Jump to content

Leaderboard


Popular Content

Showing most liked content on 07/01/20 in all areas

  1. 2 points
    Update: I called my favorite restaurant in Marblemount: Mondo. It is the place where I usually shuffle my broken body for a delicious breakfast after a few days romping around Boston Basin. Someone from Mondo is going to run the shuttle for us. I'll post back here with how it goes and with a contact.
  2. 2 points
    Trip: Mt Stuart - Direct North Ridge Trip Date: 06/22/2020 Trip Report: I finally ticked off this crown jewel of the Cascades! We did deal with some tough early season conditions, including snow and ice on the "Slab with Crack" as well as the section between the gendarme and the summit. I've included the text of my report below. Full report with photos can be found at https://spokalpine.com/2020/06/29/mt-stuart-direct-north-ridge/ John and I climbed the Direct North Ridge of Mount Stuart on a “leisure” schedule from June 21-23, 2020. It was the culmination of years of honing my mountain craft in the Cascades and abroad; this one meant a lot! The journey started in 2016, when I saw Stuart in person for the first time from Colchuck Peak. I was spellbound by the rugged beauty of the mountain with its springtime coating of snow and ice, making the North Ridge even more dramatic as it soared directly to the summit. It is possible to climb the North Ridge using an “abbreviated” start, gaining the ridge crest at half-height via a rocky gully rising from Stuart Glacier – this version of the route is included as one of the “50 Classic Climbs of North America” and some say it is the most commonly climbed version. To me, a direct start climbing directly from the toe of the ridge creates a much more pure, aesthetic and logical line to the summit. The Direct North Ridge instantly became my goal. Three months later after I first laid eyes on it, John and I made the Southern approach via Ingalls Creek for an attempt on the route. Cresting Goat Pass, we stopped to stare at the route in profile. The scale of the climb was jaw-dropping; we quickly turned around and went home. We were not ready and we knew it, but we made other excuses. Four years and many climbs went by before John and I decided that it was time to put this project to bed. This time, we trudged up Mountaineer’s Creek to Mount Stuart. Swarming insects, brutal heat, boulder hopping and a off-trail bushwhacking brought us to our plush back country campsite below Stuart’s Northern aspect. A few other climbers passed by our camp on their way out; they were the last people we would see for two days. We had the entire valley, and mountain, to ourselves. Cheers to weekday alpinism! With the Summer Solstice only two days prior, we had a long day of daylight on our side. Planning to blast the route and descent in a single push from camp, the route was already in full sun as we started hiking up the moraine at 5:30am. John volunteered to lead the first pitch, which was a great warmup for the day. The “slot” on this pitch is as awkward as people say… hang the leader’s pack off of a cam below the slot and belay just above. The leader can lower a loop of rope to the follower and haul the packs past the slot. I took point on the uneventful second pitch and John fired the 5.9+ third pitch, the hardest pitch on the climb. After a fourth belayed pitch (perhaps 5.7), we changed gears to simulclimbing mode. This part of the climb was truly a gift, featuring moderate climbing and unbeatable alpine ambiance. Rock and ice thundered down Ice Cliff Glacier every few minutes, reminding us that the mountain is always in charge. Our staircase of clean granite carried us 1600 feet higher into the cobalt sky. After a few hours, I lead over a high point in the ridgeline and felt my stomach drop. I was looking at the well-known and typically easy “slab with crack” pitch, but it was partially covered in snow and ice. There were no signs of prior passage and I questioned whether or not I would be able to climb it in these conditions. I quickly realized that I had to give the pitch my absolute best effort – bailing from this high on the ridge would be an absolute nightmare. The mountain was testing us even more than I expected. I cautiously led up the pitch, placing a solid cam a few feet below the snow patch before strapping my pathetic, worn-down aluminum crampons on my approach shoes. Evaluating the snow patch, I realized that it consisted of about 1 inch of ice against the rock with a couple of inches of snow on top. My ultralight ice axe would not be able to excavate the crack to place protection. The first few feet were the thinnest, and I willed the snow patch to stay attached to the mountain. With full commitment, I stepped onto the ice and quickly power-stepped my way up, trying to maintain my upward momentum. Racing to the top, I slapped my hands on the lip and mantled to a perfect belay stance. The final section of mid-fifth class climbing was still very snowy. Several miserable pitches with snow blocking the easiest route cost us a lot of time. Since it was dark already, we chose not to hurry, shifting our focus to finding the safest route among the snow and loose rock. Several times, I found myself at a dead-end, requiring me to reverse the last few moves and find another way. This was crushing in my exhausted state! We pulled onto the summit just at 11:30pm as the temperatures dropped. Regardless, I was incredibly happy and felt no stress about our situation, just focus and joyful resolve. We could handle this. The night sky was ablaze with stars and I was living my ideal atop this massive, complex peak. We began toiling our way down the East Ridge on snow, then 4th class rock, and then a lot more snowy rock. It was extremely slow going in the dark and we settled in for a short bivouac once we found a good platform. Bouts of violent shivering and continual harassment from the local snafflehounds provided entertainment until the sun rose again. In the morning, we continued traversing the East Ridge and descended the Sherpa Glacier, which was a tedious but straightforward descent option. The hike out to the car was quite the death march, but it always seems that way! Gear Notes: Doubles from fingers to #3. Approach Notes: Approach via Mountaineer's Creek and descent via the Sherpa Glacier.
  3. 1 point
    Trip: Prusik Peak - Der Sportsman Trip Date: 06/23/2020 Trip Report: I was pretty hesitant to write this TR due to the current overcrowding in the area. I realized that it likely isn't going to make much of a difference cuz no-one really uses this site anymore anyhow. And as long as people follow a few key tips, you can have a good responsible Enchantments climb. 1.) Avoid weekends like the plague... as best you can. 2.) Get to the TH before 7 And try not to get yourself parked in. 3.) If you start later hitch to and from the TH if you can. (This worked better and was safer before COVID). 4.)Pick up trash you find. Quadruple points for picking up other peoples surface shits, and try to stick to trails and rock as much as possible. Now on to the actual TR Last year Sean and I climbed the West face of CBR around the same time, starting at 9:30ish and getting back to the car just before dark. We decided to keep the (almost) solstice tradition going this year with Der Sportsman. 17+ hours of daylight is pretty luxurious We left the trail head a little after 6. Our packs felt light with no water and no real insulating layers to speak of. The trail was pretty quiet at that hour on a Tuesday. The hike up Aasgard was pretty uneventful with only the usual snow patch to cross near the top. The descent down to Prusik was a nice change of pace and the soft snow seemed to make it a little lower impact and faster down the steep sections. Arriving at the base in good time, we decided to chill for a little bit and recover to give us a better shot at the cruxy first pitch. Finally the sun coming around the corner gave me enough courage to rack up and get going while the crux was still shaded. Unfortunately I pumped out and broke a foot chip so no OS for me, but Sean followed the pitch in style. P2 isn't too spicy apart from the real risk of whipping on your belayer. This is the only reason I would consider setting up the belay a little higher. P3 is absolute money! Unfortunately it has 2 fixed pieces at the beginning that detract from the cleanliness of the line, but who really cares, it's great! P4 I found the step right to be super desperate and kinda just fell onto the far right foot as a last resort, not sure how that worked out but it did. The moves off the pillar near the end of the pitch are pretty spicy. The rope looks like it would slice right across the arete if you were to fall. Best to avoid that. P5 was probably the only sandbagged pitch on the route. I'd also say it's the worst pitch on the route, which is saying a lot since it is still pretty damn good! I've seen the pitch called 10b, but I'd say 10c/d. P6 Oh boy is this the icing on the cake! Such an incredible position to be climbing such an amazing crack! Definitely not 12a, felt more like 11a/b on TR. From where we topped out, we untied and scrambled up to the summit, chatted with some nice folks and took a small nap. We then downclimbed the W Ridge and scrambled back to our packs in our rock shoes to avoid taking axes or shoes up the route. The hike out always sucks, but is the price you pay for the light packs and burrito dinner. We got down with enough light to re-set up camp and crack a beer before the headlamps came out. I feel like I've focused too much on times in my previous TR's. If you want to know our splits I have a Strava track HERE. Gear Notes: Double rack tiny to 2, single #3 and triples in a few finger sizes. We brought nuts but never used them. 60m 9mm rope Handfull of slings and QD's Water filter Trail runners Approach Notes: Over the river and through the woods, up the pass, down the hill and up another hill.
  4. 1 point
    We have been trying to purge our souls of this terrible atrocity. Once again the door to the crypt has been opened. What happens next is on your head, Grasshopper.
  5. 1 point
    All you dads (and moms) who think that their kids "may not be into it" could be very wrong. Kids have a natural tendency to resist whatever parents want. My parent used to drag my sorry ass up hikes in the banff area. But once I was in my 20's and having a hard time, the beauty of the mountains pulled me back and been climbing since. (still think Banff is the center of the universe) Think of this mountain time as seeds that will eventually germinate into something special, maybe not world class alpinists (we don't really want that amount of parental stress anyways) but def better people.
×