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  1. 9 points
    Trip: Mt Hood - DKH- Elliot HW linkup Trip Date: 04/03/2021 Trip Report: Unable to secure a partner for Saturday, I opted for some soloing on Hood over the less preferable slog-to-climb ratio in the Three Sisters. Drove up from Bend at 3am and was skinning by 5 from Timberline. Ok skinning to Palmer, complete trash above that. Should've ditched the skis there, or booted the whole thing. Looking up DKH1: Looking down above the crux: DKH1 was spewing a near constant stream of little rime pebbles despite the freezing temps and there's a considerable debris field at the base. The main couloir itself was in pretty gross shape, lots of exposed rock and thin plastered ice, but not too steep. However the crux was a bit fatter and better ice than when I climbed it in late January. I climbed it carefully, anticipating being hit in the arms or head at any moment, but went off without a hitch. At the fork I headed right for a couple more fun moderate ice sections. There was a fork about 200ft below the ridge, went left, looked more fun, delicate move over a little rock and ice bulge then more easy ice and snow. I had to make a couple awkward, catwalk like moves to bust out left from the top of the couloir onto the very upper Wyeast face. Here I found the least consolidated snow of the day. Easy walk to summit from there. The weather had been looking marginal, cloudy with chance of increasing winds, but at the summit it was calm and the clouds seemed unthreatening and happy to remain pretty high. I figured I'd head over to check out the Elliot, taking a look at the exit options from the summit ridge. Looked steep! The leftmost exit in Mullee looked like very steep snow and shitty ice to gain the ridge, the rightmost exit looked nicer. Elliot from the base. I took the flow just left of the rock center of photo: I sat at the little saddle above Horseshoe rock to have a bite and look at the route. The amount of ice back there is incredible! Go get it folks, it's fat, and it's good. I traversed in and down on steep snow, above the schrund, to the base of a pretty fat WI3 ish flow that seemed like a logical way to start. From there I trended slightly left, then back right, aiming for the obvious "Wallace 5.7 chimney" exit described in Mullee. Many more WI2 ish sections followed, all on bomber ice, interspersed with some steep snow. It's truly a pick-your-own-adventure headwall! The exit looked steeper and steepr as I got closer and I could feel the adrenaline starting to pump through my veins; thankfully it was filled in with a nice little WI3/3+ ribbon. There seem to be lots of fun mixed exit options all over up there on half decent looking rock. I plugged a couple screws at the base of the last pitch and took a breather, psyching myself up. It was surprisingly steep, but was able to get good stems up it with the occasional pon-on-rock stem. The exposure was a little heady, I took my time, and soon enough was on epic easy ice and a few feet of steep snow back onto the ridge, a nice cornice-free top out. The cloud cover kept the snow above Palmer nice and rimey all day, so I had to take the walk of shame back to Palmer where I could finally ski back to the car. Pretty psyched on the linkup possibilities on Hood! It's go time in Oregon! Gear Notes: 3 screws, 3 alpines, 4 pins and 60m x 6mm tagline for bail options (not used) Approach Notes: Standard
  2. 8 points
    Trip: Broken Top - Full Richardson Trip Date: 04/05/2021 Trip Report: Yesterday my partner Artem and I got up close and personal with the slog to climb ratio in the Three Sisters. Spoiler alert: it was worth it. I’d soloed the North Buttress of Broken Top the week before and had seen the Full Richardson in fat shape. The amount (for Central Oregon) of ice back there is spectacular; the potential for harder/ bolder mixed and smear lines is exciting. I knew I’d be back very soon. It’s a special thing to be able to sleep in your own warm bed before an alpine climb, and I met Artem at Dutchman Flat at a leisurely 4:30am. A long but pretty flat and beautiful approach ensued, taking us down to the Todd Lake area before heading up to Ball Butte and eventually dropping onto the benign Bend Glacier. We saw a group camped out below the glacier but they sadly didn’t echo our hoots and hollers. Sad day. The Richardson and the North Buttress couloir are obvious once on the western end of the Bend Glacier. We soloed the first optional step in the couloir, easy WI2, easily avoidable but more fun and a good warmup. Steep snow ensued, and the second WI2 step was similarly short and easy. I went ahead to slam a picket and screw to belay Artem on the money pitch. Artem wrapping up the first ice step: Artem headed up, carefully working his way up the steep and blobby ice, looking cool and poised. It was silent other than the rhythmic thuds of kick kick, swing swing that echoed through the amphitheater. He decided to belay 3/4’s of the way up the ~35-40m flow. I was glad to move again after cooling off severely in the shaded amphitheater below; fighting off the barfies proved to be the crux of the pitch! I climbed through his belay and topped out, finding another bomber screw and picket belay a few feet above the flow. I put the rope away and we headed up the snow slope to the northwest ridge. The week before, the summit eluded me as I was turned around by bottomless sugar snow on the snow ramp option on the east side of the summit block. Not wanting to down-solo the regular summer route, I called it good. But this time, armed with a rope and a partner, I was determined to get er’ done. We followed my tracks up the snow ramp. The snow hadn’t gotten better above my dead-end, so Artem put in a picket in the somewhat hardened snow in our tracks. I traversed a few feet right to where I could hook some “rock,” slung a partially detached horn of choss, and climbed a few pretty moderate mixed moves to get us on top! From there we slung a block, unable to find tat, and rapped off to the west, joining the NW ridge walk off. We down climbed some steep snow back onto the glacier and back to our packs. I finished my last sip of water (suffer mode engaged!) and we prepared for the 8-ish mile ski out. We were pretty psyched to find the Cascades Lake highway freshly groomed for us as we skinned back out. The golden hour light and the calm of the evening faded some of the fatigue as we stumbled back to the car. Overall this took us about 14hrs round trip from Dutchman’s at a pretty relaxed pace all day. The grade of WI4/4+ feels about right; the climbing is sustained on the pitch, and while not dead vertical, the blobby ice made it interesting. We are both pretty psyched on the potential of at least repeating some of the burlier looking lines back there; any additional info on other routes would be appreciated! For now though I need a bit of a break from that approach! Gear Notes: 11 screws, 1 picket, 60m half rope Approach Notes: Slog from Dutchman's
  3. 8 points
    Trip: Mt Hood - Black Spider - Center Drip Trip Date: 03/17/2021 Trip Report: @Nolan E Arson and I climbed Center Drip on Wednesday. I usually write overly detailed trip reports but am going to keep this brief and possibly vague because 1) I'm busy/tired, and 2) I feel it's important to preserve the mystique of this route. Here's the quick Cliff Notes version with some pictures. - We started stupidly early because the forecast looked warm and I had a work meeting at 3 (you can guess how that worked out). - We reached the top of Palmer 1:12 after leaving Timberline. I compared our packs when we stopped and mine was about 20 pounds lighter. Sorry dude! - Traversed the White River around 9000' where the big ramp always is and tried to maintain this elevation across the Newton Clark. Uneventful. - From below the face looks barren, dry, uninspiring and crumbly: - But the following very zoomed-in aerial photo had me fantasizing about a vein of climbable ice on the upper mountain: - There's some serious bergschrund action at the bottom. We delicately tiptoed between two massive cracks and then almost stumbled into a third (really, who expects there to be 3???): - First rock band at the base of the couloir = covered with snow. Walked over it. - Second rock band is exposed, we belayed a short pitch. There's a smear of ice that's maybe not actually ice, thankfully it's not that steep because the anchors were probably not actually anchors either. - Below is a picture of the (very thin) ice that matches the line drawn on Wayne's original topo. We did not climb this but instead continued up the couloir to the right maybe 30 meters, for a variety of mundane reasons. - We pulled out of the couloir on this short curtain which basically follows the line on the Mullee topo. Not sure why Mullee's line doesn't quite match Wayne's but they eventually intersect part way between the couloir and the upper snowfield. - Above that there was a bunch of fun, moderate ice climbing! It was a bit hard to believe but I was beginning to think the whole idea wasn't totally stupid. - @Nolan E Arson led into the snow field and somehow recognized one of the rocks or something (??????) from Wayne's trip report. The ice was super thin and I wasn't convinced that this was actually the line, but eventually I traversed out and committed since there weren't any more appealing options. It's not really visible in the pictures but there was a consistent 1-2' wide smear of protectable ice weaving its way up through the rocks. - A ways up I lost the thread and I think took a wrong turn when the ice disappeared under some snow. I climbed a few meters of improbably steep, unsupportive snow, and then did a couple traversing mixed moves to get back on the route, while being ferociously blasted in the face with spindrift of course. I placed a decent cam and a really bomber nut. - Looking down on the upper pitch: - @Nolan E Arson led the last short but very mixed pitch up to the summit snowfield. Delightful crampon-on-slab action: Other notes and thoughts: - I found this route quite stressful simply because we were never really sure what we'd find or if we'd be able to finish it. Rapping off always would have been possible but a giant pain in the ass. The ice on the upper pitch, seen in the aerial photo, is not easily visible from below. - But overall it was pretty reasonable, I'd hesitantly say "safe," even in these thin conditions. There were ample opportunities to place short screws and the anchors were actually pretty confidence inspiring above the first pitch. There was seemingly decent rock pro in the two spots where it was needed. And the climbing was never hard. - I agree with the WI3 grade, though of course it's a bit weird and funky. We had to do a small amount of mixed climbing but it was never very steep, just balancy. - It took us a long time to climb the route but thankfully it remained very cold and there was no rock or icefall. I stayed in my belay parka the entire time. - Fric-Amos is still icy. The lower pitch from the previous trip report is totally buried and ramp-like. Gear Notes: Many screws, 1 picket, a few cams and nuts, a few pitons (not used). Approach Notes: Started from Timberline.
  4. 7 points
    Trip: Wyeast (Mt. Hood) - Linkup Trip Date: 04/11/2021 Trip Report: Hood Headwalls: For a long time I've been thinking about linking a route on each of Wy'east's 6 headwalls in a day. Black Spider, North Face, Eliot Headwall, Sandy Headwall, Reid Headwall and DKH. I gave it a shot today and got 5/6. I figured I'd share to inspire others. Obviously someone needs to be fit, but this is only about 12k' of vert, not crazy in the scheme of things. The real challenge is finding conditions that leave all routes climbable and allow fast movement. I had intended to start with Center Drip but the orange avy forecast had my partner sketched out. For those concerned with doing my risk assessment for me I will say that those watching the time-heights this week will have noticed that 90% of the weather happened below 7k' (NWAC does not forecast for the upper mountain). Also worth noting: the wind loading was from the W, and even if this hadn't scoured the approach up the S Side to check the upper mountain, the S side is not steep enough to classify as avalanche terrain until well above Palmer. But I digress... With no partner for Center Drip, and a small chance of pocket slabs on that aspect anyway, I changed plans to start with Reid. @zaworotiuk was also partnerless for the same reasons and joined last minute for the start. 2:15am hiking start from T-line, had us at Illumination saddle at 4am. The Reid was the usual post hole for the first couple hundred feet and then changed to nice neve. Unfortunately high winds were still hitting the upper mountain and caused quite a bit of rime shedding. I managed to take a blob to the face mid way up but it was luckily not bad. We reached the summit ridge (could have traversed lower) and Matt took off for DKH and meeting other friends for a possible Eliot route. I turned down Cathedral and descended until I could down climb to the Sandy. I hadn't been on Cathedral or Sandy before so I had to back track and down climb some ice through a rock band to reach the glacier. Sandy itself was chill (its a ski run, not sure how the guidebook called it AI3). Once I topped out I walked over to the Queen's Chair and traversed into Eliot, climbing a middle-right line (starting a little L of Adrien's from earlier in the week and finishing with the same steep section). I traversed over the summit and took a break before down climbing Cooper Spur (very good conditions for this) and using Timmy B's beta to trend skier's L and get onto the Eliot glacier. The L hand sneaker ramp past the gaping schrund is still in and R gully went smoothly (except slowly cause I was feeling a little tired at this point). Once back on the summit I took a long water break to slurp awkwardly from my bladder (I somehow thought it would be warm enough for a hydration pack setup and it froze in the hose so at this point I'd probably had ~1/2 L in 8-9hrs of exertion). I then descended Pearly and met Matt again (he had soloed DKH and Elliot and done some PMR rescue practice during all this) and we climbed next to each other up DKH #1 for my last route. I had thought about looking at the Spider after all this, but I was too bushed to safely consider soloing Center Drip and my friends Lindsey and Riley had tried it earlier that day and bailed due to lack of ice. Wy'east could have been subbed as an alternative but, that is more of a ridge climb and just a lot of snow slogging after so much good ice, so I declined and plodded back down to our cars. Matt topping out Reid Coming up Sandy Looking down Leutholds Eliot Summit views Down Cooper R gully Summit again DKH w/ Matt Final summit Strava map Strava track: https://www.strava.com/activities/5111832990 Gear Notes: pointy things and a helmet Approach Notes: Palmer
  5. 6 points
    Trip: Mt. Index - Lake Serene photo trip Trip Date: 03/23/2021 Trip Report: I did a morning hike up to Lake Serene last week to fly my drone and get some new views of Mt. Index. Thought some of you might enjoy a couple images. Gear Notes: DJI Mavic 2 Pro Approach Notes: I thought there would be a good boot pack but the last traverse was snowshoed and I punched through a bit.
  6. 4 points
    Trip: Mt Hood - Cathedral Ridge Trip Date: 04/03/2021 Trip Report: Images https://imgur.com/gallery/qoDJPvE 10:00 PM Climbers lot at Timberline 12:00 AM Top of Palmer 01:10 AM Illumination Saddle 02:40 AM 7775 feet at Yocum Ridge crossing 03:30 AM At bottom of Cathedral Ridge ramp 05:20 AM At top of ramp and on ridge 06:30 AM 9345 feet 08:30 AM Past crux pyramid rock tower 09:45 AM 10540 feet 10:50 AM Summit Climbed Cathedral Ridge on Saturday on foot from Timberline. A little bit of breakable crust but not bad from Palmer to Illumination Saddle. Downclimb onto the Reid was easy. Across the Reid had mostly semi firm nice snow. No crevasses in sight. Crossing of Yocum at 7775 was easy. Ran out of energy in the middle of crossing the Sandy Glacier. Only had a single bar to that point, not that my stomach would have like more. Sounded like a river of small ice pieces was coming down from the cliffs to the left of the ramp up to Cathedral Ridge. Also, there was a ~4-foot-wide rock that had recently fallen down off the ridge sitting on the Sandy. Not good signs but oh well. Went up the ramp. The right side was getting a good bit of ice fall. One barrage had several 2-3-inch sized chunks and one football sized or larger. Seriously contemplated turning around. Staying to the left kept me out most of it, was hit only once and not too bad. Got up into the rocks on the left side of the ramp and around something that I though might take me to the ridge but was a dead end / cliff on the left. Traversed right back to the route and then up to the ridge proper and was able to stay out of any icefall. In the future, if I try this again it will have to be where there is a better freeze. Freezing level this morning was only forecast for 7800 feet. Getting around the gum drop was super easy, barely noticed there was exposure on the right. The crux pyramid rock tower had good snow and the lower part was easy to climb. About half way up traversed left and then climbed that side. Seemed a whole lot safer than down climbing out on the Ladd Headwall or whatever it is called on the left side even though it is much less steep. One slip and that’d be it. Another option would be to stay at the same elevation and climb through the rocks - a bunch more work and still have to climb up later in maybe worse conditions. Went on hands and feet along the knife edge traverse though it was still better than expected. Gear Notes: Crampons, 2 tools, helmet Approach Notes: Normal slog up cat tracks. MtHoodCathedralRidge.gpx
  7. 3 points
    Trip: Mt Hood - Cathedral Ramp - FA Trip Date: 04/17/2021 Trip Report: Today a group of us (@Nolan E Arson, @ktarry, @The Real Nick Sweeney) did what we believe is the first ascent of Cathedral Ramp off of the Eliot glacier. Of course I’m half-expecting someone to show up and post photos of a previous climb of the route, but we don’t have any reason to think it’s been done before and it’s listed as unclimbed in Mullee’s guidebook. We approached by racing the hoards up the South Side. @Nolan E Arson and I simul soloed DKHW 1, which is becoming quite mixed, to reach the summit, and then dropped down to the Queen’s Chair, with @ktarry and @The Real Nick Sweeney close behind. We continued down to near the top of Horseshoe Rock and traversed across, staying underneath the large bergschrund at the top of the glacier. The whole Eliot Headwall area, with lots of ice and lots of footprints from the last couple weeks: @Nolan E Arson and I approached the lower left ice flow that leads up and right to near the bottom of the upper snow ramp (orange line in photo below). @ktarry and @The Real Nick Sweeney approached the slightly higher streak of ice that forms a straight line with the upper ramp (yellow line). Perhaps one of them can chime in here to describe their first pitch. We started by doing a little mini pitch, still in our glacier travel setup, to get above the frighteningly undercut/moated area right up against the rock: From here we could see that there was ice leading all the way to the upper ramp. @Nolan E Arson led a nice fun pitch of WI3 (photo below), eventually meeting up with @ktarry who had traversed in from our right. While following I got a good view of @The Real Nick Sweeney coming up the other line: I started up the snow ramp, which is easy at first and then progresses to a few steeper mixed moves: Above this was the big unknown part of the climb. Some random photos we’d found online seemed to show easy, fairly flat snow wrapping around from the top of Cathedral Ramp to meet up with the top of the Pencil. Every time I’d looked across from the Queen’s Chair recently, however, the top out looked dry and steep and kind of scary. After the brief section of mixed climbing I reached a ledge where I could see that I was around 10-15 meters from the top of the Pencil. Of course I’d hoped to see an easy way across, but instead I was confronted with a few meters of climbing on absolutely atrocious, crumbling rock, up on to a previously invisible little ridge: Thankfully things weren’t that steep and I proceeded through this section without too much trouble. The rock was so loose and shitty that I didn’t even consider placing any gear, though I think perhaps @The Real Nick Sweeney found a decent cam placement on his way through? From on top of the little ridge there was a clear way to traverse, mostly on ice, to gain the main part of the North Face Cleaver, near the top out of the Pencil. I was hoping to climb the additional ice pitch to the top of Cathedral spire from the Pencil trip report, but at this time it’s completely melted. Maybe it's only there in the winter? Instead, @Nolan E Arson led around to the left on a series of icy ramps and snowy ledges: We were eventually deposited in the North Face right gully directly above the upper ice pitch. From here we unroped and soloed back to the summit. I'll add some concluding thoughts at a later time, once I've slept! Gear Notes: Took a lot of stuff. Mostly used screws with just an occasional piece of rock pro. Approach Notes: South Side
  8. 3 points
    An absolute pleasure meeting you and sharing the route with you, Matt! if you are a competent alpine ice climber, GET YOUR ASS TO THE NORTH SIDE OF HOOD ASAP. The goods are waiting.
  9. 3 points
    Trip: Mt Hood - Devil's Kitchen Headwall (4/2/21) DKH Trip Date: 04/02/2021 Trip Report: Climbed on 4/2/21, very solid climbing conditions. Not "super fat", but still very possible to get good sticks and place screws and protect without any rock gear or pins. Full trip report: http://gethighonaltitude.com/2021/04/03/mt-hood-the-devils-kitchen-headwall/ Gear Notes: Screws, pickets Approach Notes: South side, you know what to do
  10. 3 points
    Trip: Tahoma / Mt. Rainier - Gibraltar Ledges Trip Date: 03/13/2021 Trip Report: @aikidjoe and I hiked / climbed Gibraltar Ledges on Saturday, March 13th. Left the parking lot Friday evening about 5:30pm and returned about the same time Saturday. Skinned to Muir with a great track(s) and easy snow conditions. Had our fingers crossed that the hut would be open - alas, four to six folks had set up in there. Given we're not done with the plague quite yet, we elected to dig a little double-wide snow coffin and settle in for an open bivy. Thankfully the wind was light and our 20 degree bags were sufficient. I want to thank the gentleman who came out of the hut and insisted we stay in there, the gesture was appreciated! We felt good sleeping out despite the insistence that there was 'no covid' in the hut. After a solid 6+ hour sleep, we left Muir about 6am. A superb bootpack led all the way up to, across, and out of the ledges. Roped up at the shoulder of Gib Rock (~12,500), shortly after Joseph put his whole left leg in a hidden crack. Wands on the upper mountain were helpful in navigating crevasses and led pretty nicely to the top. We ran into three skiers who got to enjoy some chalky, not really icy snow on the upper mountain. There was also one set of ski tracks in Gib Chute which appeared to be in great shape. Looking down the Ingraham, it was clear no one was descending that way and getting down it would be a pain with how broken up the glacier was. We hit the summit crater about noon and decided to call that good, based on having to re-cross the ledges in the afternoon sun, as well as some threatening clouds gathering on the other side of the summit zone. Descending was made easier by whoever left the wands up there. Not to let Joseph be outdone, I also managed to put a whole leg in a crack that was thinly covered by some wind transported snow. Getting back across the ledges after noon was a tad stressful, fortunately no rockfall occurred on the way through. The nice snow we had skinning up the night before had transformed into a crusty nightmare just below Muir. It got softer and more consistent by Pan Face, which made for some fun turns on tired legs. No trip to Rainier is complete without a wildlife sighting - this parking lot fox was pretty tame and hardly wild. Can't believe it had been almost 4 years since my last time up Rainier, almost forgot how much fun the slog can be! It helps to have great weather, a solid partner, and nice folks ahead to break all the trail. To paraphrase a dear friend, the mark of a good weekend is whether or not one's soul was refreshed. By that measure, it was certainly a soul refreshing weekend. Spring is here and the mountains are calling! Gear Notes: 60m skinny cord, glacier gear, sunscreen, warm layers, splitboard w/ ski boots Approach Notes: Well established trail all the way
  11. 2 points
    That’s just like, your opinion, man.
  12. 2 points
    Howdy folks, Just moved up to Bellingham and am looking for partners for fast and light alpine climbs in the north cascades and surrounding areas. I prefer big single push efforts and am comfortable leading up to low 10s and easy ice. Im pretty flexible on objectives and really just want to spend as much time in the mountains as possible. Ideal partner will be focused more on efficiency and safety than crushing the most epic line. Have gear, experience and all that jazz. Also able to ski approach/descents. I will be working a normal mon-fri schedule.
  13. 2 points
    Trip: Wai‘ale‘ale - Alaka‘i Swamp Trip Date: 12/01/2020 Trip Report: The Summit of Kaua‘i: Kawaikini, Wai‘ale‘ale, Weeping Wall, and Blue Hole Since I was a kid, I thought of Wai‘ale‘ale as an inaccessible, spiritual place filled with adventure that only the hardest humans in history have ever visited. I never thought it would be possible to get to the center of Kaua‘i, the highest point, one of the wettest places on Earth surrounded by swamp, dense vegetation and vertiginous cliffs. Two decades since I first learned of this place, many folks have blazed a path, and the DLNR has even installed a fence line for much of the journey (intended to discourage invasive, wild boar from rampaging the inner parts of the island). The installation of the fenceline in 2011 has made the challenge much less daunting. The entire hike is located in what’s called the Alaka‘i Swamp which is a large, high (relatively flat) plateau on the Northwest side of the island. If you’ve heard rumors of heinous, hardcore adventurers going to Wai‘ale‘ale before, it’s not as serious an endeavor as the rumors make it out to be. On the flip side, if you’ve never heard of Wai‘ale‘ale, it’s WAY more serious than you can ever imagine. Chances are, if you’re on this website, you’re already a badass. This hike may be the most challenging non-technical adventure you’ll ever do…and I can’t recommend it enough! I’ve devoured every bit of information on this hike with a Bibliography at the end, and hopefully this can serve as a single source for everything you need to know about getting to Wai‘ale‘ale. Stats on Wai‘ale‘ale -Dirt Road (Mōhihi-Camp 10 Rd): 12.2 miles round trip. 1000ft of gain and loss each way. -Trail from Mōhihi-Wai‘alae Trailhead to Kawaikini: 23.3 miles round trip. Going towards Kawaikini includes over 2200ft elevation gain and over 950ft loss. Stats on Blue Hole/Weeping Wall -Loop Road (Keahua Arboretum to Jurassic Park Gates and Blue Hole/Weeping Wall Trailhead): 9.8 miles round trip. Going towards the trailhead includes over 1,000ft elevation gain and 500ft loss. -Hike to Blue Hole/Weeping Wall: 4.86 miles round trip. Going to Weeping Wall includes over 1,350ft elevation gain and 50ft loss. Tracks https://caltopo.com/m/KK6B Here is a link to all four GPS tracks: -Road to Wai‘ale‘ale: 4x4 Mōhihi-Camp 10 Road (red) -Hike to Wai‘ale‘ale: Trail to Wai'ale'ale pond and Kawaikini (orange) -Road to Weeping Wall: 4x4 Loop Road to Jurassic Park Gates (red) -Hike to Weeping Wall/Blue Hole (blue) Summary Over three days (Nov 30 – Dec 2, 2020), myself (Jeff) and my wife, Priti, traversed up and over the island, summiting the highest point of the island (Kawaikini), then paraglided off near the shores of the sacred Wai‘ale‘ale pond, landing at the film location of the Jurassic Park Gates (the beams are still in place today). For the Wai‘ale‘ale hike, we were joined by a good friend Flip who took video of our takeoffs and expertly drove us to the Mōhihi-Wai‘alae trailhead. Flip is an adventure guide on Kaua‘i but had never done this hike, and was looking to get all the beta before taking potential clients. After landing, Priti and I headed back towards the mountain, from whence we came, along the Wailua River towards its source, Weeping Wall, 3,000ft directly below Kawaikini, passing Blue Hole along the way where three rivers converge. Wai‘ale‘ale and Weeping Wall are two completely distinct hikes that I’ll explain separately. Wai‘ale‘ale is the seldom-visited, central high point of the island, reached from the West through the Alaka‘i Swamp via Koke‘e State Park (Waimea Canyon…the Grand Canyon of the Pacific). Weeping Wall, however is the impressive wall of waterfalls that cascades 3,000ft down from Wai‘ale‘ale (the most sacred water) to feed the Wailua River below (the most sacred river) and is reached from the East (Kapa‘a). We just linked these two adventures together with paragliders. So, this is really two trip reports in one. Hire a Guide There are several local guides who can take you on either adventure if you are nervous about doing it alone, although no guide companies to my knowledge will even advertise Wai‘ale‘ale as an offering. Blue Hole, on the other hand, is a popular, guided hike. For many years, “The Ultimate Kaua‘i Guidebook” guidebook said it was not possible to reach Wai‘ale‘ale, but the most recent addition has some good beta on this trek as well as the Blue Hole/Weeping Wall hike (both of these are not really “hikes” and have no trails). Also, the companion app (“Kaua‘i Revealed” which is a great app!) has a description and downloadable GPS tracks (for the road and the trail) for offline use. Two local guides I would highly recommend is Andrew Hewitt (808) 651-7429 or Flip (415) 517-8408 (it’s just “Flip”, like Cher or Prince…he’ll teach you backflips and handstands too if you want!). But in all honesty, you really should give it a go on your own, especially if you have a Mountaineering background and can reasonably take care of yourself in the wilderness. You can basically just grab the GPS tracks, download a copy of this trip report, and start now! As much as I’ll be hyping this up, it’s not that hardcore. The Blue Hole/Weeping Wall hike, while extremely difficult, is much less of an adventure. This hike starts on the totally opposite side of the island, at the Keahua Arboretum parking lot. Many hiking guide companies will advertise taking you there (or take Andrew or Flip!), and they will even drive you in Jeeps up Loop Road if it’s open (a fun drive for the adventurous driver). Wai‘ale‘ale Driving Directions The adventure begins up Waimea Canyon Road in Koke‘e. The crux of the entire trip is the infamous Mōhihi-Camp 10 Road. Rental cars are only ever allowed on paved roads, even the 4x4 vehicles and Jeeps. If you have any concerns, it really isn’t a big deal to just park your car at the Koke‘e Natural History Museum and start walking up the Mōhihi-Camp 10 Road. It’s all a dirt road as soon as you turn off of Waimea Canyon Drive. The nice thing is that most of your elevation gain is already out of the way anyway. If you are feeling adventurous, you can drive as far as you can up Mōhihi-Camp 10 Rd, and leave the car. You can maybe even get as far as Sugi Grove pretty easily. But leaving your car along the road at a random spot for a night or two is less-than-ideal as well. You can also consider taking bikes (mountain bike preferred, of course, but you can still get far with any old bike). Our friend’s truck got stuck on the way out, and he is very experienced with the rough Kaua‘i backroads. As of March 2020, the last few miles of this road are absolutely trashed and you will definitely be hiking on the road for at least the last few miles anyway. In Google Maps, your first turn off of Waimea Canyon Road is “Kumuela Road” (N 22.129186° W 159.656790°), directly across from the museum parking lot, follow signs for Camp Slogett (a YMCA camp). However, Kumuela Road corresponds to “MOHIHI RD” shown in the park map below, passing Camp Sloggett along the way. Don’t use Google Maps for this part! Google Maps will tell you to take the next right off of Waimea Canyon Road (N 22.130806° W 159.653717°) onto “Mohihi Rd”, but this is not possible because it forks into private property and also is too overgrown. Therefore, start at Kumuela Road (N 22.129186° W 159.656790°) until it joins with the original Mōhihi-Camp 10 Road. Follow the GPS tracks for this drive/hike/bike. Even the map above is not very detailed and does not show every turnoff. The last .5 mile (or so) of the Mōhihi-Camp 10 Road is a prominent fork. They are both really rough roads, but the lower (right) fork is significantly worse. The lower (right) fork is called the Mōhihi Ditch Trail on some maps. Whether you are driving, biking, or walking, I would advise you to take the upper (left) fork. Strategy One strategy if you are walking/biking since the road adds 6.1 miles and 1000ft of gain and loss each way (up and down and up and down), is to camp at the Mōhihi-Wai‘alae Trailhead (there are picnic shelters there too), cache your gear and try to do the entire trip to Wai‘ale‘ale/Kawaikini in a day. That would be a huge day! Instead, I’d highly recommend bringing a light bivy kit to enjoy it more, and as a safety backup in case you underestimate the journey. If you are a total boss, you can try to bike from the Koke‘e Natural History Museum and do the entire hike and back in a day. If you’re hiking the road, there’s a good chance you can catch a ride for part of the journey since the road is popular with truck-riding hunters. Note that there are also cabins you can rent at Koke‘e lodge if you don’t want a long, early morning /late night drive up and down Waimea Canyon Drive. Gear There is generally no cell phone service in Koke‘e and especially in Alaka‘i Swamp, so taking an inReach or two-way satellite communication device is highly advised. Also, I wouldn’t recommend recording tracks, since you really are depending heavily on your GPS tracks to get you in and out. For this reason, consider taking a small battery pack and a miniature phone charging cable for backup. A map and compass are not really helpful since you don’t have many landmarks to sight along the way. Other items: -Headlamp and spare batteries. -Bug spray is not needed… no mosquitos here! -Emergency bivy gear. -I lined my backpack with a trash bag which worked well, instead of the silly backpack covers. -Pants and a long sleeve since you’ll get scratched from ferns. -Hardshell jacket and rain pants were very nice to have. -A cheap, plastic poncho could be a very effective backup too (Gore-tex works…up to a point). -A covered hammock or a single-wall Mountaineering tent can be an acceptable lightweight solution. The smaller the footprint the better. -Synthetic sleeping bag (we brought down and just made sure to double bag it) -The tent floor will be wet, so a thick, inflatable pad will be a welcome luxury. -An extra tarp to hang over everything is pretty standard for hunters who spend a lot of time out here. Leave a totally fresh set of clothes and shoes at the car and a trash bag to dump all your ratty clothes when you get back so you don’t trash your rental. Bringing dry clothes in a dry bag is nice for sleeping in as well. Be sure to put on your wet clothes in the morning! They will be wet immediately, regardless. Don’t bring a machete! Unless you just want it for the Instagram. There is no need to do any real bushwacking for any of this trek. You want to be as light as possible. Bring all of your water with you (3-4L). The streams are heavily silted with decaying volcanic organic matter. Some OK water sources include the Wai‘ale‘ale pond at the very end or some off-route streams near the end that are a pain to get to. You still want to filter all your water! Footwear If you watch the video above, you can see the type of mud and murk that you have to wade through. You have to have footwear that you can comfortably plow through all of this terrain to cover the miles. You don’t want to pause and skirt around every mud puddle because you’re trying to protect your expensive La Sportiva shoes. You want to plow through with confidence! Note that approximately half of this hike follows a fence that is buried in mud. There is jagged rusty fence ends buried in the mud, so you absolutely want footwear that covers your whole foot to avoid getting your feet injured. Open sided sandals are not recommended, even with socks, be careful to avoid the fence in places where there may have been hidden wires under the mud. You will be hiking frequently in shin, knee (or sometimes deeper) mud so be prepared for your entire foot to be submerged in the sticky, red clay. You can wear just about any footwear for the first 4 miles to the Koai‘e Stream crossing, then cache those shoes in a bag and wear another pair for the rest of the trek (so have a relatively dry pair to put on for the way back). Good options for the hike past Koai‘e Stream are water shoes, reef walkers with felt bottoms ($20 from Walmart/Cosco in Lihu‘e), or just regular tennis shoes or trekking shoes that fit snugly so you don’t lose them when pulling them out of the mud (they will get trashed). Make sure to wear socks for blister protection. Rubber boots may be OK, but will be terrible to walk in for so many miles and you will surely get your feet deeper than the lip of the rubber boot anyway. I wore technical water shoes from OluKai with an aggressive sole and socks (a bougie option but turned out amazing). My OluKai’s are 8 years old at this point, and they are similar to the current ‘Imaka Trainer model and well worth the investment (the only shoes that I know of that are specifically made for this kind of terrain). Ankle protection is not really important for Wai‘ale‘ale, but be aware on the Blue Hole/Weeping Wall hike that there is lots of ankle-busting wet-rock hopping that may warrant the extra security of an ankle-protecting boot. When to Go Locals say that there are usually only 20 days out of the year that you can actually SEE Mount Wai‘ale‘ale from town and usually that’s just a partial-day viewing (usually early morning). It is one of the rainiest spots on Earth with over 450inches of rainfall annually, and it’s no joke. The hike is between 3,500ft and 5,000ft so it is also COLD…hypothermia is a real threat here. If you plan to camp overnight, make sure you have an entirely dry set of clothes to sleep in (even underwear), and be prepared to put all your cold, wet clothes back on in the morning. The Cascades are GREAT training for this hike. We checked weather.gov and meteoblue.com for the summit weather for over a month before we found a good weather window. It usually just says “Rain” non-stop every day. Just wait for a good forecast; this could mean the difference of just being miserable or absolutely hating life. It will still be unenviable suffering under normal, wet conditions. Even if the forecast says “Sunny”, you will get rain, you can count on it. Sometimes it can just be a fog or mist, but it can also be hard rain. Our forecast was full-blown sun for three days and we still got hard rain each day for many hours. Don’t be disappointed if you don’t get a view at the end, either. The best way to ensure you get a view at the end is to go on a splitter weather window and camp at the rim since the early mornings are your best bet for clear weather. This was the most spectacular sunrise of our lives as it rose over the Pacific Ocean with the lights of Lihu‘e gently dwindling beyond the sweeping green valley walls below. Winter and spring get the most rain, but you can do this hike year round with the right weather window. https://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lon=-159.4976234436035&lat=22.065755331828683#.YEmYkC1h1WM https://www.meteoblue.com/en/weather/week/wai‘ale‘ale_united-states-of-america_5854158 You should also check the discharge and gage height of this nearby stream to judge if the Koai‘e will be passable: https://waterdata.usgs.gov/hi/nwis/uv?dd_cd=02&format=gif&period=31&site_no=16019000 Bob Burd recommends not going if the cfs discharge is greater than 7fps and also the gage height is greater than 2 ft, and I think I agree (although that may be overly conservative). Here is an example of when NOT to go (from recent torrential rain): Also check the Mount Wai‘ale‘ale Rain Gauge and don’t go after extended periods of significant rain: https://waterdata.usgs.gov/hi/nwis/dv?cb_00045=on&format=gif_default&site_no=220427159300201&referred_module=sw&period=&begin_date=&end_date= The Hike OK, you made it to the trailhead on the Northern/Upper/Left fork. I’ll walk you through the hike and point out the “gotchas” where we got lost (you may get lost at other places, so stay vigilant). Just download the GPS track and input the Gotchas on your map. We basically just followed GPS tracks the whole way, frequently pulling them up on our phones. Without the tracks, we would have never found the way. Some reports mention flags and broken tree limbs, and arrows scratched in logs. Don’t count on any of it; it’s all bullsh&t. For your first time, you are blindly following a GPS track. Period. I could probably find my way again if I went again without tracks, though. The “mountain sense” is totally gone up here. It is otherworldly, and compass needles just spin around because you’ve entered another dimension. You are in a misty, boggy, heavily spiritual place that feels more dangerous than any mountain I’ve ever been on. You must respect the ‘āina. Also, ignore all flags. I think hunters use various colors to show boot paths to other destinations. Trailhead (upper/left fork): N 22.11872° W 159.60389° This looks like an official trailhead. There is a trail sign, a covered picnic table, and plenty of flat spots to camp (although the lower/right fork trailhead is a better place to camp imo). Start on the maintained trail which turns into a road and joins up with the end of the lower/right fork road after 1000ft (about 5min from the trailhead). When you get to another covered picnic table, this is where you leave the trail/road and enter the forest. Jeff, Priti, and Flip **Gotcha #1** At this point, we did not enter the forest at the picnic table, but instead just kept walking back up the lower road (back towards Koke‘e) for another 15min until we realized our mistake! Instead, when you get to the second picnic table, LEAVE THE ROAD HERE AND ENTER THE FOREST, descending to cross a small stream (the Mōhihi Stream), which is also an OK water source. **Gotcha #2** After walking another 300 ft, just after the Mōhihi stream crossing, you’ll see a shack on the right with a faint trail that keeps going past this spot. Instead, you want to take a right almost immediately after the stream crossing and about 10ft before the shack. There is a faint boot pack through grass/ferns and a “0.25 mi” marker. The shack, just past the "0.25 mi" marker Turn right here, past the marker to stay on trail From here, you’ll follow a nice, semi-maintained trail with occasional views into Waimea Canyon. Your next waypoint is an overlook with a bench (N 22.10940° W 159.59376°) about .83miles from your last turnoff. Amazing views of Waimea Canyon Overlook and bench **Gotcha #3** N 22.11432° W 159.58414°. The end of the semi-maintained trail (the “Mōhihi-Wai‘alae Trail”). When you get to this point, make a right turn at a small clearing. **Gotcha #4** N 22.11424° W 159.57655°. The trail is still a pretty decent boot pack but it gets a little squirly at this point, so consult your track. You make a sharp left turn to go up and gain the ridge line. It will be pretty obvious and overgrown if you get off track. N 22.11369° W 159.56335°. Here you start descending 60m down to the Koai‘e Stream with the aid of some old, fixed ropes. It’s obvious to find. **Gotcha #5** N 22.11231° W 159.56267°. This waypoint is more for your way back out. The bottom of the fixed rope to Koai‘e Stream can be hard to find in the dark on your way out as you steeply ascend back to the ridgeline. Koai‘e Stream N 22.11253° W 159.56192°. The Koai‘e Stream can be impassable when it’s high. Some parties carry rope with them to belay across. I’d say leave the rope, take your chances, and don’t go if the stream telemetry is reading high. If you really want to bring a rope, 40ft of cord should do it with a bowline on a coil harness and a hip belays. When we did it, the crossing was a trivial rock hop, and we didn’t even get wet. You can cache your dry pair of shoes before the crossing, because it’s immediately going to get gnarly. The Koai‘e Cabin Just across the stream is the Koai‘e Camp Cabin. It’s a fairly nice shelter that used to be littered with trash and old hunting gear but was totally empty and clean when we found it. You can sleep several people on the floor of this covered shack. This could be a good strategy to split up the hike over 2 or 3 days if you were really resistant to bringing your own shelter. **Gotcha #6** At the Koai‘e Camp, the next 100ft of the trail is lost in a maze of swamp and ferns before it becomes clear again, so keep an eye on your track. There are pink and orange flags everywhere that lead to other hunter boot trails, so don’t get suckered. The trail here is pretty nicely maintained, so if it feels to bushwack’y, then you’re off-route. Logs have been laid along the trail to stop it from eroding, and even a few ladders have been put in place! N 22.11115° W 159.56113°. There is a short, tricky rope ladder here. Continue following a decent trail and you will eventually find the new (tall) fence on your right (N 22.09163° W 159.55107°). Follow the fence, keeping it to your right (it will be too tall to get over anyway). This side of the fence is luxuriously clear and easy to walk (enjoy it while you can!)...almost sprint-able. At a certain point along the fence, there is a very nice bivy site option with tree coverage to help if it’s raining (N 22.08494° W 159.54131°) and sturdy fence pickets for a hammock or tarp. About 50 yards beyond, the new (tall) fence ends and the old (short) fence forks off left and right. You want to go through the gate on your right (through the tall fence), then keep the short fence on your left (N 22.08497° W 159.54094°). You are now entering “Sincock’s Bog” which is a long, flat clearing on your left that you will skirt around Shortly after, you be in the trees again briefly and come out to another bog called “Bogette” (yes, it’s a smaller bog than Sincock’s). Both bogs can provide flat, open camping options, but I highty recommend the one mentioned above. Camping in a bog is exposed to rain and wind. You’re pretty exposed from here on out. The end of the “Bogette” clearing is what Bob Burd listed as “Start Hell”. In reality, it’s all hell, so his “Start Hell” and “End Hell” are not worth keep track of anymore since we now have a fence to follow. For the original trailblazers, this was more difficult because you are no longer in an open bog, but dense swamp. Continue following the fence, keeping it on your left. At this fence intersection, make an abrupt right turn to keep the fence on your left Soon, you will start to noticeably ascend a hill. This is the rim of a small, ancient caldera called “Kapoki” which created much of Kaua‘i. Looking back at Alaka‘i Swamp from atop the crater rim **Gotcha #7** N 22.07620° W 159.52241°. The fence line T’s off at the top of the hill (caldera rim). The fence continues straight while another REALLY TALL FENCE cuts right. Do not go right, along the tall fence. Instead, climb up and over the fence “T” to continue on the same trajectory following the shorter fence. Note that if you have a hammock with you, all of these spots where the fence T’s off at an angle is a great place to pitch a hammock because the fence pickets are quite sturdy. The wood in the Alaka‘i swamp is very soft, old, and decomposing which doesn’t make for good hammock posts. You continue along the Kapoki caldera rim (with the crater on your left). Some past parties bivied inside the caldera in a clearing, but it is way out of the way and didn’t look like a good spot to camp. Note that THIS is the real crater, although there is nothing left to see here, really. Weeping Wall/Blue Hole/Wai‘ale‘ale, while not a crater or the remains of such, is an impressive erosional feature (box canyon) and the main attraction. N 22.07138° W 159.50919°. You’ve kept the fence on your left so far, but now the right side becomes too overgrown and you will need to hop over it and keep the fence on your right, briefly. We also set up camp here, although there is nothing special here that makes it an especially good campsite. The terrain foliage begins to open up here. On your left, you’ll see a rather idyllic shire and a clear, running stream, but it is very difficult to get down there and not worth going out of your way. The Shire...Very pretty, but not worth going out of your way for (just stay along the fence) Smaller footprint, the better Drying out gear in the morning while we have some sun After a short ways along the left side of the fence, it becomes apparent to hop back over to the right side of the fence again, keeping it on your left all the way to the rim. Looking out at Ni‘ihau (The Forbidden Island) The terrain really opens up as you get closer to the rim Looking over the West Side of Kauai‘i and Ni‘ihau N 22.07138° W 159.50919°. Allegedly some ancient ruins are located here, although we saw no sign of anything. N 22.06849° W 159.49850°. Congratulations! You’ve made it to the rim. The fence impressively continues to go down over the cliff to keep out those pesky cliff-climbing hogs. The fence T’s off and goes left here towards the Rain Gauge and the Wai‘ale‘ale pond. There is a sturdy “T” in the fence to pitch a hammock. The ground is wet and soggy here, but you can easily set up a tent anywhere…or fly your paraglider off (although the rotor/updraft can be really dangerous)! Go left (heading Northeast) to get to the USGS rain gauge then just a little further to the sacred Wai‘ale‘ale pond. At one point, ancient Hawaiians built a short canal to connect Wai‘ale‘ale (literally “rippling waters”) to make it feed the most sacred Wailua River, 3,000ft below. There is a heiau (Hawaiian sacred stone terrace temple) called Ka‘awako at the head of the pond. It is absolutely magical and a must-see…way more interesting than the slight bump that marks the island’s high point. There is a water level gauge in the center of the pond, too. You can continue exploring along the ridgeline, or turn around back to the end of the fenceline. The sacred shores of Wai‘ale‘ale The heiau is at the far end of the pond Rain Gauge and other equipment Wide angle views looking back from where we came, across the Alaka‘i Swamp No more fence, drop gear and head to the summit hill, Kawaikini Kawaikini, viewed from the North From where the fence ends and goes over the rim, you head Southwest (right) along the rim to get to Kawaikini (hint: it’s not close). There is no fence in this direction and you are weaving around cliffs, sometimes entering bands of stunted tress near the rim with some fragments of trail (many options). Allow another 45min to get to the “summit”, and another 15 min to get to the Southernmost point of the rim (“Kawaikini”). Looking West into the impressive Olokele Canyon "You can fly, You can fly, You can fly" Summit selfie Olokele Canyon Kawaikini is the name given to the high point of the island. “Kawaikini” literally translates to "the multitudinous water", referring to the island's high rainfall. Most maps label it as the southernmost point on the rim, however the actual highpoint does not correlate to this point. The actual summit is about 400ft before the end of the rim (see screenshot from peakbagger.com). If you’re concerned about peakbagging, consider tagging both points: the summit (N 22.05865° W 159.49734°) and Kawaikini (N 22.05688° W 159.49678°). Supposedly, there is a USGS marker somewhere, but no trip report has verified its location. We tagged the true summit, but we did not go over to Kawaikini since it is way out of the way (you have to back up a bit and go down around a bluff), but the views over there are also supposed to be worth checking out. 3,000ft below is the incredible Weeping Wall of waterfalls. Supremely wet during a splitter weather window The end of the fence line, looking southeast towards Kawaikini - the pyramid summit on the left is an unnamed sub-peak We camped again at the rim even though it was early in the day, since we were shooting for an early morning flight when it was clear and calm. An epic sunrise Looking down at the Wailua River and the J-shaped box canyon of Weeping Wall Looking East towards Kapa‘a and Lihu‘e The Weeping Wall The Lights of Lihu‘e Lihu‘e and Menehune Salt Pond Visible Priti and I took off in perfect conditions with a slight headwind and an ideal takeoff field. We had several landing options scouted already along Loop Road depending on how far we could get, but with our mono-surface wing and a headwind we had to land at our last-resort location: the fern clearing behind the Jurassic Park Gates. Loop Road is mostly covered over with tall trees, but there is a small clearing here with tall, devilish ferns to softly land in if you can’t stick the landing on the open road. It was heinous to untangle everything from the ferns, but at least we were closer to the trailhead! Flora and Fauna As you hike, notice the foliage and birds. The ecosystem up here is really unique to be able to survive in this permanent dampness. The rare puaiohi (Myadestes palmeri), also known as the small Kaua‘i thrush or Palmer’s thrush is an endangered species and known only to live in the Alaka‘i Swamp. The rare puaiohi (stock image, did not see one) You’re also likely to see an ‘elepaio. There are three species of this monarch flycatcher, one endemic to each of the three islands of Hawai‘i, Māui, and Kaua‘i. An endemic ‘elepaio (my image, we saw one!)...they are very friendly and bold There was a pack of goats running around near Kawaikini while we were there, and you may also run into wild pigs or deer. Don’t mess with a pig! They can be highly dangerous. Ohia Lehua flowers You’ll also see a lot of beautiful Ohia Lehua flowers. While tempting, DO NOT PICK THESE FLOWERS. If you pluck this vibrant, red flower, you will separate ancient lovers and cause it to rain! Read more about the legend of the Ohia Tree and the Lehua Blossom here: https://www.lovebigisland.com/big-island-mythology/ohia-lehua/ Blue Hole We really didn’t do much research on Blue Hole and we literally only had the GPS tracks. The road to the trailhead (“Loop Road”) is a well-maintained dirt road that can get closed for long periods of time while they are repairing it after heavy rains (I believe it is closed for repair at the time of this writing). Even if it’s open, there are several really difficult river crossings that are for expert-drivers only. I wouldn’t recommend taking a rental here, even a 4x4. The Jeep and 4x4 rental places expressly DO NOT want you to take their cars on Loop Road. Even if you were to do it on the sly, it is very difficult and a tow will be very, very expensive. Hiking Loop Road is fast, easy and trivial with no navigation tricks and no car-stresses. Takes about 1.5hrs to walk it each way (or less). Just park at the Keahua Arboretum (or up the hill at the yellow gate where the Powerline Trailhead is located). You will pass the beams that remain from the old Jurassic Park gate film set (queue the music). At the trailhead, you really just stay along the Wailua River. It is long, slippery, dangerous, time consuming, and NOT A TRAIL. You are going in and out of the river constantly, whenever you can find short stints of trail on the river bank. Sometimes there is flagging, but local guides like to take them down so you get lost and hire the guide instead. If you have the tracks, navigation really isn’t an issue. Lots of boulder hopping. Go slow and don’t bust your ankle. Blue Hole Looking back down onto Blue Hole Eventually you get to a large beautiful blue pool where three rivers converge. Some sources call this spot “Blue Hole” while other sources call the J-shaped box canyon of the Weeping Wall the “Blue Hole”. Two of the rivers form an impressive waterfall. Take a rope on the left side to gain the path above the waterfall. Further down, about where the river makes a sharp left bend, there will be fixed ropes to help ascend the steep, slippery hillside. Go through the gate in the pig fence and enter the magical world of the Weeping Wall. Depending on the season, it can be engorged with waterfalls all around you. Looking back down the J-shaped box canyon and the Wailua River source The Weeping Wall If you are in decent shape, you can easily make this a VERY long day trip from the Arboretum. Start early, in the dark, so that you are back on Loop Road before nightfall. There is also a nice place to camp at the trailhead (big, open field) if you prefer. The river makes for an excellent water source (always filter). This is another one that everybody loves to over-hype, but it’s really not that intense…unless you’ve never heard of it, then it’s INSANE! A Note on the Hawaiian Language Hawaiian script is very phonetic (unlike English) and there are only a few rules to follow in order to pronounce the words correctly. Hawaiians had no written language prior to Western contact, except for petroglyph symbols, and the modern Hawaiian alphabet is based on Latin script just two centuries ago. If you’d like to participate in respecting the language and culture, please follow the few simple rules (just don’t be an asshole about it): -Vowels are pronounced the same way every time (car, bet, city, for, and moon for ‘u’) -Consonants are (nearly) the same as in English (except for “w”), with “p” and “k” being softer (but don’t worry about that). -Inside of words, W can sound like V: -After i or e: usually a “v” sound (i.e. “Haleiwa”) -After u or o: most frequently like “w.” -After a or at the start of a word: either (i.e. Hawai‘I or Wai‘ale‘ale or Wahine) Fake it ’till you make it: When in doubt, you can split it down the middle and use a softer “w” sound somewhere between the two. I’ve never heard anybody say “Vai‘ale‘ale”. **The kahakō accent** A macron ( ¯ ) over a vowel extends the sound, and is called a kahakō in Hawaiian. The macron is also very frequently omitted. For example “Māui”. **The ‘okina accent** The ‘okina is a glottal stop, similar to the sound between the syllables of “oh-oh”. In print, the correct mark for designating an ‘okina is the single open quote mark (a.k.a left single quotation mark) or the turned comma (Source, University of Hawai‘I style guide: https://www.hawaii.edu/offices/communications/standards/hawaiian-language-considerations/). In computer publications, you may also see it as a grave accent (`) (a.k.a “backtick” or “backquote”), the right single quotation mark (‘) (a.k.a curly apostrophe), or the ASCII apostrophe ('), but these are all less preferred to the turned comma or left single quotation mark. Consider this important character, the ‘okina, the next time you pronounce Hawai‘i or O‘ahu or Kaua‘I and attempt to select the correct character in writing (Mac: alt + ]) **In conclusion** -Don’t be lazy and say “y-ollie-ollie” but try to use “y-alay-alay” with glottal stops (even if you find that local Hawaiians don’t!) -Most locals pronounce Wai’alae (the trail name) like the sport “Jai alai” (but with a “w”): Y-ah-LIE. Instead, it’s pronounced WAI-ah-LA-ay (with the glottal stop!) -Kaua‘i (KAU-WAH-ee) with a glottal stop and an extra feature called the “w-glide” which follows “u” vowels when they precede another vowel. -Kawaikini. The “w” can be pronounced either way. KAH-WHY-KEE-nee -Koai’e Stream (the major stream crossing): KOH-WHY-ay (with a glottal stop!) Geology The tourist industry has taken to refering to the semicircle of cliffs along the summit rim as "The Blue Hole" and "Waialeale Crater" but this is an erosional feature (J-shaped box canyon) and not a crater or remains of a crater. It feeds the sacred Wailua River. Sometimes, you’ll also hear Wai‘ale‘ale referred to as “the rainiest spot on Earth. Most signs have now been updated to “One of the rainiest spots on Earth”. It usually always makes the top 10 list, and has made #1 a few times in the 20th century. In fact, “Big Bog” on Maui usually gets higher annual rainfall. Regardless of the ranking, it’s rainy as heck! Wai‘ale‘ale literally means “rippling water” or “overflowing water” which is the name of the sacred pond at the end of the hike, just 15ft away from the rim. This name is also given to the entire geological massif, called “Mount Wai‘ale‘ale”. Kawaikini is the highest point on Kaua’i. It is attributed to a small blip on the summit ridgeline of Wai‘ale‘ale. Although most maps attribute the spot to the southernmost end of the ridge, and not the actual summit hill. When viewed from Kapa‘a or Lihu‘e, Kawaikini is obscured by an unnamed sub-peak on the far lookers-left. History An excerpt from Summit Post: With the summit guarded on three sides by cliffs thousands of feet high consisting of wet, slippery and loose volcanic rock, the only possible approach is through the forbidding Alaka‘i Swamp. A trail once existed up what the ancient Hawaiians called "The Great Ridge of Kane" from the NE to make offerings to Kane, the god of creation and fertility. The last documented ascent of this trail was about 1902 and the route has long been lost to the jungle and landslides. Another trail was built to service the rain guage about 1911, but after the hurricane of 1959 and the advent of helicopters, that trail was abandoned. A couple of additional hurricanes in 1988 and 1992 finished the job. The route of the trail still appears on some maps but only exists beyond the mid-swamp bogs as a workable "trail" in a few short sections and is very difficult to follow. The modern hike through the Alaka‘i Swamp is the easy way! You take your car up the vast majority of elevation gain and simply trudge a long distance horizontally through the Alaka‘I Swamp. Here is an account from Hank Sobeleski (and also a call to action for the Cascade Climbers community!): Scaling Waialeale’s Eastern Face In ancient Kauai, Mount Waialeale was a most sacred place. Each year, Hawaiian chiefs and priests would climb Waialeale’s forbidding eastern face to the summit, where they would make offerings of flowers and wreaths to their god Kane at a small, stone heiau called Kaawako. The Hawaiians began their annual journey near the mouth of the Wailua River. From there, they traveled upstream by canoe, following the northern course of the river until it was no longer navigable. They would then walk in the shallows until they came to the base of a ridge that would lead them up to a false summit called Pohukapele and then on to the top of Waialeale. Atop this ridge (which today forms part of the boundary separating Kauai’s Hanalei and Kawaihau Districts), the travelers would camp for the night at the 2,300-foot level. The next day, they would follow the spine of the ridge upwards to the northern end of Waialeale at 3,200 feet. The climb from there to the summit, another 2,000 feet above them, was steep, slippery, and treacherous. Rope ladders, secured at the summit, were needed to climb the final leg. They would then make their offerings at the Kaawako heiau while chanting praises to Kane. When the United States Exploring Expedition led by Navy Lieutenant Charles Wilkes visited Kauai in 1840, it learned that Hawaiians still regularly climbed Waialeale’s eastern face to the summit in clear weather to view Oahu about 100 miles away. Historian James Jackson Jarves also noted likewise during his observations between 1827 and 1842. In 1870, Grove Farm Plantation owner George N. Wilcox also climbed Waialeale to the summit by following the same trail the Hawaiians had climbed, but when Wilcox climbed it, the trail was overgrown and rarely, if ever, used. George Wilcox repeated the climb in 1874 with George Dole and Fred Smith. About 100 years later, Valdemar Knudsen, with Kauai helicopter pilot Jack Harter aloft in radio contact, made a dauntless attempt, but was turned back at 3,000 feet by impassable terrain. No one has scaled the eastern face of Kauai’s sacred mountain since 1874. http://great-hikes.com/blog/pure-speculation-2/ Links Here is a list of links that we used to prepare for the trip. While useful, you don’t need to open them as I’ve done my best to distall all the essential and interesting information here. https://www.summitpost.org/kawaikini-and-rain-gauge-in-one-day/968920 (a good TR, but slightly out of date) https://www.flickr.com/photos/59798762@N00/sets/72157627235468118/ (neat history lesson with great maps of old and current routes!) https://www.peakbagger.com/climber/ascent.aspx?aid=291803 (very detailed report) https://www.peakbagger.com/climber/ascent.aspx?aid=1548392 (a recent report from 2020) https://www.peakbagger.com/climber/PeakAscents.aspx?pid=11862 https://www.summitpost.org/mountain/150983 http://www.cohp.org/personal/Hawaii_2013/Hawaii_January_2013.html http://www.cohp.org/hi/Kauai_1.html http://www.cohp.org/hi/Kauai_2_textonly.pdf http://www.cohp.org/hi/hawaii.xml http://www.cohp.org/hi/Kauai_2_textonly.pdf https://www.snwburd.com/bob/trip_reports/kapoki_2.html?reports=kapoki_2.html http://www.cohp.org/personal/Hawaii_2013/Hawaii_January_2013.html https://www.snwburd.com/bob/trip_reports/kapoki_1.html https://www.snwburd.com/bob/trip_reports/kapoki_2.html Gear Notes: Non-technical hiking Approach Notes: Included in the TR
  14. 2 points
    Trip: The Mighty Tooth - Regular Trip Date: 01/17/2021 Trip Report: Took a spin up The Mighty w/ a lad from work for his first mixed climb. Mixed as in slush and rock, with just a hint of ice. Oh man, if it gets cold before it dumps again... Gear Notes: Tricams Approach Notes: Separate cars, slowshoes
  15. 2 points
    Eleven years later a comment...I've been searching all over trying to see if anyone has put up a North Face route on The Castle via the direct ice flows. Like you, when we first saw the ice, we knew we had to come back and get it done. I just came across your post. Your yellow lines were exactly what I was looking at and even further to the left with a more direct approach. Unfortunately, it was far too exposed with little to no chance of protecting the route. We took the first pitch, WI3 up to the first clump of trees just east above the daggers. The second pitch, WI4 was further to your right where I found a nice bulge in the ice. The direct line was too thin. I traversed across that section "sewing" the route up with a combination of 4 stubbies and 13's until the fat bulge where I was able to place a nice 16. Surprisingly enough, we intersected your route at the top after climbing through an off-width chimney with a nice spire we could run a cordelette around. When I made it to the rock wall, I tried to go left to gain the summit. I placed one KB but couldn't commit to the exposed face without additional pro. We were already on a very long run-out. Instead, we decided to go west through a second rock section and more than likely intersected your route at that pitch on up to the summit ridge. Great climb!
  16. 2 points
    Not exactly a hardman or in the 80's or in a assisted care facility yet but almost! good job finishing the crux pitch, I had twice tried to lead it and had to leave it, although I did top rope it. It's definitely some spicy climbing. I'm surprised you didn't see any of my gear I left(probably buried) although I liked the name I gave it a little better sorry about the huge photos, not sure what happened.
  17. 2 points
    Trip: Mount Shuksan - NW Couloir Trip Date: 03/10/2021 Trip Report: I've been wanting to do this route for years; this was my fourth attempt, all others ending ridiculously far from success (although on one we did summit and ski the summit pyramid instead, so how can that really be a failure. Last weekend me, @MGraw, and @thedylan got the idea that conditions would likely be just right for a real try at the NW Couloir mid-week this week. After many weekend storm days skiing near the resort we had a pretty good read on conditions. We decided to play hooky on Wednesday and go for it. Everything worked out great, the warmup on Monday even mysteriously held off trashing the powder down low in the White Salmon valley. We were patting ourselves on the back pretty good when we topped out the north shoulder at 11:30, 5.5 hours after starting out. Then for the hard part... The route is pretty straightforward so I don't need to say much. It rocked! It was scarry getting in and across the traverse; when I took the photo of the traverse from above my hands were shaking. We had all watched the Cody Townsend video the day before where they make it sounds really scary. After doing it there is the possibility that they are playing it up a bit for the camera. Althogh the pucker factor is actually a million-bajillion as stated. Especially with the traverse fairly thin and rocky as we had it. Gear Notes: Axes for the upper S-curves & traverse. Approach Notes: Travers into the White Salmon Valley
  18. 2 points
    https://www.thisamericanlife.org/727/boulder-v-hill/act-two-11 I spent nine months holding up an iPad in front of someone’s parent, sibling, loved one, as they gasped for breath and died alone. I eventually left that job because I just couldn’t take it anymore and didn’t want to become even more callous to death. Btw, the anti vax covid deniers are just as scared as everyone else as they get intubated. The vaccines are not being rushed, or having safety checks skipped over. It’s a spike protein, which has the potential to cause anaphylaxis in a very small percentage of people, and is why they have vaccinated individuals wait for 15 minutes in an area with medical personnel before leaving to resume their lives. Listen to that segment if your interested, the individuals who created this vaccine are just people like anyone else. They care about doing their job, they care about other people, they care about ensuring safety and following the protocols and proving that something is safe before it is put into a product. Respectfully, go fuck yourself for sharing and believing this garbage.
  19. 2 points
  20. 2 points
    Darin is a old school ‘ham curmudgeon. Bellingham was ruined in the 1990.
  21. 2 points
    Trip: Mt. Hood - Steel cliffs south face Trip Date: 03/17/2021 Trip Report: Climbed the south face of steel cliffs on a beautiful sunny Wednesday. We were expecting the initial "step" (that gets us from the lower snow ramp to the upper snow ramp) to be steep snow/ice but it ended up being a full pitch of thin drips and rock. We climbed the east side of the prominent "boulder" (west of the cave). There were short and narrow vertical steps (6-10 feet) between more tame slopes. Placed an ok screw here and there, slung some horns, occasionally put the tools away to stem and pull on holds inside slots between rock. After the step we traversed left to the upper ramp. Snow conditions were great for easily kicking steps. Though there was some rock hidden under thin snow at the low end. The Wy'east traverse was a slog. Deep soft snow and wind almost the whole way (skiers paradise though...). We had some scares punching all the way through the 18-24 inch slab into hollow caves/holes below. Despite following a faint boot pack (when visible), I fell in to my chest at one point. Luckily my feet hit the rocky bottom. The "crux" traverse was in great shape and we had no issue at all. But the final ascent up to the ridge proper (shortly after the crux traverse) was scary. 45-50 degree soft soft snow. Post holing to knees and beyond. At one point we punched clean through that slab and couldn't see the bottom. Despite the "Low" avy danger that day, we did not feel happy on that slab. Maybe we're paranoid but had we known it was that soft and hollow we wouldn't have done that part of the route. After a few minutes on the windy summit we descended the gates. Gear Notes: 4 screws, 4 pickets, 50m rope Approach Notes: Good snow for skinning all the way to the glacier but we dropped skis at palmer
  22. 2 points
  23. 2 points
    EXACTLY Let me know when you are looking to get out this year @olyclimber. Would be fun to get out! I need Mt. Anderson still.....
  24. 1 point
    Whenever I get a package of plain M&Ms, I make it my duty to continue the strength and robustness of the candy as a species. To this end, I hold M&M duels. Taking two candies between my thumb and forefinger, I apply pressure, squeezing them together until one of them cracks and splinters. That is the “loser,” and I eat the inferior one immediately. The winner gets to go another round. I have found that, in general, the brown and red M&Ms are tougher, and the newer blue ones are genetically inferior. I have hypothesized that the blue M&Ms as a race cannot survive long in the intense theater of competition that is the modern candy and snack-food world. Occasionally I will get a mutation, a candy that is misshapen, or pointier, or flatter than the rest. Almost invariably this proves to be a weakness, but on very rare occasions it gives the candy extra strength. In this way, the species continues to adapt to its environment. When I reach the end of the pack, I am left with one M&M, the strongest of the herd. Since it would make no sense to eat this one as well, I pack it neatly in an envelope and send it to M&M Mars, A Division of Mars, Inc., Hackettstown, NJ 17840-1503 U.S.A., along with a 3×5 card reading, “Please use this M&M for breeding purposes.” This week they wrote back to thank me, and sent me a coupon for a free 1/2 pound bag of plain M&Ms. I consider this “grant money.” I have set aside the weekend for a grand tournament. From a field of hundreds, we will discover the True Champion. There can be only one.
  25. 1 point
  26. 1 point
    You could say its.....HARD TO SELL..... Steven Seagal Still Trying to Unload Tennessee Estate | realtor.com®
  27. 1 point
    For EHW, here’s a shot of @ktarry heading out on our third pitch (of four). The exit chimney is visible above. This is also the exit taken by others (notably @ACosta and @bedellympian) in recent CC reports.
  28. 1 point
    Hilarity always ensues when you surprise the crowds on top. @The Real Nick Sweeneypulling over with an audience: And @ktarry breaking trail on the direct cornice move:
  29. 1 point
    I have added the route to MP: https://www.mountainproject.com/route/120567268/cathedral-ramp Good stuff folks!
  30. 1 point
    What kind of psychosis is this? It is kind of fascinating. Do you think this guy is a functions enough to hold down a job? Or does he live in his mom’s basement? Imagine if he had a job were people had to depend on him. Or even just having to share a work space with him…would you you hear about the “dark elite” on a daily basis? I imagine he drives a garbage truck, and his co-workers wear earplugs to cut out the noise.
  31. 1 point
  32. 1 point
    2 cents: If you read TFTNA and are not sure what to do next you probably want a coach. If you have some ideas on what to do next you can always schedule a phone consult with UA ($50/30 minutes) and get their feedback on what you're planning on doing next. $50 every few months is cheaper than $350/month assuming you are self coaching correctly
  33. 1 point
    You don’t say! Btw, do you have a white lab named Caddis?
  34. 1 point
    Nice work! I enjoyed your trip report. Haha, caveat emptor to those who follow the steps of @zaworotiuk! I’m going to try your tool/picket combo the next time I find myself doing battle with the steep sugar snow.
  35. 1 point
    Awesome! Thanks for the beta, looking to get out there too
  36. 1 point
    Trip: Mount Index, North Peak - North Face Trip Date: 01/29/2021 Trip Report: @Michael Telstad and I have a wonderful climbing partnership. He sniffs out all the beta and nails down logistics, while I tell bad jokes and ensure the ropes get hopelessly tangled at least once on-route. When I heard about his FA on Chair and adventures in Mazama with @Doug_Hutchinson, in the throes of FOMO and inspired by Doug and Mik's report of 'cruiser alpine conditions', I sent him a text on Tuesday asking if he wanted to climb the North Face of North Index. Between the Scylla of the work-week and the Charybdis of storms for the next month, we decided on Friday as our best and only shot at the beast. Fortunately Doug was stuck with Michael on the long winter drive from Mazama to Seattle, so there was plenty of time to shake him down for beta. There is not too much information about the route out there, so Doug’s info was invaluable. (Another useful source is Jim Nelson’s Selected Climbs in the Cascades, Vol. 1) We decided to meet in the parking lot at 2:45am on Friday. After a few hours of fitful rest I rolled into the Lake Serene parking lot my traditional 15 minutes late at 3:00am (Michael was 10 minutes early). We exchanged groggy greetings and set off by moon and head light. Easy trail hiking in approach shoes to the north end of the lake led to the base of a slide path and some tedious steep snow climbing to the saddle of the northeast rib. (We changed into boots at the end of the trail before stepping onto the lake, and put on crampons partway up the snowfield) Some unexpected light snow gave us pause but we decided to climb until it became problematic. I set off on the first lead, simul-climbing ~3 pitches mainly steep snow with sparse slung trees, with a few short mixed steps protected by cams and nuts. I tried placing ice screws in aerated flows while extremely runout on steep snow, but they were just too marginal to bother. Runout snowfields for the first ~2 pitches took me to a left-leaning gully. At the top of the gully I looked down and gulped at the sheer exposure below me to the east. Wild. A moderate and short but annoyingly snow-covered mixed step took me to the slung blocks marking the ‘hidden ledge’ traverse. (It’s not very well-hidden if you’re looking for it.) I belayed Michael up from here since I would’ve liked a belay on the mixed step below and I believe in the golden rule. At this point I made the inconceivably foolish decision to try scooping up the stacked double ropes and walking them across the hidden ledge. I made it about 15 feet before realizing the error of my ways and setting up an intermediate anchor. Fortunately it only took 15 minutes of cursing and thrashing to untangle the ropes. Michael then belayed me on a short, fun, and confusing simul block through a slide alder grove. I followed my nose through a steep groove of alders to a lower-angle mixed ramp. I wandered around trying to find an easy way up, but eventually gave up and belayed Michael to the top of the alder grove. He decided to down-climb to search for a lower continuation of the traverse, but found only improbable cliffs. He climbed back up and cruised the mixed ramp around whose bushes I’d beaten earlier. We simuled over the ramp and up the awesome snowbowl pitch to an obvious large tree. From here we simuled up ~2 pitches of very fun AI3- (mediocre screws, great sticks) to yet another grove of trees at the base of yet another snowfield. I led a short snowfield to the base of the crux mixed pitches. Michael led us up two cruxy snow-covered mixed pitches, first a narrow ridge-traverse and then a funky slab to a short steep corner protected by a fixed piton. The climbing wasn’t so hard, but it felt tres insecure and poorly protected. I took over the lead and we simuled across a wild knife-edge ridge, up a snowfield, over and around several false summits (with some tricky mixed steps and brutal rope-drag), and finally to the base of the true summit. (From a distance I thought it was the Middle Peak of Index. ) Michael took us to the top, and we mustered the happiest faces we could for some summit pics. As we prepared to descend, a raven floated next to us cawing a blessing. I felt glad then, that the spirit of the mountain was with us. We thanked the raven and began the slog down. Michael led us back to the base of the summit ridge snowfield, and we followed Doug and Mik’s rappel stations for a seemingly interminable, mind-numbing descent. We finally reached a snowfield at the base of the north face. We unroped and contoured around to the base of the route. Unfortunately they added about 3 miles to the Lake Serene trail while we were on the mountain, so the hike out was a bit more tedious than expected. We finally arrived back to our cars alone in the parking lot at 11pm, just as we’d left them 20 hours and many lifetimes before. I grilled up a couple celebratory beyond burgers and we drove off into the night, grateful and dead exhausted. Many, many thanks to Doug and Mik for all the beta, and for setting up so many rap stations! This route is highly condition dependent. This winter and weather window has yielded easy snow climbing, thin and poorly protected but easily climbed gully ice, and snowy but manageable mixed climbing. I think significant time would be saved on the mixed pitches if there were no snow. Suitors should be prepared for sporting runouts on steep snow, tenuous mixed climbing, and a tricky descent after a long physically and mentally tiring day. Descent: Reverse climb along summit ridge to trees at base of the snowfield which leads up to summit ridge, i.e. just after the knife-edge ‘last pitch’ of the climb. Make 4-5 plumb-line rappels (60m double-rope) to large trees atop snow-bowl pitch. Rappel trending east (climber’s left) to small trees near base of snow-bowl. Continue for 5-6 raps along this slightly east trajectory, following shrub and block rap stations to base of the north face. Some of these are rope-stretchers with 60m ropes, 70m would help a lot. Once down contour easy but exposed snowfields to the east until reaching the saddle where the route begins. We mostly used Doug's webbing and carabiner stations, but added green tech cord to the station at the top of the snowbowl. Cut all the other tat there but unfortunately couldn't extract it from the ice. (it was late and we wanted to move fast) Lecture time: Knot both your ropes (and untie one end before you pull the other). Double-check your tether and rap setup every time before you commit your life to them. Pics: Setting sail, snowflakes like shooting stars Michael just after the first cruxy mixed step, taken from the hidden ledge blocks moments before the sun rose The sun also rises Michael heading up the gully at the top of the snowbowl Michael starting the first mixed ridge pitch with the false summit ahead Looking down at me from above first mixed ridge pitch Michael at the mixed crux Selfie from snowfield before summit ridge with Michael on the knife-edge False summit after false summit Moody Sky from summit Happy to be halfway home Classic pose on summit block (might not be there next year, the summit ridge seems to be mainly loose blocks glued together by ice) Index Traverse looking intimidating and appetizing Reversing the summit ridge traverse Possibly the worst rap anchor, but not by much Arriving at the large tree atop the snowbowl as headlights trace out Highway 2 below The result of bounce-testing the rap anchor at the large tree Rope stretcher with 60m ropes Dave Summers got a photo of our headlamps on the descent Gear Notes: Ropes: 2x 60m 7.5mm half/twins (70M recommended) Slings: 15 singles, 4 doubles, 1 quad. (good amount, but bringing more would allow for longer simul blocks. Had 2 carabiners per single sling and 1 per double and quad) Ice screws: 2x 10cm, 2x 13cm, 1x 16cm, (1x 22 for v-threads) (good selection, even though some placements were marginal due to conditions) Cams: single rack .1-2 (perfect, every cam was useful but didn't want any bigger) Nuts: About a dozen from small to large (didn't use too often but glad to have) Tricams: Pink and red (clutch) Pitons: selection of 3 small knifeblades, 1 short Lost Arrow, 1 beak (didn't place any, clipped one fixed pin) Cord/webbing: 20 foot 5mm tech cord useful for slinging large blocks. 40+ft of rap tat highly recommended Microtraxions: 2x for simul-climbing insurance Tools: Less aggressive quark style tools (Thanks to Michael's partner Tess for letting me borrow her quarks so I didn't have to haul the nomics up) Crampons: Dual point preferable, lots of snow Emergency gear: Inreach (+cell service most of the way up), lightweight emergency bivy sacks, small isobutane stove, hardwarmers and dry warm socks in case of epic. Climbing tape for in-situ surgery. We didn't bring any pickets and never wanted to place any, but if you desire protection on <60 degree snow you should bring one. Approach Notes: Took the Lake Serene Trail all the way up, skirted around on the NE shore of the frozen lake to the obvious slide path, ascended to saddle, stashed approach packs in small tree grove and racked up. ~1.5 hours car to base
  37. 1 point
    Slightly wider shot, worse lighting—probably not super helpful:
  38. 1 point
    This is awesome! Thank you so much for sharing this adventure! I was in Kauai 7 years ago and remember looking up at that mountain and that east face and wondering. What a special place.
  39. 1 point
    The magic Skagit! I've lived in MV for the past 21 years and quite enjoy it, but I'm a middle aged dad type now and not getting after it like when I was younger. Still, I lived here during my "storm" years and did notice how central is was to a lot of good options for climbing. That said, it is western WA so the climbable days are a lot more limited than the east side. For me, it hit the sweet spot between work commute, recreation, and cost of living. There is a small community of climbers and we all seem to know or know of each other. The Skagit Alpine club has a small core of keen younger folk that like to get out. You could ask some of them your rental question, I really don't have a good idea. Everyone seems pretty friendly and it is laid back around here, at least compared to areas north and south. But, it certainly seems to be getting on the radar of people, and the housing prices are going up really fast. As @dberdinka likes to say, Bellingham is ruined now.
  40. 1 point
    Glad we could get this done, @zaworotiuk! Thanks for writing up another TR of our climbs. And thanks, @wayne for all of your pioneering. What a fantastic route in an intimidating setting; it felt bigger than Mount Hood. Haha, maybe 10, but you do all the trip report heavy-lifting, so I think we’re even! I agree that although the climbing was never that hard, the generally thin conditions we went up in often made for tricky tool placements. But the moves never felt desperate, just very engaging. And the exposed rocks were consistently “unhelpful.” All part of the fun—like the streams of spindrift that would flow down, get caught in the wind, then blast back uphill and into your hood and face. A novel experience!
  41. 1 point
  42. 1 point
    Trip: MT HOOD - Sandy Glacier HW Trip Date: 03/13/2021 Trip Report: With the long Conga Line heading up the mtn Saturday morning our plans to head somewhere different was set. Sandy Glacier HW being the last face we haven’t climbed this year seemed like a great choice. Made great time up to Illumination and quickly headed down and over to cross Yokum at 8600ft. Made it up and mostly over Yokum but a huge fracture line had me second guess that variation so we down climbed and traversed back down to the Reid and made our way down to the normal low crossing route around 7600ft. At this point the snow wasn’t too bad and travel was fairly quick. Once we hit the Sandy we encountered some really amazing powder and had a few thousand painfully slow feet of snow swimming intermixed with a few feet of front pointing on ice. Overall the route is more of a hike than a climb. Definitely can be done with just ski poles With the conditions we had. Overall summary/recommendations for anyone looking to head over to the Sandy HW would be definitely jet down to the lower traverse around Yokum. in my opinion it is an overall faster option. The HW itself is not technical but is a really long slog up although it’s a beautiful side of the mtn that most of us rarely see. Gear Notes: 30M rad line for the glacier crossing Approach Notes: TImberline to IR down and over to Sandy.
  43. 1 point
    Is there anything you two can't do? Paragliding in Kauai on a trip. Video is fricken awesome.
  44. 1 point
    Trip: Mt Hood - DKHW Variation 2.5, Flying Buttress Direct, Men of Steel Trip Date: 02/28/2021 Trip Report: I climbed Hood on Sunday 2/28 and again on Wednesday 3/3 and explored a couple lesser-known parts of the Devil's Kitchen Headwall/Steel Cliffs area. @Nolan E Arson and I went up on Sunday with the intention of checking out Devil's Kitchen Headwall variation 1, but were drawn over to the east side of the crater where there was an impressive amount of new rime and more wind-scoured surfaces to walk on. We started by heading up the system of gullies between the normal DKHW 2 and DKHW 3 routes (red line in the photo below; "DKHW 2.5"?). It's very hard to see how or if these connect to the crater rim from below, but the lower climbing looked pretty moderate and reversible. Where the red line turns to the left we found a small section of exposed rock, however it was pretty low angle and all of the rime we had touched so far seemed exceptionally solid so we continued up. Above this the angle increased and there were two obvious options separated by a large overhanging rime fin (center of the photo below). Rather than squeeze through the shadowy slot on the right we climbed a 25-foot near-vertical rime chimney on the left. This turned out to be a mistake. From up higher we could see that we wanted to continue climber's right, but getting back on route by climbing over the rime fin seemed too sketchy as we couldn't tell if it was solid or undercut on the far side and the moves looked pretty committing. Thankfully there was some legitimate ice, we got in a v-thread (initially backed up with almost every screw we had), and rapped back down. We continued by squeezing through the slot to climber's right, which was actually pretty fun climbing despite my leashes and draws snagging the rime literally every time I tried to move. Above this the angle eased off a bit and it was normal rambling rime climbing up to the east crater rim. I'd say this line is totally worth doing, in these conditions at least, mostly just for the fun of squeezing through the steep rime chimney. It's totally possible that with different rime formations it would be a lot harder. We messed around on the crater rim for a few minutes, scouted our next line, and then downclimbed the Flying Buttress (variation 3) variation (orange line in first photo). Flying Buttress is currently pretty rampy and only felt like serious downclimbing for maybe 10 feet at the top, mostly because we were cleaning off a lot of sun-affected rime. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Back in the crater we went a few feet climber's right of the normal Flying Buttress route and started climbing up the big cleft in the rock (yellow line in first photo). I'd been eyeing this line for a while and it seemed like the solid state of the rime made it a good time to try. First photo below is the bottom part of the route. There were very solid sticks despite the obviously thin rime in places. From below it looked like the angle immediately eased off but this was not actually the case. We soloed up to a very small but relatively restful ledge where I was able to place a decent ice screw and chill out for a couple minutes (photo below). Continuing above the first screw: Above this the route curves a bit to the right and the climbing started to become somewhat stressful. The right side of the gully was shaded with patches of good ice, but was mostly exposed rock, and looked way too hard to solo and way too thin to protect with the minimal gear (screws) we had. The left side had a thick coating of rime, so I climbed there, but it was obviously sun-affected and seemed barely weight-bearing. Eventually I traversed back into the shade, managed to get in another decent screw, and kicked a small platform (photo below). Eventually I bumped myself up on top of the next big rock in order to make space: At this point I'd had enough soloing and we got out the rope. @Nolan E Arson hammered one of his tools into a crack to belay, and I led up one final section of steep unstable rime. Of course, as soon as the rope was on, the climbing felt chill and easy, even though the anchor and couple screws I placed were probably complete trash. I stopped at a big ledge that we had previously seen from the top of the crater rim, belayed from there, and then it was easy rambling to the top. Curiously there is a fumarole on this ledge which is maybe not visible from anywhere else on the mountain (photo below). Also near the top out was a completely enclosed, Patagonia-style rime tunnel. I decided not to squeeze through since I would've had to remove my pack. Overall this line was quite challenging. It's consistently steep and exposed with minimal opportunities for protection and is clearly a step up in difficultly from, say, DKHW variation 1. I would climb it again but I would probably bring a variety of light rock pro and do it first thing in the morning before the sun starts to soften any of the rime. We downclimbed Flying Buttress again and descended. On the descent we found about 15 dead Northern Pintails (ducks) that looked like they had smashed into the side of the mountain during the last storm. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I went back up on Wednesday with Kyle hoping to get a quick climb in before I had to work. We climbed some variation of the Men of Steel route. Perhaps we were supposed to start lower on climber's right but I'm not sure because someone stole my guidebook. There were a couple steep moves to get off the ground, but I couldn't take any pictures as I was struggling with the barfies. Traversing to the right required some thought but was generally not too steep or difficult. The crux of the route is where it slants left (where the red line disappears in the photo). There is an exposed slab of rock here that's visible from the crater. I think we both made one move with our left crampon on the rock, though it's possible the previous people to climb this had to deal with more exposed rock (@Nolan E Arson? Alex?). Kyle coming up a bit more steep stuff, with the big slab visible on the mid-right part of the photo: Above this was one set of rime towers/gullies to get through: Eventually Kyle took a gully to the right, cleaning off a ton of rime in the process (action shot below). While waiting for him and trying to stay out of the way I went up to the left a bit and ended up climbing a different rime chimney since there were a few reasonable but fun-looking options. We topped out and then followed the rest of the Wy'east route to the summit. The crux traverse of the Wy'east route was consolidated and not very scary. The rest of the slopes up to the summit were typical deep postholing bullshit. Gear Notes: Various Approach Notes: Skinned to top of Palmer where it became the normal sea of rime, cramponed from there.
  45. 1 point
    I agree with Jason that if you don't touch the summit you did not climb the peak. I also agree with Gene that if you get home safe and have fun that is more important. I will add that if you're going to spray about your trips just be honest about what you did and don't try to couch it in a way that implies something other than the truth. I got within spitting distance of an unnamed summit in India a couple years ago soloing, certainly closer than the Challenger scenario you mentioned. I turned around when I got to a loose rock band just below the top. I did not summit, I did not climb the peak. I accomplished everything I wanted to by staying safe, having fun and testing my body at altitude. If you need to hide the truth to portray a certain outcome then your ego is much too involved and you should probably do some serious self-reflection.
  46. 1 point
    Eric and Rat are our reigning choss emperors. Felt like to me this was the crown climb for this site for some reason. There are some great TRs, many perhaps more technically difficult, but this was one...for those that value virgin exploration in desolate and beautiful places, that felt different. Imagine what Kerouac would have thought if he had read this TR. Have we seen anything close to it since? Will we again? For this community as it is or was, which has faded in number and gotten older, perhaps not. Will someone prove me wrong? Kerouac’s Void has been climbed, and I’m glad it was Eric and Rat that did it, because that meant we got Eric’s words here, with his literary gifts, encrusted with understated sandbaggery. I would not blame them at all if they both just chose Squamish henceforth. And yes there is still more that can be done I suppose in the world of choss grovelry, and plenty of things that have been done that deserve many repeats and the story of those repeats can hopefully be told, whether it is here or where ever stories are getting shared these days. But the days of exploring virgin territory like this...what of any significance is left? Can you share a picture of it? and thanks @lunger and @rat you crazy fuckers, hope you are well.
  47. 1 point
    About 3.5hrs with a 6am start. Should have left earlier as all of the ski out ended up being in the dark.
  48. 1 point
    Trip: Tower Rock - FA - Rapunzel's Back in Rehab - C1 Date: 7/15/2015 Trip Report: The Beast - don't be fooled, them thare are full-grown trees Tower Rock, 2 hours from everywhere, appears oddly neglected - Brown Beckey's got the tiniest blurb of the single route up it done in 1982 (anyone know of a second ascent? i can't find anyone who's tried it) but no picture n' no topo - tim olson's oregon rock guide has some more detail than beckey, but still the vast monolith appears to have continued unloved tower's just south of randle, an unladen swallow's flight from the cispus river - the face is gigantic,something like 1200 feet tall - the rock is basaltic, according to beckey, but like nothing i've seen - like over-baked brownies, it's composed of a hodge-podge of components - incredibly solid and compact, it's cross-hatched in all directions, crackless, and crumbles into bricks and blocks of all conceivable sizes - the tower looms over it's talus field, fiercely steep, it's upper-wall reminiscent of the right side of el cap, incredibly bulging and over-hanging tower is composed of two giant faces seperated by a ledge/fault system that was the path taken by the first team to climb the face - currently, after 7 days of effort, our route climbs the lower wall - it'll be just as much work to finish the upper wall, if the rock quality holds as it currently exists yeah, there's a lot more to go, but as it stands, what's there is 600 feet tall and a great day-tripper's aid adventure already - i figure the worst that can come of telling folks about this now before it's complete is that some other sad fools can go do it for me trip the first: fuck, this happened so long off i wonder if my recollection's right at all - me n' bill n' ben in the late winter - a burr up their bespectacled asses about a mythical 10-pitch free route up a largely untouched tower - the plan to hike to the top then set a rap-line down the likely route - out of town on a friday night to the frightful fall of rain - ghetto camp before the gate in gales of damnable damp - the roar of frogs - the next morning the most sordid thang - endless hours uphill w/ drill n' bolts n' chains in the continuous cloud-fuck n' frenzied chilly breeze - near the summit gob-smacked to gain a blazed trail barely a mile from a seasonal road - the top a huge disappointment, it characterized by clouds and beaming rainbows and rock so rude they rarely accoladed the attribution - soon there after the weekend righteously concluded and me around for the sweet family on the sabbath trip the second: on the reconnaissance earlier, dejected at finding a kitty-litter summit, we'd paused after a tortuous overladen descent on the boulder field and pondered on future options - a man w/ an aid-climber's conscious could do a take on "infinite bliss" and find a bitching way up the crazy big blank face - it was sure to take a mort of mortal work, but bill n' geoff are true gentlemen all measured and solid for this kinda goofy shit - we banged up from p-town on a friday night and made camp up at the turn around on the forest road - stumble-fucking up the forest we arrived amazed and ready to ramble on - many mozzies n' deer flies this damned trip - pitch 1 went quickly between geoff and bill, the later bounding up free on low-angle stacked mossy talus to make an anchor atop tier 1 - me i got tier 2 - all bolts at first until i no longer feared the ledge, then lotza 2-hook moves in a row until reaching the top of the tier where i left a fixed hook to protect a low-angle romp to the second anchor - we retired to camp n' soggy fires n' fulsome screeching music - day 2 we jugged to the top of p2 and bill and geoff got up a ways before yielding to me, whereupon i drilled n' hooked to a high point we marked w/ red tat before descending and returning to our troubled and lonely little lives - i recollect getting a true n' glorious drunk on in the passenger seat n' slumbering back to vantucky geoff putting up the first pitch on the scrubby, compact low-angle first tier the artist as a young asshole ascending the second steeper tier geoff workign on pitch 3, the first steps onto the very steep lower wall trip the third: lovely ospreys n' robins round the lake - pete n' pam play camp hosts - camp weddings n' nightly fishing sheenaningans - muskrats n' pond-skimming swallows - bastard mozzies n' mean biting flies, mostly in obeisance for the first couple cold days, but growing in malevolence as the weather waxed towards wicked hot - the sweet ne face of Tower almost totally shade-soaked for the mid-morning riser - kids n' retirees n' rv's n' jumping trout n' tame dogs - the listless routines of an aimless life - awake w/ the sun - fresh shits n' dewy breakfasts - a short but grim uphill grind through steep forest w/ plentiful windfall, shirt soaked through by the time we hit the sunny talus field at the base but soon blessed w/ shade - warm juggy work to start and then to the serious business - fear frenzies despite being armed w/ all the wonderful war machines of modern man - a long time of terror n' toil - the day dispatched, we make a rapid descent, each time by a different winding way - beer n' stripping soaked clothes off at the mercifully close car - me auolde yosemite food bin rummaged through for a desperate dinner, usually of beer n' tobacco n' pringles n' whatever benevolent bill threw my way - an hour or so of bird-watching n' binge-reading on maggie thatcher's frigid teeming fucking bush - to sleep at the post-gloaming in a grand 6-man tent alone, racked out on a queen sized inflatable air mattress, wrapped in down and dozy drunkenness - the night passed moaning to sore muscles as i twist n' turn until the dawn drags me to my addled senses, then it all runs off the reel much as it reckoned the day before... first several days of murmurings n' mumblings w/ just me n' bill (me a damn baby in comparison to my venerable and august elder - that baby weighing in at a mean 250 bare-nekkid pounds and a coward to boot of course) - bill a bastion of genteel sincerity that must sadly have bitch-left this world many generations ago - me strangely silent of song for days - my mind scrambled and saddened by the robust requirements of 6-weeks of family-left sorrows gone off in the valley - eventually songs to lift my times and shape my senses - "mining for gold" by the cowboy junkies running on an eternal loop in my mind - long after-shocks of "burn down the mission" caused by geoff for sure after 3 days of toil we grow weary and call in the cavalry - the silverman boys gonna come down n' save us from our misery - we make a rest day out of walking the mountain side w/ them, then retiring to the big boulder to pound pbr's n' provide Adult Supervision - they lounge around camp afterwards, contemplating on crashing the redneck wedding well under-way - we smoke bales of weed n' cackle n' cough n' find high times are treasure enough in this wicked world - eventually all good things must get on the bus w/ gandhi though and they roll off into the night in the hms revenge, ready i hope to return for more the last day done-off as surely as a band-aid - after a fearful arduous jug up the wild steep fixed lines ole bill baits the question ("good news or bad?" - which would you take?) - - dedication to a last day of determined work - 5 hours of bolting and hooking on endless steep traversing ground until i was gut-wrenched at what it was likely to take me to get get back to bill - epic amounts of gear left as i rapped into the void and quickly grew dependent on bill to reel me back in - the retreat then fully declared we rapped n' ruminated n' laid our plans like parchment paper, all of it ultimately putting us on sweet terra-firma w/ a fuck-load of gear to get off - surprised by bill's pronouncement of this day, i had no proper pack to cram all the crap into eventually we ambled on down the way, me overloaded like a gypsy carnival-whore w/ rope-bags aplenty such that i swooned on multiple occasions as the straps cut into me wind-pipe and i passed yards off unyielding to gratuitous thoughts, my mind in a true and lovely gray place - the last night spent in part w/ militant california-paul, such as exemplar of that shakespearean clap-trap about sounding of fuck-all and negative fury, yet yielding nothing our objective from the relative sanity of the rv park n' its teeming trout pond white-boys jugging the first 2 tiers - at this angle the lower wall takes up most of the entire frame, but the upper wall's just as big n' steeper 700 feet of ropes n' route-making machine just starting the second pitch bags of bolts n' drills n' bullshit - starting to install pitch 4 geoff at the top of p4, kyle jugging up to the mid-pt anchor closing thoughts: happy to share the discovery w/ the nw brethren - leave yer self-righteous bolting morals at home w/ yer bitches - the place went unloved for a reason - the only cracks evident are where awful rock-fall is just a geologic fart-in-a-stiff-wind away - if intending to push the route higher (what's there is plenty for a day-tripper), please let me or bill or geoff know so one of us can come along - perhaps a dozen separate lines could be pushed to the top in the same style, each likely to take weeks n' 1000$ to put in place - recon trip to the top found almost no real rock up there - at some point all lines must turn to awful kitty litter, but maybe it'll go anyhow? topo as it currently stands - hope to see this fucker get taller in the fullness of insensible time Gear Notes: - up to 30+ draws if clipping all bolts - 2 bathooks (talons can work, but they risk blowing out the drilled holes) - ideally 2 70 meter ropes, but 2 60'S can work if careful - cheater stick not bad idea, as many of the bolts were installed by a fear-fucked orangutan at his max reach - lower off tat or quick-links/biners for follower at traversing parts - helmets essential - much potential for rockfall of all sizes, especially if hauling or jugging - base area very dangerous in strong winds or if below climbers on first 2 approach pitches - upper pitches largely protected from natural rockfall (be careful up there ) Approach Notes: Exit 68 off i5 - east on 12 to randle (about an hour) - right (south) turn at randle (follow signs for tower rock RV park) - quick left about a mile south of randle, then another turn right about 6 miles later - rt turn at tower rock RV park/cispus learning center signs - left onto logging road (75?76?) just a 100 yards before rt turn to tower rock forest service camp (or straight for another mile to the RV park) - forest road is closed at gate near main road during winter/early spring - about 1 1/2 mile up road (stay on main road at split a 1/2 mile up) there's a turn around (about .25 mile past a steep switchback) - from there you can continue in car but there's no turnaround - walk or drive 1/4 mile to road-end - at wierd stone-forest-altar begin hiking up steep forrested slope - about 45 minutes to base - occasional game and human trails, generally trending right and up - copious windfall in middle section of trail - steeper for last 1/3 of trail - idea is to skirt talus field on right and join base from tree at right edge of wall - 1st bolt is just 5 feet off ground near clump of trees about 50 feet above a huge lounge-like boulder that is a great/safe observation spot descent: currently rapping from top of p5 to top of p4 is extra-ordinarly hard - in the future ideally there'll be a rap line straight down through p5 - for now be prepared to leave a fixed line to get back to the top of p4 and for the first rapper to have to haul the second back over - descending from the top of p4 requires 2 70 meter ropes or a stop at the mid-pt anchor (no rings) - the rap overhangs but you just barely touch the wall at the mid-pt anchor - use terrain to help you rap in the right direction
  49. 1 point
    Nice perseverance, but you were not in powder but Cascade Cement :-)
  50. 1 point
    Half a lifetime ago when I was Josh's age, my partners and I discussed if it was possible to climb routes like Triple Couloirs car to car with the road closed. Doing these routes with just a day pack seemed so audacious that we tried, and succeeded, and learned a lot about ourselves in the process. I am continually impressed by Josh's infinite persistence and big successes in the mountains. He reminds me of another young partner, Colin Haley, but without the resources at his disposal. Good for you Josh. Keep it up, and be safe. These moments will be etched on your very soul and when you are old and unable to climb you will remember when you were a tiger.