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  1. 13 points
    Trip: Bear Mountain - North Buttress: Beckey Route Trip Date: 07/15/2018 Trip Report: Bear Mountain: Two new dads trying to keep a 10 year dream alive For me, mountains can become obsessions, sometimes to the point of irrationality. In my life, no mountain, or route has been more indicative of this than the North Buttress of Bear. I stumbled upon Bear in 2007 in my early days of climbing WA by devouring each page of the Beckey guides like they were some gripping novel. Trip reports from this site only further set the dream of someday ascending this monster objective. Being nothing but a budding sport climber at the time, this peak seemed out of my grasp. As the years went on, I honed my mountain skills. I learned to trad lead, sent my first few alpine rock routes, got on my first glaciers, and began developing the mind for the rigors of schwacking in the cascades. By 2011, I began thinking this dream could possibly become a reality for me. I even found a climbing partner, Andrew, who shared my dream. Each year we'd talk about making our dream a reality but each Summer would come and go without an attempt. For 5 years in a row we'd try to make plans only to see them fall through. Timing, schedules, obligations, weather, forest fires, and work all conspired against us. Fast forward to 2016, and each of us became fathers of our first children. Yet another reason to push Bear farther from our grasps. During the first year of fatherhood I discovered, although not surprised, that being a father does not easily co-exist with committing alpine objectives. My fit physique, lead head, and drive for summits began to recede like the glaciers surrounding the peaks I had grown to love so much. Over trail runs, occasional crag days, and family outings, Andrew and I still spoke of our mutual dream contrasted with our diminished abilities. One thing was clear from these conversations: the dream, and our stoke was still alive for our beloved Bear. Spring of 2018 came around. It had been a dismal Winter of training. Trips to the crags confirmed, family obligations and our lack of training over the Fall and Winter had left both of us less than prepared to crush in the coming Summer, but we began to discuss plans for Bear as we did every year. We settled on the dates of July 13-15 and began attempting to play catch up with our training. As the dates drew closer, one thing became certain, neither of us felt strong. But the week of July 4th came and still nothing looked to foil our set plans. So early July 13th we made the early morning drive to the end of the Chilliwack road along Chilliwack Lake in British Columbia. The bushwhack across the border and out to bear camp lived up to its dreaded hype. Six hours of magical, rarely touched old-growth forest contrasted with the torturous efforts required to navigate and move through said forest left us bewildered and uncertain. This uncertainty as well as the contrast of beauty and torture would be a reoccurring theme over these 3 days. From bear camp to the bivy on the western shoulder of bear is 4000 vertical feet up. A quarter of the way up, late afternoon, and we were beat. I am on liter 5 of water, schwacking in my underwear due to the heat and effort. Both of us are bonking and cursing ourselves for thinking we could pull this objective off. We were not fit. We had not trained enough. Doubt began to dominate our thoughts. It has already been 8 hours of this shit and we still had 3,000 feet of trail-less hell ahead of us. Who were we kidding? There was no way we were going to make it to camp before dark. We sat, uncomfortably, on a steep slope, in the middle of nowhere and began talking of retreat. "Squamish isn't too far away, is it?" "I guess we could always just crag at Mt. Erie on our way back to Seattle." Inside, a voice screams at my exhausted brain, "MT. ERIE!!!!???? Are you fucking serious!!?? I am never coming back into this valley again. It is now or never for Bear. The dream either lives or dies on this shitty, viewless, insignificant slope." My senses kicked back in. Remember, anything too big to fathom all at once needs to be broken into digestible chunks. The decision to push on grew from this and we decided to at least try to make it to the lake for the night and we would make the next decision from there. Two hours later, after 1,000 feet of extremely steep blueberry bush pulling, we broke out into the alpine and our spirits began to soar like a vulture in a thermal updraft. It’s amazing how something as simple as alpine views can change the mindset and determination of a climber. I began to feel rejuvenated. Maybe we could make the bivy site before dark. A heather-strewn meadow on a gentle shoulder gave us the first real physical break of the day. Panoramic views of remote North Cascade summits rose all around us. A mother Ptarmigan and her brood of chicks sprinted out of the bushes, snapping me from my alpine daze. Discussions of a potential closer bivy site gave us a closer goal. Running on fumes, past the lower bivy spot, and we still have light. Must, keep, moving. At last, 12 hours after leaving our car, we collapsed at the col. We had made it. I promptly gave the double middle finger to the valley below, clearly showing the shit-show we just wallowed through. We promised ourselves we would not make a decision about what to do about the next day until after we ate. Dinner went quick. As we crawled into our bags, we listened to the cacophony of a thousand tiny flying vampires trying desperately to find a way through our netting and into our skin. Twilight lit the sky with a rainbow of color. We both agreed that since we had overcome the uncertainty and brutality of what many, including us, consider the hardest approach in the Cascades, we felt obligated to throw ourselves at the North face the next morning even as our bodies screamed in opposition. We awoke with the sunrise. I shook the heaviness of last nights sleep from my head and felt somewhat shocked that yesterday wasn't some dream/nightmare. I was here. We were about to start our summit day. A day we have both been dreaming of for at least 10 years. With each sip of coffee, my stoke began to rise. We strapped on our crampons and make a quick and pleasant descent onto the north side of the mountain. We turned a corner to catch our first glimpse of Bear's north buttress. Ominous, glorious, stunning, perfection on ice. Words cannot really describe the feelings I had, but these are close. Upon seeing both the direct north buttress and the north buttress couloir, we checked in. The direct looked safer as the couloir looked broken up near the top, but our energy levels and dismal cumulative rock pitches for the year had us thinking that the extra rock pitches might not be reasonable. We settled on following the couloir and Beckey's footsteps. In hindsight, this might this might have been a bad idea, but I am pretty sure I would have said the same thing if we had taken the other option. Either way we felt the collective weight of our dreams, the debilitating approach that we vowed never to do again, and the sheer power of what we were trying to accomplish. I felt as if every step upwards tightened the grip of the vice we were in. Committed, for better or worse, to move upwards. We switched back and forth from approach shoes to crampons a few times and quickly found ourselves in irreversible territory. There is terror and clarity in realizing the only way out of a predicament is forward. We broke out the rope to lead our first pitch out of the couloir. A shit show of snow, poor pro behind detached blocks, and slopey ledges littered with rocks of all shapes and sizes. My rope skirted across a ledge and sent a microwave down towards Andrew. Our years of work together in the mountains gave us the foresight to expect such events and was glad Andrew had set himself out of harm’s way before I led. We had reached the 4th class ledge system that would get us up to the North buttress proper. Kitty litter, slopey ledges, and the exposure below made for careful, calculated movements while simuling, often without adequate gear between us. Trust in each other became paramount and again I found myself thinking that I was thankful to be climbing with such a trusted partner. At last, we reached the first real quality pitch of the route. Beckey's glorious left facing 5.8 corner. Andrew led and we both laughed at the idea of "5.8" at the top. It felt like index 5.9+ but would be an instant classic if situated at the lower town wall. We were finally finding some type 1 fun. I linked the next two pitches of fun and deposited us at the base of the infamous 10a offwidth. DE8DD876-06ED-4585-BEE2-4CF80B5ED29B.MOV It was at this point that we began to feel the efforts of the pat 36 hours. Dehydrated, low on energy, and stoke, Andrew reluctantly agreed to lead the next pitch and quickly made the decision to take the 5.8 bypass pitch. We ended up breaking this pitch into two because the lower portion of the offwidth took most of our small cams and the upper 5.8 portion looked to take nothing bigger than a .75 BD. Crap. We swapped leads under the only stance Andrew could find conveniently under a car sized detached block. I was tasked with leading over it and him without touching it. Yikes. I led to a nice ledge and brought up my partner. Both of us feeling both physically, mentally, and emotionally drained, we began to flounder. Neither felt the desire to lead the next pitch. Bonking hard, I finally took the sharp end. Staying on the crest I mantled to the base of a steep featured, but unprotect-able face. I began to lose my cool. 15 feet above a ledge and my last piece and seeing committing climbing and no cracks above me, I retreated. Reversing the mantle had me nearly hyperventilating but I, somehow, safely made my way back to the anchor. We discussed our predicament, spied a horn with rap slings 30 feet down to our right and consulted our beta. We both thought that this was the Beckey rappel that would take us to a 4th class gully exit but our position would not allow us to confirm it. Below us, the gullies looked vertical, smooth, and crack-free. Committing to the rappel felt serious. Andrew rappelled at a diagonal across ribs, at times placing gear as directionals to reach the farthest gully. Upon reaching the first gully, Andrew looked up. There is no way that is 4th class. Second gully. Sweet baby jesus! It goes! Relief washed over us like a warm caribbean breeze. I rappelled down and we quickly began to lead. We both just wanted to be done with this endeavor. How quickly a dream becomes dread. My mind screamed, "Get me the fuck off this mountain!" After two rope stretching pitches and some mid fifth climbing (another sandbag) the Sun hit our darkened spirits and the tomb I'd climbed myself out of was no more. A few hundred feet of 3rd class was all that separated us from the summit. Elated, exhausted, and emotional, we hugged. I looked over the edge, down the north face and wept. Tears of joy, relief, and sadness fell hundreds of feet down the alpine face of my dreams. I always pictured myself feeling triumphant at this moment, but instead all I felt was relief and the intense desire to hug my wife and two year old son. We had done it. We had fought through constant moments of fear and uncertainty to obtain our dreams, but I felt far from dreamy. As we began the descent, I turned around and gave one last look at the summit of my dreams and gave it the double middle finger. I was done. I could close this chapter of my climbing pursuits. Fatherhood has changed my drive, my dreams, and my abilities. I am unsure if I will ever climb anything like this again, but much like any overwhelming obstacle, I will take it one decision at a time. Who knows how I will feel about such commitment and risk taking in the future. We hit a mellow snow slope and just like any decision we made that day, we assessed the terrain and made the best choice for moving forward. The joy in the glissade took me by surprise and I burst out into a giggle fit. Type 1 fun!!!! What a wild ride of emotions. We reached our bivy a half an hour before sunset. We smiled and laughed as we recapped the day. Feeling thankful and shocked to have pulled the ascent off, we crawled into our bags, passed a joint back and forth and fell into philosophical ramblings about life and reality. What a life we live. The next morning we made the long march back down to bear camp and through what felt like endless old growth shenanigans pushed by the thought of a dip in Chilliwack lake and the beer stashed there. Upon reaching the lake we found the beer gone, hoards of people on what I thought would be a secluded beach, and leash-less dogs aggressively charging us while the owner continued to flirt with some bikini-clad girl. WTF. I thought that was the shit-cream on top of a long and miserable day, but oh no. Upon reaching the trailhead I saw my car in the distance but somehow it did not look like my car. The back window was missing! Someone had broken into my car! Son-of-a-bitch! As we got closer, the horrific reality set in. My car had not only been broken into, it had been set on fire. The tires, the windows, the interior. Everything that could have burned did. My car was a hunk of metal and nothing more! I was in disbelief. How was this possible!?? How are we going to get out of here? Is this a nightmare? Am I still in the mountain sleeping in my bag and this is some horrid hallucination fueled by the joint and exhaustion? Nope. This was reality. Whoever did this also nearly set the entire forest on fire based on the completely burnt cedar behind my car. Jesus Fucking Christ! We could have been trapped in that valley if they had succeeded in doing so! As my mind swirled with the gravity of our situation, the last car in the parking lot approached us and gave us a ride into town dropping us off at the Chilliwack police. After reporting what had happened, expecting surprise, they just smiled and said, "Yep, this has been happened a lot this Summer and there was little they could do about it. They gave us our police report number and directed us to a local bar and motel. I called the border to confirm they would let me back into the states without my passport (burnt in the car) and made arrangements for a friend to come pick us up. ”the urban mountaineer” This trip will live in my mind till the day I die and will hopefully entertain many. Journeys like this are great reminders for what is important in your life and just how lucky I am to be apart of this amazing planet. Get after what fuels your soul people! Gear Notes: 60 m rope Double rack tops to fist. Single 4 and a set of stoppers. Lots of alpine slings Approach Notes: Follow the tape till you can’t then turn on your zen and be one with the forest.
  2. 13 points
    Trip: Inspiration Peak - South Face Trip Date: 09/02/2018 Trip Report: Before last weekend I hadn't been to Terror Basin in almost 10 years. Back then we had spent a week in the Southern Pickets, only seeing one other party in Terror Basin. How times have changed! This past weekend there were three other parties for a total of a dozen people in Terror Basin. Thankfully all the others were headed for West McMillan Spire so we had the decidedly unpopular South Face of Inspiration all to ourselves. However, like Alan Kearney, I really think it should be more popular. It is quite a route! But it is also not for the faint of heart. Steep, intimidating, with a bit of scruffy rock and so-so pro - it would have been a challenge back when I was in good rock climbing shape. And I am most certainly not in good rock shape these days! Luckily I had @therunningdog to gun my sorry ass up it. And gun he did, leading all the gash pitches. But there was plenty to keep my mind humming below- a chaotic glacier with some delicate bridges, slabby rock right off the glacier (should have put on rock shoes earlier), and an increasingly exposed 4th/low 5th class ramp that terminated in the intimidatingly steep "Great Gash". And thenn once you are on the summit, the involved descent awaits. 4-5 raps down the West Ridge, some ridiculously exposed scrambling, and then more steep rappels down the south face. It was about 12 hours camp to camp. But what a place. Even more beautiful than I remembered, perhaps due to the changing weather and swirling mists? The best pictures are never during the best weather, perhaps the same is true of our memories? I'll be back, but I won't wait another 10 years this time. Looking down into Terror Basin from the "trail" in: Looking out to Triumph, Despair, and the Chopping Block (L-R): Despair and the Chopping Block: Thornton Peak and Triumph at sunrise: The Southern Pickets!! Morning light on the South Face of Inspiration: Ptarmigan and grown chick: I should draw the line on this but basically you climb up the buttress to the left of the face to the prominent ramp that is followed right a long ways to the start of the "Great Gash", which shoots steeply up and left to the upper West Ridge. A pitch on the ridge finishes the climb. The Descent follows the left skyline to the col then down the steep face/buttress to the glacier: The glacier approach proved challenging, but we found a way that will go into the fall this year: No super dad friendly. Scrambling a lot of 4th and low 5th to the belayed pitches up the gash. I should have taken more photos but I was pretty focused on not screwing up! @therunningdog in his element! Did I mention that the South Face of Inspiration is steep? @therunningdog coming up the final bit to the summit: It is an exposed descent as well. Rapping the West ridge: On the first set of raps, before you drop off the South Face: Whew. Down on the ice! Or should I say gneiss? TEEBOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONE! Despair in the mists: Triumph: Despair: This felt good after the punishing descent: Gear Notes: 60m half rope, medium rack to 2", ice axe, crampons, helmet Approach Notes: Terror Basin trail from Goodell Creek. 6 hours to camp. From camp follow the climber's path toward Inspiration and West Mac, picking the best line up the glacier to the toe of the buttress just west of the South Face. We roped up here for a bit until we gained the prominent ramp where we packed the roped and scrambled. It seemed about 5.6-5.7 for one ptich to gain the ramp, with low fifth below that. The "Great Gash" is about 3, 30m pitches, to ~5.8. I think we did about 12 rappels down the west ridge and west edge of south face right back to our boots. Stations are established for a single 60m rope. Bring tat since the route isn't climbed regularly.
  3. 13 points
    Trip: Washington Pass, Liberty Bell - Thin Red Line Trip Date: 09/01/2018 Trip Report: My buddy Andy Traylor and I had set this as a goal route to free for the summer season. Neither of us had really approached a bigger route like this with a redpoint mentality before and weren't sure exactly how to do it. With many different ways to consider an ascent "free," we settled on what we believe is a pretty commonly followed set of rules. We wanted to swing leads, and either redpoint or follow cleanly on every pitch, lowering back to the belay if necessary. Our plan was to spend one day and check out the first six pitches to get a feel for the moves and the gear then try and send the next day. On day 1 we took our time climbing the first six pitches, with no real pressure or time crunch. We TR'd the cruxes a couple times and feeling pretty good about going for it the next day, rapped off and headed down for a big dinner. The next day we set out a little nervous, but also feeling good about our chances. Once we were on the route we were moving and climbing well. Thoughts on the pitches for anyone that cares (some gear beta here so purists need not read on): P1. Straightforward crimping and edging straight up to the anchor. I actually headed right after the last bolt, going more directly to the anchor on day 2 and thought that was slightly better. Andy getting all artsy with the iPhone on P1 P2. Short pitch. Boulder problem over the bulge through the mini changing corners. Good pro and the pin at the end of the crux seemed in good shape, not tested. Belay on gear. P3. Awesome and memorable pitch I thought, shorter than it looks in photos. Super thin edging and stemming in the dihedral leading to a roof with wet holds that allow you to exit the corner and gain a stance. I basically punched myself in the face popping out of the wet locks first go round. Pin in the corner seemed good, I tested it and it held. Mostly finger sized cams. Belay at full on hanger. Andy in the corner/roof that ends the crux on P3 P4. Fixed gear in the roof seemed only ok, hard to tell with the tat and I didn’t spend much time examining it, but you probably won’t come off under the roof anyway, clip and go. Andy exiting the roof on P4 The last bit traversing back toward the anchor we both found a little awkward and harder than it seemed it should be. On the traverse back to the belay on P4 P5. Business #1. Super fun 5.10 traversing and edging to the corner. Corner gets progressively harder with the real business starting at the bolts. I will say on my initial go I was not super happy to have left basically all the rack at the belay, expecting only a few pieces then bolts. I'd take mostly finger sizes, but I was happy to have a black Metolius and a #2 C4 (certainly not necessary but provided me with some mental fortitude to try hard). Bring lots of slings, I think I had like 14 and ran out somehow, placed too much gear I guess. The crux moves are technical, a little powerful, desperate and amazing. The last move, while not the hardest, has the potential to be a heart breaker and I can only imagine being very desperate if you’re under, say, 5’9. Belay on medium sized gear above the bolts, significantly better stance. Andy sticking the last move, he never fell once climbing this pitch over the 2 days. P6. Business #2. No picture. First roof is super casual. Leading up to the second roof the climbing gets less secure but good small finger gear is there between pins. The boulder problem is powerful, but pretty straightforward cranking (V4ish?) on pretty good holds. We were a little confused by all the talk about a necessary and specific red C3 placement. We couldn’t find anywhere by the beak, or below the roof for that matter, where this would go. Any clues? However that piece or a blue Metolius or equivalent went in bomber just above the lip. If that’s the placement everyone is talking about, then there is no need to scavenge around for a red C3 if you don’t have one. We left it out in favor of a blue Metolius on round 2. Climb past the bolts (if not rapping from here) and belay on the better sloping ledge with hand sized pieces. P7. Only dog pitch on the route. Thought the rock was poor quality, basically a connector pitch. Ends on the scary looking “how is it still hanging there” block creating the ledge. P8. Another techy and pretty thin 11+ pitch. Really really good. Looks super thin but there is gear to be had and both the head and pin are in good shape, Andy tested both and approved. Some small hand sized gear higher. P9. Excellent and fun 10+ climbing again builds as you get higher. Looks like the seam dies out at the top, but keep going up instead of traversing left. That’s probably super obvious but I was getting tired and moving more timidly by this point. P10-12. Progressively easier climbing. Nice to have Scott's topo for P10 to know where to get started. The last belay sits basically on the arête between the east and north face, we came back into the sun here. There are brand spanking new bolts here instead of the pin/fixed wire combo some guide mentions. Maybe it’s obvious, but the climbing heads left up the lighter colored dihedral. This looked too steep to us to be the 5.7 climbing, so Andy headed out right on the lower angle terrain and we had a bit of an epic on the easiest and last pitch of the route. The rock quality deteriorated into kitty litter, so Andy tried to sling a chockstone to lower back to me, only to get the rope got stuck forcing even more shenanigans (face palm). All in all we wasted some hours and all hopes of pizza. Once corrected we soloed to the top without further incident. Don't go this way. Why is this photo so big? All in all, neither of us fell following any of the pitches. On lead, some of the pitches took a try or two, but in the end we pulled it out and nabbed a free ascent. We learned a lot about climbing in this style and really enjoyed the process. Thanks to Mikey Schaefer for figuring this out, it provided one of my all time favorite experiences in the mountains so far. Psyched for the next one! Gear Notes: Doubles from purple Metolius to .75 BD, singles to #3 BD. Our second set of cams were Metolius offsets. They worked amazing (as always for granite) and I always carry them as doubles, but far from necessary. Nuts. Placed 1 RP but probably not necessary. Lots of slings, like ~16. We used a 40M tag line and hauled the bag on most pitches. Approach Notes: Most casual "alpine" approach ever. Like 25min from the car.
  4. 13 points
    Trip: North Cascades - Southern Pickets - Southern Pickets Enchainment (Traverse) – Second Ascent Trip Date: 08/17/2018 Trip Report: Climbers/Scribe/Photos: Jeff and Priti Wright Priti and I completed the Second Ascent of the full Southern Pickets Enchainment (Traverse) between 8/12/2018 and 8/17/2018 via the first ascensionists’ agenda (VI 5.10+, ca. 3 miles). Thirteen peaks in four days staying on technical terrain enchaining every peak in the Southern Picket Range from East to West. The Chopping Block was our 14thpeak on the last day à la Bunker-Haley-Wallace. We were lucky to have splitter weather the whole time except for our approach day which was non-stop drizzling and kept us from jumping on the rock right away. We had previously attempted this climb during the July 4thweek earlier this summer but were stormed off at the base of Mount Terror. View of the entire Southern Pickets from Mount Triumph. Photo Credit: James Blackmon (1) Little Mac Spire, (2) East McMillan Spire, (3) West McMillan Spire, (4) Tower 1 summit of the East Towers aka "Don Tower", (5) Tower 5 summit of East Towers, (6) Inspiration Peak, (7) Pyramid Peak, (8) Mount Degenhardt, (9) Mount Terror, (10) The Rake aka "The Blob", (11) The Blip, (12) East Twin Needle, (13) West Twin Needle, (14) Dusseldorfspitz, (15) Himmelhorn, (16) Ottohorn, (17) Frenzelspitz, and (18) The Chopping Block The Chopping Block is on the left. History: FA: In 2003, this visionary line of 13 summits (Little Mac Spire to Frenzelspitz) was first completed by Mark Bunker, Colin Haley, and Wayne Wallace in an incredibly speedy 4 days car-to-car. http://c498469.r69.cf2.rackcdn.com/2004/34_wallace_pickets_aaj2004.pdf https://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/topic/15094-walking-the-fence/ 2011: Dan Hilden, Jens Holsten, and Sol Wertkin completed 12 of the Southern Pickets summits (Little Mac Spire to Ottohorn), but were halted by an impassable moat under the South Face of the final bookend peak, Frenzelspitz (a lesson we borrowed to not take the snow approach). https://www.outdoorresearch.com/blog/article/chad-kellogg-jens-holsten-tackle-complete-picket-range-enchainment http://www.alpinist.com/doc/web15s/wfeature-never-ending-holsten-kellogg https://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/topic/82900-tr-picket-range-complete-enchainment-attempt-922011/?tab=comments#comment-1029444 2013: Jens Holsten and Chad Kellogg traversed 11 of the Southern Pickets summits (Little Mac Spire to Himmelhorn), and carried on to the Northern Pickets to do a mind-blowing Southern and Northern Pickets traverse. Even though Jens humbly calls their climb an “attempt” since they left out three minor summits, their ascent was easily one of the greatest alpine achievements in the lower 48. https://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/topic/92032-they-made-it/?tab=comments#comment-1101276 http://jensholsten.blogspot.com/2013/07/desperate-country-seven-day-enchainment.html https://www.outdoorresearch.com/blog/article/chad-kellogg-jens-holsten-tackle-complete-picket-range-enchainment Legend In the topos below, note the following color codes -Blue circle: belays that we chose to take (all are optional, obviously) -Yellow arrows: Bail options, or ways to enter/exit shorter segments of the Enchainment -Green tent: bivy sites (note the comments) -Red lines: Ascent -White circles: Rappels -White lines: Descent Day 1 With our packs each weighing in at 28lbs, we hiked in to Terror Creek Basin via Goodell Creek through wet bushes and a light drizzle and bivied at the Terror Creek Basin High Camp. Day 2 As we roped up at the base of the start (Little Mac Spire) on Day 2, Priti glumly pulled two left-footed red Moccasym rock shoes out of her pack, but decided to keep going like the hardcore badass that she is! We climbed from Little Mac Spire (5.8) through East McMillan Spire (5.6), West McMillan Spire (5.8), the East Towers (5.8) summiting Don Tower and Tower 5, and finishing the day with Inspiration Peak (5.9). We had to climb up 1/3 of Pyramid to find a small snow patch for water and dinner. On our last trip in early July there was a lot of snow at the cols, so it was easy to find water. There was a lot less snow in the cols in August, making finding water along the traverse very tricky, to say the least. We filled our dromedary up every time we found snow. The smoke made the views hazy, but we could tell how far away the later peaks were, and how far we had to go. The base of Little Mac Spire The start of the technical climbing (5.7) on the face of Little Mac Spire The upper ridge of East McMillan Spire View looking West in July View looking West in August Upper face of West McMillan Spire Starting up Tower 1 Priti is belaying below Pitch 2 (5.8 with a hand/fist overhang) Inspiration Peak Summit is the impressive overhang on the left Day 3 On Tuesday (day 2 of climbing, day 3 of the trip), we started out on Pyramid (5.8), and traversed over Degenhardt (3rd class). We chose a steep face crack for the first pitch on Terror to start. This may be the 5.8 start Jens and Chad did. Starting further out left might go at 5.6. After finding the piton rappel off Terror, we downclimbed about half of the Rake-Terror col before starting up a loose gulley on The Rake (skier’s right). The climbing didn’t feel too hard, and we must have avoided the 5.9 R climbing described by previous parties. However we didn’t make it to the nice bivy at the summit, instead hunkering down on a slopey grassy ledge for the night. Snafflehounds poked me in the face and jumped on my feet to start the night out. The meteor shower sparkled above us. In the morning, Jeff found his helmet strap had been gnawed through, his crack gloves stolen and the nut butter munched. Nothing a little duct tape won’t fix! Starting up the technical climbing on Pyramid Peak Inside the crux chimney Day 4 On Wednesday (day 3 of climbing, day 4 of the trip), we only climbed for a few hours doing lots of fun ridge climbing on the Rake (5.8) which took us to the best bivy spot of the trip: on top of the West Rake Summit. It was so nice, we decided to relax the rest of the day and camel up for the next day. The choosy 4th class gully which exits the Terror-Rake col (about halfway down) on climber's right The entire Rake ridgeline is pictured here. Priti is on the initial ridgeline, heading to the Rake's deep, major notch (right of center). Stay high on this initial ridge to get to a 5.6 traverse about even with the notch to get over to the notch. Starting the traverse too soon may result in 5.9R climbing. The vertical ridgeline just left of the major notch is the technical crux. The technical crux of The Rake. This is the second pitch after getting to the major notch which takes you to the The Rake's ridge proper. 5.8+ ledges with small gear. Starting out on the Rake's ridge proper. Looking back at the Rake (Eastward) from the summit Guns out! Amazing bivy site! Don't stop at the col (aka "Ice Station Dark Star"), but continue to this bivy after a short pitch. Day 5 Thursday morning we woke up stoked for the Twin Needles and Himmelgeisterhorn. The Blip between the Rake and the Needles was a quick jaunt (5.6). In the descent gulley, Priti kicked a small rock down, which tipped a precarious car-door sized boulder over and core-shot our rope. She literally had two left feet! We just climbed the rest of the way with 40m of rope out. East Twin Needle (5.10a) had some of the best climbing on the trip, following an aesthetic line up the knife edge ridge, that looks like a gothic tower. There was a TCU that the previous party stuck behind a flake, and was reminded of the giant footsteps we were following. The last couple moves were extremely dirty though. The left variation of the crux is much easier than sticking right. West Twin Needle was chill 3rd Class. Then came Himmelgeisterhorn (5.10), the “Horn of the Sky Spirit”. The climbing was fantastic: engaging, with great position, and unique au chevaling! We climbed over Düsseldorfspitz, on the way to the summit of Himmelhorn. We rappelled down the North Face of Himmelhorn with our 60m rope which worked out perfectly. Ottohorn took about an hour to summit and get back down to the Himmel-Otto col. The 3rdclass route that Bunker-Haley-Wallace took is gone due to some fresh rock fall. Instead of taking the 2 pitch 5.7 variation that Hilden-Holsten-Wertkin took, we attacked the fresh rock scar directly which was splitter 5.6 hand cracks for maybe 15 m to the ridge and summit. In the fading light, we then headed over to Frenzelspitz (the final peak of the Enchainment) from the Himmel-Otto col, traversing along rock on the north side of Ottohorn. The ledge/gulley traverse had the most heinous, scary, exposed choss. Luckily the climbing on Frenzel was pretty great 5.7ish. We made four fresh rappel anchors, starting with a runner on the summit block, two double-nut anchors, and another slung horn. 5.8 ridge (vertical blocks) The fantastic climbing on the technical crux of East Twin Needle. Priti leading out onto the technical crux (and I mean technical!) - face climbing on crimps with small gear Looking up and over Dusseldorfspitz. Priti is belaying between Dusseldorfspitz (foreground) and Himmelhorn (background). The crazy outcropping (Dusseldorfspitz) just East of the summit of Himmelhorn Looking back down from the Himmelhorn summit at the belay. Left to right: Dusseldorfspitz (the small spire along the ridgeline, just below the summit), Himmelgeisterhorn ("Horn of the Sky Spirit", also a small suberb of the German city of Dusseldorf), Ottohorn, and Frenzelspitz...three names taken from the label of a mustard bottle brought along by Joan and Joe Firey (kindred spirits and personal heroes of ours) during their first ascent of these peaks in 1961. Ed Cooper, also on the trip, was "aghast" at the names chosen! The magnificent Northern Pickets Frenzelspitz, a perfect pyramid Day 6 The last day we climbed the Chopping Block via the NW Route (4thClass) and hiked out via “Stump Hollow” to Terror Creek. Mega thanks to Wayne, @solwertkin, and @jensholsten for their great beta, inspiration, and support. Priti and I have been dreaming of this climb for years now since reading Alpinist 47 magazine’s expansive article on the Picket Range and being inspired by Jens Holsten and Chad Kellogg’s 2013 Pickets Traverse (of both the Southern and Northern Pickets, 10 miles) after we had just taken the @boealps Basic Climbing Class. The next level of alpinism in the Southern Pickets may be to complete the entire enchainment in a day! This seems like an entirely reasonable feat (especially for a soloist) given enough familiarity and speed. Bivy Beta: Primo bivies (East to West) base of West McMillan Spire descent (snow through the summer, nice bivy walls) base of Mount Terror, cross over ridge to North side - late season snow available on top of the Rake sub-peak (1 pitch past the “Ice Station Dark Star”) – lots of snow just a short scramble distance away along the Rake descent. Himmel-Otto col (if no snow on the col, make one rappel toward Crescent basin to find snow) Terrible bivies (East to West) base of East McMillan Spire descent (sloping ledges, snow early season) slabby ledge about 1/4 the way up the Inspiration West Ridge (exposed) Pyramid-Inspiration col (no snow late season) grassy ledges down and climbers left when you first gain the ridge proper at the start of the Rake “Ice Station Dark Star” (as coined by Hilden-Holsten-Wertkin) which is the col after just rappelling from The Rake summit (snow early season, but rappel north late season to find snow down a heinous choss gully)…if no snow just at the col, then recommend continuing on to the Rake descent to find tons of easily accessible snow in late season Himmelhorn summit (no snow) Gear Notes: small set of nuts and some brassies doubles BD UL Camalots .4-2 single BD UL Camalot 3 (for Inspiration East Face) singles BD C3 000-1 (extra green 0) single BD Camalot X4 Offset 0.1/0.2 single BD Camalot X4 0.3 singles Metolius Mastercam 0-3 4 double-length runners with 2 Camp 22 biners each 3 double-length runners with 1 Camp 22 biner each 9 single-length runners with 1 Camp 22 biner each (can’t have too many runners) 30L Patagonia Ascensionist pack (for him) and 30L Black Diamond Speed pack (for her) Patagonia Micro Puff jacket (each) Patagonia Alpine Houdini jacket (each) Patgaonia Nano-Air Light Hybrid Jacket (for him) 2L MSR DromLite (essential!) Garmin inReach Mini (love this little guy!) Beal Escaper (for emergency bails) Petzl Leopard FL crampons (each) Petzl Sirocco helmets Petzl Sitta harness (for him) and Arc’teryx harness (for her) Metolius Feather Nut Tool (each) Camp Corsa Nanotech 50cm (each) chalk bag, each (didn’t use) tape gloves (for her) and OR Splitter gloves (for him) x2: Mammut Smart belay device (not the Alpine Smart) + Grivel Sigma Wire D carabiner 3 lockers for group: Grivel Tau K12L, Grivel Lambda HMS, Grivel Plume 60m 8.5mm Beal Opera rope 15m 5mm cord (did not use ever) 1 medium fuel canister 1 small fuel canister (did not use) Jetboil Sol stove Safety ‘biner (each) – Edelrid 19g caribeener, Petzl Micro Traxion, short Sterling Hollowblock, Trango Piranha knife Bivy setup (each) – Short Thermarest NeoAir XLite sleeping pad, Exped Air Pillow UL, Feathered Friends Vireo UL sleeping bag 8.5ft^2 tarp by Hyperlite Mountain Gear TC Pros (for him) and Moccassyms (for her) La Sportiva TX2 (for her) and TX4 (for him) approach shoes Petzl Reactik headlamps (each) + 3 extra AAA batteries + Petzl e+LITE headlamp Other things: 1 long spoon to share, chapstick to share, small Joshua Tree sun stick to share, Kenu iPhone tether, lighter, whistle, duct tape, Thermarest repair patches, Voke tabs, Nuun, pain killers, 1L Platypus soft water bottle (for her) and 750mL HydraPak Stash (for him), warm headband, glove liners, 1 pair thick long socks (each), sunglasses, ear plugs, WRFA emergency form, small pencil Dinner: 2 AlpineAire meals, 3 Near East Couscous boxes repackaged with small olive oil packets in ziplock bags, salt Day food was mostly bulky, yummy snacks: vegan jerky, dried mango, nuts, Cheese-Its, sesame sticks, Gu, nut butter, etc Approach Notes: Excellent Approach trail Goodell Creek to Terror Basin. The descent from Crescent Basin is tricky The luxurious tree marker where one descends from the ridge below "Stump Hollow" towards Terror Creek Log crossing Terror Creek on descent
  5. 11 points
    Trip: Patagonia - Fitz Roy Smash 'n' Grab 9 Days Seattle-to-Seattle Trip Date: 02/03/2019 Climbers: Jeff and Priti Wright Location: Patagonia - Chaltén Massif - El Chaltén, Argentina Peak: Monte Fitz Roy (Cerro Chaltén) Route: Franco-Argentina 650m, 55deg 6c (6a C1) High-Res Video (turn up the volume!): Google Street View Photo Sphere: https://goo.gl/maps/nLvcGHAQTqu Trip Report: Feb 3, 2019 Priti and I summited Monte Fitz Roy in Patagonia near El Chaltén, Argentina via the Franco-Argentina Route. We had been watching the weather every day each season for the past three years and finally saw a good enough window to buy last-minute flights and make use of the beta sheets we made four years ago. The trip was 9 days Seattle-to-Seattle. We climbed the Franco-Argentina link-up which is a variation on the first ascent route and is the "normal" route up and the standard rappel line for all routes on the mountain. Franco-Argentina is a highly aesthetic line combining glacier travel, steep snow, mixed terrain, and hard/pure rock climbing. The technical portion of the route is 650m long containing 14 (or so) rock/mixed pitches up to 5.11b (or 5.10b/C1...heavy emphasis on the C1) and many hundreds of meters of 45-55deg hard snow/ice. Starting from the town of El Chaltén which sits at roughly 1,300 feet, you ascend 9,710 vertical feet over 10.5mi to reach the summit of Cerro Fitz Roy (Cerro Chaltén) which towers over all the surrounding granite spires of the Chaltén Massif. The upper summit slopes require crampons, boots, and ice tools which were carried in a single pack by the follower. We were four days and four nights away from town which included bivouacs at Paso Superior, La Brecha de los Italianos, the summit (for a 1hr sit-rest waiting for sunrise pictures), then hiking all night back to town on the fourth/final night. From La Brecha, we woke on the third day and moved sleeplessly for 48 hours to get back to town so we could make our bus for our flight back (and we had 20min to spare!). We were lucky to experience rare, cloudless, windless, perfect weather in this harshest and otherwise unforgiving land. We've suffered so much in these mountains on our previous two trips; this was a welcome change. For those of you who don't know, the Patagonia (r) logo (tm) is an actual range, called the Fitz Roy range which is located in the Chaltén Massif. The big peak in the center of the logo is Fitz Roy. The founder, Yvon Chouinard, was a member of the Fun Hog Expedition in 1968 who road trip'd from California to Argentina, surfing and skiing along the way. They completed the third ascent of the mountain and established a new route, Californiana (or the "Fun Hog Route"). Note: whenever I mention "the topo", I'm referring to the topo as found in the 2nd edition of Patagonia Vertical, by Rolando Garibotti and Dörte Pietron, published by Sidarta Guides, which can be purchased online or in the States at most Patagonia retail stores. Rolo has a companion website to the book, PATAclimb.com, which is an equally invaluable resource. All pictures below are high resolution. Click on the pictures to open them in a new tab and zoom in. The adventure begins from the town of El Chaltén where you hike the popular trail approximately 10km to Lago de los Tres. Then scramble up the left (Southern) slopes of the lake to find a fixed line. The fixed line is hidden away from tourists and is very difficult to find. Stay low as you scramble up the slopes, maybe 30m until you find an obvious, lone, random bolt along a ledge. If you were to continue from here, you would see a smattering of 4 more random bolts which (I assume) make a rappel anchor for guided parties. Instead, go straight downhill from the first bolt to a large cairn and another bolt with the fixed line. 3rd class down climbing will take you back to the shores of the lake where you will soon see the second fixed line which ascends the 4th class hillside to a scree field. Cross the moraine (bivy options here) between the larger and smaller lakes to the glacier (Gl. de los Tres). Ascend the glacier to find yet another short (15m) fixed line on a low-angle rock or mixed corner (shown below). Ascend the ridge on the North side (climber's right) and make your way back to the South side (climber's left) to gain the upper snow field. Follow easy snow to Paso Superior (high camp). A very snow Mermoz and Guillaumet Paso Superior is a popular advanced base camp from which most objectives in the Massif may be accomplished in a push. It is relatively sheltered in a snow bowl, but may be exposed in high winds. On the back (North) side, there is a fixed rope down 20m of 4th class terrain to get down to the glacier (Gl. Piedras Blancas). Ascend the glacier to get to the bergshrund (1-2hrs). According to the guidebook, there are three ways to gain the ridge: the rappel couloir (just below the Brecha de los Italianos), the rock spur just left of the couloir, and the steep snow further left. Approximately 100% of all parties (give or take) approach via the steep snow (the third option), as we did. From the bergshrund just below the toe of the rock (usually just a step-across, but may go "out" in late season), we harnessed up with rock and ice gear, ascending steep snow and ice (up to 60deg) for 250m. We stayed close to the rock and protected with rock gear since the angle was steep enough and the consequences fatal enough, but many parties solo the snow/ice, roping up for the last rock portion. Since the steep snow was endless, calf-burning front-pointing, we were glad to have steel, hybrid, horizontal crampons here and also on the summit slopes, although many climbers just wear strap-ons (of the aluminum variety). Once near the ridgeline, there are likely a few ways to ascend the rock from 3rd class to low 5th but rock shoes are not necessary. Choose your adventure. The entire technical portion of Franco-Argentina is shown in red, above, which starts at the end of the snow bench ("la Silla"). Once over the ridgeline and on the West side, you are rewarded with views of Desmochada, Cerro Torre, and Aguja de la Silla. There are a couple bivy spots where a tent can be set up just under Brecha de los Italianos (shown above). From here, in order to gain the ridgeline from la Brecha to la Silla, there are many possible low-5th class routes. However, the best way is to find a 45m fixed line on the right, just past la Brecha and climb 4th class terrain to a 3rd class walkway just under the ridgeline (still on the West side) until you get to the snow. You can also climb various 4th/low-5th class gullies (seen below). La Silla is usually always icy but is low angle (and exposed!) to the base of the route and may be protected with ice screws if you like. Crossing la Silla to the base of the route. Looking back down at Glaciar Piedras Blancas. Our tracks from Paso Superior can be seen, faintly. Pitch 1, finally!! 5.10c diagonal hand crack. There is a rappel anchor just at the end of the pitch, over the edge, but there is a comfortable belay if you go up on top of the ledge. Approximate pitch layout shown side-by-side with original photo (open picture in new tab to zoom in). The lines in yellow are the two options for the actual Franco-Argentina route as shown in the topo. We diverged (on purpose) where the actual route is in yellow. Priti high on Pitch 1. Above: Looking back down Pitch 2 which takes a corner then goes out on an easy crack system on the face (5.10b). Priti leading Pitch 3. Looking up at the 5.11a corner system (Pitches 6-7) while on Pitch 5. Another view of the corner system (Pitches 6-7) while on rappel. Above: Priti starting up Pitch 6 corner system (5.11a). We swapped leads after Pitch 7, and I started up the 5.10a corner/chimney system on blocky terrain. Pitch 9 was harder corners and chimneys (5.10b) and the cracks started to get icy up here! Looking down the blocky Pitch 9. This view is just nuts! Crazy granite monoliths that look like a cluster of orange crystal formations. Looking down, you can see the swirly line of snow on La Silla which separates Aguja Poincenot from Fitz Roy. Pitch 10 (5.9) and looking up at the remaining 4-5 pitches on the upper headwall. It was during this pitch that the cracks became prohibitively icy on the standard route which would have required two tools and crampons for the leader, so I chose to explore off-route. Just above where you see me in the picture above is a long roof. There is a rappel anchor (off-route) out left of the corner system. This anchor is shown in the topo with three pitons on a ledge and is normally only used as a rappel anchor. I bailed to this anchor, then continued left (left of the prominent arête as shown on the topo) and found icy, mid-5th class ledges. The final 5 pitches were off-route from the topo but made for a fine alternative if the cracks are too icy on route. The final pitch! In yellow on the right, the 6c (5.11b) variation as shown in the guidebook topo. This overhanging crack was chock full of weak ice when we rappelled it and would have been nearly impossible to climb free or even get any pieces in to French Free it. We took the variation in red (left), not shown on the topo, which has many fixed pieces and pitons from previous parties and probably also goes free at 5.11a, although we climbed it French Free due to the icy cracks, darkness, and weak climbing abilities! Priti followed in the dark, jugging with two Petzl Micro Traxions. I would recommend following the zig zag in red (as we did) and not going straight up as that would be much harder. This is a good alternative if the rest of the route is icy, although you have to get off route during Pitch 11 (much earlier) to get to the base of this variation. Note: two more pitches of low-to-mid 5th class were required above this pitch before getting to the snow field. Rappel ropes shown going down the 6c variation. For reference, the line we took (red) is also shown again. Once past the technical climbing, you reach 250m of hard snow/ice up to 50deg (more endless front-pointing). This leads to the summit mound, which looks intimidating, but we went hard left to the left-most rocky ridge which was easy 3rd class scrambling to the final summit ridge. There is a small bump along the summit ridge which is not the actual summit although appears to be the high point! Continue to the end of the horizontal-ish summit ridge to reach the actual summit. There is an AMAZING bivy site for 1-2 with a roof and walls just under the summit block. Advertising for our awesome hostel, Aylen-Aike, from the summit. Cerro Torre behind. The first rappel down the upper snowfield. After 3-4 rappels down the upper snow field, we couldn't find the rappel anchor that's shown in the topo which is just (climber's) left of the prominent prow/arête at the top of the route. Instead, we rappelled straight down the 6c (5.11b) variation from the topo with no difficulty. If in doubt, just rap down this 6c corner. The next rappel (shown above) is from a ledge just to the left of the prominent prow/arête. You can see a giant block jutting out in the photo above. To the right of this block is the 6c (5.11b) variation. This is generally the most popular way to finish the technical portion of the ascent. The 5+ variation is further right (out of view) from the prow. In general, the rappel lengths and locations of anchors were spot-on on the topo. There are so many anchors everywhere, so be sure to follow the topo guidance for rappel lengths if you want to skip some anchors and have longer rappels. The rappel block above "La Araña" snow patch, which looks like a spider halfway up the route. A particularly harrowing rappel just below La Araña which goes down the shear, overhanging wall which is above the dihedral (Pitches 6-7). The leader has to make sure not to miss the belay ledge and do some free-space swinging to catch the ledge. The first rappel down the East side of la Brecha de los Italianos. The second to last rappel. Stick to the (skier's) right in this photo and hug the wall. There was an anchor just above the bergshrund where you make the final rappel. The Chaltén Massif from the air. Tracks: https://caltopo.com/m/CVF0 More info: https://pataclimb.com/climbingareas/chalten/fitzgroup/fitz/french.html#franco https://pataclimb.com/climbingareas/chalten/fitzgroup/fitz.html https://www.summitpost.org/fitzroy/153622 Gear Notes: Double Rack to 3 with triples .4-1, single #4, 4 ice screws (1 shorty), 1 picket each (approach only), 60m single rope, 60m Esprit pull cord, steel hybrid crampons, 2 tools each on approach (we brought two tools total on route, although many parties bring three tools total on route). On route, the follower carried a single 40L (Patagonia Ascensionist) pack with both of our boots, crampons, pull cord, 1 sleeping bag, one therm-a-rest pad, water/food for both, summit jackets, summit mittens, and two tools (total). For the upper slopes, each person had a single tool, but two each would have been luxurious. Approach Notes: Approach on steep snow left of serac ('S2c' from the guidebook)
  6. 10 points
    Trip: Sloan Peak - Corkscrew Trip Date: 11/17/2018 Trip Report: Fred and I took a romp up Slan Peak on Saturday. It had been a while since I had summited anything so it was great to get on top, plus there was a bit of early season adversity that made it just hard enough to be sweet. We expected slogging through powder on the north side, but there was a nice rain crust above about 5300'. The east face traverse across the "heather ledges" was also better than anticipated with fairly good step kicking snow. Some rime ice on the scramble made it pleasantly spicy. Rain crust on the approach to the glacier, photo by Fred: Me in the rain crust, on the descent, photo by Fred: Fred on the traverse on the east face, on the descent: Fred near the summit: Fred looking smug on the summit: Me descending, photo by Fred: Gear Notes: Axe, crampons, glacier gear, snowshoes for training. Approach Notes: Bedal approach, it was a bit brushy, seems worse than the Sauk if the river crossings are OK.
  7. 9 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
  8. 8 points
    Trip: Mt Stuart - Stuart Glacier CouloirTrip Date: 04/05/2019 There is no bergschrund, the ice pitches are so minor that we barely slowed down. The top West ridge was full value, ice & mixed conditions were fantastic with cracks open to take gear, but accumulation in the backs of cracks in the top pitches making the best mixed conditions I've ever had in the Enchantments, but I would say that since Danny lead the technical jazz. No photos up there as we were hauling ass & cold. Very scary avi conditions on the descent with propagating cracks on the Sherpa Glacier & enough slabs peeling off to make a guy very happy to be down. Also white-out & nuclear winds on summit were unforgettable. We climbed straight up the west ridge after the tiny notch on exit from the north. I thought this was great, but the ledge ~30 below the tiny notch may be a better route.. 14 hours tent to tent (in the 5400vf meadow) Photos are not in order..... Looking down N face exiting to tiny notch:Exit top of couloirIce pitches...minor Gear Notes:Small cams 0.3 -2", rack offset wires, pins: LA, KB, beak, didn't use screws except one shit one.Approach Notes:Snowshoes from 1/2 way up road & to camp. No snowshoes above 5400vf. Very bad avi conditions on descent on Sherpa Glacier. GPS (or solid previous knowledge) essential to get off summit in nasty storm.
  9. 8 points
    Trip: Washington North Cascades - West Ridge of Colfax Peak Trip Date: 10/06/2018 Trip Report: With a minor storm dumping snow and quite a few days with sub-zero temperatures, Paul and I headed from Squamish down to Baker to try the Cosley-Houston Route on Colfax. We endured the Friday evening traffic to Sumas and then blasted on to the Heliotrope Ridge TH and bivvied in the back of the truck. Our alarm went off at 0500 and we were on the trail at 0545 by headlamp. We transitioned to boots at the toe of the glacier and immediately started dodging thinly bridged crevasses up to the football field and beyond. One major detour and a pitch of steep neve climbing and we found ourselves at the base of Colfax. The crux on the CH looked a bit too thin for our bravery levels and we weren’t sure how the snowfields above would be - we were a bit worried we'd find fresh pow over kitty litter. So, feeling a bit dejected, we decided to go have a look at the view towards Lincoln Peak from the col and get a photo of Ford’s Theatre. Crevasses were well hidden and a hassle: We noticed the West Ridge looked pretty chill and that aside from a rock step, it might give a reasonably quick access to the snowfields above the CH crux. So we decided to go for it. One mixed snow/rock simul-pitch took us onto the ridge crest (amazing views of Lincoln Peak). A second pitch got us up the ridge to a rock step. It seemed unlikely but a 10m downclimb on the E side dropped us into a perfect SW facing snow couloir with super cool rimed up rock walls. One pitch to the top of this and back onto the ridge crest and we were at another difficult looking rock step. Instead of taking the step, we delicately traversed to a snow ramp and a 20m downclimb to the top of the ice of Ford’s Theatre. From here we followed the route and simuled up perfectly crunchy snow to the top of the CH. Paul doing the downclimb into the convenient SW facing couloir: Descent was via the normal route with one rappel and a MAJOR detour around a full width crevasse on the Coleman at 2650m. More photos attached at the bottom. It would be hard to believe the W Ridge hasn’t been climbed before but I have no idea. Seems pretty unlikely that no-one has wandered up like we did. It would be interesting to find out if anyone had finished the W Ridge directly without bumping left over to the CH snow slopes as the rock walls above us looked serious enough that we didn't give them a serious look. There's probably a way through though! Route: Gear Notes: We used one stubby screw in rime ice, a handful of cams and pins and, actually for the first time in my life, used a picket as pro (and was kinda glad to have it). Approach Notes: Standard Heliotrope Ridge/Coleman Glacier
  10. 8 points
    Trip: Johannesburg - NE Rib 1957 Trip Date: 13-14 October 2018 Trip Report: started 715 Sat AM from the parking lot. took the lowest start posible, scrambling a few hundred feet before a 100m roped pitch into the trees. lots of unroped climbing before realizing we were too far right. we did another roped pitch thinking we'd be out - wrong. a single 30m rappel down and skiers right put us back in business. a long stretch of unroped climbing into a gullet. roped back up for a few of the moves and that deposited up on the main ridge's shoulder. this was the large climbers right trend in the topos. lots of steep vegetated climbing and steep exposed climbing brought us to a short (10m) knife edge ridge crossing - officially out of the shit. this is where you could drop into the gulley to climb up to the bivy or stay on the rope. gulley obviously looked nasty in October. we scrambled another short distance to where we needed a rope. either the ugly offwidth or the steep face up and right. not entirely sure if the face is what others had chosen, but it's what we opted for. it was a little hard down low, but opened up nicely. we hauled packs on this particular pitch. from that beltway we were a 150m pitch then a 45m pitch to the bivy site. arrived around 530pm - just under 10 hrs on the route. no running water for us, so we went ultraconservative with fuel only melting water and saving some fuel just in case. we were treated with an awesome sunset and sunrise. we were nestled between the snow and the rock and stayed protected from the wind. next morning we were moving by 745am and summited around 920am. glacier was very simple all things considered. snow arete was very cool and truly unique. started to descent around 10am, opting to downclimb vs rappel. some serious exposure on sometimes pretty delicate climbing. we were pretty close to the top, only dropping to maybe 100 feet below occasionally and not for very long. we reached the main descent around noon. on the main descent we made one anchor for a belayed downclimb relatively high up, then lots of downclimbing snow and rock until an obvious rappel station. this was a real rope stretcher (full 30m) to a subtle ledge skiers left of running water, we loaded about 1.5 liters knowing we'd get more soon - it was euphoric to get nice cold water. more snow and rock brought us to a second obvious station, going skiers left. another 30m with some downclimbing and we were onto a broad apron. traversing skiers left, going more directly to C-J Col, we found three more rap stations, plus a lot of downclimbing. we reached the col around 230pm. we were moving quite slow. after quickly adjusting layers we were off to Doug's direct and searching for water. we were at the top around 5pm and made fast work down to the 6k foot level. here is where were made our only route finding mistakes: dropping too low too early twice. this cost us probably a at least an hour. we then got back on track and were to cascade pass by 8pm and the TH by 930pm. all in all, full value route that was surprisingly straightforward. I'd do it again. Gear Notes: single rack to 3in was nice to have, 60m rope was shortest we would have wanted Approach Notes: short, or long, depending on your perspective
  11. 7 points
    Trip: Stuart/Enchantments - The Enchanted Enchainment Trip Date: 06/30/2019 Trip Report: On Sunday June 30th, I managed to complete a whirlwind tour of the Enchantments' 9 tallest peaks. I think "enchainment" is the right word, since I did not stay true to the ridge crests like a "traverse" would imply. Ever since my route through the Core zone last summer, ticking off the 7 major peaks from Mclellan to Cannon to Argonaut (and also Prusik), I’ve been pondering the feasibility (and stupidity) of adding Stuart to the list. I'm no Peter Croft, so I'd start with Stuart's west ridge. Much route-planning was done. At first I was considering an approach from the south side, to facilitate an easier romp up Stuart, but I think the mileage for that route would be too much for my non-trail-runner legs. So I settled on the Stuart Lake approach and hoped I would be able to find a shortcut to Stuart’s West Ridge (since the West Ridge is almost always approached from the south). Jake Robinson and his buddies did a 3 day trip, ticking the same peaks and provided helpful beta. The ridge from Stuart to Sherpa is fairly straightforward, but I knew from them and others that Sherpa to Argonaut was gnarly. I considered dropping all the way down to the valley trail after Sherpa, but decided I would try a high-ish traverse to save some calf-burn. The only other route-planning decision was to drop straight off Cannon to the car. It is just so friggin alluring!! Cannon is such a slog via the normal route, and the fact that it is geographically so close to the trailhead was too much for me to pass up. Future Tyler be fucked, I suppose. I created an illustrated route overlay of what went down (with actual gpx data), using fancy color-coding and dashed lines to indicate difficulty and tediousness of terrain. (gpx file here). Cause information and maps are fun. I started my pilgrimage at 1:30am, in order to have some light once it got steep on Stuart. I pandered my way through the burned stuff past Stuart Lake and managed to ascend the slopes toward Long Pass without too much difficulty in the dark. I encountered some steep snow to get up to the 7950’ notch on Stuart’s NW face. From the notch I dropped down a bit and traversed some more snow to get to the shortcut gully. The gully had continuous snow, but I was sick of the hard snow in my cramponed approach shoes, so I scrambled up class 3 rock to the right. All in all, shortcutting the west ridge was pretty straightforward and required no technical climbing whatsoever. ^ the view back toward the 7950 notch Everyone and their uncle has posted their version of the west ridge, so I won’t dive into that. I reached el primero cumbre at 7:40am, a bit behind my self-prescribed schedule. From Stuart I meandered down the Cascadian and stepped off toward the Stuart-Sherpa Col. I encountered a short 4th class downclimb, and didn’t reach the col until 8:40am. ^ Fun clouds from the top of Stuart Sherpa’s west ridge was great fun, and I was almost suckered into a beautiful splitter crack before I more responsibly found easier terrain off to the left. I reached Sherpa summit around 9:10am, looked auspiciously at the balanced rock, and decided to save it for another day. The descent off Sherpa was quite straightforward after reading beta on folks descending from the north ridge. A short 4th/5th downclimb followed by trending skier’s left into a scrambly gully until I reached a big-ass vegetated ledge at about 8100 ft, and then more leftward traversing to a broader gully, which I took all the way down to 7200 ft. From here I began the long, much-not-looking-forward-to traverse to Argonaut. In actuality, it was not bad at all, and perhaps even vaguely enjoyable! There are some huge swaths of granite on these high slopes, many of which are littered with fun knobs for easy scrambling. The rest of the terrain was quite straightforward goat-trail meandering. Time-consuming, but not god-awful by any means. I eventually reached Argonaut’s southern gullies and ascended easy terrain until right below the east ridge where I climbed a probably unnecessary section of easy-5th. From there I scampered to the summit (at 12:30pm), with a bit of apprehension as storm clouds began rolling in. From Argonaut, I descended a rap route on the east face, which I had done the summer before. I had found some unused webbing/rings on Sherpa, and used the rings as a nut placement to aid down a somewhat tricky section near the base of Arg (for the next party wondering what the heck is going on there). From here, spirits were high, as I knew I had completed most of the tedious stuff and would be on fairly well-traveled terrain for the rest of the day (not including the hail-mary off Cannon at the end of my route). ^ Looking back at Argonaut A few splits: Colchuck – 2:30pm Dragontail – 3:40pm Little Anna – 4:30pm Mclellan – 6:20pm Enchantment Peak – 8:10pm (I only tagged the NE summit, which may be lower than the SW?) Cannon Peak – 9:40pm ^ Into the core... ^ Stuart & friends from the Enchantment Peaks ^ Stuart & Enchantment Peaks & friends from Cannon Managed to top out on Cannon with a bit of light to admire a hard day’s work (damn Stuart looks so far away!) From Cannon I was feeling pretty good about making it down before my 24 hour goal. After all, the car was only 2 miles away… In the weeks prior, I had done some route-planning using satellite imagery and a topo to figure out the least-bushy way off Cannon. This was helpful but not a perfect solution to the hell-hole that is the 5000 vertical feet of bush, dirt, rock, bush, scree, and bush. Maybe I’m exaggerating, as I was quite delirious at the time and it was dark. The first 3,000 ft were fairly straightforward, with a few cliff-bands to avoid but mostly loose dirt/talus. The next 2,000 ft of vert went from bad to worse. Many cliff-bands were not hinted at by my topo map, and where I had previously plotted a viable line through rocky terrain (while comfortably sipping tea in front of a computer at work), was not actually viable terrain. So into the bushes I went and I didn’t arrive at the trail until around 1:00am. From the trail it was a short, but damn-did-my-feet-hurt, hike to the car. Roundtrip was 23 hours and 35 minutes, 16,865 ft of gain, and 27.4 miles. Frankly, those numbers seem pretty small considering, which I attribute to all the little (and big) shortcuts I connected to make quite an aesthetic loop through some beautiful country. I hope some of this beta is helpful for those looking to enchain some peaks out there or just get some damn good exercise. Gear Notes: Axe, crampons used. Approach Notes: Stuart Lake
  12. 7 points
    Trip: North Cascades- Boston Basin - The Boston Marathon Trip Date: 07/10/2018 Trip Report: This is super delayed, but i was looking though old pics and thought this trip was worth sharing with y'all. Kyle was most certainly the brain-child behind this absurdity. I think it was sometime in the summer of 2017 he mentioned this idea of solo circumnaving boston basin. I was a bit suspicious that things might be a little more involved than was anticipated so told him i'd join in for a recon mission. We trail ran the sahale glacier route one day and gawked at the rest of the ridge, reading the unknown v known terrain and looking at the way the ridges tended to run. It was clear we were going in the wrong direction. For one, we would have to do the tft backwards, which would have honestly been the most chill weirdness. Downclimbing the ridge to sharkfin looked damn near suicidal. So we regrouped and planned a 2 day mission from the other end. We decided to start at the hidden lakes th and start on the triad via the sibley pass approach. When we hit the triad it was clear the "triad traverse" approach as described for marble creek basin didn't really let on to how gnarly the scrambling would be if one were to stay true to the ridge. We estimated summiting the triad sometime before 10 am, somewhere around mid afternoon we finally were running up the eldorado glacier. After tagging eldo via the east ridge, we ran over to the torment col while the sun was setting. After soloing the s ridge of torment in the morning, we realized we again had underestimated our objective, so we bailed down b basin and gorged on berries. One last attempt that summer would be thwarted by an overuse injury. And the september rains came, and boston basin stood like that itch you just cant reach all friggin winter long. Summer came around again and we were racking up at our first opportunity. Sometime in early July. looking back towards eldo and the triad on an early recon We Again set up the car shuttle, but this time the road was closed at the eldo th, and we had 4 days off, so we figured we'd tentatively plan on just tossing the triplets, cascade and j-berg in on the final day (our plan was to scramble the j berg summit ridge and bushwack down the gnar forrest straight back to the eldo th.). Weather ultimately meant this final link would not go, but its certainly something to aspire to. We set off from the trailhead for the triad. This time, we were prepared for the choss. early scrambling Kyle down-soloing some 5.6 choss on the triad Some 4th class funk on the triad 100ft tower we climbed along the way, 5.7 nothing on top suggested we were the first to visit such a bizzare place some more down climbin w face of w triad 5.6 R super aesthetic The first time we visited the triad we stayed true to the ridge crest east of the eastern summit and down-climbed somewhere about a third or half way down the east ridge. This proved to be an extremely dangerous experiment in natural jenga. We pushed off multiple oven to mini cooper sized blocks that impeded safe passage. We ended up bailing down some 500 ft 5.4-5.7 wall to the glacier. This was the boldest down-soloing i've ever committed to and would never be recommended. Remembering this experience, we opted to drop off the ridge after the eastern summit of the triad. A quick jaunt accross the glacier brought us over to eldo. We decided the truest line would be to climb the south ridge of eldorado. We found info on the south face, but none on the south ridge. We thought this odd, but the ridge looked quite reasonable. It ended up providing 4-6 epic and high quality pitches of easy rock climbing. A worthy stand alone mission and my second favorite (second to the west arete) way to summit the mountain. the first pitch gaining the s ridge of eldo second pitch some good ol' fashioned knife ridin good conditions meant a casual walk down the e ridge From the summit of eldo we decided to stop and rest at eldo camp rather than push through the dark to the torment col. I mean, there is a toilet there, thats pretty darn good motivation. We woke up early the next day and scurried across the feint climbers path leading over to torment. The torment col is always a neat place to hang out and fill up water. The true line here is the NW ridge of torment. We quickly glanced at the beckey bible the first time, and saw that it had gone. But when we got to the base of the ridge the gnar choss was quite strong, and we weren't entirely sure if we had the beta memorized, so we bailed back around the mountain to the south ridge. This time around we had taken some photos of the guidebook and decided to turn reason off. Getting on the ridge was the crux, purely mental, it turned out to be fairly easy going. There was one exposed and runout 5.8ish knife-edge pitch somewhere in there, but it all kinda blurred together. Soon enough we found ourselves on the summit of torment and in familiar terrain. The TFT awaited, finally some classic easy ridge travel! A classic b basin white out slowly creeped up as we reached the w ridge notch. It became apparent a storm was comming in so we scrambled to get the tarp up. We knew we were in for a wet night. looking over at the nw ridge of torment the entrance to the ridge, what looked like 5.10 from afar turned out to be 5.6 some more ridge scrambles on torment topping out the crux pitch of the nw ridge looking back at the entrance to the tft. getting on the glacier required a 20ft pendulum, then we had to rap down that high bergshrund. our first overhanging rap off a snow bollard. things were wet and snowy on the "3rd class rock" bypass variation We woke up on day 3 soaked (i say woke up, but there wasn't that much sleep). Rain stopped around 1 pm. The whiteout however persisted. We eventually got restless and started up the w ridge of forbidden. Neither of us had been down the east side of the mountain before, so we knew we were in for a good challenge when the whiteout lingered, but we knew we had to keep going if the traverse was going to go down. Finding the raps down the east ledges was tricky, but not unreasonable, we eventually got onto the e shoulder of the mountain below the start of the east ridge route. and knew that we had no clue what layed ahead, so we tucked tails and pitched the tarp. west ridge with a fog break another little break in the whiteout while descending the east ledges our bivy the next morning, j-berg looking classy as ever We awoke on day 4 with the sun and our first view of the nw ridge of boston. And we were decidedly a little concerned. Nonetheless we packed up and found our way down to the end of the e shoulder of forbidden. if ya think boston peak is choss, try scrambling around out here, it will change your understanding of the word. We reached the end, and the large cliff that would feed us to the the notch below the sharkfin ridge. this was truly un-rappellable terrain. So we backtracked to a low 5th class gully. A very stressful hour of downclimbing and rappelling spat us on the edge of the Qiuen Sabe. Another gully by the notch led us up to the steep hanging snowfield below the sharkfin ridge. We were short on time because of weather and opted to leave the subsummit west of sharkfin for another time. We quickly found ourselves at sharkfin. We climbed something on the sw ridge of the tooth, hard to remember exactly what we did. It was solid, exposed and 5.8. Had a hanging belay and no other signs of climbers. Not sure what we climbed, but it was fun. After some victory food on the summit we rapped off and set sail into a sea of virgin choss. I think there was maybe 1 more rappel to access boston, then we started up the ridge. We soloed about 1500 ft of low 5th class before hitting a vertical section and roping up. A circuitous combination of rappeling and ridge climbing brought us to the famous "ore" describing boston. A knife edge ridge guarded the easier looking summit headwall. The prospect of bailing at that point seemed worse than climbing the ridge, so i pushed up. The rock was best described as feta cheese. And i had to mow about a foot of the surface rock off as i au chevaled to ensure the entire ridge wouldn't collapse with me on it. I fabricated a belay half way across this called "off-belay". Kyle didn't look convinced i had found gear. Climbing delicately through the remaining pitches we found ourselves in unprotectable low 5th. So we soloed to the summit. The register up there is pretty rad, its a neat summit and the regular route doesn't look that bad. A few rappels and we knew we had done it, sahale was like the icing on the cake. And a 2000 ft boot ski down to the sahale arm was the reward. We blasted obscene music and trudged down to the cascade pass th. Overall we pitched out 26 pitches, rappelled 26 times and the gps read 26.2 miles back at the eldo th. A proper cascades test-piece. Some day we might go back and add j-berg. Maybe when memory fails us. "The Boston Marathon" VI 5.8R scouting the downclimb to the qiuen sabe looking over at the nw ridge of boston starting up sharkfin the final approach to boston. We ended up climbing just under the ridge crest for good 4th and low 5th class traversing until the gendarme right before the ridge starts gaining elevation, thats were we roped up the first roped climbing on boston finishing up on the first pitch of the au cheval Heres the track i took of the traverse loaded into caltopo, my phone died for about half of boston peak, so there is a straight line through that section. Gear Notes: Single Rack to 2, 50m half rope Approach Notes: We approached via the hidden lakes th with a car shuttle to the eldo th
  13. 7 points
    Trip: MT. HOOD - Wy'East Face Trip Date: 01/26/2019 Trip Report: With the warm inversion taking place and fairly certain most other routes would be full of falling ice Mike and I decided to climb the Wy'East. We left the car at 4:30am with the temperature in the mid 40's, but the surface/snow temps fairly reasonable. Mike and I left the car with the intention of getting to the top of palmer in under and hour but unfortunately for the 5th time so far this year we just missed it and managed to hit the top of palmer right at 5:36am. Once at the top of palmer we traversed slightly up as we made our way over to the White River glacier. We did rope up to cross the glacier although everything is pretty covered up right now. From here we had a quick look at the South face of the steel cliffs just to see if it might be in condition and it definitely was not so we continued down and around to the standard Wy'East route. This was our first time climbing the full Wy'East route and overall we think that the conditions were pretty good. The guide book is pretty spot on with the description although the traverse really inst that exposed and the overall climbing is extremely straight forward and mellow. With surface temps being a lot better than we had planned we topped out and then decided to run down to illumination rock and see if we might be lucky enough to hit one of the south west side routes before they became ice/rockfall funnels. Unfortunately once we got there and started to head down we quickly realized that we might be a dollar short and a day late as ice was just screaming down. Overall it was a great day with stellar spring like conditions. Gear Notes: 2 x pickets (didn't use them and not really any need for them on this route) Approach Notes: Standard south side route up to Palmer then traversed up and over to the White River Glacier. We roped up for this crossing although everything is pretty closed up right now.
  14. 7 points
    Trip: Mt. Hood - North Face Right Gully Trip Date: 01/02/2019 Trip Report: New year new objectives! Plans, partners, and conditions finally aligned for the north face of Hood. I parked at Timberline and my friend drove us to Tilly Jane. 12am sharp we were on the trail. The approach to the A-Frame was super mellow and took us slightly over an hour. From there we followed a well compacted path to the carin on Cooper Spur. The snow on the glacier was boot deep most of the way. Not bad conditions at all. By 4:20 we stopped at about 8500 feet to nap because none of us got any sleep the day before. Sleeping at the base of Cooper 30 At 5:50 my partner woke me up. I'm pretty sure I was hypothermic but that nap felt soooo good. The slog up to the base of the route uneventful but the sunrise was well worth it. We crossed to the right of the bergschrund. The snow was kind of spooky but it went with ease. After some more slogging we got on the first ice step. It felt WI2-3ish overall. After about 50 meters of climbing I made a belay with a screw and picket. First ice step Me leading up the step The snow between the ice steps was quite pleasant. We comfortably soloed through it, kicking in deep if we needed to rest. Here's the second ice step. It felt pretty easy as well. WI2 probably. A few hundred more feet of slogging brought us to Cathedral Spire. It looked like a fun climb for another day. Climbing up one of those cracks looked compelling and fun. What the snow looked like Summit pyramid. At the summit pyramid we faced the first alpine ice we had seen on the entire route. Opting not to simu-solo, we unroped for the last stretch. Pulling the summit cornice was bittersweet. Throughout the entire route we faced no wind, relatively mild temperatures, and perfect visibility. When we got to the summit, it was a different story. It was a total whiteout, icy wind made everything freeze, and things got pretty damn cold. We decided to descend the old chute because the pearly gates were iced up. We made it down in record slow time, mistaking ice formations for buildings and people a number of times. The descent to Palmer had very little snow, it was mostly these ice rock things. Our lack of sleep was finally catching up to us. When we got to the car, I began seeing imaginary hot air balloons and large apartment buildings. Overall though, it was an exceptional trip. The snow was great. The ice was great. Even the approach was pretty mellow and fun. All in all it took us about 15 hours including the impromptu nap time. I honestly have no idea when we got to the summit. It was a fun but relatively easy romp up the mountain. here's what the descent conditions looked like Gear Notes: 4 Screws 2 Pickets Approach Notes: Follow the trail, descent at the carin
  15. 7 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
  16. 7 points
    Trip: Lundin - Southeast Ridge Trip Date: 11/17/2018 Trip Report: Ahhhhhhh......... Smooting. Is there ever a better fall activity? Wait, don't answer that. Just look at the photos below and don't feel so sad that the ski season hasn't really started yet (have you bought your Smoot copy yet?). And get a warm fuzzy feeling knowing that @cfire, @genepires, @Kit, and myself all had a very nice friendship hike to the top of a snowy ridge. "Congratulations! it wasn't terrible."- @cfire #moderatealpinism Gear Notes: half rope, ice axe, crampons, helmet, light rack (this time of year). When the rock is dry you can probably scramble it all at a grade of exposed Cl. 4. Snow and ice made it a bit more exciting. Approach Notes: Commonwealth Basin trail to the end and then follow the ridge up.
  17. 7 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
  18. 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'
  19. 6 points
    Trip: Alpine Lakes Wilderness - Mt. Daniel via Snoqualmie Pass (The Alpine Lakes Crest Traverse) Trip Date: 06/30/2019 Trip Report: Over the weekend, Logan and I completed a high route from Snoqualmie Pass to the summit of Mt. Daniel, traversing the remote 7,000 ft+ peaks we call the "Alpine Lakes Crest". We started at Snoqualmie, took the PCT to Chikamin, went over Chikamin, down to Iceberg Lake, up to the Overcoat Glacier, across to Summit Chief Pass, down to the Dutch Miller Gap Trail, up to La Bohn Gap, over Hinman, across to Pea Soup Lake, up Mt. Daniel and down to the Cathedral Pass Trailhead. 37 miles, 14-15k ft gain. The meat of the the trip is a spectacular 20 miles of nearly continuous off trail, above treeline travel. We didn't see a single other soul in those 20 miles. The crux was definitely traversing from the Overcoat Glacier to Summit Chief Pass. Stay high on the ridge and aim for the "key ledge" an obvious sloping ledge about 100 ft below the ridgetop that gets you through the obvious vertical cleft that splits the ridge. The scramble up to the Overcoat Glacier from Iceberg Lake was also a little cruxy near the top on the wet 2nd and 3rd class ledges. On a side note, we figured out a great alternate route up the Lynch Glacier. Climb the ridge on the west side of Pea Soup Lake to a snow finger and ascend this to the Upper Lynch Glacier. This gets you by the lower icefall, which is difficult to even access once the lake melts out. This region may not have any Bulgers, permits, or a national park to its name, but we think it is as raw, rugged, and stunning as any other part of the Cascades we have visited. We crossed four glaciers, passed dozens of sparkling lakes, and danced across remote summits. The terrain was huge: everything we dreamed of and then some. There were so many special spots I don't know where to start. And the line felt so pure and alpine. We did the traverse comfortably in two days, having to route find along the way. Our first day was 11 hours and second was just over 9, so it is definitely doable in one big push, but it is also worthy of 3 or 4 days to enjoy the marvelous spots along the way or maybe bag some more summits. If you want to get it, I'd recommend sooner rather than later because the snow cover makes all the boulder and talus less painful. For more details and beta, see: https://climberkyle.com/…/…/the-alpine-lakes-crest-traverse/ Descending Chikamin. Nice tarns on the backside of Chikamin. Iceberg Lake. Looking up to Overcoat Peak. Crossing the Overcoat Glacier. Chimney Rock. Summit Chief Pass. Little Big Chief. Williams Lake. Chain Lakes. Shoulder of Hinman. Lepul Lake and Baker in the distance. Hinman Summit views. Descending to Hinman Tarns. Hinman Tarns. Alt route: Ascend the ridge and snow finger on the right up to the Lynch Glacier. Pea Soup Lake. High on the Lynch Glacier. Daniel Summit! Daniel summit views. Racing down before the storm hits. Gear Notes: Waterproof running shoes, crampons, ice axe. Didn't bring a rope but some might want to for the Lynch Glacier. Approach Notes: PCT to Chikamin, then straight up the face.
  20. 6 points
    Trip: Banks Lake, WA - Zenith, Emerald, Cable, Razorblades plus others Trip Date: 03/03/2019 to 03/14/2019 Trip Report: With reports of an incredible season at Banks Lake, my partner (Joe Peters) and I decided we needed to get over there. We drove over on March 3 to find a good place to set up a camp. Joe had to finish a couple things at work, but my wife Trisha came out to climb for the 1st two days until Joe got back. Then Joe and I were able to spend another 9 days climbing some of the wildest ice I have ever been on. Banks lake is that good!! I didn't list any grades in this trip report. Banks is a funny place and I found that grades were tricky to judge. In the end I decided that Wayne Wallace was right when he said..."Grades don't matter, everything here is hard." We camped in Joe's tipi tent which is pretty luxurious complete with stove for heat and drying gear. The best spot we found to camp was right across from Salt and Pepper. Camping limit is 15 days, it was free, and there was a toilet. We were able to sit in camp and stare up at Salt and Pepper every evening. Evening light in our camp. The view of Salt and Pepper from camp. (photo credit Joe Peters) Living it up inside the tipi. With that stove we could be sitting around in a t-shirt. It was absolutely essential for drying out boots and other wet gear after climbing every day. Here is a brief overview of our trip. 3/4 - Peewees #2, 3, 4, 6, and 7 3/5 - Climb below Emerald, Trotsky's Folly and Trotsky's Revenge (also called Phase Transition) 3/6 - Peewees #1 and 5 3/7 - The Emerald and Satan's Panties (also called Absent Minded Professor) 3/8 - Tea 'n' the Sahara 3/9 - The Cable and H2O2 3/10 - Unnamed climb in Moses Coulee 3/11 - Bombs over Old Baghdad (the climb across Banks lake at MP3) 3/12 - Shitting Razorblades 3/13 - Salt and Pepper 3/14 - Zenith I will just let the pictures tell the rest of story with a few captions. Peewee's Playground. I referenced these from right to left starting with 1 and ending with 8. Me leading Peewee #4 on the 1st day. A great place to start getting used to Banks ice! (photo credit Trisha Thorman) Craig Pope had just put up this line which he thought was probably an FA. It transitioned from the ice through the rock and out to the hanging dagger. It is Peewee #2 and he named it Turn the Page. This is a couple guys from MT climbing it on TR in the beautiful afternoon sun. The next day Trisha and I climbed this little flow. It was fantastic steep climbing that eased off about half way up. It is right off the road at the Emerald Pullout. It is amazing to me that there are so many of these lines that don't have names. Anywhere else and these good pitches of ice would all be named! Trisha doing a TR lap on Trotsky's Revenge. Day 3 Trisha headed back home and Joe arrived. Here Joe is arriving at the top of the fantastic Peewee #1. This is Satan's Panties (also called Absent Minded Professor). Rumor is that it hasn't come in for multiple years. It was a really fun multi-tiered climb that was a great warmup for the bigger climbs at Banks. The Emerald sits tucked up in a small valley above the main Banks Lake proper. It was a fantastic steep pitch of excellent climbing. It even faced north so it didn't get any sun to ruin the ice! Me leading the Emerald. (photo credit Joe Peters) Joe topping out on the Emerald at the end of a great day! With a cloudy day we decided to brave the lake and head across for some of the bigger lines. Thankfully the lake ice was thick and solid with no noises. The climb directly above me is Tea 'n' the Sahara. The one to my right is unknown.....it never came in this year unfortunately (or at least the dagger never touched down). (Photo credit Joe Peters). A closer view of Tea 'n' the Sahara. This was definitely my favorite climb of the trip. It consisted of 4 steep pitches each about 90-120 feet in length. The ice was typical Banks with plenty of excavating but the position and length of the climbing make it a classic for sure. Joe climbing the final steep 4th pitch. Looking back up at pitch 4 of Tea 'n' the Sahara from rappel. We were able to rappel the entire route with 2 rope stretching 70m rappels......take 70m ropes! (photo credit Joe Peters) The Cable....it is such an amazing, steep, crazy, gymnastic, different route. An absolute must do at Banks. Here Brian Williams is a little past halfway up the long pitch. Me leading the Cable. It is so good......just go do it! (photo credit Joe Peters) The Cable in the setting sun. Next we went to climb H2O2. Here are a couple of unknown climbers on it the night before. Yet another great pitch of climbing right next to the road. Here Joe is putting up H2O2 in the evening sun. The following day we drove over to Moses Coulee. Unfortunately Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were pretty wrecked by the sun. This is an unnamed climb on the same road about 1/2 mile before Butch Cassidy. Looking up at the Unnamed route was awe inspiring. There were so many hanging daggers through the steep upper roofs. I gave it a go on lead but ended up sitting on a screw in the roof. I found out I wasn't fit enough to lock off on a tool and clean hanging daggers for that long. Still an awesome experience! Me approaching the large ice roof of hanging icicles. (Photo credit Joe Peters) The next day was cloudy so we headed back across the lake. This climb is right across from MP3. It isn't in the WA ice book and nobody seems to know what it is called. After staring at it disappearing into the fog above we decided to call it Stairway to Heaven. (Edit: sounds like it is called Bombs over old Baghdad) Here is Joe leading up pitch 2. The next day was time to get on Razorblades. This is a climb that had been on my list to do for a while and it didn't disappoint. Some years the first pitch isn't in or so thin that you can't protect it well. This year it was fat! Me leading up the crux first pitch of Razorblades. I don't think I have ever climbed ice by pulling on ice mushrooms with my hands instead of swinging my tools into the ice....fun but funky! (Photo credit Joe Peters) Finally after staring at Salt and Pepper every night for a week, we decided we needed to go and do it. The guidebook made the 1st pitch sound hard and scary. It climbs the loose rock on the left and traverses up the snow ramp to the ice. It was loose, but I found a decent pin and a couple cam placements. You definitely don't need a #3 C4. I would take a couple of KB pins and a set of cams from BD .3 to #1. The crux step of rock is easy 5th but it is loose and a fall would be very bad. Joe climbing up the steep ice of Salt and Pepper. It was a fantastic climb with big exposure. This is looking straight down for about 300 feet. We wrapped up our trip with Zenith. A fitting end to a fantastic trip. It was very fat this year but still steep and long! (Photo credit Joe Peters) Joe and I on Zenith. Being a roadside crag, many times a few people stop and watch. Sue Tebow was one such person but she was kind enough to leave us her contact information so we could get a couple pictures she took. It is always a treat to get both the leader and the follower in the same picture. Thanks Sue! (Photo credit Sue Tebow) A final parting shot of the huge deathcicle above Zenith. It was so fascinating to look up at but we wasted no time in getting out of there. It consisted of a thin hollow tube of ice that extended 30 feet or so below the cliff. Out of the center poured a huge amount of water. (Photo credit Joe Peters) Gear Notes: Ice screws and 70m ropes Approach Notes: Short and easy unless you are crossing the lake!
  21. 6 points
    Trip: Mt. Hood - Infinity Loop Trip Date: 06/21/2019 Trip Report: After a hard day and a half in the mountains, I'm stoked to report the Mt. Hood infinity loop goes! The past few weeks I was busy with graduation stuff and couldn't get on the mountain. Finally, on the 20th, the weather looked alright and I decided to head up to attempt the loop. My plan was to climb up Cooper Spur, run half of the Timberline trail, climb Cooper Spur again, and then run the other half of the Timberline trail. Knowing how much gear I needed, I cached some food, water, and clothes by Timberline Lodge before I started up. The rest of the supplies I would hike up with and stash at Cloud Cap Campground. At around 4 or so I arrived at the trail head to go to Cloud Cap Campground. The gate was still closed so I hiked up the trail to camp in about an hour and half. The weather was pretty nice despite some wind and clouds surrounding the summit of the mountain. I was all alone at camp which is always welcome. After eating some dehydrated pad thai, I was asleep before the sun set. The beautiful approach hike 4 am rolls around and my alarm goes off. I throw some food in my small pack and head up trail. Everything is going pretty good until I start the switchbacking up to the route. Visibility could have been better, the wind was howling, and I was pretty cold. The tee shirt plus R1 was probably not the best clothing choice for the conditions that day. When I got to tie in rock, I hid behind it and warmed up for a few minutes. Having never been on Cooper Spur before, I was surprised at the type of climbing. The first few thousand feet were basically a moderately steep snow slope, however, the last 600 or so involved thin ice climbing, mixed moves, and lots of exposed rock. I was glad I decided to bring 2 tools. After about 3 and a half hours I was on the summit. There still wasn't any visibility but the wind was gone. I cruised down the old chute and was at Timberline by the early afternoon. Part of the trail up Summit selfie When I got to my cache, I put on running shorts, ditched the boots, crampons, and stocked up on more GU and water. I decided to take the west side of the Timberline Trail first, the west side was longer and would provide less down time before the second summit. The first few miles of the trail were pretty snowy but after Paradise Park it was largely dry. It was pretty wet and fog obscured any scenic view. I think I made it to camp around 7 pm that night, the first climb slowed down my pace on the trail significantly. At camp, I was no longer alone. Apparently the gate opened that day! I was stoked because I could hitch a ride down after my trip instead of hiking back out. After eating some apples and changing into climbing stuff again, I was off on the second lap. This time conditions were absolutely perfect. Clear skies and no wind allowed me to enjoy the stars and see the lights of the city. That view will never get old. This time it took me about 6 hours to reach the summit. I took liberal breaks because I didn't want to be tired for the mixed section. At 2:30, I was on the summit for the second time in 24 hours. It was quiet, clear, and very enjoyable. This time, the descent was harder. The hard snow put a number on my knees during the descent. At this point, the lack of sleep was catching up to me. Cool rock I saw The stunning, but haunted Ramona Falls Creek crossing with huge carin Enjoying better conditions later in the day When I made it back down to Timberline, I had 16 more miles to go. My legs felt surprisingly fresh when I headed out. The first 6 miles or so were cruiser, however, intermittent snow slowed me down on the last little bit. I made it back to the parking lot after 32 hours, 28 minutes, and 8 seconds. This trip was one of my favorites in recent memory. I hope the infinity loop catches on on Mt. Hood. I would love to see some hardmen knock down the time. In total it was 56.65 miles and 20,445 feet of elevation gain. Get after it Gear Notes: Tee shirt and R1 Approach Notes: Road to Cloud Cap is now open
  22. 6 points
    Trip: Bolivia - Cordillera Real - Pequeño Alpamayo, Cabeza de Condor, Huayna Potosí, Illampu, and Illimani Trip Date: 05/26/2019 Trip Report: I just returned from a 3-week climbing trip to Bolvia and figured some folks here would be interested in hearing about the climbing down there. We stayed mostly healthy, had perfect weather and conditions, and the logistics went smoothly, which made it possible to pack in a lot of climbs: May 26 - Arrive in La Paz May 28 - Pequeño Alpamayo (17,618') - West-Southwest Ridge (III, AD) May 30 - Cabeza de Condor (18,530') - Southwest Ridge (III, AD+) June 2 - Huayna Potosí (19,974') - French Direct Route (III, AD+) June 6 - Illampu (20,892') - Northwest Headwall to Southwest Ridge (III, AD/AD+) June 12 - Illimani (21,125') - West Spur / Normal Route (II, PD) June 15 - Depart La Paz My partner and I had previously done similar trips together to Patagonia and Peru, so we felt comfortable designing our own itinerary and climbing alone without guides. I'd recommend this for experienced climbers who appreciate a "faster and lighter" mentality (and only if you have at least one person who can speak enough Spanish to get by). We bought Yossi Brain's 1999 Bolivia Climbing Guide and found enough beta online as well. We did a healthy amount of Google Earth scanning to identify camps and approach trails too. In my trip reports linked above, I've included Strava links with our GPS tracks to save others some trouble (just ignore if you want more suspense : ). In terms of logistics, we flew into La Paz, which is crazy city of nearly a million people in a valley with another million or so on the sprawling altiplano called El Alto. The city is an interesting experience in contrasts, with everything from folks living in dirt-floored huts to a shiny cable car system. La Paz is about 12,000' depending on where you stay and El Alto is about 14,000'. We opted to rent an Airbnb in La Paz for the whole trip as a basecamp (at ~$30/night, this was pretty economical). We started in La Paz for 3 days / 2 nights to acclimate before our first objective, which we deliberately chose to be one of the shorter peaks (Pequeño Alpamayo at 17,618'). This worked well for us. We slowly ratcheted up the elevation over the course of the trip and never felt worse than headaches and throwing up breakfast once. You can hop into the links above to hear more about our experiences and the routes. I've put a few pictures in here to whet your appetite! - Jeff Gear Notes: We brought 5 pickets, 8 ice screws, some nuts, and some pins, just in case. We ended up placing pickets only once or twice on the trip and simul-climbed or simul-soloed almost all of the terrain. Approach Notes: See each trip report for some details on how we got there and a GPS track.
  23. 6 points
    Trip: Kulshan - Coleman-Deming Trip Date: 01/15/2019 Trip Report: I want to give thanks and raise my hands to the Lummi Nation for this safe, successful and amazing trip into their territory and for the company of Kulshan. Drove fairly high up near the trail head with a Subaru WRX, hardly within a 10 min. walk in fact. Super awesome, just need to navigate a thick berm roughly 3 miles down from trailhead. This short distance probably saved us an hour, so starting by 0345 looked super good. Skinned maybe 15 minutes on road before reaching trailhead, transitioned into walk mode on some thin forest coverage. Trail was 95% clear until it wasn’t. Walked for around 40min – one hour before switching into touring. Gained the bottom of Heliotrope Ridge. I was able skin directly up in Magic Carpets, sadly my buddy was forced to carry with his set of mole-hairs. Upon gaining a lower terrace of the ridge, we encountered two gentleman who were super stoked on their coming attempt on Cosley-Houston route on Colfax. After stoking each-others’ fire, we parted. Shortly after we threw on ski crampons, which turned useless as I fell about 5m about hitting their tent. Sorry guys, it hurt my pride than anything. So thus, started the stair-master climb for about 1,000’ up to around 6,8000’ where we returned to the sweet skinning life. Gliding out towards the far skiers’ right of the ridge, after examining the route we pressed on maintaining a high traverse along the flanks of Coleman-Deming. Moving towards the center of the football field, encountered possible wind deposited snow, was harmless but still there. From there navigated through football field, opting for a middle-ish route, towards gaining a small hump parallel to a fatty which was slowly filled in. Containing only one real bridge crossing, it appeared to be filled in more to the right (skiers’ left) and surely with quick movement – or luck – it held, providing no gut-wrenching moments for either of us. Moving forward, the glacier turned more into terraces featuring zigzagging crevasses, although small, daunting and thinner than expected. The decision prior to the climb was to not bring crevasse kits in expectation of a larger snowpack, it will be there after this storm cycle this week but not thick enough for my taste. Thus, below the serac directly skiers’ left, we turned around. Switching back to ski mode, careful navigation down was required. Once reaching 500’ lower, we encountered the two men from around 5am – they were not so stoked this time as they were death marching along our path in boots. Anyway, continued back our ascent path, but opting for gaining the top of Heliotrope for a small photoshoot. Enjoying the clear skies and beautiful company of Kulshan, we had not failed at the end of the day. The ski down, for me, was alright. Not the best with weight on my back, it looked quite more enjoyable for my buddy though. Seems like the route would be much better all-around after a good cycle. Followed ascent path down, was able to ski a solid distance into the forest before carrying skis for maybe 20-30 min. Upon reaching the trailhead, the forest service was delightfully groomed. Back to car around 12, Bellingham 1330. Drove out to Bellingham for a fat burrito lunch and beer – highly recommend, their Mexican food options were superb. Photos courtesy of my awesome homie, Billy K., he's da man Gear Notes: Ski crampons, whippet, crampons, ice axe Approach Notes: Forest walk was alright, just bring some music.
  24. 6 points
    Trip: Three Fingers Lookout - Meadow Mountain Trail Trip Date: 01/26/2019 Trip Report: Me and Fred took advantage of the prolonged crappy skiing to do some mountaineering for a change. We had thought about biking the closed road to the summer trail, but it didn't look that much shorter and I remembered the lower portion of the trail as being pretty crappy from years ago when I did it. With the high snow line it seemed like a good choice... not too sure now. We shouldered our snowshoes and walked from the road closure to 3900' on the Meadow Mountain Trail before we needed to put on snowshoes. The abandoned trail was in great shape, better than some maintained trails I've been on. The snow was pretty soft in the old growth and icy in clearings, so side-hilling was tough with snowshoes on, but we toiled upward. The route it turns out is circuitous in three dimensions... up and down, side to side, all around the map we went, mostly upward. At Saddle Lake we were astonished to learn it was 1 pm. Thoughts of camping early flashed through my mind - and oh yeah, I forgot a pot for the stove, so anywhere but the lookout means no tea, coffee, or mountain house dinners. Bummer. We assumed there would be some kind of pot at the lookout... If we can get in. The north side traverse was thought-provoking on firm sun crust. No-fall terrain for sure. We missed most of the sunset traversing on the north side. At dark we were within 600' of the summit. The rimed rocks of the summit area threw perspective out the window in the headlamp's beam. We seemed to fly upon rocks that seconds earlier appeared hundreds of feet above. It would have been eerie if it hadn't been for the tiredness and the ever-present thoughts of what if. What if we can't get in? What if there is no pot? We had watered up so there was little chance of death by thirst, but it would have been decidedly unpleasant. We dug for an hour and a half through multiple hard ice layers interspersed with sugary snow. It was hard work, and we didn't really know where we were digging. For future reference, the door is on the far lookers left of the building, not near the middle. In short, we figured it out, got in, and spent a lovely night lying about in luxury. Thanks to all the volunteers that keep this place together. Sadly one of the window panes in the door was broken out which let in a bunch of snow that piled behind the door. This made our entry tricky. We removed all the snow, but it will just come back. We couldn't figure out a way to block up the window with the supplies we had. If you go there take a bunch of duct tape or something. The hike out was uneventful, though footsore with wet socks. Next time I'll try the shortcut listed in the comments here: Fred checking out a huge log across the road: Our entry into the lookout: The view from the front door in the morning, photo by Fred: Tricky downclimbing for the first steps of the day, photo by Fred: Looking back at the summit from Tim Can Pass in the morning. The lookout is on the middle peak in the photo: We hiked down into the sea of clouds we saw from the summit: Gear Notes: Axe, crampons, snowshoes. Approach Notes: Meadow Mountain Trail from road closure.
  25. 6 points
    Trip: Argonaut Peak - North East Couloir Trip Date: 11/17/2018 Trip Report: Yesterday Conrad and I climbed the North East Couloir of Argonaut. We found fun, and challenging conditions. We left Leavenworth around 3:20am and were headed up the trail by 4:00am. We moved quickly along the trail to the spot we had decided we would branch off and cross mountaineers creek. Upon crossing, we filtered more water and started our bushwhack as it became light. After a while in the trees we ended up in a small boulder field and found a string of cairns. Though headed more toward Stuart we opted to follow. This proved to be fruitful as they led us toward the tree finger that allows one to avoid the bushwack from hell in the slide alders. We followed the beta from Jens Holsten posted on a previous TR that said "Here is the beta: After crossing Mountaineers Creek, cross over a wooded rib or two and then head straight south through the woods. DO NOT enter the boulder field until you have literally walked out the end of the woods as far south as the trees extend. At this point you can hook back left on a talus finger that avoids all that nasty bush whacking." Posted on a TR from 2011. This beta proved to be key and accelerated the approach. We ascended the talus and frozen dirt and caught up to a group of three. We never were close enough to talk as we went futher left to climb some approach ice smears. Approach Ice Once in the Couloir we soloed up to the first rock step. This had a steep smear of ice and proved to be great fun. The ice filled the crack enough that I had to run it out on the smear but felt pretty secure. From here we unroped and continued booting up the snow with a few sections of easy rock mixed in. We passed the alternate route that Jens mentions and opted not to take it due to it appearing to not take any gear. (Thin ice line in right of photo, will definitely take if I climb this again) Above this there was another steep rock step which we climbed on its right and turned out to be a one move wonder, one hook over the top followed by lots of grunting to pull myself up the to top of it. Following this pitch we unroped and continued all the way to the notch looking south. Should have gone right to gain the snow slopes at some point but we ended up here and wrapped around on to the south face. We found what looked to be our easiest line up from there and Conrad led this feature up mostly rock with a snow dusting to the snow slopes (sorry, no photo, but it was very difficult and pretty heady, glad I didnt lead it). We booted up a nasty breakable crust to the summit ridge. This was exposed but fairly easy and we opted to solo everything. After a summit snack around noon (I think??) we retraced our steps and following one rap on tat we were in the col at the top of the couloir. (Photo climbing on to summit) Retracing our steps: We continued down the East ridge another 30ft to another tat anchor and rapped from here into the top of a snow gully leading south.We booted down this to the flatter southern slopes. We chose to descend the col between dragontail and colchuck peak to colchuck lake so we started our sunny slog to there. Once at the col we could tell light was starting to fade and we had long since finished out water so we didn't lollygag. We started down the Colchuck Glacier and quickly hit the bergshrund. There was a thin snow bridge that we chose not to trust and instead took the leap... We found lots of steepish exposed glacial ice and spent a lot more time on the front points as we climbed down toward the lake. Eventually we ran out of snow and ice and switched to approach shoes and started walking down the rocks (now covered in frost). We made it to the trail right about when we needed our lights and has a nice (read: long and tired) walk out, arriving back at the cars at 7:00. For future fall climbers, the thin ice line to the right in the third photo appears that it would be a very fun alternate route. This is a very fun fall alpine route! GPS Track, (disclaimer, we didn't follow the best route 100% of the time) http://www.movescount.com/moves/move254799988 Gear Notes: We took 3 screws and never placed one, but would still take one or two because ice was around. A few nuts and a few cams from fingers up to bd #2 proved to be most useful. Had pins but never placed any. Approach Notes: Follow the cairns if you find them and take the tree finger up as much of the talus slope as you can (stay further right than you'd expect).
  26. 6 points
    Trip: Mount Chaval - Standard Western Ramp Trip Date: 09/28/2018 Trip Report: Ahhhhhhhhhhh.....fall in the high country. Perhaps my favorite time of year. Crisp air, vibrant colors, no bugs, and long enough nights to actually get some sleep. Sure the glaciers are wrecked and the rock often damp, but it give you an excuse to head off the beaten path and do a bit of chossing! And chossing Kit and I did this past weekend on Chaval. We had the pleasure of zero trail between the car on the Illabot road and the peak, flavored by terrain that was always just a bit more rugged than the map would suggest. Given the modest altitude and barriers to admission, I was a little surprised that 2-3 parties a year climb Chaval. I guess its prominence from Darrington draws many potential suitors. At least one likely got more than they bargained for. We found a pair of Merrell boots neatly tied to each other and hung over a tree branch on the ridge leading to camp. Huh? We couldn't come up with a good reason to leave a pair of boots like that in the middle of such rugged terrain, or at least one that didn't involve a rescue. Just another Cascadian mystery that I probably will never find the answer to. And isn't mystery a big part of what draws us back to the hills time and time again? CHAVAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!! Mount Chaval, "It's like rehab for fat people" . Kit pauses at infinity fat camp. It doesn't get much better for fall colors on the west side: There she be, from camp. Kit had steel, I had aluminum. One was better than the other. Snowking: This wasn't mandatory, but it sort of was, just because it was there. Kit just below the summit: The view east from the top of Chaval: Dome: Snowking: Trying to beat the sunset: Time to get out the headlamps: The gloaming has begun: Yes, it looked like we attacked North Korea: My favorite: Dakobed: Sloan, Monte Cristo Peaks, and Pugh from camp: As we hiked out, the rain began to fall: Gear Notes: Helmet, ice axe, crampons Approach Notes: Park on Illabot road, on the western end of the old clear cut near the bridge over Illabot creek. Diagonal across lower part of unit, cross small stream to gain rib which is followed steeply upward to the top of the old unit. Angle up and left to ridge, topping out near small tarn on USGS quad. Follow ridge, generally, to 6100' col where good camps lie with year round water. You'll need to deviate here and there from ridge as it is craggy in sections. Past 6100' col you'll drop off north side to glacier via crappy gully (late season) or steep snow. Follow glacier up to ridge again and the prominent ramp which splits west face of Chaval. Take that ramp all the way to summit ridge and summit via some exposed class 3.
  27. 6 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.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. 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
  31. 6 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.
  32. 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
  33. 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.
  34. 6 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
  35. 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!
  36. 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.
  37. 5 points
    Trip: Colchuck Balanced Rock - West Face Trip Date: 06/23/2019 Trip Report: Some people use the solstice for really long days from sunrise to sunset, getting in as much adventure as possible. We used it to sleep in and still get in a full day of awesome climbing. Leaving the trailhead at 9am we made quick work of the hike up to the lake. From there it was uncharted terrain for the both of us. The climbers trail was way easier to follow than we expected, very well cairned and worn down. The wall looking very very good Two guys crushing Let it Burn. They looked very cool from our route. Such a cool looking route! The corner had one serious wet patch that thwarted my OS. Not bad at all though. I got very cold at the belay under the corner, making for some numb tips on the traverse. Sean about to onsight the freaking crux! Unfortunately I got no photos of the chimney. I thought it was fun. Sean did not. The descent to the base was pretty cruiser. About 50/50 kitty litter to snow. A fall on the snow could be pretty bad if you don't stop but definitely not worth bringing an axe on route, just be careful. There are currently no bugs at the base or on route. Overall the route is in great condition. Only one small wet patch up near the top of P4 and the only fixed gear is the nuts and pins at the top of P4. I cleaned a fixed nut out of the crux thinking my partner had placed it. It came out very easily. Our time came in around 11.5 hours C2C giving us enough time to go get some dinner in town. Gear Notes: Double rack .1-2 single 3&4. A bunch of slings and a single rack of nuts, mostly small. There is no longer a fixed piece at the crux. Sorry. Approach Notes: All snow free and in good condition.
  38. 5 points
    Trip: Forbidden Tour - Standard plus Eldrorado ski Trip Date: 05/05/2019 Trip Report: I'd been wanting to do this tour for more than a dozen years and I wasn't disappointed....Let's just say that. We did it in a leisurely three days (camp one below Sharkin) which allowed for a full afternoon of oogling at one of the premiere deep holes in the range - Moraine Lake. Often looked at, but rarely visited, it has vistas that even Harvey Manning would struggle to translate into words. If you follow our itinerary, on days one and three you should expect shenanigans, which are mostly unavoidable, but such is the price for one of the great adventures in the range. It is worth the price of admission. Special kudos to the young Tyler, for putting up with the predictable banter (chronic pain, kids, politics, etc.) from a bunch of middle aged dudes for a few days, and gamely signing onto a trip where he didn't know any of us. Your enthusiasm for the range will serve you for many years! I could've spoiled it for you with a lot more info, but I'll let you dream about it for a few years and imagine, like I did. Gear Notes: Skis or splitboard. Whippet or light axe. Boot crampons, ski crampons, helmet, crevasse rescue gear, enough rope for a 30m rap. Approach Notes: Sharkfin col (go up the easy gulley but not all the way- turn left halfway up to established station) to Boston Gl. to Forbidden Gl to Moraine Lake to Inspiration and out standard Eldo trail.
  39. 5 points
    Trip: Buckner Mountain/Mount Buckner - North Face Trip Date: 05/14/2019 Trip Report: Last week, Tyler and I skiied the Sahale Arm. This past Monday/Tuesday, though, we decided to ratchet it up a bit and go check out the north face of Buckner. Our plan: Boston Basin > Boston-Sahale Col > Boston Glacier > camp > Buckner > Horseshoe Basin > Sahale Arm. With skis/splitboard! We had a beautiful, amazing adventure! We discussed our hesitation with Tuesday's 2-4" snow and gusty winds forecast; I really appreciated Tyler's rational explanation of how it probably did not mean certain death, but that he was open to other objectives, too. "I just want to be in the mountains." We decided to take fuel and food for an extra day if we ended up needing to hunker down.We left the Boston Basin trailhead with a fine alpine start of a bit past 11 AM. Tyler decided to try carrying his splitboard as Star Wars thrusters. I decided not to ski strap my skis together, and we both thought our mods worked well! I think he's doing a shakedown, stability-test dance We were able to get onto snow relatively quickly and start skinning. Conditions were great, fairly cool and mostly overcast. We were able to skin all the way to the col with no issues, then switched to crampons and made our way up and around the ridge toward Boston. There was a little section of steepish snow to go around to wrap onto the Boston Glacier side: About to get over onto the shoulder of Boston; Boston Glacier in background. Photo: Tyler But then we were on the glacier, transitioning to skis/splitboard, and having a blast on the great snow!! The sun had come out for a bit, and it was amazing. These two photos are looking toward Sahale: We skiied/splitboarded around the huge crevasses and made our way toward the bottom of the north face. We had to skin a bit, but then soon we were making a sort of snow lean-to in the slope. Tyler made sure to put in a skylight/window. The sunset over Forbidden was fantastic, and the night was wind-less. Tuesday at 5 AM was when the weather was supposed to move in, but there was just light overcast and nothing ominous in sight, no wind. We packed up and started uphill... about 20 minutes or so after we began, I punched through some rock moat thing up to my chest (feet dangling in space until I realized I could kind of stem). Exciting! After I extricated myself, our headlamps revealed ~8' down to some big rocks. I was super super slow on this section and Tyler was extremely patient! About halfway up the face, we saw the nasty black clouds coming in and the snow finally arrived. As we got toward the summit, the winds picked up. Finally we were on the summit (Tyler signed the register/log and noted that the last entry was last October, hmmm) and then quickly off, downclimbing steep icy-ish slopes to the southwest in very low visibility. Photo: Tyler Photo: Tyler We found a shallow moat to shelter in as we refueled ourselves, and then we continued downclimbing for about 800ish feet to where the angle eased up a bit. We put on our skis/splitboard and carefully made our way across the icy-ish slopes of Horseshoe Basin and all of the avy debris. By this time it had changed to rain, and the snow was softening up. We got some good turns in! Finally we were toward the bottom of the exit gully and put the skis/splitboard away, and booted up and up and up in very low visibility. Some phone GPS-checking confirmed our route in the (did I mention?) very low visibility: Finally, within sight of Sahale Glacier Camp, we put on our skis/splitboard and got some good turns in without succumbing to too much vertigo, using our Sahale Arm ski memories to get into the Soldja Boii Creek drainage and with only a few minor tree shenanigans, finally got to the end of the snow, and then popped onto the Cascade Pass trail, and then back to the car! The pizza and beer were well-earned. I'm really grateful that I was able to go on this adventure with Tyler. He's patient, kind, generous, and encouraging. Thank you, Tyler! :-) Times: Day 1: 8ish hours Day 2: 9ish hours Gear Notes: 1 60m half/twin rope --> not used 3 pickets + 2 long screws --> not used One regular axe + one tool --> good Skis/snowboard --> worth bringing! Ski crampons --> yes Bivy sacks + shovels --> dope Goop --> yes (Tyler's calorific concoction of peanut butter, chocolate chips, and oats, in a ziplock bag) Approach Notes: Through, up, up, over, down, around
  40. 5 points
    I went up to Chair Peak last two Saturdays. I noticed a hard, 1/4" thick layer of ice under the snowpack. Last Saturday it was covered by 12" of unconsolidated snow. The steep slopes in Chair basin had slid below the SW Chimney all the way to the hard layer. I personally find the persistent sliding layer unusual for the Cascades, and I don't think the warm, wet weather this week will do much to consolidate the snowpack to the sliding layer or below it. I am concerned that the sliding layer will persist throughout the winter causing high avalanche danger until some kind of event or change in conditions bonds the ice layer to the layers below and above it. Please be mindful as you head out into the backcountry this weekend that avalanche conditions appear to me to be uncharacteristic of the Cascades. Be safe out there.
  41. 5 points
    Trip: Buckhorn Mountain - High Traverse Trip Date: 11/18/2018 Trip Report: Sunday was summer-like t-shirt weather in the Olympics! I took advantage and did a high traverse over Buckhorn, NE Buckhorn, Iron, and Worthington from the Big Quilcene valley. The views were incredible and the terrain was engaging albeit a bit chossy. Surprisingly, despite the traverse being well above 6000' elevation, there was zero snow on the entire thing. The difference between the Olympics and Cascades right now is significant. Approximate route: Foreshortened view of Buckhorn(s) and Iron from the Big Q trail: Marmot Pass: Buckhorn from Marmot Pass. The main peak is an easy walkup on trail: Constance, Warrior, and Inner Constance from Buckhorn trail: Mystery, Fricaba, and Deception from Buckhorn trail: View of the traverse from the top of Buckhorn. NE peak in the middle, Worthington on the left. Iron is hidden behind the NE peak. The descent off NE Peak (pictured here) was easily the crux. In general, stay on the east side and pick your way down various chimney/groove/ledge systems. It's never more than 4th class, but a rope could be useful here. Choss lovers delight: Easy slopes up to Worthington: Looking back on the traverse from Worthington. Iron Mountain is middle left, NE Buckhorn middle right, and Buckhorn proper on the right. Big Q Valley from Worthington: After tagging Worthington I dropped down on the east side and traversed below cliffs back to ~4800' on the Big Q trail to avoid any bushwhacking. A staged bike and a continuation over Hawk, Welch and all the way to Townsend (pictured here) would be a great alternative exit: That'll do summer 2018, that'll do... Gear Notes: Helmet! Approach Notes: Nice trail
  42. 5 points
    I'm really surprised to read this bit and it's a pretty unfair version of history, although I'll be the first to admit that a lot of the trolls and general bad behavior likely caused a lot of lasting damage that will take time to fix. Yes, there was some really terrible behavior early on and those people were permanently banned. Should it happened quicker? I don't know, probably. Nobody handed us an owners manual when we started this; I was barely 24 when we went live. There are definitely people who I wish I had 86'ed earlier. But you of all people should have known how much we struggled with how to deal with these situtations, which is why I kind of find the "Ad impressions and the trolls won out" astonishing to read. We have never made a decision here for money. Did the trolls win? This site has been online for 18 years and has 8800+ TRs, so I'd argue no. Did they leave a lasting bruise, sure. I have however come to accept this world has changed, there was no iPhone, FB, IG, millions of apps vying for your attention when we first started. This was one of a handful of a small handful of climbing sites.
  43. 5 points
    Trip: McMillan Spire - South Face to West Ridge Trip Date: 09/28/2018 Trip Report: The idea first occurred to me last spring, during a casual jog around Green Lake. Solo trip to the Pickets. I’d been in Terror Basin once before, in 2014, but our packs were too heavy (camera equipment and booze), our route finding skills abysmal (lost the trail, twice), and our timing wrong (hiked into a storm front). Now, with a toddler at home and a heavy work load, light and fast was paramount. But my summer was full of other adventures and commitments. By the first heavy rains of mid-September, I’d almost given up on the idea. Then a one-day weather window opened on Friday 9/28. I was in need of a raw experience, and decided to act. After a long day at work, I pulled into the Goodell trailhead at 10pm on Thursday night and started hiking. I forgot to check the batteries in my headlight, and suffered under a dim bulb for the first 4.5 miles of overgrown trail. The number of spiders at this time of night was truly frightening. I took hundreds of webs to the face, finally calling it around 1am at the base of the great big hill. The upwards slog began at 7am. Unlike my previous trip, I was rewarded with increasingly spectacular views as dawn broke over the North Cascades. After the first 4000 feet, I “took my time” traversing the heather bench, occasionally stopping to pick the last ripe blueberries and photograph mountain goats. Dropping into Terror Basin from the notch is an exhilarating experience -- the abrupt face of the range in your face, glacial rivers pouring down polished slabs, big talus fields erasing any hope for a trail. It’s even more spectacular you’re the only one there. With no other cars at the trailhead, and a storm scheduled to arrive Saturday, I was blissfully alone. I dropped my pack at Terror Creek, directly below the southern face of Inspiration. When I climbed that peak in September of 2014, the glacier was significantly more established. Anecdotal evidence of a trend that is sure to worsen in the coming years. This trip I headed for McMillan spire. The typical approach takes a snow tongue that traverses under an unstable looking cliff. It was littered with rockfall. Without a helmet, I made the decision to take a different route up the lower part of the south face. It appeared that a few fifth class moves would be required, but I’ll trust my climbing ability over objective hazards any day. The route turned out to be relatively straightforward, and I gained the west ridge 1/3 of the way up. The west ridge itself is more of a hike than a climb, besides a few interesting moves over the final 100’ of summit blocks. But the views couldn’t disappoint even the most cynical. In fall, the lower valleys are filled with bursts of red and orange. The north side of the southern pickets were already covered with a thin layer of snow. There was an eerie calm floating in the air: the last strained grip of summer before winter’s relentless blast of snow and ice. Truly incredible. I spent the night atop a rock perch in the middle of Terror Basin. After a peaceful sunset, the weather rapidly deteriorated. Without a tent, I was blasted by wind the entire night and hardly slept. I began the hike out at 5am amid dark clouds. The rain hit at 7am, and I was soaked and cold by the time I reached my car at 11:30am. Gear Notes: Approach shoes, aluminum crampons, axe Approach Notes: Strong legs and a desire to suffer
  44. 5 points
    Trip: Colfax Peak - West Ridge Trip Date: 10/14/2018 Trip Report: Brief TR and pictures from the west ridge of Colfax yesterday. Huge thanks to Eric Carter for bringing this line into the light and being willing to give a go beta-less. We had his beta so it was perhaps a less stressful endeavor. Sunday morning we looked at the C-H, hoping it would be in, but expecting it wouldn't be, and it wasn't (but getting there). So we wrapped around Colfax (on a pretty major boot pack) to take a look at the west ridge. With hard snow and a fun looking line we started up, following occasional faint boot marks from Eric's party. We opted to solo as we both felt comfortable with the positive, stiff, snow. Climbing was straight forward and very fun up the first steep section to gain the ridge, steepest slope was likely around 55-60 degrees. We followed the ridge to a rock face and saw the snow couloir down to the south, we tied an equivocation hitch, rapped into the gully, pulled and coiled the rope, and continued up. The gully was very easy, perhaps 45 degrees on great snow and steepening up to 55ish near the tight exit with some alpine ice. Here we followed the cliffy headwall left and after a steep soft down-climb into the upper chutes of the C-H (probably the scariest part of the climb, but would be easy to protect with pickets). From there we followed the standard route up to the summit, encountering our steepest climbing (65 degrees? Maybe a few steeper steps? Never actually measured) and a mix of hard snice (snow/ice), breakable crust over powder, and more stiff snow. We had a blast as we wove our way up the chutes toward the top. We must have had our heads down as we climbed because about 150ft from the top we missed an obvious left hand gully that has an easy top out. Instead we ended up with 15 to the top of very steep snice and rime covered rocks, we pitched this out, and Peter lead us to the summit plateau and belayed me up. Route took 3hrs bottom to top only stopping to rappel and pitch out the last section. We descended the East ridge (one rap on good tat) and had to end run a crack on the Coleman all the way to the east, long detour, just as Carter mentioned. Lots of new snow up there but with cold temps things stayed solid and we never punched through any cracks. Colfax ice, sorry no better photos, upper curtain on C-H is not yet fat enough for our ability. Looking at the start of the West Ridge Missed everything until we were in the couloir Sorry I didn't get many photos, here is the first stretch of the upper gullies of the C-H Next 2 photos we are already too far right to have an easy top out Baker, large y shaped crack requires an end run to the East One short rappel on tat to get off the east ridge and to the col between Baker and Colfax Long afternoon shadows as we near the trail Fun route, deserves more ascents!! If I were to grade it I'd say grade 3, steep snow 65deg ?PG13?. Not sure this route would always get a danger rating, would depend on what the gullies do in the spring, maybe they'd be easier to protect and slightly lower angle. Gear Notes: Brought screws, pins, cams, and nuts, used none. Approach Notes: Heliotrope trail
  45. 5 points
    Trip: Thornton Peak - SE scramble Trip Date: 08/05/2018 Trip Report: Triumph is a well-known peak, and for good reason. With one of the more classic ridge routes around (the NE), it gets a lot of traffic. But immediately next door lies a fantastic scramble (Cl. 3) to the top of Thornton Peak. Due to a variety of factors, our planned ascent of Triumph morphed into a scramble of Thornton which, it turns out, makes a great destination in its own right. Or, as we saw with another team of ladies we met on the summit, Thornton can serve as great backup to Triumph in case of weather/time constraints. And, since it is so close to Triumph and the Pickets, the views aren't half-bad either. Just make sure you bring a tent with the proper poles and fly if it may rain. @cfire enjoyed a bit of a refreshing evening the night before we scrambled Thornton. Like the tough SOB he is though, it didn't seem to dampen his enthusiasm the next day. Ah......... the yin and yang of the North Cascades! Thornton Lakes on the approach. Thornton peak lies just to the left of Triumph: Chris, working his way around middle Thornton Lake (above). Lower and Middle Thornton Lakes (above). The wedder approaches: Kim and Chris - "Do you think it is going to rain Jason?" Triumph: Ptarmigan: Upper Thornton Lake: Triumph: Me, the Lovely Kim, and Chris on the summit of Thornton: Chris heads for home while Kim and I stay to enjoy another night up high: The Lovely Kim descending back to camp: I'll take it: I had bats flying around me eating moths while I took this shot of Triumph and the Big Dipper about midnight: I want the story of whomever was up at midnight at their camp below the Ottohorn-Himmelhorn col? Smoke, smoke, and more smoke. The story of 2018: Looking from camp across the Skagit trench at the North end of Teebone Ridge: The Lovely Kim surveys the way down to the upper Thornton Lake. She said, "Why can't we take trails like normal people do?" A parting look at Triumph: It's sort of a trail, isn't it? "No". Gear Notes: Footwear of some kind. We were able to stay off snow for the most part and the rock isn't too bad where you feel like you need a helmet. Approach Notes: Use the approach to Triumph col and take a left. Descent camps a bit above the pass without much water late season
  46. 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
  47. 5 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. 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
  49. 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
  50. 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.
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