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Showing most liked content on 02/18/21 in all areas

  1. 2 points
    Trip: Skookum Falls - Far Right Side Trip Date: 02/15/2021 Trip Report: On President’s Day I finally got to climb my first pitches of ice in Washington and I got the full PNW experience. After skiing the Cascade concrete for the last three of months I found that the Cascade ice is quite the opposite. We left Seattle at 6:15 that morning, raining. Heading south through Auburn, raining. As we joined the line up in Enumclaw to Crystal Mountain (9 inches, who could blame them), raining. We started making backup plans to head up to Snoqualmie but kept our fingers crossed. Even heading into Greenwater, raining. By some stroke of luck, as the GPS struck 5 minutes ETA, the rain turned to snow. When we pulled into the Skookum Falls Viewpoint (47.0529, -121.5721) we found the ice to be in pretty good shape. Dark blue - our pitch 3 Orange - our rap route - rap 1 through v-thread down to a large tree, rap 2 down to a second set of trees, rap 3 to ground Light Blue - Skookum Falls (courtesy of Justin Sermeno) Green - Skookum Falls Right (courtesy of Justin Sermeno) We made our way to the river working with vague beta of a crossing made of fallen trees. We basically flipped a coin and decided to head north along the river hoping to find this fabled bridge. Less than ten minutes in we stumbled onto it. (47.0539, -121.5754) Excited to have found the crossing, we jumped onto the trunk and gingerly walked across not knowing if the fresh snow had covered a solid step or a slip into the river. In our excitement, we failed to notice that the other side of the tree was a boulder problem of roots and frozen dirt. Luckily for us someone had placed a precarious crash pad (log) on the other side. Having successfully down climbed the root system, we made our way in a general south-west heading completely ignoring the beautifully tracked in Skookum Flats Trail opting instead for the ankle breaking snow-covered scree field. Red - not recommended Yellow - recommended As we geared up at the base of the climb (47.0523, -121.5763), we noticed the occasion slough. There was minimal overhead hazard and that the ice was decently fat we didn’t make a big deal of it. James offered to take the first lead and I happily conceded as I hadn’t swung a tool since my mid-December Hyalite trip. As James started off, he bottomed out his first 16cm screw. Oops. Finding a better place for it he continued on his way and made quick work of the first 45m pitch. As I belayed, I noticed the falling snow getting fatter and wetter. It wasn’t long before the falling snow melted as soon as it hit me. I followed up, happy to get back into the groove on top rope. As I took over for the second pitch the reality of WA ice set in. Every swing planted my hands in the wet snow. By mid-pitch, my gloves were completely saturated. I was pretty stoked with my new tape job but I may as well have taped cold, wet sponges to my handles. As I swung my tool back I could hear the *squish* of my soaked gloves as the tool passed my ear. The ice softened as the day went along and I was happy to have the horizontal front points of my Snaggletooths. At a certain point though horizontal or vertical didn’t matter, I was really just smashing through the slush and stomping down a foot hold. This was my first multi lead and my first realization that bringing 13 screws actually means you have 7 screws for the climb. 3 screws at each anchor. I had to call it quits at 35m. I set up my station, put my climbing gloves in my jacket and put my belay gloves to bring James up. Throughout the belay I watched as my fancy Goretex jacket slowly wetted through from the inside. This picture was taken with a very wet and slippery iPhone. James made it to the belay and we make the call to go or no go. Despite the moderate temperatures we are both shivering from the wetness, but enticed by the gorgeous sheet of ice above us we decide to keep at ‘er. It was only noon anyway. James throws down and takes the line of best protection. 35m. As James set up to belay me, I was shivering and my layers were saturated. I start climbing with reckless abandon, moving without testing my sticks and kicks until I reach a short section of dripping icicles. It was at this point that I learned that my layers weren’t saturated and could actually take in more water. Kicking it up a gear, I ran through this short section and met James at the belay. Now we were done. James built the V-thread and rapped a short section to a tree we had been eying all day. We pulled the rope and...fuck… it’s frozen in the V-thread. It took some hard negotiating but the rope eventually came through. I made sure to keep the rope moving back and forth as James cleared some tangles in the rope. At the tree we clear the old tat get ready to head down. Stepping over a branch, James heads toward the obvious gully (beta from not this section of Skookum Falls) climber’s left. Passing through the gully it’s clear that our 60m doubles aren’t going to hit the ground and James cuts back right to build an anchor at another tree. Cold and wet, I quickly followed over the branch not knowing that he had zigged and then zagged. As I got to the anchor and started the pull, the rope was stuck again. It was the orange rope wasn’t it? Or was it blue? No amount of forceful pulling would even budge the rope. This was the rock rescue moment we all say that we’d practice but never actually do. It was time to jug the rope. PNW lesson number I don’t know anymore, wet Prussiks are extremely catchy. Jugging up 35m on Prussiks was not happening. For the second time in my life and was supremely glad that I brought a Ti-Bloc with me. James fixed one end of the rope and I was able to jug up the other strand. Left quad cramping, right shoulder burning, I got up to the station to find this mess that I am almost too embarrassed to post. I cleared the tangles, rerouted the rope around the branch and un-zigged the zag. The remainder of the rappels went without a hitch and I thought to myself that I’m glad to be done. Mistake. We reverse the yellow arrows (see above) and find the trail. As we returned to the river crossing I am extremely unmotivated to climb what must now be a partially melted mud boulder problem. Recalling that there were other fallen trees that crossed the river I decided to pick the wrong one. We shimmied across another trunk trying not to fall in the river and we landed on an island that did not connect to the other side. Me yelling expletives at the river At this point we were less than 10 minutes from the car and the only thing that wasn’t wet were my socks so why not make it a royal flush. Gear Notes: A load of 13cm screws. Probably should've brought up more 16cms. 60m doubles. Approach Notes: Parking (47.0529, -121.5721) Crossing (47.0539, -121.5754) Base of climb (47.0523, -121.5763)
  2. 1 point
    Probably nothing too exciting for you guys but I thought the POV of a PNW and ice newbie would be entertaining. Thanks for the glove recommendations.
  3. 1 point
    Fun read, thanks for all the gory details! And, you'll want a pair of these if you're going to climb PNW ice.
  4. 1 point
    Looking SW from atop mt Stone on 5/27 towards mt Skokomish
  5. 1 point
    Sometimes in the Olympics class 3 just means that there was no reasonable way to protect the climb either due to no cracks or crumbly rock. Or at least that's my theory.
  6. 1 point
    Trip: Mt. LaCrosse / Mt. Anderson (attempt) - Siberia / Route 3 (northeast aspect) Date: 9/2/2007 Trip Report: Last week, I spent a few days at the center of the Olympics after a long hike in on the Enchanted Valley Trail. I climbed Mt. LaCrosse from Camp Siberia, and attempted to ascend Mt. Anderson via its northeast aspect (Climber’s Guide Route 3). I crested the Anderson massif north of the summit, somewhere between 7,250 and 7,300 feet, but did not find passage to the top. My failure on Anderson was disappointing, but this still was one of my best and most scenic mountaineering trips. And it just gives me an excuse to return to this amazing region. I backpacked 10 miles to Pyrites camp, on an elk-browsed terrace along the Quinalt River, late Thursday. I came upon a herd of at least 60 elk between Pyrites and Enchanted Valley the next morning on my way up to Anderson Pass. I felt privileged to witness this: As I arrived at the pass, about 18 miles in, it began to rain, and I took shelter under my tarp. I had planned to climb Mt. LaCrosse that afternoon, but the weather kept me under my shelter reading and sleeping the rest of the day. The next morning, I heard rustling in the bushes above my camp, and emerged from my shelter to see a black bear. We made eye contact, then he sauntered off. I hiked the path to the Anderson Glacier lake, admiring awesome views of Mt. LaCrosse and White Mountain. This was my first visit to Anderson Glacier; the view of the peak from the moraines beyond the glacial lake is truly spectacular: I climbed over the ridge to the northeast and descended to heather- and meadow-covered benches that lead to the pair of beautiful tarns southeast of the peak (it is easier to follow a faint path around this ridge -- which I did on my return). The two lakes, with Mt. LaCrosse in the background: There's also a nice view of the peak from this area: I headed north past the tarns, crossed a little drainage, and bushwacked through steep forest before popping out onto a snowfield and climbing easily to a minor pass. I descended on more moderate terrain past another creek cascading off Anderson, and continued along a snowfield down to a point where I could enter the basin on the mountain’s east side. There’s a beautiful green tarn in this basin, along with a large snowfield. I climbed low-angle snow toward the low ridge northeast of Mt. Anderson. The snowfield steepened quite a bit as I approached the rock. At this point, the start of the route seemed obvious. I crossed a snowbridge onto moderate rock, and headed up west-southwest, as described by the climbing guide. Although the guide says to “follow moderate snow to the summit,” I assumed easy snowfields would not deliver me to the top. However, I had hoped they would take me higher than 5,800 feet, which is about where I stepped onto rock. The terrain over the next 1,400 feet or so alternated between decent ledges and steep, down-sloping features coated with loose rock. Mostly, it was the sketchy latter. To avoid a cliffy section at the start, I veered too far west, and eventually an arete prevented me from heading southwest. I hoped that I could find a way to traverse over up high. No such luck. I topped out on the Anderson ridge north of the summit to awesome views but little hope of reaching the top. The views from this massif were the most impressive I have witnessed in the Olympics: West Peak: Mt. Olympus: Warrior, Constance Mt. LaCrosse, Mt. Stone, etc. Mt. Bretherton, Mt. Rainier (pretty washed out) Eel Glacier I should have spent more time enjoying the summit scenery, but I decided to down-climb a bit and check out potential routes to the top. Finding none, I began the long and tedious descent to the snowfield. The sustained steep loose-rock was a bit stressful. I’m not sure whether “Route 3” goes minus the snow. It looked pretty questionable from below. Disappointed, but relieved to get off the rock, I retraced my steps through the stunning terrain south of Mt. Anderson: On Sunday, I climbed Mt. LaCrosse via the basin above Siberia Camp. Here’s a view of the peak from the slopes below Mt. Anderson: My route headed up the basin to the right of the obvious snow finger on the left, avoiding a cliff, dropped down onto the bigger snowfield, then followed snow up and to the right to the ridge top just east of the Mt. LaCrosse summit rocks. I climbed to the top directly from steep scree above this ridge, which can also be accessed via a one-mile traverse from LaCrosse Pass. From Siberia camp, I hiked at a moderate grade up this beautiful basin on heather, boulders and talus, with an ever-improving view of Mt. Anderson at my back: And a nice view of my objective: After reaching a high point, I descended onto the main snowfield. After checking out the rocky ridge northeast of Mt. LaCrosse, I climbed meandering snow southwest to the ridge east of the peak. The snow was steep for a stretch, but the exposure was not too bad: some protruding rock and a couple of minor cliffs. From the steep scree above the ridge, the best line to the top up the peak's southeast side was not obvious to me. The crux turned out to be just getting started, as the first stretch required scrambling up more downsloping rock coated with loose material, creating that ball-bearing effect. Without any handholds at the start, this felt pretty exposed -- though the fall line wasn't too bad. Beyond the sketchiness, the route steepened to Class 3, with decent ledges and handholds that provided at least the illusion of security. I’ve experienced a lot of friable rock in this range, and LaCrosse's ranks among the worst. I negotiated a couple of small, loose ledges, then climbed relatively easily to the top. By the time I reached the summit, clouds had enveloped most of Mt. Anderson, but the view of other surrounding peaks, including Mt. Steel, White Mountain, Mt. Bretherton, Mt. Skokomish, and Mt. Elk Lick, was very cool. White Mountain: There was a register on top, placed by Fay Pullen in Sept. 2006. I recognized the name (an Internet search later at home revealed that Fay is quite an accomplished climber). One other guy signed the register this summer. My route was not Class 2, as described in the Olympic Climbing Guide. I think the guide describes another line -- perhaps it is the one from Goldman’s “75 Scrambles.” The author discourages the route I chose: “do not ascend the scree...this way is not a scramble.” I did not notice her “10-foot chimney” left of my route that apparently leads to steep heather and moderate rock that is supposed to deliver one to the top more easily. My descent over was a bit nerve-wracking, but not terrible. I traversed to LaCrosse Pass, hiked the trail back to Anderson Pass, and continued under light rain down to a camp site by the Quinalt River between Enchanted Valley and Pyrites Camp. I backpacked the last 11 miles out the next morning. This was a great trip -- though of course if would have been nice to top Anderson. When I give Anderson another shot, I’ll try to head out in early summer, make a high camp at the alpine lakes, and give myself enough time to check out the climbing guide’s Routes 2 and 3. Gear Notes: Helmet, Axe
  7. 1 point
    Great TR and photos PVD. We had a similar close up experience with a large elk herd on the South Fork of the Hoh a couple years ago. Awesome creatures. Thanks for all the shots of the Anderson area. Man, that glacier sure is disapearing fast.
  8. 1 point
    Climb: Valhallas to Olympus- Date of Climb: 8/6/2005 - 8/13/2005 Trip Report: On Saturday Aug 6th Tony, Kevin (Animal) and I entered the South Fork of the Hoh. We spent the next eight days bushwacking, route-finding, climbing (rock, ice, snow, trees), and trudging our way up and down endless scree slopes en route to the Valhallas, cross country to Athena, over the Hoh and Blue glaciers to summit Olympus and finally a 18 mile day out the Hoh trail on Saturday the 13th. The idea for this trip originated from Gabiot, my French climbing friend who did the traverse a few years ago. He was unequivocally vague about the details, especially the ridge traverse, preferring not to spoil any sense of adventure or discovery should we attempt a repeat. I thank him for that, because the week lived up to our expectations. I thought the Valhallas would be an interesting group of peaks to visit due to their remoteness and difficulty of getting to, plus we just couldn’t resist seeing for ourselves if the bushwack up the South Fork of the Hoh was as joyful as advertised. This would be Tony’s second trip into the Vals, and enough time had passed since the first trip (15 years) that he was willing to go for it again. Kevin and I left Bremerton early on Saturday the 6th, stopping in Sequim to caravan with Tony. After leaving one car at the Hoh Visitor Center we drove around to the end of the South Fork Hoh road and began hiking in around noon. On the national park permit under the section titled “List Camp Locations” Kevin scrawled “All over the place”. We deemed that sufficient, as did the ranger we encountered at the end of the trip whom took delight in hearing that we had made it. The bushwack up the South Fork Hoh actually turned out to be fairly manageable, aided by the fact that the river level was pretty low, allowing us to hike up the dry river bars along the banks in places. We also found abundant elk trails, and elk for that matter, stumbling on one herd of about 35 that were bedded down in the forest adjacent to the river. After a warning bugle they moved out to the river. Upon seeing our ugly mugs they crashed through the trees and were out of sight in an instant. After spending one night on the river and continuing upstream the next day, we reached Valkyrie Creek around 3:00pm. The grueling scramble up through the steep forested hillside below the Valhallas took its toll on us, and we were quite satisfied to make camp in the meadows with the west side of Olympus as our backdrop, and views of the Pacific ocean at sunset. Olympus looks quite different from the west, appearing more as a rocky peak than a glaciated one from this side. On the morning of the third day we made a failed attempt at a direct ridge approach to the north side of Freya and Frigga that eventually cliffed out. So we dropped into the valley directly below the snout of the Geri-Freki glacier where we would later set up camp. We then went up to, and crossed the glacier, ascending to the high point at the base of Munin, intent upon running its ridge to the summit. We traversed a ways along the ridge over what was reportedly 4th class terrain, climbing over the rock as a team of 3 for the first time on the trip. Kevin and I had never climbed with Tony before, so it proved to be a good group experience as we would need to cooperate well in the days ahead. The next morning Tony and I hiked up to the base of Frigga with the purpose of either finding the established 5.0 route number 2 from the guidebook, or another way up. We ended up climbing a new route. Tony led up from the talus at the base, just off the glacier on the spire’s south side, and rained torrents of rocks down adjacent to my belay spot as he cleaned his way up the rock. The line he choose eventually turned out to be a decent 4 pitch route around 5.5, pretty consistent to the top. The rock, typical of the Val’s is a light brown sandstone with small pockets of deep red that is blocky and more solid. Considering it’s the Olympics, the rock climbing was actually pretty good, a nice change from the typically friable eastern Oly basalt. Pitons came in quite handy though. At this point we felt the need to get moving towards Olympus, due to only a vague notion of how we were going to traverse the ridge and a sense that we ought to be getting at it while the weather forecast looked good. We’ll have to return to the Vals another day for a shot at Loki Spire or some of the others. Without giving anything away, over the next day and a half we worked our way along the ridge, finding easy terrain in some spots, and heinous gully crossings and brushcrashing in others. The ridge leads nearly directly to Athena, however poses a series of significant obstacles the closer one gets. Gabiot and his partner worked their way down the northside of the ridge and across the west side of Olympus, swinging around on the snow dome. We went the opposite direction, eventually working our way onto the south ridge of Athena II, adjacent to the Jeffers glacier, where we spent a night on the peak’s shoulder high above the clouds. We were lucky that evening to look down upon the upper Hoh glacier for a way through the crevasses. The next morning was completely fogged in, the only time during the week it was not sunny and clear. So in the AM we dropped down onto the glacier and picked our way around the significant openings in the ice until rising above the clouds. We went up and over Middle Peak, then crossed over the upper Blue glacier to Five Fingers, setting up camp for the night, waiting for the winds to subside before we went up the 5th class pitch of the summit block on West Peak in the morning. Incidentally, in answer to a question from an earlier post, the ashes that are on the summit (and they are still there, in small piles) are those of Robert Woods, author of the definitive guide to trails in the Olympics. He died a year and a half ago, and several of his friends placed his ashes up there last summer. The route up West peak was still in fine shape folks, and this was only last Thursday. We had the mountain to ourselves for 3 days, not seeing anyone until we had descended to Cal-Tech rocks. Have the erroneous reports of conditions kept people away, or was it the Hood Canal Bridge closure? On Saturday we hit trail for the first time since the beginning of the trip and hiked the 18 miles out to our car, quite soar to say the least. Highlights of the trip: not seeing anyone for 7 days straight, seeing bear, herds of elk, goats that actually run from you, experiencing a remote part of the park, climbing in the Vals, and summiting Olympus (my first time). This is a special corner of the park, maybe “wilder” than the Baileys. Certainly less traveled.