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Showing most liked content on 10/24/18 in all areas

  1. 1 point
    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
  2. 1 point
    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.
  3. 1 point
  4. 1 point
    Trip: South Spectacle Butte - SW Ridge Trip Date: 10/21/2018 Trip Report: I thought my trip to the Pasayten last month would be my final hurrah in 2018, but this Indian summer brought a welcome extension to the season. I chose a two-day jaunt into the Glacier Peak Wilderness with my son and dog for some offtrail/nontechnical alpine goodness. We drove up to Phelps TH Saturday morning arriving at 9. It was 28 degrees out but clear. The lot was partially full already - nowhere near how it is in the height of summer though. We hiked the Carne Mountain trail (fairly crowded) then began the High Traverse over to Ice Lakes. We were treated to much larch goodness and spectacular views on this bluebird day. View N from the summit of Carne Mountain. The high traverse to Maude is in left of the frame. Typical views on the traverse: The final slopes to Maude: Upper Ice Lake and the Spectacle Buttes: Lower Ice Lake: Approaching S Spectacle Butte A gendarme on the SW ridge of S Spectacle. Lots of class 3 and interesting route-finding on this route. I found the choss factor to be suprisingly low and the scrambling overall was quite enjoyable. My son topping out on the summit Views W from the summit. Maude and Ice lakes are center of frame: Gear Notes: Helmet Approach Notes: Neglible snow/ice patches. Easily travelled or avoided.
  5. 1 point
    Trip: Three Queens - SE Shoulder Trip Date: 10/21/2018 Trip Report: I decided I needed some choss time before it was buried in the pow that IS coming soon, so yesterday, Zorina and I climbed the east peak of the Three Queens formation. It's southeast of Chikamin (somehow I feel that the three people who read this TR already know that...), and it was lovely!!! Tank top dry rock scrambling in late October, blue skies and sunshine in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness!! And only one person seen the entire time (a hiker whose turn-around time was 9:30?). We got a good alpine start at a bit past 9 AM and set off on a good pace on the Mineral Creek Trail. We had about three trip reports plus Beckey's description. We'd read about a "social trail" (leading to a brief brush battle) but the beginning of the brief battle was actually marked with a cairn, just about thirty seconds after we could see the talus field and we started looking for it. Sweet! Photo by Zorina Slide alder, etc. was short-lived. Photo by Zorina We agreed on the notch we were aiming for. That's always good. The talus field was a talus field. I set off a crazy avalanche of rocks, which was exciting. We got up onto a vegetated rib thing when we could, and that was fairly pleasant. What is this plant? It looks like manzanilla, but I don't think I've seen manzanilla around here... The fun scrambling began and we started following the "no kicking rocks onto your partner" rule. The key class 3 vegetated ledge was obvious and before we knew it, we were on the ridge and then on top!! That was quicker and more straightforward than we'd anticipated, we agreed. Maybe we should have more confidence about this kind of thing. Beckey says "5 hours from trail" and Klenke (Summitpost) says "5 hours from trailhead"...either way, we were on top in 4:15 and were happy to beat the Beckey time :-) Rainier, Glacier, barely MSH, Hibox, Alta, Thompson, Huckleberry, Kaleetan, Chair, Chikamin, the Lemahs, Chimney Rock, Summit Chief...Stuart! So beautiful... And the long couloir between Lemah and Chimney Rock?! Crazy! I am trying to find more information on it. Beckey describes one northern remanant of the Lemah Glacier as a "narrow 0.6-km ice couloir in the upper Leah Creek depression, beneath the 6,480-ft gap." Interesting! Has anyone skiied this? The way down was luckily uneventful, helped by a vivid imagination: snow over talus and skis on our feet... After thinking about getting rich off fool's gold, we picked the wrong talus finger to follow down (dang) and had to go back up and around. 10 minute delay? Back through the bushes, back onto the trail, no need for headlamp, and back to the car a few minutes past 6 pm. As we entered Roslyn, Zorina checked the traffic on I90 and saw that there was a 2-HOUR DELAY. Whaaat?! Crazy. So we went to this awesome place called Basecamp, which I feel like I should have known about before. Coffee, beer, food, books, maps, local art stuff. Great place to pass the time! We enjoyed looking through the newspaper's police beat: We walked around Roslyn and then finally Google said there was only a 20 minute delay, so we left and got back to Seattle around midnight. Gear Notes: Helmet Approach Notes: Over, through, up, through, around, along, up, along, up