2 pointsTrip: Sherpa, Argonaut, Colchuck, Dragontail - Sherpa - N Ridge, Argonaut - NW Arete, Colchuck, Dragontail - Walkups Trip Date: 08/09/2018 Trip Report: @Albuquerque Fred and I had a great 4 days over August 9-12 in the Stuart Range. Fred put this plan together to avoid permits and maximize climbing. It worked great, good camping, sufficient water, great climbs and not bad approaching. It was extremely hot the first two days however, we did mostly avoid smoke. We hiked in on Thursday afternoon in 90-degree heat and camped at about 5700' NW of Argonaut Peak in a beautiful sandy patch amongst the boulders. The next day we did the North Ridge of Sherpa and back to camp. The climb was fun but we cheated a bit by following ledges to the left because we were so hot and worried about water that it made taking the tough line a hard choice. It would be a great climb if you stayed faithful to the ridge crest I'm sure. The crux pitches were 5.8 as advertised, but easy pro and not long. The descent went mostly per Nelson and Potterfield, definitely "arduous". Day three we carried camp over the NW Arete of Argonaut and down to Colchuck Col. This was a great climb with an easy descent or raps and walking to Colchuck. After lots of food and water in camp and some sheltering from wind and brewing rain we ran up Colchuck. I may have said something like "we better run if we want to avoid the rain" but I didn't mean it literally... Fred did. Day four we walked up Dragontail and down Asgaard Pass and out to the car, passing ten thousand people. Up to this point we only saw three guys in the woods on their way out from Sherpa on day one. Awesome. We had planned to descend Asgaard because there is a lot of ice exposed on the Colchuck Glacier. I was taking a break from my phone on this trip but I know @Albuquerque Fred got some photos. Maybe he will share! Gear Notes: Single rack sufficient, lots long of runners 60m rope rock shoes approach shoes No axe or crampons needed the whole trip, we carried them for training. Approach Notes: Trail, woods - no real brush to speak of by Cascades standards.
1 pointTrip: 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.
1 pointTrip: Vancouver Island- Elkhorn Mountain - Threading The Needle: WI-4, M-3, D+, 310 Meters Trip Date: 03/10/2018 Trip Report: With clears skies forecast Chris Jensen, Ryan Van Horne and I packed our bags and set our sites on Elkhorn Mountain. Initially our climb was to be on it's Northeast Face, but slightly warmer temperatures had the face shedding snow at an uncomfortable rate. Fortunately for us the North Face of the mountain, which we traversed on our way to scope the North-East Face, was solid and worthy of climbing. Here's the North-East Face looking as though it's in the Cordillera Blanca: We set up shop at the bottom of a deep chimney that had a promising start and appeared to continue upwards to the large snow pack above us. With a nice looking grade 4 pitch above us I racked up and set off. As per usual it was steeper than we thought, fortunately for our arms the lower section was close to a rock face and we were able to stem back and rest up for the upper half of the pitch. Here's Ryan enjoying a rest before he ran our of rock to rest on: With this fun pitch below us our stoke was high. Ryan racked up and lead the second pitch which had constant grade 2/3 steps for 50 meters. Here's Ryan dealing with the first step of the second pitch: Once anchored off above the second pitch we found ourselves at the base of the upper snow field. Chris took this pitch all the way to the start of the grade 4 pitch of an existing route: The Winter Needle. Here's Chris punching steps up the upper snow field en route to the upper mountain: With this long pitch below we set our sites on the existing route: The Winter Needle. Unfortunately the warm temperatures now exercising their influence on conditions we once again opted to back off and re-route our path due to spin drift coming down. A long pitch that had 20 meters of simultaneously-climbing lead us to a solid anchor just below a short mixed section that hopefully would allow us access to the Northwest aspect of the mountain. Here's Ryan making his way up the mixed section atop pitch 4: With our belay now in the sun, for the first time, we realized time was going to be an issue. Fortunately the top pitch of the Winter Needle has an easy chimney that leads to the summit. Here's Ryan and Chris enjoying the sun atop pitch 5: With day light at a premium Chris quickly set off and cruised up a snow slope to a comfy belay not too far from the summit. Here's a view looking down from the top of pitch 6: With the sun setting over the west coast of the island Chris, Ryan and I found ourselves standing atop the island's second highest mountain under blue bird conditions- definitely a summit experience to remember as the sky lit up and and smiles were wide. After a few quick photos on the summit we descended the upper section of the Northwest Ridge in the dark- 5 rappels and some down climbing later we found ourselves back on the Northwest ridge and at our camp some 15 hours after we set off. Threading The Needle: 6 pitch, 310 Meter, D+, WI4, M3 P1- WI4, 50 MeterP2- WI3, 50 MeterP3- WI2, 120 Meter, mostly snow slope (simul climbed after 60 Meters)P4- WI3, 80 Meter (20 Meter Simul Climb after WI3 step)P5- WI3/M3, 50 MeterP6- WI2, 60 Meter Gear Notes: Full rack of screws, handful of cams and nuts, 4 pins Approach Notes: Approach the the North-West Ridge trail, as described in Island Alpine Select by Phillip Stone.