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  1. 13 points
    Trip: Inspiration Peak - South Face Trip Date: 09/02/2018 Trip Report: Before last weekend I hadn't been to Terror Basin in almost 10 years. Back then we had spent a week in the Southern Pickets, only seeing one other party in Terror Basin. How times have changed! This past weekend there were three other parties for a total of a dozen people in Terror Basin. Thankfully all the others were headed for West McMillan Spire so we had the decidedly unpopular South Face of Inspiration all to ourselves. However, like Alan Kearney, I really think it should be more popular. It is quite a route! But it is also not for the faint of heart. Steep, intimidating, with a bit of scruffy rock and so-so pro - it would have been a challenge back when I was in good rock climbing shape. And I am most certainly not in good rock shape these days! Luckily I had @therunningdog to gun my sorry ass up it. And gun he did, leading all the gash pitches. But there was plenty to keep my mind humming below- a chaotic glacier with some delicate bridges, slabby rock right off the glacier (should have put on rock shoes earlier), and an increasingly exposed 4th/low 5th class ramp that terminated in the intimidatingly steep "Great Gash". And thenn once you are on the summit, the involved descent awaits. 4-5 raps down the West Ridge, some ridiculously exposed scrambling, and then more steep rappels down the south face. It was about 12 hours camp to camp. But what a place. Even more beautiful than I remembered, perhaps due to the changing weather and swirling mists? The best pictures are never during the best weather, perhaps the same is true of our memories? I'll be back, but I won't wait another 10 years this time. Looking down into Terror Basin from the "trail" in: Looking out to Triumph, Despair, and the Chopping Block (L-R): Despair and the Chopping Block: Thornton Peak and Triumph at sunrise: The Southern Pickets!! Morning light on the South Face of Inspiration: Ptarmigan and grown chick: I should draw the line on this but basically you climb up the buttress to the left of the face to the prominent ramp that is followed right a long ways to the start of the "Great Gash", which shoots steeply up and left to the upper West Ridge. A pitch on the ridge finishes the climb. The Descent follows the left skyline to the col then down the steep face/buttress to the glacier: The glacier approach proved challenging, but we found a way that will go into the fall this year: No super dad friendly. Scrambling a lot of 4th and low 5th to the belayed pitches up the gash. I should have taken more photos but I was pretty focused on not screwing up! @therunningdog in his element! Did I mention that the South Face of Inspiration is steep? @therunningdog coming up the final bit to the summit: It is an exposed descent as well. Rapping the West ridge: On the first set of raps, before you drop off the South Face: Whew. Down on the ice! Or should I say gneiss? TEEBOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONE! Despair in the mists: Triumph: Despair: This felt good after the punishing descent: Gear Notes: 60m half rope, medium rack to 2", ice axe, crampons, helmet Approach Notes: Terror Basin trail from Goodell Creek. 6 hours to camp. From camp follow the climber's path toward Inspiration and West Mac, picking the best line up the glacier to the toe of the buttress just west of the South Face. We roped up here for a bit until we gained the prominent ramp where we packed the roped and scrambled. It seemed about 5.6-5.7 for one ptich to gain the ramp, with low fifth below that. The "Great Gash" is about 3, 30m pitches, to ~5.8. I think we did about 12 rappels down the west ridge and west edge of south face right back to our boots. Stations are established for a single 60m rope. Bring tat since the route isn't climbed regularly.
  2. 13 points
    Trip: North Cascades - Southern Pickets - Southern Pickets Enchainment (Traverse) – Second Ascent Trip Date: 08/17/2018 Trip Report: Climbers/Scribe/Photos: Jeff and Priti Wright Priti and I completed the Second Ascent of the full Southern Pickets Enchainment (Traverse) between 8/12/2018 and 8/17/2018 via the first ascensionists’ agenda (VI 5.10+, ca. 3 miles). Thirteen peaks in four days staying on technical terrain enchaining every peak in the Southern Picket Range from East to West. The Chopping Block was our 14thpeak on the last day à la Bunker-Haley-Wallace. We were lucky to have splitter weather the whole time except for our approach day which was non-stop drizzling and kept us from jumping on the rock right away. We had previously attempted this climb during the July 4thweek earlier this summer but were stormed off at the base of Mount Terror. View of the entire Southern Pickets from Mount Triumph. Photo Credit: James Blackmon (1) Little Mac Spire, (2) East McMillan Spire, (3) West McMillan Spire, (4) Tower 1 summit of the East Towers aka "Don Tower", (5) Tower 5 summit of East Towers, (6) Inspiration Peak, (7) Pyramid Peak, (8) Mount Degenhardt, (9) Mount Terror, (10) The Rake aka "The Blob", (11) The Blip, (12) East Twin Needle, (13) West Twin Needle, (14) Dusseldorfspitz, (15) Himmelhorn, (16) Ottohorn, (17) Frenzelspitz, and (18) The Chopping Block The Chopping Block is on the left. History: FA: In 2003, this visionary line of 13 summits (Little Mac Spire to Frenzelspitz) was first completed by Mark Bunker, Colin Haley, and Wayne Wallace in an incredibly speedy 4 days car-to-car. http://c498469.r69.cf2.rackcdn.com/2004/34_wallace_pickets_aaj2004.pdf https://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/topic/15094-walking-the-fence/ 2011: Dan Hilden, Jens Holsten, and Sol Wertkin completed 12 of the Southern Pickets summits (Little Mac Spire to Ottohorn), but were halted by an impassable moat under the South Face of the final bookend peak, Frenzelspitz (a lesson we borrowed to not take the snow approach). https://www.outdoorresearch.com/blog/article/chad-kellogg-jens-holsten-tackle-complete-picket-range-enchainment http://www.alpinist.com/doc/web15s/wfeature-never-ending-holsten-kellogg https://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/topic/82900-tr-picket-range-complete-enchainment-attempt-922011/?tab=comments#comment-1029444 2013: Jens Holsten and Chad Kellogg traversed 11 of the Southern Pickets summits (Little Mac Spire to Himmelhorn), and carried on to the Northern Pickets to do a mind-blowing Southern and Northern Pickets traverse. Even though Jens humbly calls their climb an “attempt” since they left out three minor summits, their ascent was easily one of the greatest alpine achievements in the lower 48. https://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/topic/92032-they-made-it/?tab=comments#comment-1101276 http://jensholsten.blogspot.com/2013/07/desperate-country-seven-day-enchainment.html https://www.outdoorresearch.com/blog/article/chad-kellogg-jens-holsten-tackle-complete-picket-range-enchainment Legend In the topos below, note the following color codes -Blue circle: belays that we chose to take (all are optional, obviously) -Yellow arrows: Bail options, or ways to enter/exit shorter segments of the Enchainment -Green tent: bivy sites (note the comments) -Red lines: Ascent -White circles: Rappels -White lines: Descent Day 1 With our packs each weighing in at 28lbs, we hiked in to Terror Creek Basin via Goodell Creek through wet bushes and a light drizzle and bivied at the Terror Creek Basin High Camp. Day 2 As we roped up at the base of the start (Little Mac Spire) on Day 2, Priti glumly pulled two left-footed red Moccasym rock shoes out of her pack, but decided to keep going like the hardcore badass that she is! We climbed from Little Mac Spire (5.8) through East McMillan Spire (5.6), West McMillan Spire (5.8), the East Towers (5.8) summiting Don Tower and Tower 5, and finishing the day with Inspiration Peak (5.9). We had to climb up 1/3 of Pyramid to find a small snow patch for water and dinner. On our last trip in early July there was a lot of snow at the cols, so it was easy to find water. There was a lot less snow in the cols in August, making finding water along the traverse very tricky, to say the least. We filled our dromedary up every time we found snow. The smoke made the views hazy, but we could tell how far away the later peaks were, and how far we had to go. The base of Little Mac Spire The start of the technical climbing (5.7) on the face of Little Mac Spire The upper ridge of East McMillan Spire View looking West in July View looking West in August Upper face of West McMillan Spire Starting up Tower 1 Priti is belaying below Pitch 2 (5.8 with a hand/fist overhang) Inspiration Peak Summit is the impressive overhang on the left Day 3 On Tuesday (day 2 of climbing, day 3 of the trip), we started out on Pyramid (5.8), and traversed over Degenhardt (3rd class). We chose a steep face crack for the first pitch on Terror to start. This may be the 5.8 start Jens and Chad did. Starting further out left might go at 5.6. After finding the piton rappel off Terror, we downclimbed about half of the Rake-Terror col before starting up a loose gulley on The Rake (skier’s right). The climbing didn’t feel too hard, and we must have avoided the 5.9 R climbing described by previous parties. However we didn’t make it to the nice bivy at the summit, instead hunkering down on a slopey grassy ledge for the night. Snafflehounds poked me in the face and jumped on my feet to start the night out. The meteor shower sparkled above us. In the morning, Jeff found his helmet strap had been gnawed through, his crack gloves stolen and the nut butter munched. Nothing a little duct tape won’t fix! Starting up the technical climbing on Pyramid Peak Inside the crux chimney Day 4 On Wednesday (day 3 of climbing, day 4 of the trip), we only climbed for a few hours doing lots of fun ridge climbing on the Rake (5.8) which took us to the best bivy spot of the trip: on top of the West Rake Summit. It was so nice, we decided to relax the rest of the day and camel up for the next day. The choosy 4th class gully which exits the Terror-Rake col (about halfway down) on climber's right The entire Rake ridgeline is pictured here. Priti is on the initial ridgeline, heading to the Rake's deep, major notch (right of center). Stay high on this initial ridge to get to a 5.6 traverse about even with the notch to get over to the notch. Starting the traverse too soon may result in 5.9R climbing. The vertical ridgeline just left of the major notch is the technical crux. The technical crux of The Rake. This is the second pitch after getting to the major notch which takes you to the The Rake's ridge proper. 5.8+ ledges with small gear. Starting out on the Rake's ridge proper. Looking back at the Rake (Eastward) from the summit Guns out! Amazing bivy site! Don't stop at the col (aka "Ice Station Dark Star"), but continue to this bivy after a short pitch. Day 5 Thursday morning we woke up stoked for the Twin Needles and Himmelgeisterhorn. The Blip between the Rake and the Needles was a quick jaunt (5.6). In the descent gulley, Priti kicked a small rock down, which tipped a precarious car-door sized boulder over and core-shot our rope. She literally had two left feet! We just climbed the rest of the way with 40m of rope out. East Twin Needle (5.10a) had some of the best climbing on the trip, following an aesthetic line up the knife edge ridge, that looks like a gothic tower. There was a TCU that the previous party stuck behind a flake, and was reminded of the giant footsteps we were following. The last couple moves were extremely dirty though. The left variation of the crux is much easier than sticking right. West Twin Needle was chill 3rd Class. Then came Himmelgeisterhorn (5.10), the “Horn of the Sky Spirit”. The climbing was fantastic: engaging, with great position, and unique au chevaling! We climbed over Düsseldorfspitz, on the way to the summit of Himmelhorn. We rappelled down the North Face of Himmelhorn with our 60m rope which worked out perfectly. Ottohorn took about an hour to summit and get back down to the Himmel-Otto col. The 3rdclass route that Bunker-Haley-Wallace took is gone due to some fresh rock fall. Instead of taking the 2 pitch 5.7 variation that Hilden-Holsten-Wertkin took, we attacked the fresh rock scar directly which was splitter 5.6 hand cracks for maybe 15 m to the ridge and summit. In the fading light, we then headed over to Frenzelspitz (the final peak of the Enchainment) from the Himmel-Otto col, traversing along rock on the north side of Ottohorn. The ledge/gulley traverse had the most heinous, scary, exposed choss. Luckily the climbing on Frenzel was pretty great 5.7ish. We made four fresh rappel anchors, starting with a runner on the summit block, two double-nut anchors, and another slung horn. 5.8 ridge (vertical blocks) The fantastic climbing on the technical crux of East Twin Needle. Priti leading out onto the technical crux (and I mean technical!) - face climbing on crimps with small gear Looking up and over Dusseldorfspitz. Priti is belaying between Dusseldorfspitz (foreground) and Himmelhorn (background). The crazy outcropping (Dusseldorfspitz) just East of the summit of Himmelhorn Looking back down from the Himmelhorn summit at the belay. Left to right: Dusseldorfspitz (the small spire along the ridgeline, just below the summit), Himmelgeisterhorn ("Horn of the Sky Spirit", also a small suberb of the German city of Dusseldorf), Ottohorn, and Frenzelspitz...three names taken from the label of a mustard bottle brought along by Joan and Joe Firey (kindred spirits and personal heroes of ours) during their first ascent of these peaks in 1961. Ed Cooper, also on the trip, was "aghast" at the names chosen! The magnificent Northern Pickets Frenzelspitz, a perfect pyramid Day 6 The last day we climbed the Chopping Block via the NW Route (4thClass) and hiked out via “Stump Hollow” to Terror Creek. Mega thanks to Wayne, @solwertkin, and @jensholsten for their great beta, inspiration, and support. Priti and I have been dreaming of this climb for years now since reading Alpinist 47 magazine’s expansive article on the Picket Range and being inspired by Jens Holsten and Chad Kellogg’s 2013 Pickets Traverse (of both the Southern and Northern Pickets, 10 miles) after we had just taken the @boealps Basic Climbing Class. The next level of alpinism in the Southern Pickets may be to complete the entire enchainment in a day! This seems like an entirely reasonable feat (especially for a soloist) given enough familiarity and speed. Bivy Beta: Primo bivies (East to West) base of West McMillan Spire descent (snow through the summer, nice bivy walls) base of Mount Terror, cross over ridge to North side - late season snow available on top of the Rake sub-peak (1 pitch past the “Ice Station Dark Star”) – lots of snow just a short scramble distance away along the Rake descent. Himmel-Otto col (if no snow on the col, make one rappel toward Crescent basin to find snow) Terrible bivies (East to West) base of East McMillan Spire descent (sloping ledges, snow early season) slabby ledge about 1/4 the way up the Inspiration West Ridge (exposed) Pyramid-Inspiration col (no snow late season) grassy ledges down and climbers left when you first gain the ridge proper at the start of the Rake “Ice Station Dark Star” (as coined by Hilden-Holsten-Wertkin) which is the col after just rappelling from The Rake summit (snow early season, but rappel north late season to find snow down a heinous choss gully)…if no snow just at the col, then recommend continuing on to the Rake descent to find tons of easily accessible snow in late season Himmelhorn summit (no snow) Gear Notes: small set of nuts and some brassies doubles BD UL Camalots .4-2 single BD UL Camalot 3 (for Inspiration East Face) singles BD C3 000-1 (extra green 0) single BD Camalot X4 Offset 0.1/0.2 single BD Camalot X4 0.3 singles Metolius Mastercam 0-3 4 double-length runners with 2 Camp 22 biners each 3 double-length runners with 1 Camp 22 biner each 9 single-length runners with 1 Camp 22 biner each (can’t have too many runners) 30L Patagonia Ascensionist pack (for him) and 30L Black Diamond Speed pack (for her) Patagonia Micro Puff jacket (each) Patagonia Alpine Houdini jacket (each) Patgaonia Nano-Air Light Hybrid Jacket (for him) 2L MSR DromLite (essential!) Garmin inReach Mini (love this little guy!) Beal Escaper (for emergency bails) Petzl Leopard FL crampons (each) Petzl Sirocco helmets Petzl Sitta harness (for him) and Arc’teryx harness (for her) Metolius Feather Nut Tool (each) Camp Corsa Nanotech 50cm (each) chalk bag, each (didn’t use) tape gloves (for her) and OR Splitter gloves (for him) x2: Mammut Smart belay device (not the Alpine Smart) + Grivel Sigma Wire D carabiner 3 lockers for group: Grivel Tau K12L, Grivel Lambda HMS, Grivel Plume 60m 8.5mm Beal Opera rope 15m 5mm cord (did not use ever) 1 medium fuel canister 1 small fuel canister (did not use) Jetboil Sol stove Safety ‘biner (each) – Edelrid 19g caribeener, Petzl Micro Traxion, short Sterling Hollowblock, Trango Piranha knife Bivy setup (each) – Short Thermarest NeoAir XLite sleeping pad, Exped Air Pillow UL, Feathered Friends Vireo UL sleeping bag 8.5ft^2 tarp by Hyperlite Mountain Gear TC Pros (for him) and Moccassyms (for her) La Sportiva TX2 (for her) and TX4 (for him) approach shoes Petzl Reactik headlamps (each) + 3 extra AAA batteries + Petzl e+LITE headlamp Other things: 1 long spoon to share, chapstick to share, small Joshua Tree sun stick to share, Kenu iPhone tether, lighter, whistle, duct tape, Thermarest repair patches, Voke tabs, Nuun, pain killers, 1L Platypus soft water bottle (for her) and 750mL HydraPak Stash (for him), warm headband, glove liners, 1 pair thick long socks (each), sunglasses, ear plugs, WRFA emergency form, small pencil Dinner: 2 AlpineAire meals, 3 Near East Couscous boxes repackaged with small olive oil packets in ziplock bags, salt Day food was mostly bulky, yummy snacks: vegan jerky, dried mango, nuts, Cheese-Its, sesame sticks, Gu, nut butter, etc Approach Notes: Excellent Approach trail Goodell Creek to Terror Basin. The descent from Crescent Basin is tricky The luxurious tree marker where one descends from the ridge below "Stump Hollow" towards Terror Creek Log crossing Terror Creek on descent
  3. 10 points
    Trip: Bear Mountain - North Buttress: Beckey Route Trip Date: 07/15/2018 Trip Report: Bear Mountain: Two new dads trying to keep a 10 year dream alive For me, mountains can become obsessions, sometimes to the point of irrationality. In my life, no mountain, or route has been more indicative of this than the North Buttress of Bear. I stumbled upon Bear in 2007 in my early days of climbing WA by devouring each page of the Beckey guides like they were some gripping novel. Trip reports from this site only further set the dream of someday ascending this monster objective. Being nothing but a budding sport climber at the time, this peak seemed out of my grasp. As the years went on, I honed my mountain skills. I learned to trad lead, sent my first few alpine rock routes, got on my first glaciers, and began developing the mind for the rigors of schwacking in the cascades. By 2011, I began thinking this dream could possibly become a reality for me. I even found a climbing partner, Andrew, who shared my dream. Each year we'd talk about making our dream a reality but each Summer would come and go without an attempt. For 5 years in a row we'd try to make plans only to see them fall through. Timing, schedules, obligations, weather, forest fires, and work all conspired against us. Fast forward to 2016, and each of us became fathers of our first children. Yet another reason to push Bear farther from our grasps. During the first year of fatherhood I discovered, although not surprised, that being a father does not easily co-exist with committing alpine objectives. My fit physique, lead head, and drive for summits began to recede like the glaciers surrounding the peaks I had grown to love so much. Over trail runs, occasional crag days, and family outings, Andrew and I still spoke of our mutual dream contrasted with our diminished abilities. One thing was clear from these conversations: the dream, and our stoke was still alive for our beloved Bear. Spring of 2018 came around. It had been a dismal Winter of training. Trips to the crags confirmed, family obligations and our lack of training over the Fall and Winter had left both of us less than prepared to crush in the coming Summer, but we began to discuss plans for Bear as we did every year. We settled on the dates of July 13-15 and began attempting to play catch up with our training. As the dates drew closer, one thing became certain, neither of us felt strong. But the week of July 4th came and still nothing looked to foil our set plans. So early July 13th we made the early morning drive to the end of the Chilliwack road along Chilliwack Lake in British Columbia. The bushwhack across the border and out to bear camp lived up to its dreaded hype. Six hours of magical, rarely touched old-growth forest contrasted with the torturous efforts required to navigate and move through said forest left us bewildered and uncertain. This uncertainty as well as the contrast of beauty and torture would be a reoccurring theme over these 3 days. From bear camp to the bivy on the western shoulder of bear is 4000 vertical feet up. A quarter of the way up, late afternoon, and we were beat. I am on liter 5 of water, schwacking in my underwear due to the heat and effort. Both of us are bonking and cursing ourselves for thinking we could pull this objective off. We were not fit. We had not trained enough. Doubt began to dominate our thoughts. It has already been 8 hours of this shit and we still had 3,000 feet of trail-less hell ahead of us. Who were we kidding? There was no way we were going to make it to camp before dark. We sat, uncomfortably, on a steep slope, in the middle of nowhere and began talking of retreat. "Squamish isn't too far away, is it?" "I guess we could always just crag at Mt. Erie on our way back to Seattle." Inside, a voice screams at my exhausted brain, "MT. ERIE!!!!???? Are you fucking serious!!?? I am never coming back into this valley again. It is now or never for Bear. The dream either lives or dies on this shitty, viewless, insignificant slope." My senses kicked back in. Remember, anything too big to fathom all at once needs to be broken into digestible chunks. The decision to push on grew from this and we decided to at least try to make it to the lake for the night and we would make the next decision from there. Two hours later, after 1,000 feet of extremely steep blueberry bush pulling, we broke out into the alpine and our spirits began to soar like a vulture in a thermal updraft. It’s amazing how something as simple as alpine views can change the mindset and determination of a climber. I began to feel rejuvenated. Maybe we could make the bivy site before dark. A heather-strewn meadow on a gentle shoulder gave us the first real physical break of the day. Panoramic views of remote North Cascade summits rose all around us. A mother Ptarmigan and her brood of chicks sprinted out of the bushes, snapping me from my alpine daze. Discussions of a potential closer bivy site gave us a closer goal. Running on fumes, past the lower bivy spot, and we still have light. Must, keep, moving. At last, 12 hours after leaving our car, we collapsed at the col. We had made it. I promptly gave the double middle finger to the valley below, clearly showing the shit-show we just wallowed through. We promised ourselves we would not make a decision about what to do about the next day until after we ate. Dinner went quick. As we crawled into our bags, we listened to the cacophony of a thousand tiny flying vampires trying desperately to find a way through our netting and into our skin. Twilight lit the sky with a rainbow of color. We both agreed that since we had overcome the uncertainty and brutality of what many, including us, consider the hardest approach in the Cascades, we felt obligated to throw ourselves at the North face the next morning even as our bodies screamed in opposition. We awoke with the sunrise. I shook the heaviness of last nights sleep from my head and felt somewhat shocked that yesterday wasn't some dream/nightmare. I was here. We were about to start our summit day. A day we have both been dreaming of for at least 10 years. With each sip of coffee, my stoke began to rise. We strapped on our crampons and make a quick and pleasant descent onto the north side of the mountain. We turned a corner to catch our first glimpse of Bear's north buttress. Ominous, glorious, stunning, perfection on ice. Words cannot really describe the feelings I had, but these are close. Upon seeing both the direct north buttress and the north buttress couloir, we checked in. The direct looked safer as the couloir looked broken up near the top, but our energy levels and dismal cumulative rock pitches for the year had us thinking that the extra rock pitches might not be reasonable. We settled on following the couloir and Beckey's footsteps. In hindsight, this might this might have been a bad idea, but I am pretty sure I would have said the same thing if we had taken the other option. Either way we felt the collective weight of our dreams, the debilitating approach that we vowed never to do again, and the sheer power of what we were trying to accomplish. I felt as if every step upwards tightened the grip of the vice we were in. Committed, for better or worse, to move upwards. We switched back and forth from approach shoes to crampons a few times and quickly found ourselves in irreversible territory. There is terror and clarity in realizing the only way out of a predicament is forward. We broke out the rope to lead our first pitch out of the couloir. A shit show of snow, poor pro behind detached blocks, and slopey ledges littered with rocks of all shapes and sizes. My rope skirted across a ledge and sent a microwave down towards Andrew. Our years of work together in the mountains gave us the foresight to expect such events and was glad Andrew had set himself out of harm’s way before I led. We had reached the 4th class ledge system that would get us up to the North buttress proper. Kitty litter, slopey ledges, and the exposure below made for careful, calculated movements while simuling, often without adequate gear between us. Trust in each other became paramount and again I found myself thinking that I was thankful to be climbing with such a trusted partner. At last, we reached the first real quality pitch of the route. Beckey's glorious left facing 5.8 corner. Andrew led and we both laughed at the idea of "5.8" at the top. It felt like index 5.9+ but would be an instant classic if situated at the lower town wall. We were finally finding some type 1 fun. I linked the next two pitches of fun and deposited us at the base of the infamous 10a offwidth. DE8DD876-06ED-4585-BEE2-4CF80B5ED29B.MOV It was at this point that we began to feel the efforts of the pat 36 hours. Dehydrated, low on energy, and stoke, Andrew reluctantly agreed to lead the next pitch and quickly made the decision to take the 5.8 bypass pitch. We ended up breaking this pitch into two because the lower portion of the offwidth took most of our small cams and the upper 5.8 portion looked to take nothing bigger than a .75 BD. Crap. We swapped leads under the only stance Andrew could find conveniently under a car sized detached block. I was tasked with leading over it and him without touching it. Yikes. I led to a nice ledge and brought up my partner. Both of us feeling both physically, mentally, and emotionally drained, we began to flounder. Neither felt the desire to lead the next pitch. Bonking hard, I finally took the sharp end. Staying on the crest I mantled to the base of a steep featured, but unprotect-able face. I began to lose my cool. 15 feet above a ledge and my last piece and seeing committing climbing and no cracks above me, I retreated. Reversing the mantle had me nearly hyperventilating but I, somehow, safely made my way back to the anchor. We discussed our predicament, spied a horn with rap slings 30 feet down to our right and consulted our beta. We both thought that this was the Beckey rappel that would take us to a 4th class gully exit but our position would not allow us to confirm it. Below us, the gullies looked vertical, smooth, and crack-free. Committing to the rappel felt serious. Andrew rappelled at a diagonal across ribs, at times placing gear as directionals to reach the farthest gully. Upon reaching the first gully, Andrew looked up. There is no way that is 4th class. Second gully. Sweet baby jesus! It goes! Relief washed over us like a warm caribbean breeze. I rappelled down and we quickly began to lead. We both just wanted to be done with this endeavor. How quickly a dream becomes dread. My mind screamed, "Get me the fuck off this mountain!" After two rope stretching pitches and some mid fifth climbing (another sandbag) the Sun hit our darkened spirits and the tomb I'd climbed myself out of was no more. A few hundred feet of 3rd class was all that separated us from the summit. Elated, exhausted, and emotional, we hugged. I looked over the edge, down the north face and wept. Tears of joy, relief, and sadness fell hundreds of feet down the alpine face of my dreams. I always pictured myself feeling triumphant at this moment, but instead all I felt was relief and the intense desire to hug my wife and two year old son. We had done it. We had fought through constant moments of fear and uncertainty to obtain our dreams, but I felt far from dreamy. As we began the descent, I turned around and gave one last look at the summit of my dreams and gave it the double middle finger. I was done. I could close this chapter of my climbing pursuits. Fatherhood has changed my drive, my dreams, and my abilities. I am unsure if I will ever climb anything like this again, but much like any overwhelming obstacle, I will take it one decision at a time. Who knows how I will feel about such commitment and risk taking in the future. We hit a mellow snow slope and just like any decision we made that day, we assessed the terrain and made the best choice for moving forward. The joy in the glissade took me by surprise and I burst out into a giggle fit. Type 1 fun!!!! What a wild ride of emotions. We reached our bivy a half an hour before sunset. We smiled and laughed as we recapped the day. Feeling thankful and shocked to have pulled the ascent off, we crawled into our bags, passed a joint back and forth and fell into philosophical ramblings about life and reality. What a life we live. The next morning we made the long march back down to bear camp and through what felt like endless old growth shenanigans pushed by the thought of a dip in Chilliwack lake and the beer stashed there. Upon reaching the lake we found the beer gone, hoards of people on what I thought would be a secluded beach, and leash-less dogs aggressively charging us while the owner continued to flirt with some bikini-clad girl. WTF. I thought that was the shit-cream on top of a long and miserable day, but oh no. Upon reaching the trailhead I saw my car in the distance but somehow it did not look like my car. The back window was missing! Someone had broken into my car! Son-of-a-bitch! As we got closer, the horrific reality set in. My car had not only been broken into, it had been set on fire. The tires, the windows, the interior. Everything that could have burned did. My car was a hunk of metal and nothing more! I was in disbelief. How was this possible!?? How are we going to get out of here? Is this a nightmare? Am I still in the mountain sleeping in my bag and this is some horrid hallucination fueled by the joint and exhaustion? Nope. This was reality. Whoever did this also nearly set the entire forest on fire based on the completely burnt cedar behind my car. Jesus Fucking Christ! We could have been trapped in that valley if they had succeeded in doing so! As my mind swirled with the gravity of our situation, the last car in the parking lot approached us and gave us a ride into town dropping us off at the Chilliwack police. After reporting what had happened, expecting surprise, they just smiled and said, "Yep, this has been happened a lot this Summer and there was little they could do about it. They gave us our police report number and directed us to a local bar and motel. I called the border to confirm they would let me back into the states without my passport (burnt in the car) and made arrangements for a friend to come pick us up. ”the urban mountaineer” This trip will live in my mind till the day I die and will hopefully entertain many. Journeys like this are great reminders for what is important in your life and just how lucky I am to be apart of this amazing planet. Get after what fuels your soul people! Gear Notes: 60 m rope Double rack tops to fist. Single 4 and a set of stoppers. Lots of alpine slings Approach Notes: Follow the tape till you can’t then turn on your zen and be one with the forest.
  4. 10 points
    Trip: Washington Pass, Liberty Bell - Thin Red Line Trip Date: 09/01/2018 Trip Report: My buddy Andy Traylor and I had set this as a goal route to free for the summer season. Neither of us had really approached a bigger route like this with a redpoint mentality before and weren't sure exactly how to do it. With many different ways to consider an ascent "free," we settled on what we believe is a pretty commonly followed set of rules. We wanted to swing leads, and either redpoint or follow cleanly on every pitch, lowering back to the belay if necessary. Our plan was to spend one day and check out the first six pitches to get a feel for the moves and the gear then try and send the next day. On day 1 we took our time climbing the first six pitches, with no real pressure or time crunch. We TR'd the cruxes a couple times and feeling pretty good about going for it the next day, rapped off and headed down for a big dinner. The next day we set out a little nervous, but also feeling good about our chances. Once we were on the route we were moving and climbing well. Thoughts on the pitches for anyone that cares (some gear beta here so purists need not read on): P1. Straightforward crimping and edging straight up to the anchor. I actually headed right after the last bolt, going more directly to the anchor on day 2 and thought that was slightly better. Andy getting all artsy with the iPhone on P1 P2. Short pitch. Boulder problem over the bulge through the mini changing corners. Good pro and the pin at the end of the crux seemed in good shape, not tested. Belay on gear. P3. Awesome and memorable pitch I thought, shorter than it looks in photos. Super thin edging and stemming in the dihedral leading to a roof with wet holds that allow you to exit the corner and gain a stance. I basically punched myself in the face popping out of the wet locks first go round. Pin in the corner seemed good, I tested it and it held. Mostly finger sized cams. Belay at full on hanger. Andy in the corner/roof that ends the crux on P3 P4. Fixed gear in the roof seemed only ok, hard to tell with the tat and I didn’t spend much time examining it, but you probably won’t come off under the roof anyway, clip and go. Andy exiting the roof on P4 The last bit traversing back toward the anchor we both found a little awkward and harder than it seemed it should be. On the traverse back to the belay on P4 P5. Business #1. Super fun 5.10 traversing and edging to the corner. Corner gets progressively harder with the real business starting at the bolts. I will say on my initial go I was not super happy to have left basically all the rack at the belay, expecting only a few pieces then bolts. I'd take mostly finger sizes, but I was happy to have a black Metolius and a #2 C4 (certainly not necessary but provided me with some mental fortitude to try hard). Bring lots of slings, I think I had like 14 and ran out somehow, placed too much gear I guess. The crux moves are technical, a little powerful, desperate and amazing. The last move, while not the hardest, has the potential to be a heart breaker and I can only imagine being very desperate if you’re under, say, 5’9. Belay on medium sized gear above the bolts, significantly better stance. Andy sticking the last move, he never fell once climbing this pitch over the 2 days. P6. Business #2. No picture. First roof is super casual. Leading up to the second roof the climbing gets less secure but good small finger gear is there between pins. The boulder problem is powerful, but pretty straightforward cranking (V4ish?) on pretty good holds. We were a little confused by all the talk about a necessary and specific red C3 placement. We couldn’t find anywhere by the beak, or below the roof for that matter, where this would go. Any clues? However that piece or a blue Metolius or equivalent went in bomber just above the lip. If that’s the placement everyone is talking about, then there is no need to scavenge around for a red C3 if you don’t have one. We left it out in favor of a blue Metolius on round 2. Climb past the bolts (if not rapping from here) and belay on the better sloping ledge with hand sized pieces. P7. Only dog pitch on the route. Thought the rock was poor quality, basically a connector pitch. Ends on the scary looking “how is it still hanging there” block creating the ledge. P8. Another techy and pretty thin 11+ pitch. Really really good. Looks super thin but there is gear to be had and both the head and pin are in good shape, Andy tested both and approved. Some small hand sized gear higher. P9. Excellent and fun 10+ climbing again builds as you get higher. Looks like the seam dies out at the top, but keep going up instead of traversing left. That’s probably super obvious but I was getting tired and moving more timidly by this point. P10-12. Progressively easier climbing. Nice to have Scott's topo for P10 to know where to get started. The last belay sits basically on the arête between the east and north face, we came back into the sun here. There are brand spanking new bolts here instead of the pin/fixed wire combo some guide mentions. Maybe it’s obvious, but the climbing heads left up the lighter colored dihedral. This looked too steep to us to be the 5.7 climbing, so Andy headed out right on the lower angle terrain and we had a bit of an epic on the easiest and last pitch of the route. The rock quality deteriorated into kitty litter, so Andy tried to sling a chockstone to lower back to me, only to get the rope got stuck forcing even more shenanigans (face palm). All in all we wasted some hours and all hopes of pizza. Once corrected we soloed to the top without further incident. Don't go this way. Why is this photo so big? All in all, neither of us fell following any of the pitches. On lead, some of the pitches took a try or two, but in the end we pulled it out and nabbed a free ascent. We learned a lot about climbing in this style and really enjoyed the process. Thanks to Mikey Schaefer for figuring this out, it provided one of my all time favorite experiences in the mountains so far. Psyched for the next one! Gear Notes: Doubles from purple Metolius to .75 BD, singles to #3 BD. Our second set of cams were Metolius offsets. They worked amazing (as always for granite) and I always carry them as doubles, but far from necessary. Nuts. Placed 1 RP but probably not necessary. Lots of slings, like ~16. We used a 40M tag line and hauled the bag on most pitches. Approach Notes: Most casual "alpine" approach ever. Like 25min from the car.
  5. 8 points
    Trip: Denali - Cassin Ridge (Alaska Grade V, 5.8, AI4, 8,000ft), Alpine Style* Trip Date: 06/09/2018 Video: Between June 2 and June 11, Priti and I climbed the Cassin Ridge on the South Face of Denali approaching via the NE Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier (the “Valley of Death”), spending 6 days on route (including 1 rest/weather day at 17,700ft), summiting on June 9, and descending the West Buttress route. The whole trip was 10 days 7 hours door-to-door from Seattle. The Cassin Ridge is the second most popular route on Denali, with an average of 9 successful climbers each year, compared to an average of 584 successful climbers each year on the West Buttress route over the past decade. We carried everything up and over, climbing Ground-Up, with 38lbs packs each at the start, no sleds, and moving camp as we climbed, without caches. It was a Smash ’n’ Grab, meaning we decided to go at the last minute when we saw a good weather window. We watched Denali weather every day since early May until there was about a week of good weather. It took 24 hours from being at work on a Friday afternoon deciding to pull the trigger to being at Kahiltna Base Camp (including packing, Ranger orientation, flights, etc). We climbed Rainier 3 times the month and a half before our trip (Gib Ledges, Kautz, and Liberty Ridge), sleeping in the summit crater the weekend before. Still, we took Diamox while on Denali and had 2 weeks of food/fuel in case we felt altitude on route. Luckily, we had no altitude issues, and were only bounded by our own fitness, weather, and desire to move only when the sun was on us. Overall, weather was windless, clear, and sunny during the days with a few flurries at night. It was an “old-school” style of climbing, slow and heavy, while most folks nowadays opt to acclimatize on the West Buttress and climb the Cassin Ridge starting from 14,000ft camp on the West Buttress, then climb light-and-fast via the Seattle ’72 ramp or the West Rib (Chicken Gully) in a few days — this was our plan for our attempt last year with Ilia Slobodov, but didn’t get the weather window. Overall, a very successful trip, and we’re so excited to have pulled it off, after 3 years of dreaming of this route. *Alpine Style: The route was completed Alpine Style with the following exceptions: -Snowshoes were cached at Camp 1 in case the lower Kahiltna Glacier was sketchy on the way back. Didn’t really ever need snowshoes. The NE Fork was boot-able. There weren’t tracks going up the NE Fork, but it was wanded to the base of the West Rib. -We clipped into the existing fixed lines on the West Buttress descent above 14k, but this was unnecessary since it was basically a staircase. We didn’t clip into the existing pickets on the Autobahn above 17k. Google Street View: Apparently, nobody had done a 360 Photo Sphere Google Street View of the summit of Denali, so we obliged https://www.google.com/maps/@63.0690675,-151.0060278,3a,75y,78.91h,50.18t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sAF1QipOR4OLfMm5iBn15nn4OdiMbVTWa7lwk40pPUlnH!2e10!3e12!7i8704!8i4352 Itinerary: -June 2: Arrived at Kahiltna Base Camp at 3:00PM and moved to “Safe Camp” in the NE Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier (“Valley of Death”). We cached snowshoes at Camp 1 and took a right turn up the NE Fork. This “Safe Camp” is the widest part of the NE fork, where you are least threatened by avalanches and serac-fall sweeping the entire valley floor. -June 3: Hiked from "Safe Camp" halfway down the Valley of Death and climbed the Japanese Couloir and camped on Cassin Ledge with a sweeping view of Kahiltna Peaks and the entire NE Fork. -June 4: Climbed the 5.8 crux, Cowboy Arete, and Hanging Glacier, camping at the Hanging Glacier Bergschrund at the Base of the First Rock Band -June 5: Woke up to Colin Haley strolling by our bivy site on his 8hr7min speed ascent of the Cassin Ridge (he approached via the East Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier). This was a total surprise and very inspiring see him up there! We climbed the First Rock Band that day and bivied between the First and Second Rock Band just next to the rib. -June 6: Climbed the Second Rock Band and found the crux to be the sustained "Hidden Rock Couloir" at the entrance, which is sustained mixed 70-80deg for about 50m. At the end of the Second Rock Band, a Chilean Team of 2, plus Colin Haley, plus our team of 2 all took the wrong (harder) exit. From the overhanging triangle, we all traversed right about 40ft then went straight up, finding difficulties to M4-M5. We should have traversed right another 40ft or so to find the 5.6 slab pitches and the 5.6 dihedral as described in Super Topo. This ended the technical difficulties of the route. That night, we bivied at Mark Westman’s “excellent bivy site” at 17,700ft. This turned out to be very hard to find and we spent several hours looking around for it. It is way further up and right on the col than expected. -June 7: Lots of snow! So we decided to sleep all day, acclimatize and waiting out the weather. -June 8: So much snow accumulated on the upper mountain the previous day that it took us over 12 hours to ascend the final 2,500ft to Kahiltna Horn. We were knee to waist deep almost the entire day. Mark Westman told us later that he was watching us all day through the high-powered scope from Kahiltna Base Camp and he could see the long trench we left in our wake. Presumably, many day-tourists at Base Camp watched us in our embarrassing slog to the top. This was by far the hardest day of the trip! When we reached Kahiltna Horn at 10:30PM, we had no energy to go to the summit, so we slept on the “Football Field” at 20,000ft. The night was beautiful, calm, and cold! -June 9: Went back up to tag the summit, then descended 12,500ft to Camp 1. -June 10: Got to Kahiltna Base Camp from Camp 1 at 10:00AM but it was overcast all day so TAT could not come and pick us up. -June 11: TAT finally picked us up around noon, after we endured the most miserable and wettest night of the entire trip! Left to Right: Sultana (Mount Foraker), Begguyya (Mount Hunter), Denali Denali, the High One Heading into the NE Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier (the "Valley of Death"), the West Rib visible up the center of the peak The West Rib in the Center, The Cassin Ridge roughly up the right skyline Closer up view of the Cassin Ridge. The Japanese Couloir is the gash on the right. The Cowboy Arete (Knifedge Ridge) is above, followed by the First and Second Rock Bands Looking back at the West Rib and the Chicken Couloir Looking up the Japanese Couloir and the bergschrund at the base of the Cassin Ridge Looking back at the NE Fork Looking up at the crux of the Japanese Couloir (AI4) The Cassin Ledge. Razor thin, great views fo the whole NE Fork, Kahiltna Peaks, and Sultana! The 5.8 Crux just off the Cassin Ledge The Cowboy Arete The Base of the Hanging Glacier, the Cowboy Arete behind A short overhanging step to get over the bergshrund Colin Haley approaches! The crux of the First Rock Band, just above the M-rocks Somewhere near the top of the First Rock Band The South Face! Looking up at the "Hidden Rock Couloir", the beginning of the Second Rock Band, and the crux of the route, in my opinion Just below the V-shaped overhang in the Second Rock Band Slog to the top Denali Summit Ridge Summit Marker The Football Field on the West Buttress Route and our bivouac Heading down the Autobahn, 17k camp below on the West Buttress The Cowboy Arete Base Camp with Moonflower Buttress behind (North Buttress of Begguyya, Mount Hunter) Gear Notes: -6 screws (1x21cm, 2x17cm, 3x13cm) -40m rope -Small Rack of nuts -5 cams (.3-1) -2 pickets (didn’t use on route; just for glacier travel) -5 single alpine draws, 2 double alpine draws (no cordalette) -2 ice tools each (Nomics for him, X-Dream for her) -Monopoint crampons -Boots: Olympus Mons for him, G2SM+overboots for her -MSR AdvancePro2 Tent -Feathered Friends Spoonbill Sleeping Bag -2x Thermarest NeoAir Xtherm + 1x shorty closed cell foam pad (for emergency) -MSR Reactor + hanging kit + 3 medium cans of isopro Approach Notes: Approached via the NE Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier
  6. 8 points
    No matter where one stands on the issue of risk, this thread is an important and necessary conversation for climbers of all ages and skills. Like many climbers, I believe, my relationship and outlook on risk versus reward in climbing has been complicated from the very beginning. That relationship spans 26 years, more than half of my life. My view of risk has had many faces through the years, and it continues to be complex and fraught with contradictions. Which it should, if we are being honest with ourselves and continuing to play the game for the longhaul. Perhaps the most consistent element of it for me is that even in my younger age when I thought myself more 'bulletproof', I've always gone into every serious alpine climb with a very clear-eyed attitude as to the danger I was willingly embracing. "I could die on this trip", is something I silently recited to myself, as the plane lifted off in Talkeetna, or I stepped off the pavement in El Chalten, or I began traipsing up some Rockies drainage towards my objective. While just verbalizing these words didn't change the objective risks I would be facing, it allowed me to proceed with commitment and decisiveness into that zone, and to fully accept the potential consequences. It also served as a reminder of the responsibilities I had at home, the responsibility I had to get back home, which means that aforementioned commitment was not without conditions or limits. I don't regret any of the adventures I've undertaken over the years, nor my lifelong commitment to climbing. Yet in some respect, today I have an increasingly difficult time reconciling my desire to celebrate these memories, with a nagging question of why I have survived, when so many others I knew have not. My wife and I never had children, but I know that if we had, I would have done much less than I have. My wife is a saint for having tolerated so much time away, so much of our money spent, and so much worry that I have subjected her to, in what has been inarguably a selfish pursuit. We have been able to navigate it successfully out of a mutual recognition that a passion for something is what makes a person who they are. I think she has been simultaneously admiring of and appalled by my dedication. I became friends with Marc Leclerc a few years ago in Patagonia, where we shared a number of dinners and trips to Domo Blanco together. He seemed an astonishing soul to me, and someone who was extremely kind, humble and unassuming, especially considering the wavelength on which he was operating in his climbs. When I have observed some of the achievements and risks that he and others like him have taken, I am certainly impressed by the athleticism and the mind control they exhibit. And I've also just shaken my head in a manner that represents neither condemnation nor unbridled approval, but rather, an honest acknowledgement that these sorts of achievements are so far outside of my own abilities and comfort zones that I simply don't understand what they are. It is almost as though I'm watching an entirely different sport. It's tempting to frown on extreme risks, and yet as I myself have taken more than my own share, I'm not in a strong position to judge. In fact, I think we must recognize that their propensity and ability to take such risks is an intrinsic part of their character, the very thing for which we love those of this group that we know personally. And so if Bob's concern about applauding high risk has any merit- and I think that it does- I think it's that the community needs to be brutally honest with themselves about what we are witnessing, even if we choose to admire it. The brutal and honest truth for me is that I have ceased to even feel shock, much less surprise, by each one of these successive tragedies. Ryan, in fact was a good friend. Last fall as we unsuccessfully tried to synch up for some rock climbing in the Cascades, he glowingly told me how he didn't want to be away from his 2 year old son for very long, and that he no longer needed climbing to fill a void in his life. So heartbreaking to think back on this exchange now. But I fear that I've become so accustomed to these accidents as to be desensitized, out of a simple need to protect myself from a total meltdown. I have a photo from my own wedding, in 2006. In it, Lisa and I are surrounded by 7 of my closest friends. Three of them have since died in the mountains. A photo from one of the happiest days of my life now causes pain. Amidst the deaths of numerous casual friends through the years, the loss of Lara Kellogg, Joe Puryear, and Chad Kellogg, leaves a hole in my heart that can't ever be repaired. The widespread wreckage left behind from incidents like these can't be understated. A friend of mine here in Alaska who used to do some cutting edge stuff likes to remind me of why he scaled back the big alpine. "My wife says, you won't care when you’re gone, but I will". The losses that have touched me, my work commitments, being well over 40, and most recently, having a serious illness have all conspired to blunt the sharp edge of my formerly insatiable motivation for the mountains and big adventures. And yet I still do it, and I still hold ambitions on which I plan to execute in the near future. Amidst the flood of mixed emotions and out of a cloud of darkness, certain things have become clear. Two years ago, I was diagnosed with the ultra rare and very lethal adrenal cortical cancer. At the time, I thought that if I somehow survived it, getting a second chance on life, I could never justify taking serious risks for recreation anymore. Two years, two major surgeries, and a month of radiation treatments later, I'm somehow not only still here but cancer free, and throughout much of this time, I've been able to climb at full speed. I have so far gotten off easy. But I've deep dived into the world of this disease and what I've seen is neither pretty nor dignified. And I'm not out of the woods by a longshot. I know who I am and what has taken me to this point in my life. I've wrestled over and over again with how sustainable this activity is. I've simultaneously envied those like Marc who at a young age had the vision and heart to become committed in every fiber of his being to climbing mountains, and also had the talent to be one of the very best; but also guys like Simon McCartney, who at age 24, with Jack Roberts, established the hardest route ever done on Denali at the time, the massive southwest face. It was the zenith of what had been a meteoric few years of serious and groundbreaking alpine ascents for him. But high on this climb, Simon nearly succumbed to altitude illness in a harrowing ordeal, and afterwards, quit climbing cold turkey, moved to Australia, got married and started a successful business. Simon told me: "I knew what I needed from climbing at the time, each climb had to be harder and more audacious than the next. I could see exactly how that was going to end. I didn't want to die, not at that age". Simon is now 62 and has had a happy life. I've come to realize that as long as I have a chance of dying of cancer, and that if I could choose the manner of my death between that or climbing, I'll take the mountains. Ultimately, between the all or nothing of the above examples, I hope to walk a fine line right down the middle on my way out of this life, whenever and however that happens. Onward, and upward-
  7. 7 points
    Trip: Mount Prophet - "Jacob's Ladder" (AKA full SW rib...FA?) Trip Date: 06/24/2018 Trip Report: "And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran. And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it." - Genesis 28:10-12 KJV Grunting our way up the prominent rib on the SW side of Mount Prophet (above, in photo taken from Luna Peak by Martin Shetter), nobody would have mistaken Kit Moffitt and I for angels. Although the summit of Prophet this past Sunday was certainly much closer to heaven than the bug infested forests back at Luna Camp, our home for two nights as we investigated the directissima up the SW rib. Our aim was to explore above 5450' on the feature, where everyone seems to traverse off the rib into a typically crappy talus basin (via 4th class down climb). Given the ominous warning on SummitPost, Kit and I went in with a rope, rack, and even a pair of rock shoes: "The rib has cliffs on either side and no one has yet explored the possibility of climbing it directly to the summit. That could prove to be a bad idea."- SP We were a little disappointed that the gear stayed in the pack the entire time, however (long way to carry it!), but pleasantly surprised to find fairly clean and exposed class 3 climbing for ~1500 vertical feet to the summit. There really is no reason to leave the SW rib for future parties, until it is time to descend. We did go down the "SW rib" route (south of actual SW rib, described well on SP and found it to be your typical mix of scree, talus,and pain). We also found a way back on to the rib at about 5600' that only involved a bit of exposed class 3 (seems easier than how the lower access is described on SP?). Given the obvious difference in quality between the two scramble routes, I suspect that future parties will follow the loop that Kit and I did this past Sunday. However, I wouldn't be surprised if someone has ascended the full SW rib before we did this past weekend. Does anyone have info of previous parties, before Kit and I go claiming this massive, 3rd class, FA?? It is quite prominent as you descend out Access (Axes? Pickaxes?) Creek, and I noticed it back in 2007 on the exit from my first Pickets trip. It was fun to come back and explore something that has not been documented before- our very own backyard adventure! Just goes to show that there are still plenty of blanks on the (climbing) map, even for the blue collar set.... Calling the resort for the boat pickup, saving 12 miles RT: Luna Peak: Mac Spires, Inspiration, The Pyramid, Degenhardt: Blue collar! Nearing the summit as the rib fades: Jack: "Jacob's Ladder" from the summit Old habits die hard. Hanging out with the ghosts at Good Food, post trip: Gear Notes: Helmet, axe, crampons (early season). We brought gear in case it was technical, but found nothing over exposed class 3. Approach Notes: Big Beaver trail to just before Luna camp, then head uphill a steep vertical mile to the summit. It goes from hiking to scrambling at about 5800' The slope turns into the SW rib which is followed religiously to the summit. Descend on the south side of the rib until you can regain it about 5600'
  8. 7 points
    My name was mentioned above (I think). It seemed in reference to my ability to stay alive and climb in the mountains. Just to be clear: I’m alive because I’ve been lucky. No more, no less. Sure, I try to mitigate risk as much as possible, but when you are going for it in the mountains on a regular basis, the odds of an accident increase. Climbing is a dangerous sport. It always has been. Life is dangerous too. I know that for me, climbing and skiing in the mountains is absolutely worth it. That said, the pain is crushing when someone is lost. Absolutely crushing. I still don’t know how to make sense of it, but I’ve accepted that there are many things I’ll never wrap my head around in this lifetime.
  9. 6 points
    Trip: Moose's Tooth - Shaken, Not Stirred Trip Date: 04/15/2018 Summary: Ascent of Moose's Tooth to the summit via the route "Shaken, Not Stirred" 19 hours camp to camp with Doug Shepherd April 15th 2018. Details: Alaska. Finally. After multiple trips to Alaska every year since 2009 life priorities had forced me to take a "leave of absence" since my last trip in March of 2016. It was nice to finally return and with Doug Shepherd, someone who I've done numerous trips with including my very first trip to AK in 2009. Various existing commitments limited us to a 3 day trip but weather and temps the week leading up suggested we would likely find something we could climb during the short window. I grabbed Doug at ANC early Saturday morning and we blasted for Talkeetna. After the usual shenanigans (weight in, repack) Paul zipped us in. After looking at possible objectives on the flight in we settled on Shaken, Not Stirred on the Moose's Tooth. Though I had climbed the Moose's Tooth in 2010 it was via Ham and Eggs. I'd always wanted to climb Shaken but had never seen it in. A SLC team was coming out at the same time we were getting dropped off and had attempted it the day prior. They had bailed at the crux due to lack of ice but after quickly looking at their pictures we thought we should at least give it a try as it appeared like it would go with some mixed climbing. We departed camp later than normal on Sunday (~6 am) to allow temps to warm slightly; this allowed us to wear single boots. I took the first simul block to just below the narrows where Doug took over. Doug fired a few amazing pitches that took us to the crux which was ice free but Doug was able to safely protect and find a mixed way through the crux. Following the pitch I have to say it was a very impressive lead. Some more climbing took us to the Englishman’s Col where we enjoyed an extended hydrate + coffee break before heading to the true summit. I will say the terrain between the Englishman’s Col and the true summit is a lot of up and down with at least two rappels and nearly constant crevasse and cornice danger. "Enjoy" We tagged the summit sometime after sunset but before dark; Doug's first time and my second. We managed to start the rappels down Ham and Eggs before it got truly dark so at that point it was just hitting rap anchors and/or making naked threads as needed. We arrived back at camp ~19 hours later and flew out the following day, Monday, before heading back to the lower 48. Good times. Gear Notes: partial set of nuts, single set 00-2 c3, double set 0.4 -> 4 ultralights, 10 laser speed light ice screws, 3 micro trax, single + tag line Approach Notes: Talkeetna Air Taxi is the best
  10. 6 points
    Trip: Vesper Peak - No Colusion with the Russian on Ragged Edge Trip Date: 07/27/2018 Trip Report: OlegV (The Russian) and I climbed Ragged Edge (Original start) on Vesper Peak Friday. Thanks a lot to Darin and Gene for putting up such an enjoyable route in a truly splendid setting. They are wonderful, tremendous, people! We had debated whether to bring ice axe and crampons. Our man Tom came to us and emailed us saying he had gone in there in June, and there was still a lot of snow. Tons of snow in June, folks! So we would want to take the axe and pons. But the Russian was very powerful in their assertion that there would be no snow, and that we'd want to go light. Now, my sources are very good people, and I trust my sources very much, but I can say this for sure. I didn't see why there would* be any snow up there! But the Russian tore his old trail running shoe on the approach. SAD! (image by the Russian) When we got to the lake in the bowl below Sperry and Vesper on Thursday, it was still covered with snow. There was just about one small patch of dry flat ground by the side of Vesper creek for us to bivy (image by the Russian): We were worried we'd be screwed by the snow. Lots of snow up there still, folks! Lots of it! But we had made the best approach from the trailhead - of all time! No one before us has made such a tremendous approach!! *I wanted to make a small clarification about my previous statement. I meant to say "I didn't see why there wouldn't be any snow up there". That should clear it all up, folks. I was in my Nepal Evos (don't have a lighter shoe that's as comfy ).That came in handy the next day to deal with the snow. We followed the trail up the East shoulder of Vesper. Where we wanted to cut across to the gap, the snow angle was not too bad. I cut steps, and the Russian was able to follow just fine. Luckily, the North side was all snow free! Who would've known?! Nobody knew, folks, nobody knew! There was just a small patch on the approach ledge, which we bypassed easily: Since we wasted enough time dealing with the snow, we decided to go for the original start as soon as we came up to it. The climb was a lot of fun. Thanks much for the bolts and the fixed anchors - just at the right places! And we could get a bunch of gear in otherwise. Here are some pics from the climb: The last pitch, with Copper Lake in the background: (At) The Summit with the Russian. Notice the Russian looks a lot more calm, composed, and in control ! The Russian made a bunch of video recordings. Who would record their partner? SAD! But in all the recordings, my voice is there in only one of them! It was great to get my fat ass up in the hills again after two years. But trust me folks, it's all a witch hunt, and there was no collusion with the Russian! Your favorite CC.com-er has done nothing wrong! We took our time lingering in the 'pine (wanted to avoid traffic driving back to Portland). But then we got delayed for almost an hour by construction on I-5. SAD! The 24-hr espresso drive-thru in Everett, and lots of fun conversation with the Russian kept me awake for the drive home. Among other things, we talked about obesity, epics in the mountains, Dan Smith, Maria Butina, etc. But there was no colusion! Gear Notes: We brought too much, placed much. Leave the axe and pons at home. Approach Notes: The 2.2 miles of dirt road to the trailhead (from the Mountain Loop Highway) is in bad shape for compact cars. I had to be super careful not to bottom out my Impreza! A highe(er) clearance vehicle is recommended.
  11. 6 points
    Trip: Monte Cristo Area - Columbia, Kyes, Monte Cristo & Cadet Peaks Trip Date: 07/21/2018 Trip Report: Last Friday evening and Saturday I explored the Monte Cristo area by connecting four of the major peaks in a big full value alpine loop. I left the office early afternoon on Friday and found myself biking the old Monte Cristo road around typical quitting time. First view of Columbia set my spirits sailing: Couple hours later below the upper mountain: I made quick work of the scramble up Columbia and scouted Saturday's peaks. I wasn't sure if Kyes was going to be on the itinerary tomorrow, but the 5400' west face snow ramp was mostly connected and it all looked like it would go. Better yet, it looked as though their would be a snow traverse to Monte Cristo Peak high on the west side of Kyes: After descending down to 6000' on the west shoulder of Columbia I settled into my bivy for the night: I was up and moving across the 76 glacier towards Wilmans Pass and then Monte Cristo Pass early on Saturday morning. Looking down the Columbia glacier and Blanca Lake from Monte Cristo Pass: I descended to the glacier and on towards a large right facing gully and made my way up to the South Ridge of Kyes. Cresting the ridge gave this view of Kyes summit: Class 3 scramble on the left got me to the top. View towards the next course, Monte Cristo Peak: I descended the Kyes summit block back to the south ridge and found a short cliff leading down to the west face snow slopes. Two loose 15m raps got me over the cliff and traversing the steep snow of the west face, eventually leading to some rock scrambling and finally to the Kyes/MC col and then the north side of Monte Cristo Peak. From there I found the short fifth class pitch leading to class 3 scrambling above. A large moat blocked access to the rock, but the moat had caved in ~100' north of the rock pitch and I was able to scramble down in the moat and get to the rock pitch, now an extra 20' tall out of the icy hole. I self belayed the short fifth class pitch: And scrambled to the top. Immediately looking forward to my next peak, Cadet: Another couple raps and I was back on the snowy north face of MCP. Traverse to the north col, descend towards Glacier Basin. At ~EL 5800 I started a hard traverse towards the south face of Cadet. A perfect goat path led me across the bottom of the face where I eventually picked up the climbers trail to the top. The first trail of any kind I'd seen since Friday evening on the way to Columbia. Up the trail to the summit of Cadet, then reversing the trail down and into Glacier Basin with a view back up towards Monte Cristo Peak: Finally hustling back to the ghost town, my bike, and my truck, my home, and my family. Passing this on the way out. James Kyes was an interesting man. His memorial deserves some maintenance: The Monte Cristo area is a great compact alpine playground! Gear Notes: 30m rope, a couple pieces for Monte Cristo Peak Approach Notes: Bike the Old Monte Cristo road with the log crossing. I took the new old Wagon Road on the way out and it just adds extra mileage and worse, extra elevation gain.
  12. 6 points
    Trip: Enchantments - 7 Bulgers in a day Trip Date: 07/14/2018 Trip Report: Since moving to Seattle last September I haven't yet visited the Enchantments (except N Ridge Stuart), and I had just one day off this past weekend so I figured I should whip up something unreasonable. My initial plan was to thru-hike the Enchantments and tick the more accessible peaks (Mclellan, Prusik, Enchantment, Little Anna, Dragontail, Colchuck). But as things often go, one friend insisted I scamper on over to Cannon Mountain, and another friend posted a cool TR from Argonaut... I like hiking uphill and biking downhill, so starting at Snow Creek and ending at Stuart Lake was the obvious choice of direction. I stashed my road bike (I should really get a MTB) at the Stuart trailhead and started from snow Creek at 1:30am. The goal was to get up near Mclellan by sunrise, but I was a little late. Here's a GPX track of my trip: And here's a timeline of the peaks: It would seem silly to go through route conditions/beta on these uber-popular peaks. But I had an incredible time with this little challenge and am really curious what other similar or even bigger trips have been done. Some notes: - All in all: 31 miles, 16,800 ft gain, 20.5 hours - Averaged 1 bulger every 2.9 hours. I feel like this is a pretty difficult rate to attain even with a single mountain, what's the fastest bulger out there (c2c)? - I brought axe/crampons and only used them on the descent down Colchuck glacier (and they were much much needed on a section of bare ice). - West Ridge of Prusik was my first real free-solo (and down-solo). The slab bit definitely felt exciting, although at least downclimbing slab is about the same difficulty as upclimbing. I brought a harness, rappel device, and a beer just in case I freaked myself about the downclimb. I was thinking I could bribe another group with the beer to let me rappel with them. Nobody was on the route though, and the downclimb was fine. And I forgot about the beer until arrived back at my car. It exploded all over me after biking down the bumpy-ass road without suspension (or daylight). - The Southwest peak of Enchantment is awesome! Really cool summit block and some airy 4th class to get there. - Argonaut peak felt like an even headier solo than Prusik, but that was because I think I got a bit off route on the East face. I found a squeeze chimney to climb on the way down luckily (squeeze chimneys are the best when soloing!) After doing the Three Sisters + Broken-top traverse in Oregon the weekend before (holy choss-muffins!), I fell in love with the ease at which you can travel off-trail in the Enchantments. And once you suffer through the approach, all the peaks are so close together! I'm guessing others have completed similar trips, but I'd be psyched to hear what variations they did! I'm also interested in the possibility of doing all 9 Bulgers starting and ending at the Stuart Lake trailhead in 24 hours. I think it could be done (has it been done?) but the Stuart-Sherpa-Argonaut terrain looks pretty slowgoing. More pictures: Gear Notes: Axe/Crampons Approach Notes: Snow Creek to Stuart Lake Thru-hike
  13. 6 points
    Trip: Enchantments Link-up Light - Acid Baby and Solid Gold Thru-Hike Trip Date: 06/23/2018 Trip Report: My last time up in the Enchantments I remember hiking out past Snow Creek Wall, feeling totally destroyed after climbing Der Sportsman car to car, and thinking how cool it was that the hard climbing locals can crank out big linkups in this alpine playground in a day. Inspired, my buddy Tim and I settled on a goal of getting as far as we could on a linkup we’d seen done by Jenny Abegg and Whitney Clark where they climbed Acid Baby, Solid Gold, and Iconoclast in a day. While we’re nowhere near the caliber of climbers they are, the linkup is so logical and laid out so cleanly along the thu-hike we just had to see how far we could get. The quick and dirty blow by blow: -Leave Portland after work and hit the trailhead by 11:30, alarms at 1:30 for a 2:00 start time. -Tim wakes to some unfortunate lower GI issues, no TP in the toilet, great start. -My first time on the approach from this side and in a hurry, we blast pass the turn for Colchuck Lake by almost a mile, adding nearly 2 miles to the day right off the bat. Awesome! -Arrive at the base of Acid Baby, stuff one pack into the other for the carry-over, rack up and get climbing by 5:30. - Climb Acid Baby. Great route, that’s highlighted by the spectacular and exposed position on the “summit” knife edge ridge traverse. Photos: The route, tiny me can be seen belaying P4 Dork starting Pitch 3 Tim following P3 P4 Long shot of P4. Thanks Adam for the photos! Knife edge traverse, Dragontail in the background Hero Shot -Finish around 10:30, not fast by any stretch of the imagination, but not super slow considering we were onsighting and not exactly sure what to expect. We’ll take it. -Hike up to the plateau in the Core Zone. Not sure where to go here, fearing getting cliffed out if we stay high and needing water, descend into the lake zone and what we hope is a straightforward way to Prusik Peak. It wasn’t. -Wander around the Core Zone as inefficiently as possible, down climbing slabby rock, hopping across waterfalls, and eventually hiking on snowy slopes around Perfection Lake, slogging our way up to Prusik Pass. In total this took about an hour and a half longer than what we were hoping for. (Anyone know the best way to do this!? Do we stay high? Just move better?) -Tim’s gut bug is catching up with him. He is less than psyched but marches on. -Start Solid Gold around 1:15, feels great to be climbing again! Solid Gold really is amazingly good climbing. We hit the West Ridge in 3 pitches and simul to our way to the summit by 4:00. Solid Gold P1. Linked this to just past the little boulder problem around the roof on P2 to make linking 2-3 easier. Top of Prusik, look how psyched! -Tim’s psyche returns, amazing what a little rock climbing can do, we may just be able to pull this off! We rap and rally for the long 8 mile haul to Snow Creek wall. -Fast forward 8 miles, we are hurting. I’m totally worked and Tim is stumbling and hallucinating by the time we hit Snow Creek Wall. Side note, if there is ever a true champion it’s Tim Bemrich, he pushed through some serious pain and discomfort to get us to this point and didn’t complain once. -Decide it would not be reasonably safe to try and descend off SCW in that state, so we make the prudent decision and bail on the last route. We had done what we came to do, get as far as we could. All in all a great and tiring learning experience with a great friend. We’re already excited to give something like this a go again! Thanks for reading! Gear Notes: Nuts, double rack tips to 3. Brought a 4 for P1 on Acid Baby but didn't place it all day, booo. Lots of slings. Approach Notes: Colchuck Lake
  14. 6 points
    Trip: Wine Spires - Silver Star and Chablis Spire Trip Date: 06/23/2018 Trip Report: My roommate and I had been looking to get into the North Cascades for a while but hadn’t been able to put a trip together. We finally got the chance this last weekend and drove from Portland up to Mazama on Thursday night. We got warmed up on the Liberty Bell and Concord Tower on Friday and decided that we wanted to camp somewhere high and pretty Saturday night. After a lot of back and forth, we decided to camp up near the Wine Spires and climb Chablis Spire. We started around noon on Saturday and make the trek up to the Burgandy Col. It took about three hours from the car to the camp, so we dropped our stuff and went over to Silver Star Mountain. View of the Liberty Bell group Not a bad campsite. There was still snow up on the east side of Burgandy Col, but it was pretty soft and made for easy going over to the Silver Star glacier. We didn’t know too much about the glacier, so we decided to rope up, which probably wasn’t necessary. Made it up to the top of the glacier and had a nice view into the Cascades. Snagtooth Ridge from the Glacier We opted out of the scramble to the true summit and turned around and headed back towards camp. We made some dinner and enjoyed a beautiful sunset and the view. You can see Glacier Peak hanging out in the distance. A few goats also decided that they liked the col campsite, and kept us company throughout the night. Not too early of a start and we headed down to the base of the Chablis Spire. There were a few cracks open on the snowfield below the base, so we roped up again and headed up the snow to the base of the route. The detached block is center left of this photo. The snow was still fairly high, so the “handrail” at the base of the route was still covered, so we started at a hand ramp up to the detached block. After an airy step-around (very awkward) and a cool short finger crack we headed up three pitches of wandering easy climbing. There’s a short unprotectable slab in the middle of the second pitch, to which Carmen managed to find a 5.11 finger crack variation. The last pitch ends at the notch between the bunny ears summits, and we climbed up to the true summit still roped up. It turns out there’s some rap anchors right at the summit, so we were able to rap off the top, which was nice. Looking down from the last pitch. Obligatory awkward summit selfie. 5 wandery 60 m raps brought us back to the snow. We headed up to the col, grabbed our overnight gear, and suffered through the long descent back to the car. After a quick hop in the Methow River and a burger and a beer in town, we made the haul back to Portland. Gear Notes: Single rack to 4, 60m rope, glacier gear Approach Notes: Park at the mile marker 166, find a log to cross the river, and then hike the well worn path to Burgandy Col.
  15. 6 points
    Trip: Mt. Rainier - Sunset Ridge Trip Date: 05/25/2018 Trip Report: Geezers on the Go or Fading into Sunset Ridge. Having done routes from Carbon River, White River, and Paradise I have always wanted to do a west side route. Two of my partners from many years joined in on the fun. The average age was 62 with a combined over 120 years in the hills. We did the usual hike from the West Side Road via the no longer maintained Tahoma Creek trail. From the along Emerald Ridge which we never saw cause we ascend into the clouds we gained the terminus of the Tahoma and crossed it somewhere. Eventually we broke out of the clouds and camped below Puyallup Cleaver at around 6800 feet. In the morning we gained the cleaver and followed it to around 8500 at which point we bailed left and crossed until the South Mowich. We roped up but the crossing was very straight forward and we headed up initial lower slope to 9500 feet. At this point there is a bergshrund across the whole of the lower apron/ridge. We crossed more to the left. Again straight forward but sloppy snow. We bivied at the bergshrund. The next morning hoping to have an overnight freeze which did not occurred we launched upwards. The climbing was at around 45 degrees. The higher up the firmer the snow got. We pretty much side stepped the vast majority of the route. We stayed mostly to the climbers left and found several places to rest. Including one great spot with 60-70 foot high conglomerate walls just waiting to pitch bowling ball sized rocks down. From here a few hundred feet more of climbing and we gained the ridge proper and had great views of Sunset Amphitheater. Until this point we had climbed roped or unroped sans any gear. Once on the ridge proper we followed it until we need to down climb around a short 30 foot section of bare rock (by passed via snow). This lead to the finial pinnacle which forces one out on to the Mowich Face. Here again the climbing was straight forward we stayed more climbers right (two pitches), traversed left (~one pitch), then gained the ridge (~one pitch). Overall 45-55 degree climbing with pickets. My one partner did most all of the leading, my excuse for not contributing was being tired having climbed S. Sister a few days before. Our other partner is just a geezer. After that we traversed the ridge to Liberty Cap which was good fun cause we could see where in the past we had topped on either the Central or North Mowich headwalls, Ptarmigan (including an infamous bivy), Liberty and Curtis Ridge. So it was a bit of nostalgia for all. Especially for me since Sunset Ridge was my 10th different route on the hill and exactly 35 years to the weekend since my first attempt on Rainier. Overall conditions were a bit soft at the mid elevations. The approach was manageable even in the clouds. Route finding was straigtforward. On the other hand, we slept warm - including the last night less than 100 feet below Columbia Cap. I'll add some photos soon. Oh, being from out of the area we stayed at Gateway Inn and Cabins which is right before the Park entrance before and after our climb. The folks are very accommodating so I'll give them a plug. Gear Notes: 3 Pickets and 3 screws (the later not used). Two tools 60cm axe and 50 cm hammer. Approach Notes: West Side Road via Tahoma Creek
  16. 6 points
    Hey CC.com! I'm proud to announce the release of Snoqualmie Rock. After 5 years of research, writing, and review, this comprehensive guidebook for the I-90 corridor is finally complete. It covers well over 700 routes from Issaquah to Snoqualmie Pass at over 60 crags. You'll find it in stores this June, but you can pre-order your own copy now at www.snoqualmierock.com See you all at the crags!
  17. 6 points
    If you have something you want to share with Megan, please do so. If you want to talk but don't feel comfortable talking to Megan, please contact me anonymously and we can explore ways so your story can be heard. If you don't want to tell your story but need help healing and finding closure and need assistance in doing that again let me know and we can see how we can assist you in that. I'm a victim of harassment. I've also reported sexual harassment in the work place on several occasions. None of these instances were "misunderstandings" and variety of other lame excuses, it was a product of selfishness and a culture that fosters it. I refuse to be part of that. I'm closing this thread as there is nothing to be gained by any further discussion.
  18. 6 points
    Trip: Chair Pk - NW Ridge Trip Date: 02/11/2018 Trip Report: More fun in winter I thought, especially with the amazing conditions. More alpine ice well adhered to the rock than I've ever seen in the Snoq area, neve even! Don, my long time climbing partner, and I had a blast in this puppy yesterday. The last 10' of the first pitch gaining the ridge was a good opener. The second pitch we traversed on the south side of the ridge up to a small notch with a chockstone, then up a short runout slab then a downward traverse to a small tree belay on the right. The third pitch went straight up to a steep hard (for me anyway) chimney topping out on the crest. Fantastic hooking! Running belay along the sharp crest and on to the top. I hope folks got out and got some in these incredible conditions! Left side of N face (yep, that's all good alpine ice and neve!): N Face route: 1st pitch top out: Don on runout slab (red dot), belay tree barely visible down and right: 3rd pitch: Looking down 3rd pitch top out: Running belay toward top: Gear Notes: Rock rack, no pins or screws needed Approach Notes: Casual, no floatation needed/wanted
  19. 6 points
    Trip: Morocco, South Africa - multiple Trip Date: 12/30/2017 Trip Report: Africa Sampler Got a chance to do two Africa climbing trips this past year: two weeks in Morocco in May and two weeks in South Africa over Christmas. Polar opposites and not just in their location on the continent; the climbing in the two places could not have been any more different: bolted cracks vs. trad protected faces; well-traveled limestone vs. overgrown sandstone; easy approaches vs. steep bushwhacks; lots of climbers vs. none; sweet tea vs. booze. In Morocco, we checked out Taghia (pretty place but the really stunning lines were too hard for us) and Todra (less dramatic but with more moderates); in South Africa, we stuck to the Western Cape Province. We knew that Morocco had big walls with long climbs but were surprised to find 500 meter tall faces in the Western Cape. Morocco was easily self-organized. South Africa would’ve been as well until I stumbled onto a website describing some long traditional climbs in places I’ve never heard of. Ended up hiring the admin of that site and longtime local climber, Ross, to be our “fixer” – take us to those obscure gems but let us climb them on our own. Both places represent the easier shade of Africa travel – no coup d'etats, no jihadists. Though a community Facebook page called “Snakes Of South Africa” – where the good folks share their serpent run-ins – had us paranoid to the point of buying “snake gaiters”. People do get bitten and some die every summer in SA, particularly in rural areas. No mambas in Western Cape but almost everything else on the list. More spray and more photos on our site. Morocco South Africa Some Pics: Arriving in Marrakesh: Roadside eatery. Key beta: bring Tabasco sauce (family sized bottle is best). From Marrakesh, you drive 3ish hours into the Atlas Mountains where the road ends in the village of Zaouia Ahansal. From here, you hike 2 hours into the village of Taghia while a donkey carries your gear. First views of the climbing. Hiking through Taghia village to the climbing. Next day we climbed what is probably the easiest route there (6 pitch, 6a+) called La Reve d’Aicha. Looking up at Paroi des Sources (left) and Taoujdad. Did the first 4 (of 8) pitches of this l’Allumeur Du Reve Berbere route. Bailed off as it was baking in the sun and already plenty hard for us. Berber bridges. Some light canyoneering on a rest day. Views of Taoujdad. An 8 pitch line called El Geonauta on Taoujdad. Which features some spelunking. Arriving on the summit of Taoujdad Weren’t super thrilled with climbing in Taghia (hard) and so we decided to relocate to Todra Gorge. Apparently the scenic way to do this is to hike across the Atlas Mountains (35+km or about 12ish hours) which then puts you within a 2hr taxi ride of Todra. This unlucky donkey got to carry our junk on this little hike. A Berber family doing their own high mountain crossing. I woke up feeling sick the morning of the hike and so was dragging ass behind the donkey, his owner, and Shirley…have not suffered like that in a while. Village of Oussikis on the far side of the hike…Alhamdulillah!! Storks nesting atop a minaret of a mosque was a common sight. Town of Boumalne on the drive to Todra. We stayed in a guest house outside the gorge in Todra. The owner’s son is a climber and actively putting up new routes. But we were the only guests. An aqueduct at the mouth of Todra Gorge. Starting up a route called Tiwira, 6 pitch 6a+. Some views. Hiking off. Checking out the local Kasbah. Voie Abert climbs this pillar inside the gorge in about 8 or 10 pitches (6a+). High on the route. A large and old Kasbah Ait Benhaddou near the city of Ouarzazate. More Kasbah sights. At a roadside café. Maybe I cannot onsight Taghia’s 6b+, but I can sure put away watermelon like a mother… Souk in Marrakesh. Cat selling gold in the souk. Animal abuse at the Jamaa el Fna square in Marrakesh. Welcoming alcohol back in our lives during an overnight layover in Amsterdam. Amsterdam. And Amsterdam (man, those black shoes totally clash with the outfit). Shirley looking for a toilet during a long layover in London on the way to Cape Town. Arriving in Cape Town with Table Mountain in background: Final portion of a 3h approach to a route called Mooloo Face the following day – prow of the buttress visible at the head of the gully. 20+ pitches per description but easily linked into <10. Stretching our 70 meter cords and linking the first handful of pitches. I’m near the top & Shirley is belaying below. Photo by our “fixer” Ross. Arriving on top. Jonkershoek Twins (home of Mooloo Face). Freshly shed Cape cobra skin seen on approach. Hiking into Duiwelskloof with 500 meter walls towering above. We’d spend two nights there and climb a long (18 pitch) route called Lucifer the following day. Low on Lucifer the following morning. Shirley on Lucifer with Devil’s Tooth in the background. Crux of Lucifer. Note the 2 micro cam belay anchor. Very trad: ~500 meters of climbing and only fixed shit we saw were 2 ancient pins (2 more than on Mooloo). Money traverse pitch high on Lucifer. Shirley on the upper third. Hike off from the top was loooong but scenic. Kind of like Resolution Arete but with more time spent on top of the wall traversing rolling summits to access the descent gully. Ready for a beer. Snakes were never far from our minds. Did a bit of sightseeing during a 2 day break over Christmas. African penguin at Boulders Beach. Table Mountain from Cape Town. Some cragging at a place called Paarl Rocks – a collection of large granite domes sitting on top of a large hill. This is an area classic called Sands Of Time (4 pitches and about 5.9). Shirley and I on pitch 3. Photo by Ross. Did 2 routes in this here Yellowwood Amphitheater of Du Toits Kloof Mountains. Crux of a route called Lekker Time. Photo from the base by Ross. One more from Lekker Time (Afrikaans for Good Time). Four evening’s worth of sending. For the final climb, we hiked up to one of the Apostles (buttresses) of Table Mountain to climb Slangooli Frontal route. Morning approach. Ho-hum climbing mostly but with great views. A bit of vertical bushwhacking. The scenic hike down. Cape Town sights. Gear Notes: Bring Tabasco esp. for Morocco. No trad in Morocco (where we went); Mostly trad in Western Cape. Approach Notes: A mixed bag.
  20. 5 points
    Trip: Johannesburg Mountain - NE Buttress Solo Trip Date: 08/01/2018 Trip Report: I overheard some friends talking about Bill Amos' solo of Johannesburg and was immediately inspired. The allure of the mountain and style of climbing was too much to pass up. Before I start my senior year of high school I wanted to do something really fun. After binge reading trip reports and training for a few months, I felt psyched and ready. I already have a decent bit of soloing under my belt so the climb just seemed right. Fast forward to Monday night, I got in my car and drove out to Cascade Pass. I set my alarm for 7:00 but woke up at 6:30 (probably due to the anticipation). The sheer beauty of Johannesburg is impossible to ignore; its imposing face shows so much promise. After scarfing down a breakfast bar and some pop-tarts, I locked my car and began the arduous approach. A grueling .2 miles down the road lead me to a dirt mound with access to the river. Crossing over rocks and walking up a talus field put me at the first snow on the route. The snow was rock hard so my crampons begrudgingly came out of my pack. I was careful to move fast across the snow because I didn't want to get taken out by an avalanche. A rock ramp to the left of the second waterfall provided seemingly easy access to the buttress. Looking up at Johannesburg After some easy slab and low 5th class I arrived at the second snowfield. Here's where I made my first mistake. Once again, the snow was rock solid. I put on my crampons to walk the 100 something feet across it to the rock. Thinking more snow was soon to come, I clipped my crampons to my harness. Looking for a good line through the trees, I decided to go straight up some 4th class rock and then traverse right later on. This beta absolutely sucked. The initial 200 feet or so was smooth sailing. I soon encountered more and more trees, eventually reaching an impassible rock band within the brush. From here I traversed right until I found a gully within the trees that allowed me to climb up. It was hot, steep, and heinous bushwhacking. Finally I could see the third snowfield. At this point I was well above it but had a clear view of the 1957 route. This snowfield basically cuts the buttress in half until they join up again high on the vertical rock. Tired, I took off my pack to eat a probar and drink some water. Looking at my harness I realize only 1 crampon is clipped on. My other must have gotten eaten by trees earlier in the bushwhack! Thinking about Jean-Christophe's rescue on Annapurna reminded me that I'm probably not going to die if I'm short one crampon. Slabs before second snowfield. It's hard to describe how much the trees suck. I found no evidence of a path and basically pulled on branches, heather, and devil's club the whole way up. Things would frequently get caught on my rope or ice tools during this section. Another hour or so of this put me at the heather slopes. For about 800 feet I walked up some easy 3rd class slopes covered in heather. The 70 degree heat made me really thirsty. I brought 2 liters of water and realized it probably wasn't going to last all the way to the bivy. Rationing out water was uncomfortable but that's life. More scrambling finally put me on the rock. What a relief! Soon 4th class rock turned into low 5th and life was peachy. It felt absolutely euphoric to move well on the steep slopes. I didn't find loose rock to be that big of an issue. I checked my watch and realized I was about 400 feet from the bivy. Up ahead of me looked to be the "crux" rock section. I traversed right from the 1951 route on to the approximate 1957 route. I think this allowed me to skip some hard sections because I encountered maybe 5.6 rock up to this point. Though the glacier was still obscured by rock, I knew I was close. Rock face. I stayed in the middleish left My fatigue meant I wasn't climbing at my best. I elected to take off my pack for the next 200 feet or so and just haul it up. Some 5.8 face climbing through loose rocks put me on top of a small ridge. I was at the glacier! After bringing up my pack, I scrambled up some 4th class rock and was at the bivy. I drank straight from the glacial runoff. This was the first time in my life I was happy to see mosquitoes. The struggles of the day melted when confronted with the beauty of the mountains around me. After a warm meal and some relaxing. I was sound asleep in my bivy sack. Bivy of the decade Me stoked to be fed and hydrated Waking up at 6:30 was kind of cold. I didn't bring a sleeping bag but was pretty was comfy nonetheless. After some packing and eating, it was time to get on the glacier. This part was less than ideal. The snow was luckily much softer than at the base of the mountain. Despite only having one crampon, climbing up the snow to the arete was easy. After carefully walking on the arete I decided going straight up the headwall would be hard. I downclimbed a few meters to the rock ridge. The rock actually went! Easy scrambling and some short traverses on the snow allowed me to skip almost all of the glacier and headwall. At the summit ridge I scrambled up right to the biggest peak. I made it! It turns out I was the first person there in almost a year! The log could also use some more paper if anyone is going up there soon. The feeling of being up there is indescribable. Signing the summit log and snapping a few photos, I was ready to head down. Headwall. I scrambled on the rock to the left Obligatory summit selfie Signing the climber's log Staying to the south side of the gendarmes, follow a loosely marked carin path to the East face. I opted to rap instead of downclimb initially. 8 bomber rappels brought me to some low angle heather. It's important to aim straight for the CJ col. There looks like other paths would be better but they cliff out. About 600 feet of downclimbing brought me to the col in one piece. Looking up from the col Now sidehilling ensued. Going close under the buttress and heading straight toward Doug's Direct seemed to work best. Walking through all the brush isn't fun but the ascent to mix up peak was easy. About 1000 feet 3rd and 4th class scrambling down the north ridge of Mix Up brought me to Cache Glacier. The climbers trail is visible from the top of the ridge; go there. Walking down the climbers trail felt like one of those flat escalators at an airport compared to the rest of the climb. 3.7 miles of running and I was back to the parking lot. Looking down from the top of Doug's Direct. This was a climb to remember. The beauty of the North Cascades is hard to forget. I don't think I'll be back to Johannesburg for at least a few more months. I would really love to try and get up it in the winter. Shoutout to Steph Abegg and everyone else who has previously made trip reports. I have mad respect for anyone who has done this climb. Don't let your guard down when you get to the summit. Johannesburg is the mountain that keeps on giving. Now its time to get ready for Bear Mountain. Here's the general route I took. I could have screwed up but I'm pretty sure this is where I went. Gear Notes: Took climbing shoes and chalk but didn't need them. Approach Notes: Walk .2 miles down the road. Cross river.
  21. 5 points
    Trip: Pickets - North Buttress of Fury (during Pickets Traverse) Trip Date: 08/04/2018 Trip Report: Lani Chapko and I were planning on climbing Mount Robson via either the Kain Face or North Face, but weather looked iffy so I came up with a new objective that I thought would be equally challenging. We totally sandbagged ourselves on this route. Neither of us looked to closely at beta or trip reports, we just knew that the buttress was often approached from glaciers on the west side and the rock was supposed to be 5.6 or easier. I figured it would be like the DNB of Stuart with a long approach but no 5.9 climbing... The initial plan was to do a full Pickets traverse from Hannegan to Newhalem, climb Challenger, Fury, and maybe a Southern Picket. We set up the hella long car shuttle and started hiking to Hannegan Pass on Thursday afternoon. I screwed up big time and crossed the Chilliwack at the wrong point, and we traverse for an hour through steep trees to finally arrive at the faint trail up to Easy Ridge. ^ Getting lost on the way up to Easy Ridge As the sun set we set up camp at Easy Ridge and hoped for a dry night despite a wet forecast. On Friday we traversed over to Challenger in low visibility conditions. The Imperfect Impasse was snow-free, making things quite a bit more challenging than when I crossed it in May. On the way back up out of the Impasse, we hauled packs for a section. ^ Crossing the impasse We then crossed the Challenger glacier, also without any visibility. Lani was a route-finding pro somehow, and we didn't dead-end on any crevasses. Arriving at Challenger arm, the clouds cleared and we got our first look at our route up Fury *insert swallowing and stomach knots here*. ^Our route up Fury. Keep reading to know what NOT to do. We set up camp in Luna Basin and talked a bit about life and death (mostly death), and whether or not we should draw a line somewhere with regards to alpine climbing. We woke up at 4:30am and started up the west side of the buttress. ^The North Buttress in early morning The first crack at the base of the buttress we avoided by going to the right on mid-5th, loose, unprotectable rock. We soloed up without packs and then hauled them up with our rope. This became a common theme on the "approach", the glacier-carved rock was largely devoid of cracks and it seemed futile to use a rope without gear. The next rock band was harder and longer, we mostly went straight up from the top of the first snowfield and I found just one gear placement in about 130 ft of climbing. I think going further left and clipping trees would have been a better option. From here we excitedly got back on the steep snow and headed up toward the rock chute of doom. ^ rock chute of doom There was a big 'schund that extended out to the rock chute of doom (RCOD) forcing us to quickly cross the chute and head up the snow to the right. Throughout the approach so far we had noticed a couple small rocks coming down the chute but nothing worrisome. We climbed the snowfield and crossed the RCOD at a big boulder back onto the left snowfield/glacier. At this point it started raining lots rocks and ice, both down the chute and to the left and right of it, we quickly got under a big boulder at the base of the next rockband. We climbed the next rockband via the left side of the large boulder we sheltered under to avoid being in the shooting gallery. We looked down with distressed as more rocks and ice rained down on our approach path, meaning bailing would be a dangerous proposition as temperatures rose. Finally we scrambled up toward the buttress crest and excitedly put on rock shoes. We encountered a difficult 5.8ish step almost right away, which was not very well protected. We wanted to simulclimb a lot of the ridge, but with only a few cams and some nuts it was hard to climb for a long enough time to make simuling efficient. So we ended up doing a mixture of long pitches and soloing/scrambling. ^ Lani after pulling a 5.9ish roof and finding a hand crack, one of very few sections of good climbing on the route. We climbed up rock for a while before arriving at the "snow crossing". We were able to skirt the snow on the right side, however, and avoid putting shoes/crampons on. ^ "Is it hands?!?" - Me ^ "It's friggin hands Tyler!!" - Lani More scrambling intermixed with 5th class led us up toward the snow arete. We noticed the skies were getting dark to the east after a remarkably clear day. After finishing a long pitch, I looked up at the rest of the route. At that moment, electricity rained down from the sky. The thunder and lightning occured simultaneously and sounded like a bomb, striking the mountain a stone's throw away. I looked down at Lani, "On belay?". We continued climbing to find a better spot to hunker down. By the time the storm looked like it was subsiding, it was about 7pm and we weren't sure if we would be able to top out in daylight. We found an almost tent-sized area with just a few thousand feet of exposure off the eastern edge of the buttress. After moving rocks to make a vaguely flat platform, we decided we would take up landscaping afterward and setup the first light as the rain started to fall. ^ Setting up camp in a rather precarious position I slept comfortably despite having my feet over the edge, and we woke at first light with a plan I was not excited about. It was Sunday morning. Our car was in Newhalem and I was supposed to be at work on Monday morning. We had a bit of extra food but not enough to continue through the Southern Pickets. I told Lani we'd take the "fast" way out via Access Creek to Ross Dam. She didn't know what that meant luckily. We climbed up the half snow-arete, half choss ridge. ^ On the second section of snow near the top of Fury ^ The final section of climbing to the summit area/false peak. I felt pretty maxed out in my approach shoes on this gradient Topped out at about 7:30am. All we had to do was traverse steep heather/talus/snow to Luna Col, then up and back down to Access Creek, shwack out the creek to the trail, and then hike 17 miles out to the highway, and then hitchhike back to Newhalem to pickup Car #1, drive back to Hannegan to pickup Car #2, and then back home. Our splits roughly: 4:15am - Wake-up from thunder bivy camp 7:30am - Topped out on Fury, called boss to tell him I may not be at work on Monday 1:30pm - Arrived at start of gully down to Access Creek 6:30pm - Arrived at Big beaver trail, made dinner 12:00am - Arrived at Ross Lake, made breakfast 4:00am - Arrived at HWY 20 6:00am - Got hitchhike to Newhalem 9:00am - Arrived at Hannegan trailhead 11:00am - Ate huge pizza in Glacier, WA 2:00pm - Crashed on a beach in Seattle, WA We weren't moving particularly fast, but we kept moving! The Pickets are rough but soo addicting, I'm headed back this weekend Gear Notes: 60m rope, a few cams, nuts, 1 axe each, crampons Approach Notes: In via Hannegan, out via Ross Lake Dam (not planned)
  22. 5 points
    Trip: Goode - NE Buttress Trip Date: 07/22/2018 Trip Report: I've had this route on the calendar every July since 2012 and every year something has thwarted me (partners dropping, rain or thunderstorms in the forecast, etc). Last year was the only year I actually had boots on the trail and we ended up with a late start and making a route-finding mistake after crossing the N Fork of Bridge Creek that cost us the climb. This year the stars finally fucking all aligned and it was glorious! The view of the final approach after crossing the knee-deep N Fork of Bridge Creek. Follow talus between the lower slide alder up to the waterfall on the left, climb slabs to its right, then ascend talus through "magic tunnels" and onto open terrain. We bivied at 5600', just below the glacier. Last year we neglected to check out these slabs next to the left-most waterfall until it was too late. This year we went right to them. The slabs are exposed and a bit butt-puckering with full packs, but not enough to motivate us to get out a rope or give us pause about this endeavor. Opportunities like this (4 days of clear weather, motivated partners, time off work) are not so easy to come by in mid-to-late July, and I am not getting any younger. Ascending the Goode Glacier in the morning. It was broken up and we had to navigate crevasses and seracs. Nothing too serious. We all wore approach shoes, which worked well enough with crampons (I had my Grivel G1's that I got via a gift certificate from cc.com a few years ago, purchased at Jim Nelson's store). From TRs we knew that the higher up you gain the buttress, the less pitches of loose shittiness you must climb. Lower down you might get up to three pitches and up high as few as one. We opted to try for a snow bridge up high and found this one at about 6800'. It involved one face in move with a low step to block of ice. It might not go now, but there appeared to be a few other place to gain the rock below this that might last longer. We did one pitch of low-mid-fifth class rock then simulclimbed until about 8000'. I think we had a total of 3 simul-leads, with transitions only due to rope drag. I did not place much pro on these. When the buttress steepened we pitched 4 or so pitches and got to the bivy alcove at 8600'. From there 3 pitches to the ridge crest. It was lat-ish (6:30 pm) and 4 people were ahead of us and going for the summit. Figuring they would all bivy on the limited space there and seeing a nice snow patch at 8900' right next to a small bivy site we stopped, made dinner, drank water, drank whisky, and enjoyed a spectacular sunset: In the morning we waited for one of the parties to rappel. We saw them around 6 am. They said the other party was still hanging out so we headed up. After two pitches we were on the summit. We stayed on the summit for well over an hour, savoring the views. Having had been on the S side two years ago to climb Storm King, I knew we had a long day ahead. We started down. Truth be told the SW couloir and the trail down to the Park Creek trail was unsavory, and we got several blisters in our approach shoes. There is a nice spot to camp at about 7200'. Having been here before, we headed for it and looked for a stream out of the snow pack. We took a long break here to get water and savor views one last time. The views of Sinister and Dome, the rest of the Ptarmigan Traverse and Buckner are spectacular. From here it took us 3 hours to get to the "nice" trail. The length of the day and this trip with full packs was starting to take its toll. A few hours on the 4 miles to the base of this trail, then a connector (2.5 miles?) to the PCT, and about 3 more to the N Fork Camp where we had stashed food and a fuel cannister. We arrived at camp at 9:40 pm. I have never enjoyed a Mountain House more. Sadly, I had no whisky left. In the morning of the fourth day, we hiked out the last 10 miles, where beer awaited in the truck. Gear Notes: Ice axe, crampons, appoach shoes, helmet, small alpine rack with several double slings Approach Notes: Long, brutal
  23. 5 points
    Trip: Noisy Diobsud/Stephen Mather Wilderness - Bacon-Hagen-Blum High Route Trip Date: 07/20/2018 Trip Report: From July 20th-23rd Dave, Darren, Matt and I traverse from Anderson Lakes to Blum Creek summiting Bacon, Hagen and Blum along the way. The route is characterized by excellent views of the Baker and Sister Range to the west the the National Park to the east. Awesome camp sites and outstanding alpine lakes make this a most memorable route. Brush bashing wasn't all that severe save the walk down Blum Ridge to Baker River. You won't find me walking up that route anytime soon. I have been doing trips with these guys for nearly 20 years and I am ever thankful for the friendships and the adventures over the years. I would like to have an intense conversation with the douchbag that left a pile of trash shoved under a rock and shitty TP strewn about at the high camp SW of Bacon. Beer cans and mountain outhouse bags don't decompose and it doesn't seem that difficult to pack out your trash. Alpine eye candy Gear Notes: Ice axe, light crampons, and glacier rope. Approach Notes: Anderson Lakes to north side of Mount Watson.
  24. 5 points
    Trip: Mount Baker - North Ridge Trip Date: 06/22/2018 Trip Report: We started off on a bad note with Robie arriving at the Park n Ride 45 minutes late. Sean had just returned from a leisurely trip to Italy the day before. I haven't slept for more than 4 hours since my baby was born 2 months ago. We were all exhausted, and we hadn't even started. And yet, spirits were high. It was both Robie and Sean's first time on Baker and I had only done the standard route. Quickly we ran into some hairy creek crossings in the dark. Water was running hard. It had been 90 degrees in Seattle this week so lot's of melt to be expected. With skis on our back, 45 lbs each, the approach was tough. I had worn ultralight running shoes, and only brought one pair of socks. Well, they were soaked. Robie reassured me our feet were going to be wet all day anyways. We quickly rose above treeline, above the Heliotrope campground where we saw maybe 10 tent groups, slowly waking up. As we got onto the Coleman Glacier we could spot a group of 2 above us traversing towards the same route. The North Ridge, looking rather mellow from this perspective. The sun was rising, the sky was turning colors, Mt Baker was showing her face, we were on route and feeling good. And then we were on route. We thought we were going to follow an older bootpack up left but as we neared it, it looked cumbersome and out of the way, so we opted for a more direct route towards the other 2 parties ahead of us. Collective exhaustion was super high as we were running on 36 hours of no sleep (expect Sean had a 3 hr nap). We took a break below the ice pitch and made Ramen. A bit of back and forth and Robie agreed to lead the ice pitch. It looked steeper than the photos we had seen. After some solid sticks, we realized it was Hero Ice! We had 7 screws, so Robie went for it in one pitch. Baller. Then it was Sean's turn. Then I snagged this photo, which I really like. It captures the moment. Sea of clouds, North Cascades poking in the distance, sunshine, glory, hero ice, stoke was very high. Above the ice pitch we got into some mixed conditions. It was my turn to lead and it felt like about a foot of wet snow ontop of a delaminating shield of ice. If I smacked hard enough I could get to the ice for a screw, or if I hammered the shit out of picket it would go in. 50 meters each, Robie and I swapping leads up the upper ridge. This upper ridge section was glorious, for a moment at least. Team exhaustion/fitness was waning and we were moving slower and slower with each passing step. The sun was raging, our skin was burning, wind was picking up, and the day was passing. Then the white out came. Heavy winds, colder temps, all of the layers on. I couldn't see Robie, one step at a time. Unsure what time it was, or how long we had been on route, and wondering how we were going to ski down and get back to Seattle. Occasionally the clouds would move and the glacier's would appear. Like monsters with no rhyme or reason they tower above the world. And then we summited. Pure alpine joy. Now an 8000 ft ski descent. The ski down was quick and efficient. We got back to the main trail and cruised out to the parking lot just by dark. 10pm. 20 hour go. What a fabulous day. Found pizza in Belligham, pulled off the highway for an hour nap on the drive home but made it back to Seattle at 3am. What an alpine adventure! Gear Notes: 7 screws, 3 pickets Approach Notes: Good shape
  25. 5 points
    Trip: The Brothers - Brothers Traverse Trip Date: 05/13/2018 Trip Report: Our merry band of chosstronauts climbed both of the summits of the Brothers on the 13th of May to celebrate Nathan successfully completing another trip around the sun. There’s enough beta out there already on the traverse, so I won’t get much into blow by blow of the climb, but I wanted to share some pictures and info I would have found helpful to know before doing it. The trail up to the lake is a highway and very well maintained. On our way up, we passed a friendly WTA work group who was working on blocking switchback cuts. If you haven’t hiked this trail, there are 19 switchbacks in the first 1700ft vert. We were thankful for them on the way up, only to curse them on the way down. Such is the duality of climbing… The next few miles through the Valley of Silent Men was just as memorable as the first time I hiked up the S. Brother 8 years ago, and even more so! There’s a section of fierce blowdowns and mandatory schwacking for about a mile shortly after leaving the lake. Lots of log hopping and trying not to fall into the river all while fighting devil’s club and other pointy foliage. There is a “path” that is flagged through the wreckage, but it’s pretty much a choose your own adventure affair. I didn’t remember this section from my last ascent, so I wonder when all of it occurred, or if it’s just been a deteriorating trail for many years? Anyway, once navigated, the trail again becomes easy to follow to the Lena Forks/climbers camp. We stashed our trail runners and swapped into mountain boots here, but you could probably belay that for another mile or so until after you get through the burn. I’m sure there’s a path through there somewhere, but we didn’t find it. There is a snow finger that follows climber’s left of the burn that we used to bypass some of the bullshit, but this is melting out fast and should be trodden with care. It’s quite thin in places and the river flowing underneath is cold and fast. I punched through on the way down, but was lucky to land upright with my feet on a big rock and my hands out of the hole, keeping me from being swept underneath too far. Be careful! Don't fall in a hole The snow eventually widens into the large south couloir at the top of the burn, and it’s easy going and continuous up the slopes. We chopped a bivy around 5500 ft at some relatively “flat” spots and settled in for the night. In all, from TH to camp was about 5000 ft of vert and 10 miles. Not having done this sort of approach in quite a while, we were all pretty knackered and settled in pretty fast. The night was uneventful, save from the massive stomach cramps my dinner gave me. I usually don’t do dehydrated meals anymore for these climbs, but I found one in my kitchen and the convenience of it won out over going to the grocery store. All I’ll say is that there was a very different sort of alpine aire happening all night in my sleeping bag, which made for a very restless night. Good night south sound Woke up at 430AM the next morning to aim for the 6100” notch in the S Brother SE Ridge with the goal of gaining the Great Basin, the North peak, and then traversing to the South peak. There’s no real good description of what to aim for, and each TR seems to gain a different notch. So here’s a picture of what to shoot for, unmistakable marked. This notch seemed to match the approach notes on the Mountaineer’s website, and we found some rappel tat while climbing it, so I think it’s the correct way to go. There was only a thin finger of snow up the gully when we did it, so it may be gone by now. I’m not sure what climbing up the rock of the gully would be like, but the short sections we had to do were attention grabbing. The backside is steep snow down to the Great Basin, but nothing five minutes of face-in down climbing can’t dispatch. The great basin is quite beautiful, and it’s a really cool feature to traverse across. This is the prominent snow slope visible from far across the sound. It’s amazing to be able to look at from far away and know that you walked across there. Decent to the basin from the notch The ascent couloir to the North Brother was dispatched quickly on slightly mushy but continuous snow all the way to the ridge top. The snow will probably last for a little while longer at least. This deposits you almost right at the summit; a quick few rock moves away. The summit register on the North Brother is gone, but the anchor chain is still there. Wonder what happened to it? From here the traverse begins. Follow all the other beta that’s out there along with your own intuition and you won’t go awry. Every feature that looks impassable or sketchy from afar has options aplenty when examined up close. The climbing was all very straight forward and wasn’t difficult; if you’re doing 5.7+ moves you’re off route. I will note that we went an alternate way to finish the traverse. Instead of going through a cave/moat, and then up the steep NE face of the South peak as described in the beta, we continued to traverse to the NW face, over a rock rib, and up the NW couloir. The route described in other TRs wasn’t in for us; the snow was too unconsolidated and thin at the steepest section and it would have been asking a little much of it to hold on for 4 climbers to pass through. Our alternate way worked well with an exposed move or two of 5.choss. There’s a semi-decent crack to build a quick anchor to protect the leader during these moves here. Be careful if going this way; the snow traverse is quite steep and the rock is very loose and not trivial. There are a few very large loose blocks on this portion waiting to take out a careless climber and a fall here would be catastrophic. It goes though! From the top of the exit couloir, a short 100” scramble puts you on the summit. The traverse took us about 3 hours from the time we roped up to the time the second rope team topped out (2:15-2:30 moving time for each group). We simul climbed almost the entire route, with one static belay over the 5.choss rib. From the South summit, we were back at the TH in 6 hours, including picking up our camp on the way out and lounging around at Lena Forks swapping shoes. Overall, it was fun and a great first climb of the season. The route holds a lot of alpine challenges which all felt real, but never felt too sketchy. It’s a long way back in there though, so bring strong legs and good shoes. Gear Notes: 30m rope 2 pickets 2-3 small cams deez nutz Approach Notes: Too many switchbacks.....
  26. 5 points
    Trip: Mount Temple - Greenwood Jones Trip Date: 08/03/2017 Details: Given the reputation and lore select Canadian Rockies north faces hold I've always wanted to climb one but never had the opportunity minus a failed attempt on GCC on Kitchner way back in the late fall of 2008. High my list was/is any route on Mount Temple but avy conditions in the winter and grizzly conditions in the summer/fall had prevented me from ever trying. My understanding is most years the CAN parks require (communists ) a minimum party size of 4 for anyone entering the area below the north face or risk BIG fines (and possibly a grizzly encounter ). As finding another team of 2 keen on an alpine start that was also willing to climb a different route was pretty much impossible I never have had a chance to try. However in August of 2017 I heard they made the party size a recommendation and not a requirement. Lucky for me Daniel Harro was also keen so we pointed it north. Based on dawn & sunrise times and our plan to filter water at the lake we settled on a 3:30 departure. We started the face slightly later than I had hoped and wandered around trying to make sense of the beta before settling into the route. Everything you heard is true: choss to perfection and everything in between. Not the worst rock I have climbed but Oregon volcano climbers have a high threshold. Managed to climb it without placing pins but we definitely clipped a few along the way. All in all an awesome route and deserving of the status. I definitely want to come back for Greenwood Locke (in colder temps) and the Cardiac Arete on the Grand Sentinel looks awesome. We found this TR in conjunction the most useful for route finding but even then we scratched our heads more than once and I had to reverse/downclimb a few false starts. Pins can show the way as well as get you way off route If you try to do it in a day (which I recommend as it makes the packs more manageable) you need to save as much daylight as possible for the descent; I would expect attempting to follow the cairns down in the dark even with a headlamp challenging at best especially if you go back to your car via Paradise Valley. A google search will turn up more than a few TRs that detail a night spent out high on the mountain. Gear Notes: Standard rack. Took pins but didnt use them. Crampon and mini ice axe. Approach Notes: Opted for the car to car option
  27. 5 points
    Trip: Mt Baker - North Ridge Trip Date: 05/20/2018 Trip Report: Quick conditions update for Mt Bakers North ridge for anyone interested. Peter, Lael, and I left Bellingham, skimo gear in hand, at 4:15 Sunday morning. We left the car (.5 mi from trail head) in running shoes at 6:00am and cruised up to heliotrope, past a big group of guided skiers. We continued in our comfy shoes (in the rain) up the snow to the last flat before the steep face leading to heliotrope ridge. Here we left the shoes and booted up to the start of the Coleman glacier. With light skis on our feet and rain only getting harder, we zipped across the Coleman, motivated to stay moving quick by crashing in the fog above as seracs fell from the Coleman headwall. After crossing by an unnervingly fresh debris field we were at the base of the north ridge and threw the skis back on the packs. It was decision time and with a few sucker holes in the clouds (and a knowledge of the forecast) we decided to continue moving upward. Our choice proved fruitful (despite post-holing in the deep slush with no boot pack) and we began to feel ourselves nearing the top of the clouds as we approached the ice step. Peter led a full 30 meters and made an ice screw belay at the top of the ice step, he then dropped the rope so I could lead it too. From the belay I pushed upward in the first firm snow of the day (more on this later) as Lael followed up the ice. We gained the ridge proper and were living large as the sun came out. We the saw what appeared to be another ice step which was confusing because Peter soloed the route the week before and saw no such thing. Upon closer inspection the 5ft high vertical face that stretched across the North West face of the ridge was clearly an avalanche crown (probably several days old). With no where to go but up we chopped a step and bouldered up this small face onto snow we now knew was somewhat unstable so we stuck to the ridge proper from then on. Again post holing we pushed for the summit, anxious that we would be too late for firm snow to ski. We arrived at the summit around 1pm and wasted no time skinning over to the top of the roman headwall. Skins ripped. Boots locked. Dropping in! Slushy mank... The skiing sucked but it sure beat walking. We skied back into the clouds and cruised down as fast as our quads could to heliotrope ridge then back down to the trail. Skis back on the pack and running shoes on, we jogged down the trail to the car. Whole ordeal took just a bit under 10hrs. Lael hauls up the Coleman Post Holing up the Ridge Cruising up... Ice pitch near the top of the clouds Ice Pitch Ridge Selfie! Steep ridge after the ice pitch Spicy crown proved to be a V3 boulder move Clouds Breaking Sunshine on top! Back in the fog after the ski Thanks for reading, hope this helps someone! Gear Notes: 5 ice screws, glacier stuff, 2 tools each Approach Notes: Road is open almost to the parking lot
  28. 5 points
    Trip: Eldorado Peak - East Ridge Trip Date: 04/22/2018 Trip Report: It's a bit late but me and Fred skied Eldorado on Sunday 4-22-18. We did a TH bivy in the car Saturday night (after helping dig a guy out of the snow 100' from the parking lot). There was a tiny bit of snow lingering in the shade at the lot, but none in the woods. The log crossing wasn't nearly as bad as I had heard (though the water was low). Pretty typical Cascade stuff: We were off at 0600 carrying skis wearing ski boots for about 2100', man is it nice to start under sunny skies and not with headlamps. At the start of the boulder field there was enough snow to skin but not by all that much. The snow was pretty variable, wind affected, but it went pretty fast. We crossed into the Roush Creek drainage at 6200' after a brief attempt to do so at 6500' (there is a cliff there). The drop down was only about 70' of easy plunge stepping until we put skis back on. Skinning to our lunch spot at 7500' went smoothly from there. Skinning the boulder field: Shitty views towards Cascade Pass: Crossing the creek divide, this was 6500', too high: Lunch spot: I think it was around noon when we took a long break to melt snow and have lunch at the plateau. Sun-screened up we headed up again. On the ridge the snow was firm and wind affected, it didn't warm up at all despite the hot sun and pretty warm air. We skinned to within about 150' of the summit where we switched to booting with crampons and axes. The ridge was a piece of cake, wind packed snow made for bomber steps and solid cramponing. After obligatory ridge photos we took some time to identify peaks and enjoy the clear spring views, planning future trips, then back to the skis. Looking east toward Forbidden, Goode, etc. Summit ridge: I had thought that the snow on the ridge would be a horrid ski but it was more powdery than anticipated and was actually lots of fun. We shot as far across the snowfield as we could, then shuffled and boot packed a little over the hump. The ski down from about 7000' was horrid sticky sludge, but views and silence were pretty amazing. We spoke to another group that was headed for the NW Couloir at the divide ridge. How did it go? From there more horridly awesome sludge down to the boulder field where the steeper angle made for suuuuper sketchy traversing causing the entire slope to slough off as wet slides. Way dangerous, though its probably all sloughed off to firmer stuff now. From there we hiked out for a round trip of 9.2 miles, 7100' in 12 hours. Gear Notes: Axe, crampons, helmet, ski touring gear. Didn't take a rope, glad of it. Approach Notes: Hiked about 2100' in ski boots from the TH.
  29. 5 points
    I don't think most viewed Fred as an idol, especially those who knew him. Like most of us, he was a flawed human. He was also a damn good climber and writer. Did he make men and women uncomfortable? For sure. I don't understand this fear of Megan "destroy(ing)" a person. It's not like she has any power over anyone. A difference of opinion is a difference of opinion. She can't "destroy" you any more than I can with my VAST moderator powers.
  30. 5 points
    Trip: snoqualmie mountain - possible fa: the turf testament Trip Date: 03/31/2018 Trip Report: marko and i went kickin', scratchin', 'n stabbin' yesterday and unearthed a previously unheralded book of the bible: the turf testament. start a few hundred feet up the slot couloir at the large right facing book. pitches 1-2: two 60m pitches up rock & turf in the corner and some thin ice on the right face. pitch 3: climb a short corner, move easily left to the next book, & climb it to tree belay (<50m). [pitch 3 alternatives: a. possibly rightward escape on a treed ramp (may dead end on the ridge bordering the slot), or b. finish directly up very difficult looking roofs above.] pitch 4: climb up shallow right facing book with overlaps to difficult exit moves overlooking the roofs directly above the second belay (30m). [pitch 4 alternative: straight up through a short squeeze chimney to a difficult looking roof in main corner.] hike up the ridge between the slot and crooked couloirs to the summit rock band. pitch 5: up central chimney/gully to exit immediately left of cornices (30m). a pretty good photo of this route appears in martin volken's "backcountry skiing: snoqualmie pass". the route is very obvious to anyone skiing the slot so i would not be surprised if it has been climbed: any info would be appreciated. the route cannot be seen from the start of pineapple express. however, a party could climb the first 4(?) of p.e., then scope the route from there. if interested, they could cross the slot to the turf testament. if not, continue up p.e. are you ready to testify? Gear Notes: rock gear to 4"; screws to 13cm (for us); your choice of turf gear; a few pins (not used) Approach Notes: best via standard approach to nw face. dropping down the slot may work but has drawbacks (can't scope the route, pissed off skiers).
  31. 5 points
    Trip: Mt. Hood - Three Little Monkeys - New Route on The Black Spider Trip Date: 03/31/2018 Trip Report: “Three Little Monkeys” New Route on the Black Spider, Mt. Hood OR WI4+ M5R Michael Getlin and Walter Burkhardt I was chatting with Wayne a few months back and he mentioned that there was some unclimbed potential on the left side of the Spider. A quick scouting mission showed a beautiful and long ice line between the existing Fric-Amos route and the Elder-Russel summer line. A fat long ice line it was not, but it seemed to have smears in all the right places so we gave it a go. We left Timberline at 5am with perfect high cloud cover that promised to keep the sun off the east-facing, concave wall. We crossed the bergschrund at 8:15 and started right in on what we thought would be the crux pitch. A few vertical mixed moves brought me to the hanging, detached ice dagger which proved fragile and delaminated. It was a type of fragile water ice climbing that I have never seen on Mt. Hood. It was strikingly similar to the first pitch of "Mean Streak" in Cody (we bailed). WI4+ (Not Mt. Hood grading) I brought Walter up and then set off to try and connect to another hanging dagger directly above but huge unsupported snow mushrooms guarded it. After sending one down on Walter I decided to try right. This proved to be the crux pitch of the route as rotten snow over near vertical mud lead to two distinct vertical mud chimneys. The second one was protectable, the first was not. It turns out though that in a pinch, the rock/mud takes decent sticks. Several times when I thought I was getting in trouble, I just wailed away at the rock face and my picks stuck like magic! Gotta love volcanoes. M5 R For the third pitch I jogged left again, trying to get back on the plumb line which proved a good guess as we found sound rock with interesting mixed moves and wonderful water ice that took good screws. WI3 M3 After bringing Walter up, I climbed up a narrow ice gully hoping to veer left and drop into the upper bowl through which the Fric-Amos route finishes. At this point it was getting late and we were looking for a quick exit. But to my surprise the bowl was guarded by a vertical snow fin that would have involved about 50 feet of unprotectable down climbing, so I veered right and then straight up, finding a path through wild gold-colored gendarmes that rose like turrets over the upper face. We popped into the sun and knew we were home free. WI3 In all we climbed five full length pitches, the last of which was mostly steep snow. I was lucky to share this experience with Walter. He was a great mentor to me when I first started going to the mountains and I owe him a good deal of credit for keeping me safe and motivated over the years. Note: In retrospect, it’s worth mentioning that the face was pretty dry when we climbed it. The start or Arachnophobia and the visible parts of the center drip looked more like rotten snow than solid alpine ice. I think when the face is fat, the line would be a very reasonable outing. I was surprised at how direct, steep, and sustained it was. I would love someone to give her a go in better ice conditions and see if that little kink in the second pitch could be ironed out. Our line in yellow Looking at the start from below - the face seemed dry to me but it was my first time up there so I don't really know. Approaching the line (Straight ahead) Mid way up the first pitch Walter Following P3 Looking up at the start of P4 Gear Notes: We brought a single 60m, 2 Pickets, 5 screws, 4 pins, and 4 cams (.5-2). We could have used a few smaller cams and a rack of nuts would have been nice Approach Notes: Timberline to top of palmer. Dropped our skis and crossed the white river at about 8800ft. 3:15 car to schrund in good conditions.
  32. 5 points
    Trip: Stuart Range - various Trip Date: 04/16/2016 Trip Report: 2016 was a sick spring in the Stuart range for skiing. After spending a good part of the last decade skiing around in the range I have witnessed many healthy snow packs in the Cascades and the Stuart range will remain a little bony in comparison. Just east enough from the crest to miss out on some of the storms I guess. I have had my eyes on a few unskied lines in the range and when I took a little recon ski up into mountaineers creek area I got pretty excited to see the little ribbons of white snow connecting faces like I have been dreaming about! It was on! The next three descents went down between the 16th and 30th of April: First up was Sherpa peak. I talked Sam Duke into checking out the NE Couloirs. As far as I know nobody has skied from near the summit along the ridge into the couloir. I always try to honor peaks I am skiing by visiting their summits, Sherpa's summit is guarded by some great low 5th class scrambling with an airy summit. When you think you are out of climbable rock, you peak around the north side and a sidewalk of snow in the sky allows passage to a overhanging chimney that is easily scrambled through-after removing your pack and sliding through back into the brilliant sun on the summit! It was a great day to be up high in the range!! Having watched this movie maybe a little too many times, we were excited to try some "dry ski" techniques on our home range! We connected some good skiing with some legitimate scrambling with our skis on. Sam starts our ski off a little ways under the summit after we made the last of our rappels back to the shred sticks: Looking down the ridge to the top of the Couloir, we were able to keep our skis on for all of this section: Here is Sam detuning his brand new skis: And back into the Couloir we enjoyed pow down to the apron and then fast perfect spring corn down to the valley. Next up was the NW face of Colchuck peak. On the Sherpa trip Sam didn't have a bike, so on this trip he decided to borrow a bmx bike from a neighbor kid. Neglecting to notice the lack of brakes he ended up burning through the sole of both his shoes on the way out by putting his foot on the back tire to slow down. Style pointz: We also had our good friend Tom Murphy along for this trip, never one to miss a good adventure! I have skied the upper NW face on a couple of occasions as its the standard route from the top of the NEB to the summit. The NEB is a nice little couloir, but the real fun is on the NW face, steep and exposed I have always felt the draw to keep skiing down the face when the traverse back to the NEB starts. We found our way under the face from Mountaineers creek through giant Larch trees. It was a neat corner of the Range none of us had visited before. Not having much info on the route we headed straight up and after a little bit of scrambling we were on the snowfield that I knew connected to the upper faces, it was in the bag! The climb was smooth and uneventful, we were bumping rap music on the summit before we knew it! We put our skis on and Sam went first, the top of the NW face rolls over steeply. Before we knew it Sam came flying back out into view, waaaayyyyy down the face, it was RIPPER!! We all made huge fast GS turns down the exposed face, so good that no pictures were taken. We regrouped where the traverse to the NBC starts, we were electric with stoke. Now for some new terrain. I got to go first and brought us down to the only section we did not ski, it was a short 15m rap off of a little bush. What we did not see on the way up was a hidden couloir that connected to the lower face, we would not have to rappel or downclimb the sections we had climbed earlier! Just a short hop into the chute and we were home free! Here is a crappy shot of the face on the way out: The beers and bikes made descending from a melted out parking lot and road to a locked gate painless... Last but not least: The mighty Mount Stuart. Skiing off the summit of Mt Stuart is one of the most rewarding descents in the range in my opinion. Its just a magical place to be putting your skis on, and Ulrichs is without a doubt the plumb line! I have skied it three times and have always been curious about some of the other lines on the south face. For this trip I was with my good friend Matt Bowen, we have shared some amazing descents in the cascades together. We had to visit the summit, so rather than climbing the line and dealing with climbing the ridge to the summit we opted for an ascent of the Cascadian and then up and over the summit, making a series of rappels and scrambles down into the West Ridge Couloir. The WRC winds its way down allowing for a continuous descent, interesting to note on this day there were two other parties skiing the cascadian, neither of which visited the true summit. The Cascadian this day was melted out around 700 vert from the valley floor, while the WRC had snow all the way down to were we put skins back on to slog back up Longs making for a great alternate descent to the Cascadian if it is melted out and you arent planning on visiting the summit. This thing really is a fun ski! We had a great time finding our way down the ridge: A final look back up at the summit ridge: The snow was so perfect and it was really neat to explore a new place top down: I really cant recommend this descent enough...its a good one! Here's to another spring in the Stuart range! Gear Notes: ski stuff Approach Notes: bikes and IPAs
  33. 5 points
    Trip: Dragontail Peak - Triple Couloirs Trip Date: 04/30/2017 Trip Report: The start of the spring alpine season has me thinking back to last year when I climbed the Triple Couloirs route. I had a blast climbing this route, for sure the best day I had out that season. I thought others might enjoy hearing about my adventure and perhaps find some of the tactics I used to go fast on the approach and route helpful for their own adventures, should we see a repeat of those perfect conditions again this year. With a young family and 9-5 job, I don't have much time for alpine climbing, and not much tolerance for risk either. And so I find myself doing less and less climbing and doing more trail running. It is just easier to slip out at nap time or after the kids are asleep and run around in the mountains for a couple hours. But, still a climber at heart, I keep a tick list of dream routes and make it a habit to monitor conditions throughout the season, 'just in case'. And so it was that, on the train to work one rainy April morning, I came across a great TR about a team who had third-classed the Triple Couloirs. I figured it would be out of condition before I found time to climb it but nevertheless, started checking weather forecasts for Leavenworth and formulating a plan. The following Saturday I'd hoped to ski up Baker with a buddy but the weather was terrible so we decided to postpone the trip. Then at nap time I checked the forecast for Leavenworth again and, to my surprise, Sunday looked really good. With the blessing of my better half, I packed up some gear and, after dinner, headed south in the driving rain. The plan was simple: Bivy, run the approach with a light pack, climb the route, run the descent, get back to Vancouver in time for dinner. But would it work? The skies cleared as I descended down towards Leavenworth and I had a nice, albeit short, bivy in the car. Awake and brewing coffee by 3:00am, I left the car just after 3:30am with trail running shoes on my feet and a very light pack. My pack contained boots (the original and still awesome LaSportiva Trango Ice), Grivel G20 crampons, Nomic ice tools (not the best choice for a route like this but it's all I've got), helmet, extra clothes, food, water, and some emergency gear (including inreach). Going superlight allowed me to run most of the approach. Normally for winter soloing I like to carry a rope and light rack so that I can bail if an ice tool or crampon breaks. For this route I chose to leave this stuff behind because the route looked to be in easy condition, down-climbable should equipment issues arise. I promised myself I would abort the climb if I came across unexpectedly difficult terrain. The road section of the approach, from the gate at the highway to the summer trailhead, passed easily at a light jog. About halfway up the road I passed a cougar sitting beside the road. This was my first encounter with such a big cat and, alone in the pre-dawn darkness, I was a bit spooked. I walked a good ways until I was sure I wasn't being followed, looking over my shoulder every five seconds and wondering how quickly I could get my trusty Nomics off my pack should I need them for self-defence. From the summer trailhead, the route up to Colchuck Lake was well packed and easy to follow. I arrived at Colchuk Lake faster than expected, around 2:30 after leaving the highway. The route looked absolutely incredible! At the end of the lake I geared up for the climb and stashed my running shoes and poles under a tree. Traveling on firm snow, the climbing above the lake was fun and easy. At the first couloir I met a team of climbers who had put in a nice boot pack up to that point. I continued up to the narrows, which would be the 'go/no go' point of my climb. Conditions in the narrows were as expected - firm snow and bits of ice, just a joy to climb. And so I continued upward and on into the second and then third couloirs. I didn't climb particularly quickly, it was just too much fun to rush through, plus it's not a place you'd want to take a tumble. But with a light pack and no gear to place the terrain passed by quickly and all too soon I was climbing out of the third couloir and into the sun. I reached the summit just a hair under the five hour mark. I could have spent the rest of the day napping on the summit under the warm sun but the plan was to be home to help with dinner so after a few minutes it was time to get moving again. The descent looked straightforward and indeed it was. Thirty minutes after leaving the summit I was back at the lake, chatting with a fellow Canadian on his own solo adventure. Above us I could see two teams on the Triple Couloirs. We were all enjoying a perfect day in the mountains. I changed back into running shoes, added microspikes for the descent, and bid adieu to Dragontail Peak. The descent back to the car made for a fun trail run. I passed some skiers partway down who were slowed by the icy conditions on the trail. For sure trail runners and microspikes were the fastest (and most fun?) way to travel on that terrain. Below the summer trailhead hikers were heading up the road in shorts and t-shirts under the warm mid-morning sun. The alpine world I had just left already felt like a distant memory. Was it just a dream? I arrived back at the car at 11:00am for a round-trip time of 7 hours 26 minutes. It had been an incredible morning of trail running and climbing. No suffering, nothing particularly risky, just uninterrupted flow in the mountains. After a sandwich and espresso in town, I hit the road back up to Vancouver, arriving home just in time for dinner. Gear Notes: Small pack with just the essentials Approach Notes: Bare ground and packed snow. Trail runners ideal, better to carry the mtn boots in the pack.
  34. 5 points
    Trip: Mt Hood - Not Yocum Ridge (New Variation) Trip Date: 02/10/2018 Trip Report: I had to share this one for entertainment value.... Jacob and I have been poking at Yocum for a couple years now with very little (read none) success. After a very thorough study of weather patterns that lead to climbable conditions in the past, and a close look at my own weather notes over the years etc, I had determined that yesterday (Saturday) was the perfect day. We set out at a leisurely pace from the parking lot a bit after midnight and dropped our skis at the top of Palmer. The entire mountain was covered in a thick sheet of ice. It was PERFECT conditions for the more eccentric Mt Hood routes and we thought we finally had it in the bag. The slope going down from Illumination Saddle to the Reid would have taken bomber ice screws. It was nuts! As we crossed the glacier and looked up at the ridge, Jacob pointed out what he thought were the first, second and third gendarmes barely outlined against the few visible stars on a moonless night with intermittent cloud bands whipping through. I very confidently corrected him and showed him the first gendarme a little lower down the ridge. We soloed up to the base of what I thought was the first gendarme, hacked our a little belay ledge, and racked up. Ready to head-lock this beast, I confidently cruised straight up the gut of the feature in a steep mixed gully. The climbing was moderate and I had run out about 70 feet to a vertical mixed step above which I had spotted what looked like a good cam placement. Just as I was testing a pick placement (that of course failed and pulled a large chunk of rime off), my fancy, fully-charged Petzl smart headlamp died out of nowhere. Dark doesn't even do justice as a description. After about 3 minutes of positive self talk (read "calm the f*&^ down Mike") I blindly grabbed a sawed off 18" picket off my harness and started alternating between hitting it and my thumb. With unsettling ease, I placed it, clipped it, and started down climbing. Back at the belay, after a robust bout of barfies and armed with a working headlamp, I headed back up into the maelstrom. The pitch ended up being superb. Were it on a route, it would be a classic. It was complex and technical climbing on good rock with a wide variety of required skills and decent gear if one is a bit creative. The crux was an overhanging mixed sequence onto fragile thin ice but was reasonably well protected. After about an hour and a half and 65 meters, I set up a belay and brought Jacob up. Thinking we were near the top of the first gendarme, Jacob lead through around a corner to find a 500 foot low angle snow slope...leading up to the bottom of the first gendarme. In my haste, I had charged up the head wall on the south side of the ridge thinking it was the first gendarme. How I did this after years of studying this route is completely beyond me. I pride myself in good route-finding and in being well researched and prepared. But I made a rookie mistake by charging straight up when had I peeked around a corner 30 feet to my left I would have seen the whole route clearly, even in the dark. By the time we got up there the sun was out and the rime was falling. We new we were too far being schedule to send, so we soloed down the easy slope back to our start point. Before you head up, ALWAYS LOOK AROUND THE CORNER! Lucky for me Jacob has a sense of humor and headed back to Seattle satisfied to have done some interesting climbing while wasting a perfect weather window for a coveted objective. Good times! Anyway, I would like to add this new route variation to the annals of Mt. Hood climbing history. It goes at roughly 65M, 100 Degrees, WI-Silly, M-Notpayingattention. We'd like to call it the "Not Yocum Ridge" variation to the start of Yocum Ridge. Gear Notes: Pickets, Pins, Cams, Screws Approach Notes: Across the Reid
  35. 5 points
    Trip: Dragontail Peak - Triple Couloirs Trip Date: 03/31/2018 Trip Report: Quick conditions update, for those of us that don't have facebook and like CC as a resource! Anthony and I climbed TC car to car yesterday. What little ice there is in the sections between couloirs was very thing, not well formed, and poor quality. We brought screws but didn't really place any (I think I placed one 10cm for the sake of it but it wouldn't of held anything). We climbed up the right side of the runnels which seemed to me to offer more rock pro, since the ice wasn't taking screws. Run out mixed climbing and lots of piton placing! The second pitch was the most sketchy; the start was a short section of fun with a thin smear of snice in an open corner that we climbed delicately, but pretty soon that turned into snow on a short blank face with no ice or snice to help. Forunately there was an old rapel tat slung around a horn that with some funky rock climbing was just in reach, and I swallowed my pride and used it as aid in desperation. With some ice, even just a little, it would have been super fun. The exit out of that section was also delicate and engaging. The third pitch was really fun with a neat bit that combined dry tooling, chimneying, and an exit onto thin delicate snice, followed by some uncoslidated snow to add to the spice. The pitch between second and third couloirs was the least difficult I think, but by then the lack of sleep was catching up and I found it harder and more awkward than it really should have been. Overall the snow quality was great. The wind was calm and the views stellar, and it was cold enough but not too cold! A second party just ahead of us climbed up the first couloir a bit then traversed over and rapelled into the top of the 2nd runnels pitch. Thank you to them for kicking steps! It was a really fun day out and the hardest mixed climbing in the alpine I've done so far, and while there were some rather scary and run out climbing, I had so much fun. I've come to the conclusion that if you want to climb winter/spring alpine in the Cascades, you have to get comfortable with mixed climbing, as its just too damn hard to reliably find ice. Photo of N Face: Gear Notes: We brought set of cams from .01-1, a set of stoppers, 5 knifeblades/bugaboos, 1 lost arrow, and (2) 10, (3) 13, and (2) 16 cm screws, and 2 pickets. We used all the KB's/bugaboos, all the cams from 0.2-1, and a selection of the smaller stoppers at some point, and the pickets as the anchor at the top of the crux pitch exiting 2nd couloir. Approach Notes: Trail is well packed
  36. 5 points
    Trip: Snoqualmie Mountain - New York Gully Trip Date: 03/16/2018 Trip Report: Jacob and I scratched our way up New York Gully yesterday. With visions of grandeur, i carried a full aid rack and bivy gear up there to try the upper head wall. With no prior knowledge of the rock type, this seemed totally reasonable. In reality, it was not! No wonder there's a beautiful unclimbed wall less than two miles from a 12 month parking lot. Anyway, the route is one of my favorites I've done in the range. We even placed an ice screw! Gear Notes: Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much. A run of cams, a few pins and a screw would have been plenty. Approach Notes: Armpit deep
  37. 5 points
    In an ideal world this would have been posted on the sites anniversary, Oct. 2, which would have been 17 years in existence. Also ideally this would have been posted three plus years prior when I first started working on the migration. We actually started talking about it much further back. Something I’ve learned is things don’t always work out like you planned, you just have to keep moving forward and learn from you past mistakes. I’d like to thank those who are still around, some of you who have been here from the beginning. I’m sorry to those of you who have given so much to this site in the form of great discussion and trip reports, to the moderators that dealt with so much of the not so great moments, and that I let you down in not keeping this place working better and in a more modern state. We'll make it up to you. Porter, thanks for helping keeping the stoke alive with me and being such an amazing friend. Trip Report Tool v1 I’ve got the new trip report search working. In some ways is a few steps back from the old search in that you can’t facet by month or forum. It’s a step forward in that it works and works well on mobile. http://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/tripreport This only works if you are logged in at the moment. This wasn’t by design just what happened as I added this on the work of the developer I hired who did the TR submission work. We’ll get that sorted out. What we have on deck will be polishing up some of the trip reports and probably adding better geographical data for being able to search trips on a map. We certainly view trip reports on this site as our crown jewel, we are just shy of 9000, and we’d like to make sure they are easy to find and easy to add. I think we’ve nailed the later with the forum upgrade and I’m confident we can come up with better search. The Future Like I said we have now been in existence for 17 years. Not many things on the internet can claim that. But the upgrade of the forum and the work we are doing now is the beginning and not the end. I was 24 when I started this site and really didn’t know a whole lot. I was trained as a biologist and had no experience or really knowledge of web communities. My (still) good friend Timmy and I just decided to create something. I’ll never forget an email I sent to a pretty notable local climber when we first started. I actually don’t remember what I asked him, but I remember his response “Good luck getting traffic, that will be hard”. He seemed pretty pessimistic, but he couldn’t have been more wrong. Getting the traffic ended up being easy, managing it was the hard part. There were certainly some real wild west early days with cc.com and it was difficult to know how to handle them, especially our spare time for what was a hobby. We’ve made mistakes. We can acknowledge that. And we have learned from them. There are people and behaviors that will no longer be welcome here. What is sad is many of those people just took their dump and left. I realize we have a bad rep with many people and that’s unfortunate. I also think it is what you make it, and maybe it’s time to give it second chance and be part of the solution. We’ve solicited a lot of feedback, we’ve read feedback posted on Facebook. We’ve taken a lot of it to heart. I understand Facebook is easier to use, they are a multi-billion dollar company with scientists who’s sole purpose is to get you hooked. I get that Mountain Project is a nice tool, I have nothing negative to say about them, but again they are owned by REI now and have huge coffers of money. It was also incredible to read how people met their climbing partners here, or even their partners in life. Yes there has been some bullshit, but there has also been a lot of good. Cascadeclimbers is a unique and local product: an opportunity to interact online as a community rather than as the product. We are not here harvesting you and your information. This is still a hobby for us. We turn down offers every year to sell this site as we know it’s not in it’s best interest, we know what will happen if a corporation take it over. We have turned down advertisers because we have stayed true to our commitment to supporting retailers. We run the site, we own the site, but the content belongs to the community. We will be better stewards of this place and we hope people will give it a second chance. To those sitting on the sidelines, sometimes reading, but not participating. I get that you don’t want deal with the spray, and I assure you things will be different forward. But I also challenge you because the only way to make something better is to make those positive contributions. If everyone just steps away because they don’t like certain things then all you are left with is what people don’t like. This is a community driven site and only works with contributions from the community. We will be better listeners and stewards; please be better contributors. Why we allow anonymity. This is actually pretty simple; we have no way to prove someone’s identity. Facebook doesn’t either. We also made this decision pretty early on because we felt this would make it a safer place for women to contribute, without a bunch of guys stalking them. Again keep in mind these decisions were made 17 years ago, but I still think it’s a valid point. We recently added JasonG to the moderator staff. You probably already know Jason from his Trip Reports and amazing photography. We are always on the lookout for trusted and committed people to help the site grow, so let us know if you are interested. We may have more roles in the future that need filling. And of course a huge thanks to all the existing moderators that have stuck with us through thick and thin. Our current path forward is pretty simple: We expect people to leave things better than you found it. If you can do that simple things you can be a part of this. If you can’t you will not be welcome here. We want the site to grow, in people, in posts, in trip reports, and new personal connections. Thanks for reading. Onward.
  38. 5 points
    Really sounding like a grumpy old man here, dude. When someone loses a friend or loved one do you tell them to not feel sad? I don’t know how you feel all the time, and it’s none of my business. The feelings police don’t have any solid ground to stand on. Empathy. Only good that can come from this type of thing. If you feel sad, that’s fine, if you’re surprised, concerned, heartbroken, totally okay. If posting on the internet helps you, go right ahead. No one can judge the appropriate level of grief for another person. All that you have to give is compassion and love. I dont feel feel very good right now, and I feel like many others are feeling the same way. Take care everyone, and I love all of you that make up this community.
  39. 5 points
    Trip: Hidden Lake Lookout - Winter Route #2 Trip Date: 02/10/2018 Trip Report: 2 miles from the trailhead was as far as the Toyota Tacoma would take us. The snow on the road that early in the morning icy enough to pull your car in directions you don’t want it to go when the road is only 12 feet wide. We decided to get an early start and ended up being the first group starting the trail at 7AM just after first morning light. After weighing our options we decided the weather was good and we started early enough to try a route neither of us have done before. Patrick got a GPS route from a skier that had done the hike a few weeks earlier using the Gaia app on his iPhone, isn’t technology great? We kept a map just in case but didn’t end up needing it due to our GPS giving us perfect signal the entire time. About a mile before the trailhead we started heading straight up through the trees. This route was great because, even though it’s steeper than the normal winter route, it’s more straightforward and cuts out some mileage. Our legs kept us pumping through the dense forest up to about 4800 ft where we decided to strap on the splitboards and continue ascending. Skiable snow starts at about 4200 ft as of right now but it was rock hard first thing in the morning. After getting above the trees at around noon a snack break was long overdue and we decided the view of Hidden Lake Peak was a good picnic spot. It was an incredible day, not a single cloud in the sky overhead and no sign of bad weather moving in. We got to the saddle shortly after and debated our options, a high traverse of the saddle and risking some cornices falling on us or a low traverse and adding another 30 minutes but having a much safer time. Avi concern was low for the day but we still tread lightly since the saddle is very seldomly touched during the winter. So we split skied as far as we could and rounded the ridge to finish our last part of the climb to the objective. We had to switch from split to A-frame and back a couple more times before we could strap in finally for the last part of the ascent. It was about 3PM when we finally reached the lookout with plenty of time to chill and settle in before sunset, the entire place to ourselves, the bluest of skies above us and the most beautiful view in the North Cascades within grasp. I love this place. I fired up the Jetboil and we restocked our water supplies with freshly melted powpow. As soon as the sun dipped over the Cascades we grabbed our Sony’s and started shooting every angle of the mountain range physically possible. The sky was on fire, I’ve never seen those shades of pink, purple and orange in such an incredible ensemble. A view like that will humble you unlike any other experience in life. We checked our photos and got some more stoke on the incredible sunset shots we took and then went to bed immediately. It was 20F in the cabin but our full ski get-ups, some fresh socks and our 30degree mummy bags kept us warm enough to pass out as soon as we hit the bed. And yes, there is a two person bed inside the lookout, maybe 3 if you’re feeling frisky. Anyways nature called me at about 8:30PM so I slapped my boots back on stumbled outside for a quick whiz. As I peered out into the darkness the sight of 5 headlamps stunned me. "What are they doing? It’s 3 hours after sunset and they just traversed the sketchiest part of the tour with headlamps." I beamed my 350 lumen headlamp straight at them and strobed it until it caught their attention and signaled back. So we left a light on to lead their way and I hopped back into my bag to wait for our new guests. The first dude rolled in shortly after, thank God they aren’t snowshoers. The group of 5 skiers and splitboarders were from British Columbia and did the Hidden Lake tour for their 3 day weekend. Needless to say we made some new friends that night, passing around the Fireball and boxed wine they so kindly hauled up the mountain and sharing our stories from the day. After a good nights rest we woke up to sunrise, boiled down some more snow and strapped back in. Said our goodbyes to the new homies and headed back down the icy slope back to the saddle. We hit a few patches of powder on the way down and decided to get a few shots of pow slashes with the breadth of the Cascades in the background. The skies were as clear as the day before even though the weather predictions called for 70% chance of precipitaion. It made this trip about as perfect as it could be for being so early in the season still. The descent was so awesome, we had untracked powder until the trees got too dense to even ski. Passed by a lone snowshoer that slept without a bivy just short of the saddle on a very exposed hillside, very stupid. I loved our route for the ascent but for the descent I’d say stick with the normal winter route, it’s much less dense tree skiing, only thing you have to worry about is not skiing past the trail back to the trailhead. To be honest the snow in the trees was awful. That early in the morning it was much too crunchy to enjoy but we leafed down back as far as we could, A-framed one last time and walked the remainder of the way back to the truck, ingesting everything that had just happened with some distance between us. This is my favorite place in the PNW, there is a reason most people don’t finish this winter objective, it’s rough and there’s a lot that can happen in such varied terrain as this. I hope this helps you get a day or 3 at the lookout safely with a good weather window. You need to do it whenever you get a chance. Stay safe out there. Check out my Insta @torrborrr Gear Notes: I stayed pretty lean besides the absolute essentials and safety items. Patrick took a 2 man tent just in case but I got away with a 30 degree bag and a warm puffy to spend the night in. Approach Notes: Snow started around 4200 ft and was rock hard first thing in the morning.
  40. 5 points
    Trip: Hidden Lake Peak - West Trip Date: 02/12/2018 Trip Report: With @TorreyMoreno's recent TR on the HLL I don't need to say much on the conditions @Kitand I found earlier this week. I will say that the rime covering the peaks of the North Cascades is probably about as spectacular as I've seen. Pretty much the entire summit mass of Eldorado looks prime for new routes. Same with Dorado Needle, Forbidden.... everything. Wow! I hope someone was out getting after it. Really though, I know you all are mostly looking for glamour shots of Kit to get you through this work week. You came to the right spot. Early Morning Spire, Praying Mantis, Marble Needle, Dorado Needle (L-R): The Draughtpony gittin'er done: DAMN: J'Burg: Look at the ski potential of Mutchler! And Snowking! The Hidden Lake Lookout is plastered down there. And just a reminder that the lookout isn't on the true summit: Formidable, paging @skyclimb: Torment and Forbidden: What's App or it didn't happen: Dakobed: Weeeellllllllll, shoot. I thought I was going to work and look where I ended up? Better than expected on the way down: @Kit always packs his American flags: Gear Notes: Skis (+ski crampons), American flags, Hunter. Approach Notes: We parked the car at the USFS "washout", about 2.5 miles from the Cascade River Road, elevation 2500'. A 4X4 HC could have made it probably almost a mile farther before deep snow would force a stop. About 4 hours to the true summit, which is higher than the lookout. A bit over an hour down to the car. Much time and a few drams of whiskey on the summit.
  41. 5 points
    Trip: Sherman Peak - Squak Glacier Trip Date: 01/14/2018 Trip Report: It's a little late for a conditions report but me Fred and Joel climbed Sherman Peak (the one on Baker) with skis/splitboard on 1-14-18. It took 15 hours with the 3+ miles of road skinning both directions. Conditions were actually really great except in the morning the sun/rain crust made for some hairy skinning until we got above around 6500'. Rain crust reflecting the sunrise: Skinning with ski crampons on, Joel decided to snowshoe the icy spots: We skinned more or less north up the ridge from the summer trailhead, using snow machine tracks where it helped with the trail breaking. Above tree line there was a solid crust, sometimes icy, but we never had to break trail again. By the time we were headed off the summit, about 2pm, everything had softened up nicely and even the wind affected areas were decent. We got back to the summer trailhead just about dusk for a blistering (literally) skin back to the truck. 6300 vertical feet of skiing total, plus some downhill skiing and some hiking. Sherman summit from the 9800' saddle at the crater rim: Looking back to the ski down on the way out: Gear Notes: skis, ski crampons, crampons, axe Approach Notes: 3.1 miles of road skinning from the sno-park closure. Good coverage from the TH to the summit.
  42. 4 points
    Holy Himmelgeisterhorn! We must now engrave thy names in the Choss Chalice alongside the alpinists of yore!
  43. 4 points
    Trip: Watson - North Ridge Trip Date: 08/07/2018 Trip Report: Obscure, short and slabby with one of the mellowest approaches you’ll find in the North Cascades. Gloriously beautiful as well. Maybe not the highlight of your summer but possibly of your Tuesday evening. From the buttress toe a 150’ of 3rd or maybe 4th class rock leads to a more pronounced buttress. The original route climbs the obvious corner system on the north side (5.4 Kloke 1970’s). It’s also possible to move up left to the very crest and climb a full rope length of 5.6 on ridiculously clean and solid rock. A bit runout but gear (and/or fixed pins) show up where you need it. Continue on the crest, slightly dirtier rock, to the summit in one more pitch or wander off to either side. We descended east which involved some downclimbing, a rappel, a loose gully, a moat and some moderate snow. Supposedly a more straightforward descent might exist to the west if you carry over. Gear Notes: Small rack to 2.5”. 60m rope. Ice axe and possibly crampons. Approach Notes: Find you way to Upper Anderson Lake then faint path up gully at east side of first lake.
  44. 4 points
  45. 4 points
    Trip: Forbidden Peak - North Ridge Trip Date: 07/15/2018 Trip Report: From July 15-17, Tom and I climbed the beautiful North Ridge of Forbidden in a slow but safe/deliberate fashion. The ridge was the longest alpine rock route either of us had attempted yet but we hoped to be able to pull off all the technical climbing in two days. We left the Eldorado Creek parking lot around 9 AM and reached the base of the Sharkfin Col bypass gully around 1:00 PM. The gully is in great shape, still filled with lots of snow. We crossed to rock below the top of the gully and made the mistake of climbing to a notch that was too high and too far east along the ridge. We found no sign of a rap station and had to downclimb to the notch to climber's left of this higher one to find a spot to rap over to Boston Glacier. The Sharkfin Col notches & Bypass Gully Right now a single rap brings you safely to a large pile of icefall debris that you can navigate to get onto the Boston Glacier without difficulty. There were multiple other rap stations along the way down to the debris from the notch. The traverse to the North Ridge from the rap was easy and took us about an hour. The Boston Glacier is in great shape. The gully to access the bivy notch on the North Ridge is almost completely melted out but the moat is still passable. We crossed to the rock and found a third class move and then a short second class scramble to gain the notch. Bivy Notch center-left We found another pair of climbers enjoying the afternoon at the notch. Their goal was the NW Arete and we had a great time watching them fly up that route the next day from our positions on the NR. Great meeting you guys! After a quick dinner and a birthday cookie for me, we settled into the two smaller bivy spots for the sunset and sleep. I did wake up around 2:30 to find a snafflehound gnawing away at the brim of my hat so be careful out there with your salty things, kids. We think the same little guy took a pair of socks that mysteriously disappeared overnight. Sunset on Buckner from the bivy notch We started off the next morning at 7:50 AM and quickly moved through the 5.6 crux left-leaning corner that rises almost straight out of the bivy notch. It was just fine leading it in mountaineering boots with an (overly) heavy pack. From there we encountered mostly moderate, super fun third class scrambling all the way to the lower snowfield. We simul-climbed to the lower snowfield, but there were stretches where the rope didn't feel necessary. Tom follows shortly after leaving the bivy Both snowfields are still completely covering the ridgeline, so a bypass on rock on climber's left isn't available. We put crampons on to cross the first snowfield, which was pretty flat and easy to get across without an ax. The climbing above the first snowfield felt harder than the lower ridge and we climbed mostly on the left (east) side of the ridge on ledge systems and in gullies. We almost exclusively simul-climbed and placed a lot of cams and slings. I felt there was at least one low/mid fifth class move to get back up onto the ridge crest from the left side of the ridge. Once back onto the ridge crest we found lovely, exposed, knife edge climbing on solid rock all the way up to the second snowfield. The ridge between the lower and upper snowfields We reached the upper snowfield around 12:30 PM and stopped to melt snow to refill our 6L of bottles. This turned out to be a good move because we didn't encounter snow again until midday the next day. The upper snowfield has a much steeper angle and an ax and crampons were definitely nice. The climbing above the upper snowfield felt like a significant increase in difficulty from what we'd encountered along the ridge between the lower and upper snowfields. We slowed down and pitched out the climbing in short pitches several times. We carefully considered our route-finding decisions. Teams with more simul-climbing experience in fourth class terrain could move through this section much faster than we did but we felt better with a belay on several occasions. We climbed on both sides of the ridge as well as on the ridge crest itself following good cracks and solid rock. The climbing was steep but mostly third/fourth class with a few moves that felt like low fifth. We watched the pair we'd met at the bivy notch dance up the upper pitches of the NW Arete which was great entertainment as we slowly but surely moved up our ridge. Just below the summit we left the ridge to scramble up a third class gully on the right (west) side of the ridge before reaching the top at 6:20 PM. The North Ridge from the Summit We quickly began our descent of the West Ridge with three single rappels from obvious rap stations. After the third rap we lost all sunlight and stopped to bivy for a second night about halfway down the West Ridge. We found two relatively flat spots to lay out our packs and some rocks to make for a surprisingly enjoyable night in a relatively precarious spot. Some trail mix and beef jerky served as dinner but we fortunately had plenty of water left. We watched a beautiful moonset and headed to bed. West Ridge Bivy We were up by 6 and could already see several teams starting off up the West Ridge from the notch. After a Clif Bar, we made one more rappel down to ledges that we could scramble along to get down to the West Ridge notch. Two full 60m rappels got us down the Cat Scratch gullies to Boston Basin. Gear Notes: Two half ropes (only used one, except in the Cat Scratch rappels) 9 cams from 0.3 to 2 with alpine draws (used every one) Rack of nuts (used two, didn't need them) 8 slings (used every one) Mountaineering boots Approach Notes: Don't climb to the highest notch in Sharkfin Col
  46. 4 points
    Trip: The Tooth and Pineapple pass - South face Trip Date: 07/14/2018 Trip Report: My friend Summer texted me asking if I wanted to ski over the weekend. She's been trying to get turns all year and I've been going along for the ride. She has also spent the last few months talking about climbing the Tooth and skiing Pineapple pass and suggested that as an objective. I was pretty skeptical there would be snow but figured "why not?" Arriving at the trailhead we prepared ourselves mentally for the onslaught of "are you really going skiing?" but mercifully we seemed to arrive after the early morning crowd but before the late morning crowd and the gasps of disbelief upon seeing a couple of people with skis were pretty minimal. Are you really going skiing? The hike and approach were fairly straight forward - there was minimal snow until we reached the bench ~700-800 feet below Pineapple pass. We put on skis and managed to skin most of the way up to the Tooth. Eventually we needed to traverse over some talus and took the skis off. I ended up falling into a hole in the snow. Unfortunately I didn't think to take a photo while I was underneath the snow, but managed to get a photo of the hole once I extracted myself: The snow ended at the notch and the approach gully to the Tooth was completely snow free: We swapped leads and made it to the summit fairly quickly. On the way down we met John (from Alaska) and Hank who were also descending. We ended up tying our ropes together so we could get down in two raps. I'm a Disney Princess It was time to ski! This was ~650 vertical feet later we reached the end of the snow. This was the most work I have ever done for the least amount of skiing I've ever done. But Summer was super stoked to finally climb and ski the Tooth and honestly it was a very enjoyable day in the mountains! Gear Notes: Single rack from .3 to 3, nuts, tricams, skis Approach Notes: Continuous snow started ~700 feet below the notch. It's almost certainly no longer continuous.
  47. 4 points
    Hey all! Before this week I'd never climbed Tahoma, but after traversing the summit three times in five days and running all the way around the base, I can say I understand the special place this big mountain has in the hearts of all Cascade climbers. The combo of insane vertical relief, great access, well-established routes and stunning scenery make this one of the unique mountains of the world. A great way to experience this place, I thought, would be the "infinity loop". It's been done a couple times so far, and deserves more attention from the many dedicated mountain runners of the world. Though its certainly not a race, I think it's interesting to post times, to give others a sense of what might be possible and encourage motivated folks to train harder. Start (White River): June 22 3:23am End (White River): June 24 9:45pm Total: 66 hours and 22 minutes Mileage: 130ish Vertical gain: ~45 thousand feet Routes: up Emmons, down DC. Twice. One full lap of the Wonderland trail. Here's my trip report of the adventure: https://ropeandsummit.wordpress.com/2018/06/27/rainier-infinity-loop/ And my Instagram if you wanna follow along on future shenanigans: @ropeandsummit Thanks! Scott
  48. 4 points
    Trip: Lincoln Peak - Standard Route…I guess Trip Date: 06/11/2018 Trip Report: Trent texted Sunday night wanting to know if I was in for tomorrow. Uh, sure. For what? His partner bailed on his planned Lincoln Peak trip. Did I want to go. I haven't climbed any alpine in month's, out of climbing shape, drank all weekend with friends. Sure, I'll go. But I don't know anything about the route or approach, so Trent is the navigator on this one. We got a later start Monday so we didn't have to sit in camp for too long that afternoon. Left Burlington at 11am and drove up to the infamous FSR34. We had the secret weapon for FSR 34. Big Blue, a '79 Ford super duty beast of a truck. We drove up the road through brush and ruts to within 1 switchback of the end. Big Blue would not be denied. We then started the thrash up the old road bed. It is a thrash with plenty of slide alder, rock and an occasional trail. We broke off uphill after having enough of the road bed and enjoyed steep underbrush until finally breaking out onto snow. Surprisingly there was a fairly substantial layer of fresh snow, but travel was easy from there to high camp at the end of the ridge. We got from the car to camp in under 3 hours thanks to Blue. Great views of Lincoln and the route were enjoyed while sipping some whiskey and trying to stay warm. It was breezy and colder than we expected for the evening with clouds moving in and out. A 2am start got us to the top just after 6 for a cool sunrise. The shrund was negotiated with about 40' of steep s'nice climbing, then some crappy snow climbing with a 2" breakable crust with 4-5 inches of sugar underneath. We did have the occasional front pointing, but the large part of the climb was popping through the crust, unless you're bantamweight Trent who seemed to dance on top way more than clydesdale me. Route finding was pretty straightforward and the climbing consistently steep and enjoyable without being hairy. We broke out the rope for the final 10ft onto the summit. Great views with clear weather on top in fresh sunshine was perfect. One rappel off the summit and then we down climbed the entire route with the exception of the schrund, where we did one 30m rappel off of a picket. The steps I bitched about on the way up made for easy down climbing and back to camp. The thrash back down to Big Blue made us cuss and spit, but we made it back in 2 1/2 hours and licked our wounds with IPA spittle. All in all a great day out with Trent. The climb is really enjoyable with a bit of Rockies taste to it. If someone cut a path through that hell of an approach I think it would be a regular classic for its short climbing window. Some crappy cell phone pictures. No Jason G on this trip to capture the great images. I suck at photos. Gear Notes: 2 tools, rope, pickets, Hunters Approach Notes: Big Blue. Shwack, thrash, swear
  49. 4 points
    Trip: Mount St Helens - Worm Flows Trip Date: 04/22/2018 Trip Report: One million of my best friends and I were on MSH today. We left the Marble Mountain SnoPark at 3:30 AM, able to ski from the parking lot! I got a whole lot of practice with my ski crampons! Up to the crater rim a bit past 9, hung out in the sun for about an hour and a half, then skiied some amazing AMAZING snow -- ah yes, this is what they call corn -- under a bluebird sky!!!!!!! I love spring skiing!!! I got to ski most of it in a tank top and rolled-up pants. 😁😁😁 Got a little sticky toward the bottom of the fun, but not too bad. On a few of the steeper parts we skiied, we saw some rollerballs and one very small wet loose slide. What an amazing day!!! So much better than hiking Monitor Ridge in August! Gear Notes: Sunscreen, ski crampons, patience Approach Notes: Snow from the TH!
  50. 4 points
    Trip: Colchuck Lake - Ice/Dragontail + Colchuck conditions Trip Date: 02/11/2018 Trip Report: Went up to Colchuck lake on Saturday thinking there may have been enough melt freeze lately to make ice fat on Dragontail, probably still too early this year. Some ice on the northern aspects but looked pretty spicy through zoomed in views. We climbed a neat consolation ice line on the lower flanks of Colchuck Balanced Rock and enjoyed the sunny and windless alpine ambience instead. Skinning the road required a fair bit of walking but booting up the summer trail was easy with a snowshoe track packed down. Nice and consolidated snowpack made for easy traveling. I feel like alpine climbing in the Cascades you can have good ice, good snow, or good weather. Oftentimes you can choose one. Getting two or three to align is elusive, rewarding when it happens though. Here are some conditions photos from February 10+11 of Triple Couloirs, Gerber-Sink, and an ice flow coming down the lower flanks of CBR with some vintage tat at the top. Gear Notes: Cascade winter grab bag. Two ropes would be nice Approach Notes: From Icicle Creek
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