightly east straight down from the summit. This puts you in easier terrain on the east ledges. I've seen a lot of talk about the ledges being terrifying and stressful. While I agree that they can be loose and manky, and you definitely don't want to fall, they were way more mellow than I was expecting. Just take your time and look for the occasional cairn. The decent back down from the start of the ridge to the car felt like it went really quick. This is a stellar route on a classic mountain and we had perfect weather to boot. Awesome day! Gear Notes: Single set of cams from .3 to 2", set of stoppers, 4 draws, 7 double length slings. Approach Notes: Light axe, aluminum crampons, and trail runners worked perfect.
  23. 1 point
    Somewhere near Beaver Lake on a "trip" to play in the snow, about 20 years ago. I am sure he still has that t-shirt and probably still has those pants.
  24. 1 point
    Nice report, I didn't sign registers much back then. what great memories your trip will be for you and your friends!
  25. 1 point
  26. 1 point
    From Sunday, 7/28
  27. 1 point
    Agreed. Likely to be some exposed rock now.
  28. 1 point
    Hey Climbers, this is Mike from Leavenworth Mountain Association. Beginning September 3 the Forest Service will enforce a permanent parking closure on Mountaineer Creek Road. Here is what you need to know. Beginning September 3rd there will be no parking along the road except in Eightmile and Stuart Lake Trailheads. There are no changes to the Enchantment permit system or any wilderness regulations. There is no restriction on how many people can enter, hike, climb or travel through the wilderness. Changing these rules would require public comment and collaboration. Campsites and parking on spur roads, like the Mountaineer Creek Bivy will remain open, and LMA will keep it's toilet there. There will be no restriction on driving on the road, shuttling, or dropping off passengers. Parking will be first-come, first served. Overnight permit holders will not be guaranteed a parking spot and will compete with other users. The Forest Service plans to educate the public, and enforce (ticket) people illegally parked as necessary. This parking ban does not effect Snow Creek Trailhead or Icicle Road. The reason given for the closure is that the toilets and garbage at the trailhead are unsanitary. Lack of access for emergency vehicles was also given as a reason. The Forest Service came to this decision in early summer but has not informed anyone until now. LMA promotes climbing access and environmental protection. We are concerned that this plan does not address these core issues in the Enchantments. We need to hear from the climbing community while we consider our response.
  29. 1 point
    Would a public/private partnership that uses donations funneled through the LMA and Access Fund to pay for expanding the parking lots, installing additional toilets, and installing additional garbage cans be a viable solution? Or is the FS simply trying to reduce the number of visitors and are using this as a backdoor?
  30. 1 point
    My guess is that it'd be pretty poor by then and discontinuous. But it is just a guess.
  31. 1 point
    Smoot'n! Gotta love it! (Or not). Thanks again for the trip planning and whiskey Jason!
  32. 1 point
    Trip: Mount Shuksan - Fisher Chimneys Trip Date: 08/04/2019 Trip Report: Kyle and I climbed Shuksan via the classic Fisher Chimneys route + SE rib on Sunday. A memorable climb: we had an open bivy on the little ridgetop in great weather, the glaciers and snow were in good shape for casual travel, we added two people to our party at the summit, we added two more on the descent at Winnie's Slide, we came across an accident in the chimneys and watched all the helicopter action, we swam in Lake Ann, and finished the day off with Chair 9 pizza and beer. I was able to secure the last permit (or so they said) for us at 8:30 AM on Friday morning in Glacier and we slept at the trailhead that night. We got a leisurely start on the day Saturday and made it up to the bivy spot in good time to claim the high spot with amazing views of Baker, American Border peak, Slesse, and friends. Views from the trail from Lake Ann of the Lower and Upper Curtis Glacier, Hell's Highway leading up to the Sulphide in the center-left of the photo In the chimneys Sick bivy view of Koma Kulshan Kyle presented me with a surprise tallboy of imperial IPA as my reward for getting the permit. We did a couple rounds of z-pulleys and then added a c to it to make a 6:1 system, which I'd never done (thanks, Kyle!). Wow, we really had tons of time to chill up there! I enjoyed it, listening/watching pieces of the Curtis fall off. As the afternoon progressed, the hordes started showing up (a total of 11 climbers ended up in the vicinity) and two of them were people Kyle knew, and one of them I had run into at the Burgundy Col in June! Z-pulleying at the bivy, Upper Curtis Glacier behind The breeze was just right for an exposed face cowboy camping and the stars were fantastic. We got up at 4 AM, I even got to drink a cup of coffee, and we started onto the Upper Curtis around 4:45 with no other climbers yet stirring. We roped up above the steeper slope, and made our way up Hell's Highway and onto the Sulphide with the sunrise. So great, very type 1 fun! We got onto the SE rib and scrambled up with just a few moves of low 5th class. Kyle topped out the summit with a heel-hook, and it was at that moment that I hit something on my phone to make it sepia-toned?? Mandatory heel-hook move onto the summit On the summit, we met two climbers who had come up from the Price Glacier ( their account sounded as ultra-spicy/sporty as everything else I'd read/heard and only added to my desire to never go up that way) and after Kyle impressed them with his peak identification, they got our phone numbers and they asked to hop on our rappels (they only had a 30m rope). Lots of other climbers were on the summit, but we were the only ones in the gully on the descent, thankfully. Kyle opted to downclimb everything which looked fine, the other guys and I rappelled with no incident. Made our way as now a party of 4 down Hell's Highway, back up and around and step over a crevasse or two, down the steeper section, packed up our stuff (I changed into approach shoes and shorts), and at the top of Winnie's Slide, ran into Kyle's friends we'd camped with the night before, rappelling. We rappelled too, and we made our way down the chimneys.... Making our way back across the Upper Curtis (photo by Kyle) We came across a party rappelling down one of the gullies and saw they'd forgotten a backpack -- we communicated with them and Kyle rappelled with their backpack on their line. Then we found out that one of their party members had slipped and rag-dolled down the gulley approximately 200 feet, had some head lacerations, and that a helicopter was on the way (an InReach SOS was activated, and then a 911 phone call went through). They had been able to move the patient out to a grassy knoll away from the cliffs/rock. Our Price Glacier summit friends were both ER nurses and I think their conversations were useful to the rest of the party. The party reported the patient to be conscious and verbally responsive, PERRL, and not showing signs of decompensation/ICP/other scary head trauma signs. The six of us took some of the party's gear to drop at their car at the trailhead, and continued down, periodically stopping to watch the helicopter action. I had never seen a helicopter rescue so close up and the precision and skill involved to drop the medics so gently was impressive. We continued on our way, it was hot AF, and we stopped for a good swim in Lake Ann. We continued on our way up seemingly endless sunny switchbacks, trying to be fast to ensure we got the climbers' stuff to them before they left the trailhead. At the parking lot, we heard that the patient seemed to only have the head lacerations and not any skull/brain damage... we were so relieved. It was a really good reminder that even "easy" class 3 terrain can have dire consequences. This person could have easily died from this fall. It also put lesser injuries into perspective: what is a broken leg, compared to a head injury? Scary stuff, good reminders to always have in mind. We had a mini-smorgasbord with car-warmed bubbly water, we took our Price Glacier summit friends and their bike back to their car, and we all met up at Chair 9 for a good final chat and dinner. Gear Notes: We each brought a picket and two screws; did not use any of it. Brought and used a 60m half/twin rope + crevasse gear for the glaciers. Light axes. Steel crampons. I carried my light mountaineering boots to the bivy, as my crampons wouldn't work on my approach shoes -- I was unsure about the carrying an extra set of shoes, but in the end I was happy with that decision. Approach Notes: Follow the trail and scrubbed rock.
  33. 1 point
    Classic route indeed! That was one of my earliest alpine routes; it was memorable for two reasons: (1) we came across a bear halfway up the chimneys who took one look at us and vanished uphill at blinding speed, and (2) we bivied below the chimneys and in the morning my partners' alarm failed to go off, meaning that we got a late start, and they both had to catch a 5 am flight the next morning to Boston for a meeting , so it made for an exceedingly long day. I'm pretty sure they were completely worthless at that meeting. Jealous of you for getting into the alpine, I could only find cragging partners this weekend and the heat in Leavenworth was enervating. We didn't get much done.
  34. 1 point
    A classic, well done! And, given the near misses on the Price in the last few decades, I'm surprised that there hasn't been a horrific accident. At least I don't recall one? It is a gamble, pure and simple.
  35. 1 point
    Nice job. The traverse on N Sister is probably "only" 45-50 degrees, but it sure feels steep when you're contemplating your certain doom should you screw up and slip unroped.
  36. 1 point
    @Rad You beat me to my post edit! Thanks.
  37. 1 point
    I agree with Jason. Cardboard and duct tape will do the job nicely.
  38. 1 point
    Yes you are. Cardboard or the standard Grivel guards will be more than sufficient. I typically pack the axe first on the bottom of the duffel with my ski poles and pickets and whatever else that is long and metal. All that crap made it to NZ and back without damage in the belly of the beast. The key is having a robust duffel. I recommend these: https://www.mec.ca/en/product/5044-007/Duffle-Bag
  39. 1 point
    https://grivel.com/products/axe-guard https://www.rei.com/product/782958/black-diamond-spike-protector Or, duct tape some cardboard around it!
  40. 1 point
    Own a lot of dresses and clogs do you?
  41. 1 point
    Trip: Sherpa Peak - West Ridge Trip Date: 07/29/2019 Trip Report: Andres and I climbed Sherpa Peak's West Ridge (low fifth class) yesterday in a long car to car day. This was a super fun route with excellent rock, fun moves and lots of easy route options, great views over to Stuart and down on the currently very broken and naked Sherpa Glacier, a rap line that follows the route, and views of the balanced rock (we did not venture over to it)! We simulclimbed most of the route with a doubled 60m half/twin rope and that worked well for us. The crux, from the south side at least, is definitely the up and down nature of the approach, which ends with a seemingly never-ending slope of boulders, talus, and sandy scree up to the notch immediately west of the ridge. I had somewhat hastily added up the elevation gain from the Mountaineers beta page information and came up with 5,900' total elevation gain, but Gaia told us after all was said and done that it was 7,100'. Ah ha, that's why we are feeling it...We spent 15 hours away from the car, and Gaia also said the trip was a bit over 13 miles. I had packed for this trip more than a week prior, with another trip between, and I somehow forgot my rock shoes, my helmet, and my headlamp. Negative partner points for sure. Luckily Andres had a helmet I borrowed, my approach shoes were totally fine for the route, and my phone provided the flashlighting needed to get back down from Long's Pass! Really fun route in a great setting, lots of wildflowers, and I really enjoyed seeing the sunset and then the Milky Way out there. Beautiful. Gear Notes: 1 60m half/twin rope (we brought two ropes, as we had read multiple reports of a necessary double rope rappel, but that was not true) Approach shoes Light alpine rack with plenty of double length slings Approach Notes: Over Long's Pass, cross Ingall's Creek, take the turnoff into the meadow, and don't lose the trail there!
  42. 1 point
    Nice! You sure do get out; I'm jealous. Looks like a stellar day. Weekend before last I did a multipitch route with three people, one rope, and two harnesses between us, so don't feel alone in forgetting some equipment and making do anyway.
  43. 1 point
  44. 1 point
    7/28 - beacon day 9 - 2 more laps makes it 18, a tear beyond my tenous memory - wurst to drag adam's esposita up the corner at first, but she foreswore the morning heat and when adam got froggy on the immediate details i said fork-it n' went n' did a lap while he helped a timberline high-to-do set up a big kayak shuttle down to kalama- soggy as hell from sweat i returned as his business was concluded, having to concede another climb in the immediate future was fucked - we repaired to the river again then n' had a mort of swimming n' redneck shenanigans before i felt honor-bound to take advantage of the recent shade for another clambornation n' siddle on back home - plenty of folks casting about at the base, one even who recognized my nom de guerre n' threw a compliment my way that in hindsight i think i mighta thrown back a tad too heelish - perhaps if i spent more time on my people skills instead of scratching the Endless Itch?
  45. 1 point
  46. 1 point
    Trip: Sherpa Balanced Rock - West Ridge Trip Date: 06/15/2019 Trip Report: ***WARNING: This Trip Report contains mega beta spray for free climbing Sherpa Balanced Rock (and will take all the fun out of figuring it out for yourself)*** FA: Dave Mahre and Gene and Bill Prater, 1955 (shoulder stand + 5.7) FFA: Jens Klubberud & Scott Gg, 2006 (5.10c) The epic debate over whether the traditional summit of Sherpa Peak or the Sherpa Balanced Rock is the "true summit" remains legendary. I can tell you that it is true that whether you sit on the "summit" or the balanced rock, your head is surely higher than the other. They are within feet of each other in height. Having stood on both, I still can't tell you which is higher. Someone needs to go out there and shine two laser levels between the high points to find not only the true summit but measure the difference in height (you'd only need a 3ft roll of measuring tape). Still, climbing the Sherpa Balanced Rock is an adventurous and worthy goal since it is just so dang fun! Note: whenever I use the word "summit" in this TR, I am referring to the traditional summit (not the Balanced Rock). Fred Beckey's infamous "shoulder stand" beta seemed way too spicy for my blood. The base would lean at a 45 degree angle over a 5ft deep chasm on a shaky pile of human-made rocks from which the leader would climb on their arched partner and mantle onto a narrow ledge. The free variation is WAY more fun! (However, I'll give it credit that the shoulder stand pictures are probably way more entertaining). First free'd in 2006, it still sees very few ascents each year. From the summit, we made a short rappel down to the scrambly ledges on the south side which leads to the base of the Sherpa Balanced Rock. There may also be a scramble route on the East side of the summit block to avoid having to rappel. We left a 60m fixed line from the rappel anchor to the base of the Balanced Rock. If you want to descend via the West Ridge, you'll need to go back up to the summit and reverse the West Ridge route from there (which is what we did). This meant that we jugged back up our fixed line to get back to the summit on our descent. Picture above is looking up the West Ridge route. Two pictures above are looking back (from base of Balanced Rock) at the fixed line and rappel from the summit. View of the Balanced Rock from the summit. We made a belay anchor at the base which came straight out from under the lower rock. You can see the human-made pile of rocks on the ledge (we belayed from here). If you do the Beckey handstand method, you stand on that pile of rocks and lean wayyyyy over (over the scary gap). The leader then mantles on to the ledge. A fall would be really bad. Once at the pile of rocks, scramble down (climbers) left (South side) to start the free variation. We opted to do a rope toss over the southern horn, since a lead fall would be an ankle-buster at best. From the pile of rocks, toss the rope over and pull it into the wall. I found some beta that said you can place a #1 under the first overhang. I didn't see a good place for a #1 myself, but a #5 or #6 just under the overhang would be perfect if I were to free it ground-up. This is a committing move, but it's trivial with the top rope throw. 5.10c seemed accurate (an easy bouldering move). Grab a right hand hidden undercling/sidepull in the overhang (shown above) and extend left to grab a left hand 3 finger pocket (amazing!) just above the overhang (shown above). Find a critical, little edge for your left foot out and above the roof (shown above). Then, step up with your left foot (committing) and find a high right hand incut crimp (bomber!). Bring your right foot up to the sloping edge (shown above), and reach your left hand for bad crimps and slopes. Match your right foot with your right hand on the bomber incut edge and reach for great jams between the blocks. Mantle up to the ledge. You can then clip the old bolt (which is at head height). I placed a #1 in the crack at my feet between the two blocks in order to back-up the bolt if it failed. The upper block (shown above) is "5.7" if you can reach the jug. The wall overhangs slightly and there is a huge jug if you are 5-10 or taller. I'm 5-7, so the free climbing required tricky crimps to make my way up to the jug. Once at the jug, you have a good right foot and you're home free. I found the upper block MUCH harder than the lower block (for a shorter fellow). You can, of course, pull on the bolt and easily reach the jug no matter how tall you are (easy). For the top anchor, you can sling the top horn (shown above). The existing anchor is an old bolt and a bomber nut with new tat, which we only used for the final rappel. Jugging back up the fixed line to the summit. Enjoy! Gear Notes: #5 or 6 to free it ground-up (or do a rope toss). #1 to protect between the blocks (backup to bolt). Cordalette to sling the summit horn. Approach Notes: Scramble down (southward) from the summit. If you climb the East Ridge, you pass the Balanced Rock on the way to the summit.
  47. 1 point
    Trip: Three O Clock Rock - Road to Nowhere, Mystery Tour Trip Date: 07/20/2018 Trip Report: Hey, a quick update about some new options up at 3 O’Clock Rock...for those that care. Year after year, it seems that over 95% of Washington climbers find zero appeal in hiking to easy slab climbs. But that just keeps the quiet experience for the dedicated regulars and newcomers. Andy and I added an easy (~5.3) slab climb a bit right of Silent Running that features two short pitches. Road to Nowhere has proven a fun outing for novice slab climbers. If you want more challenge, try it hands free (though the FHFA has already been done). You will need 5 draws and one 70 m rope to get up and down. If you’re up for a more difficult experience and/or other parties are lined up for Silent Running, continue another 4 pitches up Mystery Tour, which wanders to the right-hand edge of the North Buttress (topo below). The second pitch of Mystery Tour (5.9+) is the standout, featuring 58 m of very sustained slab climbing. From there, continue up the rounded buttress at 5.8 and then a shorter pitch that ties into Silent Running. More beta and gear details are below. Currently, the easiest descent is down Silent Running, though we hope to have a separate rappel route tuned up in the near future. Leah on Road to Nowhere, pitch 1 Matt approaching the rounded buttress on pitch 3 of Mystery Tour. Climbers below and left are one pitch up Road to Nowhere Route topo Gear Notes: For Mystery Tour, you'll want double 60s, a single set of cams to 2" and ~14 draws. About 80% of pro is bolts. Approach Notes: FS road #2060 to Eight-mile trailhead, then 45 minutes of easy uphill (standard 3 O Clock Rock approach)
  48. 1 point
  49. 1 point
    Trip: Southern Picket Range - S to N Ridge and Glacier Traverse Date: 7/2/2015 Trip Report: Hi Everyone, It's been three days since I've gotten back from this amazing trip and I'd like to take the time to write it up (my first post here) as it does not appear this area or route gets much attention. This will be a long and semi-detailed post, so take your time now to grab a beer or whatever... Before I begin, let me just say that the Picket Range is an incredible place to be. They are also about as wild as you can get in the lower 48. My advice for anyone planning a trip back there is to treat them with the respect they deserve. Do your planning; be conservative with your estimates and decisions; and don't cut corners. A mandatory site to visit is Steph Abegg's Picket Site Something that I cannot stress enough that somehow doesn’t come across strongly in these Picket TR’s is the quantity of loose rock you’re going to encounter out there. This really impacted our climbing pace and our nerves. So, if you’re thinking about heading out for your own traverse, just be ready for this and plan accordingly. Also, just a quick note about photos: although they bear my watermark they were taken by both my partner and me. I cannot claim total ownership. Please don't use them without asking (my email is at the bottom). Our trip was a South to North traverse from the Goodell Creek TH to Big Beaver TH. In total, we planned for eight days of travel. Our intended route was to keep to the ridge proper from Little MacMillan to Mount Terror, bypass the scary 5.10+ R climbing on the Rake to the Himmelgeisterhorn (since we are solid weekend-warrior type climbers), ascend the Ottohorn, descend Frenzelspitz, and continue out toward Luna Peak. Our final trip had some variation to this: Route Map 1 of 3: Route Map 2 of 3: Route Map 3 of 3: For gear, we had sleeping bags, one BD Megamid shelter, an MSR pocket rocket stove, 20 oz fuel (we planned for 1 oz of fuel per person per day+buffer), small titanium mugs. No sleeping pads. We each wore a synthetic T and soft-shell pants during the day and a micro puffy at night. We each brought a 3L water bladder (never filled completely) and one extra "alpine straw" that we shared. For climbing gear, we brought two half ropes (1x 60m, 1x 70m), a small selection of cams up to BD size 2 with a few doubles in the metolius orange and red, lots of stoppers, a set of 3 ball nuts (really useful), 10x 24" slings, 2x 48" slings, 2x rappel rings, 2x bail oval biners, 1x 30' 1" tubular webbing. We both had ice axes and strap-on crampons. We each wore comfortable rock shoes during the climbing portion of the trip. I approached and walked in lightweight lasportiva hiking boots. My partner approached in synthetic mountaineering boots. My feet were happier. For food, we planned on ~4000 calories per day. We stuck to bars (recommend probar meal replacement + larabar alt) for breakfast and snacks. Jerky (3lbs each) and nut trail mix during day. Freeze-dried mush of various ethnic variety each night. Something we both really appreciated on this trip was a recovery protein shake right as we rolled into camp. We tried Hammer Nutrition's "Recoverite" with initial suspicion of quackery and came to feel it was a big boost to our nutrition needs. I'll be using it in the future after long days in the mountains. Altogether, at the Goodell trailhead, our packs weighed 43 lbs. Day 1 After obtaining permits at the NPS office in Marblemount we made it to the Goodell Creek Trailhead around 10am and were walking no later than 10:30. The trail follows the creek for about 3 easy and unremarkable miles until it heads uphill on a well-defined, but very steep trail. The last chance to fill up water occurs maybe 5 minutes before this turn-off. Being as hot as it has been, the creeks I have previously seen at the top of this initial climb were completely dry. So, my recommendation is to fill a little extra before you start it. After putting on ~3k feet of elevation gain, we finally popped out of the trees and got our first view of the Southern Pickets: After recovering from the initial climb we followed the still visible trail along the contours, over and down a loose pass and into a great basin for camping complete with ample running water. We arrived at ~7pm, made camp, cleaned off the sweat, and took some photos: Day 2 We awoke at 6am, ate some bars, drank some coffee/tea, and were moving toward Little MacMillan at 7am. It took us a little over an hour to get to the ridge at the base of the spire and soon the climbing gear was out and on our waists rather than in our packs. After some initial stupidity we were soon simul-climbing efficiently with the 70m half rope doubled up. We mostly stuck to the ridge until we made it about halfway up to what looked like a more difficult section. I took the lead and experienced the first of two *dangerously loose* sections of 5.8 climbing (trending up and slightly left), which put us on our first summit. We then used the first bit of our rap tat to restore a sketchy looking rappel station into the notch between little and east Mac. *A word of caution here*...this first rappel that we took required both ropes. We noticed there was another rappel station further up the ridge and think it might only require one. At the base of the notch we found a drip in a snowpatch and refilled water before quickly simuling up the mid-5th class grassy SE face of East Macmillan trending up and left whenever possible. Again, lots of loose rock here so be extra careful. We opted for a low-angle grassy ramp toward the far end of the ridge rather than ascending to the ridge directly. This required one mid-5th class technical move and then was over. We then walked down toward the col between E and W Mac to the "gendarme" section that gets mentioned by Becky. We cut 4 steps into the S side of the snow, jumped onto the rock in the middle, and then simuled through on the N side of the rock through really easy terrain. With the exception of the dismount of the snow onto the rock, the whole ordeal was actually kind of fun and easy. At the base of West Macmillan we continued simuling over surprisingly fun terrain until we reached the "short, difficult, and unprotectable 5.7 crux traverse." We found it to be protectable, short, benign, but super airy. Immediately afterward the terrain became 4th class and we continued on toward the gorgeous summit in the late afternoon light. We took a little time to just soak it in before plodding down the West Face route to the col between West Mac and the East Towers. There we found a luxurious bivy spot in a beautiful location with a generous trickle under the nearby snow. We felt lucky to be spending the night here and had a protein shake, dinner, and a great sleep. Day 3 We were simuling this morning by about 7:30 toward the East Towers that span the distance between West Mac and Inspiration. Because there isn't a lot of detailed information about this traverse except for statements like, "stick to the south side" and "a little cruxy for sure," we were definitely anxious starting out. We recommend starting by climbing straight up and over the blocks at the base of the initial col as it is both the most direct and more solid rock choice. After about 30 minutes of pretty mellow simulclimbing we made it to the ridge below the first tower. It became clear after a few minutes of poking around that we would need to head more or less toward the summit of the first tower (up and right). The climbing was mid 5th class in places and eventually popped us out on a “saddle” between the first and second towers…Easy enough…From here, my partner simuled up a loose “ramp” on the S side of the 2nd tower and across an airy, but secure hand traverse to a bowl-shaped ledge…Also doable. For the third tower, we made our way on the S side again up and over an initial committing, awkward, powerful, off-balance, mantle move over a slightly overhanging block, to a short traverse and then downclimbed about 100 feet of 5.2 terrain. Definitely increased the "pucker factor" here, but it was still fine climbing. Towers 4 and 5 were the source of much confusion and struggle. Ascending to the ridge looked like an unbolted 5.9-5.10 sport climb (no pro), the N side featured a sinister, steep snow field with a gaping bergshrund, the S face had steep rock with a slight hint that it could be possible to traverse across it and through a bulge in the center…maybe. I took the lead across the face, placed a small cam 10 feet from the bulge and got into position. The pose felt insecure, off-balance, and up ahead the terrain didn’t look any more promising. Further, if I made the move, there would be no retreating. It just wasn’t sitting well with me. I backed off and retreated to my partner where we used the remaining bit of our webbing to rig a rappel station for a double rope rappel into an alcove where I began to down-traverse climber’s left across sketchy-as-hell grassy downsloping ledges with little to no protection. At one point, my handholds crumbled and I teetered on the edge, feeling the exposure. This was insane. Nonetheless, I kept going down and left until I came to a big block that I could sling and belay my partner off of. From here, I lead up and slightly left across gradually improving rock to a notch on the right side of the gully that leads to the NE Ridge of Inspiration. My partner took over and found easy downclimbing on the other side of the notch into the gully. ***A side note here, my advice to anyone thinking about traversing through the Southern Pickets would be to just skip the E Towers entirely. A descent off of West Mac followed by glacier traversing over to the gully that is the start of Inspiration’s NE Ridge would be a much more pleasant line. You’re not missing much with the E Towers in our opinion*** The previous ordeal had our nerves fried and we were both miffed by the quality of rock we had encountered so far, but after refilling our water at a nearby snow patch below us and eating something (our first break of the day), I took off on a long, but quick session of simulclimbing over familiar terrain toward the crux pitches on the NE Ridges of Inspiration. Here, my partner styled the first 5.8 crux pitch with his pack in style, his mood increasing with the quality of the rock. For the 5.9 pitch we actually climbed another crack on climber’s right on top of an initial block because the “classic” hand crack seemed to require a BD #3 to be totally secure and all we had was a #2. Even though this was the hardest climbing of the trip, it felt like some of the easiest terrain and we made it through relatively quickly. From here, we continued on simuling toward the true summit of Inspiration where we ate a “healthful" amount of jerky and readied ourselves for the rappels. 2.5 double rope rappels later had us at the col between Inspiration and Pyramid at just after 9pm. With our frazzled nerves and fatigue we settled on camping at this col in a rustic bivy site. Being the 4th of July, we lit some sparklers and cracked into our small ration of rye whiskey to celebrate ‘Merica. Between the whiskey and the food, the day’s tension drifted away with the sparkler smoke. Day 4 Moving a little slower in the morning, we were simuling by 8:30 up and over some blocks toward the SE face of Pyramid Peak. Although the initial climbing was loose and unremarkable we eventually found quality rock in a good position after a short upward left traverse across a face toward some old, gray rap tat on a prow/rib. We simuled through the 5.2ish climbing on this prow/rib for a while until it led us to a shallow notch on the far right side of an imposing wall of rock. Here, I took the lead and headed up and left in a committing, rising traverse across terrain that made me thankful I had a set of ball nuts for protection. Eventually, I made it to a ramp that sloped up and right toward a near vertical corner. I set a belay here, brought up my partner and we continued up quickly (one more short pitch) to the summit of Pyramid peak 3 hours after starting in the morning. Descending from the summit of Pyramid Peak toward Deghenhardt was stupidly loose and should be passed with extreme caution. If you slide there would be limited terrain to recover before going over the edge and into the void. Yuck. Nonetheless, we carefully downclimbed this section and followed a ramp that continued climber’s right around the summit of pyramid to a short section back left and into a gully. From here, it was easy scrambling to a low point between Pyramid and Deghenhardt and allowed us to refill our water. We actually chose to simul through this terrain toward the Deghenhardt summit block. Some parties have soloed this, but we just felt it offered us a nice piece of mind. No regrets here. After Deghenhardt we took a minute to re-evalute our position and progress as we had a great view of the post-barrier terrain. We chose to skip our planned ascent of the East Face of Terror because we were concerned about how long it would take us to cross the Himmel-Otto col the next day. Although we had originally planned on climbing the Ottohorn and descending the Frenzelspitz we were now out of extra rap tat and we knew about as much about this terrain as we knew about the East Towers. Not wanting to repeat that experience, we opted for our new plan and descended down and right onto the Crescent Glacier in boots. Once onto the mellow glacier we made our way easily to a nice camp on glacier-polished slabs of rock and enjoyed a slightly early arrival (~6pm) and the plentiful flowing water. After three days on the ridge and high alpine, it felt good to be in a more protected spot. We slept pretty well that night. Day 5 Feeling slightly refreshed, we packed up camp and walked about a mile over to the base of the gully leading up to the Himmel-Otto col, which looked…interesting: About halfway up the snow we transitioned to the rock that was on climber’s left of the gully. This was very loose, but passable in boots (we simuled still). We were happy we made this decision as the snow to the top of the gully is not continuous right now and features some thin sections with large moats. When we reached the top of the col we located a rappel station to our left in a large boulder that featured a nut and a piton. We restored the sling that was there and added another nut before committing to a double rope rappel down and left if you’re looking downhill. It required a little traversing to get to, but was the only option as there was a gaping bergshrund before getting onto the top of the Mustard glacier. We then made our second double rope rappel down and left (looking downhill) in-between a vertical polished rock wall and a massive glacial moat. You can right now rappel into the bottom of this safely and walk out to another rappel station we created, which drops you onto a safer part of the Mustard. Be careful with the rockfall off of Himmelgeisterhorn here. You are in the direct fall line for some big rocks. We saw another party rappelling of the Himmelgeisterhorn and they seemed to be raining rocks down at us until we called up to them. From the end of our ropes onto the Mustard it was a pretty straighforward crampon and ice-axe affair down and left to the shoulder below the Frenzelspitz. The snow was soft, the crevasses were minimal, and the traveling was easy. Once we hit the ridge below the Frenzelspitz the views opened up and we were startled with how impressive the terrain looked. This is truly an amazing place: The walking down toward what Steph Abegg terms “Frenzelcamp” was very easy, but then you ascend another unnamed prominence and deal with an unexpectedly technical downclimb. We did it mostly unroped, but did rig up one hand-line for a steep sections down a gully. From here, the traveling was mellow up and over to Picket Pass, our camp for the night: Day 6 When we woke in the morning we were surprised by the amount of smoke that filled the air. The visibility was probably less than 3 miles in total: My partner was having some trouble breathing in the acrid smoke, so once we were at the base of Outrigger we gave up on our intended route of ascending higher toward Mt. Fury and toward Luna that way. Instead, we found a rappel down a gully near Picket Pass that dropped us into the bowl below with relative ease. From here, we traversed heather slopes until we came to a notch at around 5,500 feet. Here, we had to "down-shwack” through dense trees in the hope of going far enough left that we could get into the basin on the NE side of Mt. Fury. This was full-on adventure and at times we were wondering if the Pickets were flushing us out. Fortunately for us, we found a way through and into said basin, where we found relatively easy travel around and up to a new high point and great camp. Looking back at what would have been the descent off of Fury, we don’t think it would have been any less adventurous taking the high route. The glacier is very broken up now and would also feature some steep downclimbing and interesting route finding. Day 7 We began moving from our nice camp around 9am, with the intention of making it to Luna col, climbing the peak, and then lounging around for the rest of the day. This ended up being easy travel along contours up and left and we were at the col by 11am. We found a great bivy site, ate some lunch, and then ran up Luna in our boots and minimal gear (just a fanny pack for me) to take in the view. It was a pretty special experience seeing where we had come from all laid out like that. We only wished the visibility had been what it was several days earlier. For the rest of the day we rested under the shade of some nearby boulders, chatted about this and that, and snapped a few photos before heading to bed around 10pm. It was a very leisurely day in a very special place. I was happy to be there and that we didn’t decide to push it down to Big Beaver. It is worth noting now that the glacier leading down from Mt. Fury into the Luna cirque is VERY active. It rumbled and released ice and rock almost the entire time that we were there. I would say it’s a serious “no-go” this season… Day 8 For our last day, we were moving by 6am because we needed to make it to our water taxi that was scheduled for 6pm at big beaver. We would make it by 5:45pm… Our instructions for going out came to us through a Delorme GPS InReach unit from my wife, who said to descend to a gully around 6500 ft into the top of the access creek cirque at 4400. The gully we ended up choosing provided us with a terrifyingly loose reminder of all that we had been through over the last week. It took us about 2-3h to descend 2k feet. I would not recommend this gully…However, once we made it to the cirque below we noticed another much more pleasant gully From here, it is advisable to stick to the right of the creek on rock and boulders until you hit ~3900ft. Then, cross to the left side (N) of the creek and follow the vague trail-ish thing down to the Big Beaver Creek, where you will need to cross on logs and then wade to get to the other side. Upside to this semi-heinous deproach: blueberries everywhere. So, every time you get fed up you stumble upon gorgeous and prime berries. It made it better Once we crossed the creek, put back on our boots, and filled up our water, we celebrated the fact that we had an easy trail to follow…the first one in 7 days! However, we also had ~9.5 miles ahead of us and our feet were throbbing. We began hiking this trail around 1:30pm and did not get to Big Beaver TH on Ross Lake until 5:45. When I got there I was nearly out of gas, but I have never been so happy as when I saw that boat come idling up to the dock to take us out! Although the boat ride was sweet, there was still one more mile of uphill trail to the car. It might have been the hardest mile of the entire trip, but we made it and snacked on cheetos and chips and salsa and gatorade that my awesome wife had left us from when she repositioned the car. My feet had never throbbed so much in my entire life, but we were back and done with the biggest adventure either of us have ever done. To me, the Pickets are the beating heart of all things Cascades. Rugged and remote terrain, challenging route decisions, absolute adventure. Even with the loose rock, they will always have a special place in my heart. I hope this TR adds a nice bit of additional information for folks to use in the future. Please, don’t hesitate to PM me or email me about route information etc: ryan.kuhar@gmail.com. Be safe out there! -Ryan and Richard
  50. 1 point
    Climb: Mt Rainier-Kautz Headwall Date of Climb: 6/11/2006 Trip Report: Recently I was having a conversation with a published navelist [sic!] and they told me I should write about my trips, even if I didn't want to publish a trip report. Memory fails. And one should practice writing if one wants to write. Well, I don't consider myself a writer. I'd rather think of myself as a catalyst enzyme. Copious words are just one of the many byproducts of the reaction. The Wilson Headwall was a sweet delight Wednesday, all to myself. The layer of clouds at Paradise Tuesday night left me deeply dubious. I had never crossed the Nisqually Glacier. Out of the clouds just in time to drop and cross the glacier, chased by a cloud through the night that never enveloped the upper mountain, took some pokes and inspected from different angles and wasn't dropped by a suspect crevasse bridge on the Wilson Glacier; all of my fears slowly dissolved the higher I climbed. Then at the top I was delighted to see tracks. Tracks from a soloist. A soloist from a different route, the previous day. There was something very beautiful about seeing that individual's fragile mark remain unblemished in the snows of the harsh environs of Point Success. There were ski tracks heading toward the Nisqually too, nice work! By Friday evening, the weekend warriors were heading elsewhere. The forecast wasn't good, but I didn't believe it. There was no real weather system out there, just some puny low. The Mountain will be above The Clouds. Desolate solo doubts dissolved during the preceding descent, I found myself driving toward Rainier Saturday evening, je suis seul, seeing the upper mountain clearly in gorgeous alpenglow. Looking at the Central Mowich Face totally gives me goose bumps. Paradise lost at 11pm, nary a cloud for the neurotic naysaying, this time I took a more direct route on the Nisqually Glacier. I stayed high and left and climbed to Wapowety Cleaver. I took a break partway up the cleaver, maybe 8k, and had some coffee. I saw a headlamp below me on the cleaver somewhere, along with innumerable lights from Camp Muir. I headed left before reaching The Turtle, hugging the ridge above the Kautz Glacier, until I found the small snowy chutes that drop onto the glacier. The Kautz Headwall is big; its apron is lazy in its crescendo. All the cruces come high on the route. Luckily the natural climbing line goes to climber's left, the side which has a more easterly aspect, allowing it to get the early sun. The snow was nicely consolidated and guaranteed to grow into fat grains of corn. Near the top of the headwall, having weaved through rockbands to my heart's content, one last rockband remained. Here I found the same solo tracks I saw on the summit Wednesday, albeit with evidence of ample melt-freeze. It looked like the soloist did a bit of traversing and redoubling before picking the spot. Their selection looked good to me so I went for it. Rime ice over sixty-degreeish rocks. Comment descendre?! The Kautz Headwall is a line of great style. I must compliment it for not slowly rolling to the summit in a neverending fashion. It rolls abruptly. Sitting on Point Success, two sets of solo tracks plus one more in place, I could see people on Columbia Crest. I took a nap. I didn't really feel like eating or drinking. When I woke up to more clouds (none of them anything near a real threat to the mountain), I decided it was time to go. Crampons off, boots tightened, axes packed, click click, click click, time to ski. YIKES I skied gingerly to the edge of the precipice. The rockband looked intimidating from above. This was a job for an ice ax. I put my ski poles in my downhill hand and grabbed the tool with the big shaft. Tool firmly planted, I kicked the shit out of some rime ice (with my skis). Stomp. The ax placements were actually worthless through the worst parts of the rockband, but it still felt better than nothing. Below the rockband, the snow was softening nicely. Ax back on pack, time to make tracks. YUM The two climbers I'd noticed on the cleaver earlier in the morning were descending the Kautz Glacier. I'm pretty sure one was watching my sidestepping antics. I was watching you watching me. Last Rockband The rest of the headwall skied nicely. It was still a little icy in spots, but I like it that way. It's a good compromise for not having too many projectiles dropping. Two long traverses to get around the final rockband and I was free. I was free for a long, continuous obstacle-free descent. I never enjoy skiing more than below something really sketchy. Keep it steep, remove the danger, and let 'em hang. The apron that was lazy in its crescendo was now determined in its dénouement. Forget the stress and GS the rest. This is an addiction. No partner, no problem. My way and the highway. Then return to town by three. At least this way I'm not leaving a string of HAPE victims in my wake... Gear Notes: Skis, boots, poles Crampons and two tools Warm clothes 2L water, six shot americano and a big bag of potato chips Approach Notes:
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