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  1. 11 points
    Trip: Whatcom Peak - “Castle in the Sky” FA of the South Buttress of Whatcom 5.10b TD Trip Date: 08/06/2022 Trip Report: Yeeehaw! What a weather window it’s been! From Aug 5-7th Lani and I climbed the first ascent of the south buttress of Whatcom. This route came as a suggestion from Wayne. Thanks! It was excellent climbing on great rock in the most perfect of settings. I would say it’s one of the finer alpine routes I’ve had the pleasure of climbing in the cascades! We would highly recommend the route! There is certainly some choss and some runout but it is the pickets. I have to start work today so a hasty trip report will have to do. Here’s a link to the report I wrote up. Sorry for the forced click through, I’m rolling out the door and don’t have time to format photos for CC. Thanks for the stoke y’all! Go get it while the gettins still there! https://www.theclimbingguides.com/post/castle-in-the-sky-first-ascent-of-the-south-buttress-of-whatcom-peak-iv-5-10b-td Gear Notes: Single rack .1-3 doubles .2-1 full set of nuts. Optional #2 and 3 KB’s. Single 60M rope Approach Notes: We took easy peak to the imperfect impasse.
  2. 11 points
    Trip: West Fury - Mongo Ridge 5.9 ED1 (second ascent of the Pole of Remotenesses) Trip Date: 07/14/2022 Trip Report: Hello all, Lani and I got out of the pickets a few days ago. We repeated Mongo Ridge and got the second ascent of the pole of remoteness. Lani wrote a solid trip report on our blog with tons of photos and more beta which is linked below. For now here are some important cliff notes on the route… https://www.theclimbingguides.com/post/mongo-ridge-and-the-pole-of-remoteness-7-09-2022-7-14-2022 1- we did not do the rooster comb. This feature is awesome looking and deserving of being climbed if you have the time. The bypass doesn’t seem to detract from the aesthetic of the line too much, you are about 100-150’ from the roosters comb the whole way as you traverse the south face. 2- we did not encounter any 5.10 terrain. After seeing photos from Wayne’s trip we climbed slightly different terrain than he did on tower 3. 3- everyone seems concerned with the commitment grades thrown at this thing. I would argue that an American commitment grade makes little sense on a climb like this. I would like to propose Mongo as the benchmark ED1 for the cascades. It is a considerable step up in length, commitment and general alpine involvement over NE butt of slesse, and I’ve always understood that climb as the benchmark TD. There was 3500’ of climbing done in 30 pitches without any simuling. we chose not to simul as there really wasn’t enough solid gear to make it feel like we weren’t just soloing. 4- this was my first technical climb in the pickets, so I don’t have much to compare it to but I felt the rock was pretty damn good and the route was fucking awesome. The route was similar in nature to the west arete, but longer and with better rock, and almost no overhead hazard. I would highly recommend the route. 5- the sit start to the ridge is a logical evolution of the route. For those interested, it looked improbable to gain the lower ridge anywhere other than toe. This would ultimately add about 1200’ to the climb. Once seasonal snow is gone, it may be easier to trudge up the depths of goddell creek… Gear Notes: Single rack .1-2, doubles .3-.75 Approach Notes: Long
  3. 9 points
    Trip: Crescent Creek Spires, Southern Picket Range - East Twin Needle - North Buttress 5.9 D+ 2,000’ Trip Date: 07/31/2022 Trip Report: Sam Boyce and I climbed the North Buttress (aka the Thread of Gneiss, as coined by John Roper), on July 31, 2022. The buttress rises 1,800 vertical feet and our route took 9 pitches, the majority of which were ~250’ due to simul-climbing–we estimate around 2,000’ feet of roped climbing. Some of you might be curious about this (probable FA) given there are no reported ascents, although a couple parties have reportedly tried. I had tried and failed on this line before, and it had really got under my skin. This time Sam and I started the line in a more sensible place, and it went smoothly. Here's some art by John Scurlock showing the E and W Twin Needles from the north. Our line begins lower right and works its way up the north buttress trending left, eventually squeaking by the sub-summit spire on its left to hit that highest left skyline: The lingering snowpack made the approach relatively easy, for the Pickets. From our camp near the Chopping Block, after traversing the snow, slabs, and talus of Crescent Cr basin, we cramponed up to Otto-Himmelhorn col. From there, the descent of the Mustard Glacier required only one single-rope rap from an established station ~150’ below the col. Gawking up at the very steep and intimidating looking summit spires, we figured that we would need a lot of time to reckon a way to summit. As a result, our route-finding choices generally favored efficiency, as we wanted to be as expedient as possible to save time for expected difficulties up high. As it turns out, our concerns were largely needless. We started climbing a little below the outlet of the gully splitting the E and W Twin Needles (aka, the Thread of Ice), gaining E Twin Needle on its right-hand side, not far up from the buttress toe. A pitch-plus of glacial-flour-covered mid-fifth was followed by a pitch-plus of nasty gully travel with some mid-fifth work-arounds, and that landed us at a notch above the first pillar/tower on the buttress. Future parties should take the rib to the left of the gully on pitch 2 for better climbing, and top out on the pillar—an approx. 20’ rap to the notch might be required, but this would be much better than the loose gully. Our start, from near the buttress’s toe: In the above pic, we gained the rock left of the gaping 'schrund, up to the brownish left-slanting gully, up that thing to the notch between the indistinct pillar and the next tower at the sun-shade line. (Again, likely better to stay on the rib to the left of the gully.) From there, Sam led through some blocky 5.7 terrain that backed off to more low-fifth scrambling. For pitch-plus 4, I continued on pleasant rock at low-fifth class, nearly to the top of another gendarme. For pitch-plus 5, Sam then easily gained the next notch and continued on some solid and fun 5.8 that relented to mid-fifth. For pitch 6, I led an airy 5.7 traverse left of another tower. This was one of the few pitches that did not stretch beyond a rope length. Going up and over this tower would probably be just as fun. Sam’s lead of pitch 7 was a long simul affair involving grassy ramps for about 400’ with difficulties up to 5.7. He finally pulled up to belay at a spot that gave us options for tackling the summit block. My lead of pitch 8 involved a chimney, a leftward-rising traverse of a face, and then working around and up an exposed and somewhat insecure arête to near the summit. This long pitch was the proverbial sting in the tail, requiring some careful and sometimes licheny 5.9 moves. Fun and spicy. (There were certainly more spicy options to gain the striking sub-summit, but we leave that for future parties and variations.) From my belay Sam scrambled to the summit, at perhaps 5.6. Descent: We descended the south face. From the summit, there is a short down climb to an established rap station with a fresh sling from the Wrights’ traverse a few years back. This was a full 30M rap that took us to Eye Col (the notch between E and W Twin Needles). From Eye Col we scrambled down the main south gully, exiting rightward when it got steep and traversing skier's right over 2 or 3 minor ridges to find easier terrain to down climb. After a bit of sandy 4th class, we identified a convenient point to rappel from (cord now in situ) that landed us back into the main gully with its (currently) hanging snowfield. This was a full 60M rap. After downclimbing and traversing right off the snow, we found ourselves at a notch that splits the two main gullies described in the Beckey guide. We decided the gullies looked unpleasant and scrambled the ridge between the two, trending rightward as we went down–our route traversed above the skier’s right gully. This was straightforward 4th class. When the ridge got steeper near another notch we made another rap. This was another ~60M rap down lower angle terrain, which could probably be downclimbed somewhat reasonably with a couple steep steps. From here we continued downclimbing to the moat below the ridge. There was not a comfortable-looking transition to the snow so we rigged one more single-rope rap to clear the moat and get back onto the snowfields in Crescent Creek basin. Once in the basin, it was a quick romp back up to our camp at the Chopping Block col. A handful of pics: Sam on pitch 3, E Twin Needle's sub-summit spire lurking behind immediately left: Me on pitch 4, with the Eye of Sauron menacing behind: Here I'm following pitch 5, Fury and Luna background: For pitch 6, at this point I decided to head left for an airy traverse versus the up-and-over (that's W Twin on the right): Sam shot this pic of me on pitch 8, about to swing around to the exposed arete: A couple of Sam following, first the chimney, then on the arete, obviously having fun: Sam and I really enjoyed this climb. While Sam had impressively climbed three Pickets routes in under two weeks, for me it had been too long since I'd climbed alpine rock, and this was a much-needed alpine shot in the arm. Except for the uncharacteristically somewhat-heady last pitch, we'd recommend this as a "Pickets moderate". Parties comfortable with alpine 5.9 should take a ride on this climb. The Crescent Creek Spires from our camp; the Twin Needles are the pointy ones next to last on the left, and the upper gully snowfield that we rappelled and downclimbed as part of the descent (before veering looker's left on a ridge) is visible dropping down below Eye Col: Gear Notes: Double cams fingers to 1", single 2 and 3, supplemented by tri-cams and nuts. Double/twin 60M ropes. Approach Notes: Crescent Creek basin approach to Chopping Block col.
  4. 8 points
    Trip: Logan and Goode - Douglas and NEB Trip Date: 07/29/2022 Trip Report: I wrapped up my 37th orbit with a loop from Easy Pass to Bridge Creek trailheads, climbing Logan via the Douglas and Goode’s NEB. Storm King was a low priority option going into the trip and didn’t make the cut. I had the pleasure of excellent conditions interspersed with horrible shwacking and a death march to conclude it. In many ways the timing couldn’t have been better for me. I sprained my ankle less than two weeks prior on the way to Fury. In the first hour afterward I was worried that most of my summer masochism would need to be cancelled, but hobbling back towards Luna camp, with vitamin I kicking in, I started to suspect the injury was not that bad. It swelled more like an orange than a grapefruit. I was game for Jacobs Ladder on Prophet the next day, which was welcome consolation for missing out on what I’m guessing was an awesome day for the NE Buttress of East Fury. Fast forward to a few days ago, I haven’t tried foot jams yet, and would like to avoid them, but walking feels fine. So a route with endless blocks and ledges sounds like just the ticket. Just needed to not twist it again in the many miles of trail-less travel. Besides my ankle I was also concerned about the heat. On the one hand I got away with not taking a sleeping bag. I always travel with a puffy and wool hat. I supplemented this with long johns and was just barely warm enough at night on a mat in a bivy sack. On the other hand, the heat obviously made things kinda brutal. For beta and inspiration for this loop I used Hiking down easy pass to Fisher was pure joy. This was the location of one of my first hikes in the N cascades, probably 12-13 years ago, getting my denim soaked in the brush. It’s actually more breathtaking than I remembered, was great to be back. The fisher creek crossing was briefly disorientating because there’s more water than land in the zone, with pools and twisty side channels everywhere. I gradually found my way moving south along the east side of the creek feeding into Fisher (presumably Douglas creek? I don’t see a name on the map). The ground was dry and relatively open and easy. There’s lots of huge erratics in this area. As I approached the the “pill box” from the summitpost description I chanced upon dry stream beds that I followed upwards. The maple+alder made for good hand holds without getting in the way of my feet. I thought this might have been a shortcut vs the TR I referenced, but after topping out on the other side I found very thick and young evergreens and chest high brush. Progress was slow here but at it was another beautiful scene down near the creek. It’s hard to say whether or not I found the path of least resistance. Finally free of the brush, I headed up snow and rock, trending right. I came across bear tracks in the snow and filled up at the last spot for flowing water that I could see. I arrived at the bivy col at about 6pm, which was later than I liked. But it was a good thing because it meant shadows were now extending down the Douglas, cooling it down. Some of the crevasses are quite large. But there was a fairly direct path through them and I felt good about the firming snow conditions and the gentle angle (<30 degrees?). The swale at the top of the glacier is a really cool feature. Looks insurmountable at first, but I found an easy way on the right side. I then cut back left above one more crevasse to gain the ridge (a little steep here, don’t fall in). The scramble to the summit is pretty fun, good rock for a Cascade scramble. The views speak for themselves. I slowed significantly near the summit both ways due to some really stubborn cramps. I carefully followed my ascent path on the way back down to the col, getting there just before headlamp time, with incredible purple views of Goode. It was a 12 hour day. Two pairs of eyes were reflected in my headlamp as I got ready for sleep, but they were far enough away that I couldn’t tell what they were. I left the col a little after 6am the next morning. The TR I linked earlier had me expecting smoother sailing than the day before. That turned out to not be the case. Descending the basin above North Fork wasn’t too bad, though I don’t know if I was always on the easiest path. I wonder if the ‘magic staircase’ was flowing instead of dry, because I don’t think I found it. The worst part was lower in the valley. I could find bits and pieces of a trail, but it’s very faint and overgrown. Occasionally I’d lose it and end up in the worst shwacking I’ve ever encountered. Walls of alder with a foot of water underneath. Feeling actually stuck. The other TR doesn’t mention this at all, so maybe better route finding makes this avoidable. I don’t think I lost more than an hour here but it was certainly terrible. The north fork ford was only knee high but very swift, wasn’t easy. The route up to Goode glacier looks improbable from below. Pretty cool how it comes together. The snow-rock junction is in good shape at the start of the NEB. It’s exposed and dirty getting up to the notch (took me a while to find a safe way) and the stone was burning my hands. But from the notch to the summit is awesome, and pretty well shaded. There’s a super knobby slab at the start. Unfortunately it doesn’t last long but what comes afterward on the ridge proper is solid, blocky steps as far as the eye can see. I was reminded of a slightly less steep version of the upper half of the NW face of Forbidden. As I climbed I couldn’t help thinking how surreal it is to be in the exact moment that you’ve thought about for years. The ridge steepens at 8400’ and I hit one dead end, with about 10 feet of rock that was too steep and featureless for me to solo safely. I backtracked down the steep face to the left and found a bypass that allowed me to regain the ridge. As is so often the case with ridge climbs, there are occasional dirty ledges that can make sections easier, but the best climbing is on the ridge crest itself. Aside from this one bypass, I stayed true to the ridge the entire way to the summit. I passed a party of two maybe ½ way up the ridge and other party of 2 just before the summit. I got there a little before 5, for a 10.5 hour day. The next party arrived shortly after and later in the evening the lower party arrived. Everyone was nice, we chatted about climbing and spent the time pointing at and naming all the crazy stuff you can see from Goode. We squeezed all 5 on the summit that night (one of the spots looked pretty gnarly, 5 is a tight fit). I heard there was a guided party that day too, so 7 people in all on the route that day. I started to feel sick when I arrived at the summit. I think it was mainly due to the heat. This was a bummer but I gradually improved and took in the sunset, then the new moonset, headlamps down in the valley SW of Goode (night hiking?) and a couple of fuzzy shooting stars. The notions of up and down that climbers obsess over started to lose meaning while staring into space with hypnogogic mind setting in. The next morning we all got a leisurely start. I started my day popping my head up for a view every few minutes in between a few last sips of sleep. I left the summit at 7am, just after one party started rapping. I downclimbed (5.4?) to the highest snow patch (plenty of snow on the route right now BTW) as I had run out of water. I melted some for a freeze dried breakfast then made my way skier’s right up a ramp leading to the notch. It was here that I got to really test out my lightweight rappel system that I assembled after some online research (I did a short sanity check in town earlier). This was <$100 and shaved 3 lbs and I didn’t die. The second rap got me a ways into the firm snow finger on SW side of Goode. I used my light axe with a good bite (found on Quien Sabe some years ago), crampons strapped on to approach shoes, and my pole in the other hand. It was face-in downclimbing to some gross dirt-choss, then more face in walking backwards down steep snow. I paused to look at Storm King and estimate time. I guessed that going for it would mean getting back to the trailhead around midnight. Realistically, if I wanted to climb it, I would have had to do the Goode descent the day before. But it was more important to me to enjoy the summit of Goode than to tag another choss pile, so I was happy with my decision to skip SK. Maybe I was jaded from the shwacking the previous two days, but the way down the burn wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. I had downloaded somebody’s GPX and it was pretty helpful. I think this is another section that’s only semi-intuitive. I thought I would find running water on the other side of Goode, but didn’t. I descended the burn around noon with temperatures soaring and my water run out. Probably downed a liter in couple minutes at the first stream back on trail. I didn’t keep track but I’m guessing I drank about 2 gallons of water throughout the day. I also had less than 1000 calories because my body wouldn’t tolerate the bars I had remaining (again, likely due to the heat). At the end of the day I think I counted 4000 uneaten calories in my pack (that should have been eaten). I guess I need to revise my nutrition strategy for trips like these. The hike out is a blur given my nausea and the heat. Dipped at park creek (delightful!). The bridge at Bridge creek is another fantastic scene. One of many in this loop that I wish I had more time to savor (honestly, 4 days would have been more fun, though any exit from Goode seems inherently awkward logistically). I also remember one giant cedar on the trail, some cool bluffy terrain, and the suspension bridges were a fun surprise too. On the rare occasion of a cool breeze, I felt like I was drinking water through my skin. I filled up one more time at the last major creek >8 miles from the road and met up with one of the parties I shared the summit with. Together we blasted out the next 5 miles, took a short break, then made one more push for the car. Even in my approach shoes my feet were just starting to get medium rare by the time the hike was finally over. I had a bike at Bridge Creek TH and a bike light, but since it was getting late (finished at 9pm for a 14 hour day) and I was depleted, I happily accepted their offer to drive me back to Easy pass. Thanks Hank and Steve! Gear Notes: Approach shoes, crampons, one axe, one pole, and a rappel setup worked for me, but this means unroped glacier travel and low 5th soloing. Approach Notes: Hard to say
  5. 8 points
    Trip: Spectre Peak - “Spirited Away” FA of the S Ridge of Spectre Peak 2000’ 5.8 Trip Date: 07/26/2022 Trip Report: Joe Manning and I just got out of the Northern Pickets. We did the first ascent of the South Ridge of Spectre Peak. We had excellent weather and were out for 4 days. I’m having trouble loading any photos from my phone on here so this will be super brief. For extensive photos and whatnot check out my trip report on our blog… https://www.theclimbingguides.com/post/spirited-away-first-ascent-of-the-south-ridge-of-spectre-peak-2000-5-8 Gear Notes: Singles .1-2 doubles .3-1 light rack of nuts and optional 3. 40-50ft of cord and a single 60M rope. Approach Notes: Easy peak to improbable impasse to perfect pass to challenger col to phantom to pickle pass.
  6. 7 points
    Trip: Dome and the Lizard - Ptarmigan (Ptarmithumb) Traverse Trip Date: 07/22/2022 Trip Report: Ah, the classic Ptarmigan....is there a finer high traverse in the Cascades? After 25ish year of rambling around the range I'm not sure there is a more scenic and pleasant high route. And so, after a 19 year hiatus it was time to return with none other than @Juan Sharp. My thumb was still broken with a pin, but no matter, we would take it easy over 6 days and savor the experience. There is probably too much already written about this particular trip, but I will say that it is worth repeat visits, if only to camp in the places you wished you had camped the first time! And, amazingly enough, the traverse was much quieter than I had it in 2003. Probably "closures" on both ends had something to do with that (check notes below for additional beta). High points, for us, included perfect weather, good snow conditions, few bugs, an evening visit from a couple curious goats, ethereal marine layer mists from White Rock Lakes, Northern lights from the Dome/Dana Glacier col, solos of Dome and the Lizard (for me), sunrise/sunset on Dakobed, and a surprise visit from @jenny.abegg and partner who were mountain running from Canada to Stehekin, along the crest, in ONE WEEK. They covered in A DAY, what took us 4 days! To say we were amazed would be an understatement. I can't wait to see the movie made by the film crew running along with them for a couple sections. Low points would be the brush of Bachelor and Downey Creeks, but there is always a price of admission to the glory of the North Cascades parklands. I'll be back, but I won't wait as long next time! Heading up the closed cascade river road: @Juan Sharp below Mixup on the way to Cache col: Formidable: Camp 1 with a good view of the NF of Spider: Traversing over to Middle Cascade Gl: Passing thru Spider/Formidable col, Old Guard and LeConte in the middle: Climbing up above Yang Yang Lakes: Camp 2: Formidable at sunrise: Heading out on Day 3: Traversing to LeConte Gl.: South Cascade Gl.: The majestic north side of Sinister/Dome and the Chickamin Gl.: Camp 3 at White Rock Lakes: NF of Sinister and the Chickamin: Elephant Head and Dome from WRL: The aptly named Elephant Head: Agnes! Snout of the Dana: The German Helmet lost in the mists to the right of @Juan Sharp: Summit ridge of Dome: Hydramatic Spire: Camp 4, North Cascades style: @jenny.abegg and crew heading towards the Chickamin one evening: Dakobed from Camp 4: Surprise aurora borealis one night....it didn't look like this to the naked eye, 25 sec. exposure. Heading toward Itswoot ridge on day 5: Dome and @Juan Sharp: Sussing out the way to Cub lake from Itswoot ridge: False hellebore: Getting to the fun part in Bachelor Creek: @Juan Sharp crossing Bachelor Creek after doing battle with the worst of it. Note the bloody shins: The Bachelor Creek trail has sustained significant damage from slides this past winter: Camp 5, on the banks of Downey Creek: We're not in Colorado any more! Thru the burn at the end of the Downey Creek trail: Gear Notes: 30m rope, glacier gear, helmet, ice axe, crampons Approach Notes: Cascade River Road closed at Eldorado. Bachelor/Downey creek trails officially "closed" but in decent shape, esp. thru the burn. Bachelor Creek trail in good shape above 4500'. Cross Bachelor Creek at the alternate 4500' crossing. Flagged from there down to old log across Bachelor Creek at 4100'. Lots of blowdown in Lower Bachelor Creek and upper Downey Creek trails. Much bear sign.
  7. 7 points
    Trip: Forbidden Peak - NW Face Trip Date: 07/17/2022 Trip Report: @Hoo and I climbed the NW Face of Forbidden over the weekend. We had a grand alpine adventure with great conditions and we were happy we chose to take the loop overnight version for this climb. Thank you, Micah! On Saturday morning, we got to the ranger station armed with plans A, B, and C, but happily, snagged a permit for our bivy. The forecast for Sunday had deteriorated into a 30% chance of precip at 11am so we were concerned about low vis conditions on our summit and descent day, but we decided that we'd try to get to the higher bivy at the start of the route instead of just the N Ridge notch (our original plan). We had an invigorating uphill bike ride from the Eldo trailhead to the Boston Basin trailhead (road is still gated). Thank you Micah for loaning me your mountain bike for this! Quickly we were poking out into Boston Basin and feeling the alpine awe. The sun was shining behind light clouds and the temperature was great, the snow was soft but not overly so, and we quickly made our way up the Sharkin Col snow gully for the first approach crux in about four hours from the car. We aimed for one notch left of the notch right next to Sharkfin Tower. We scrambled up some loose 4th class to the notch but didn't see any rap stations so we scrambled down a bit and to the next one (climber's left) -- that one did have a rap station and looking down we could see two shrunds but they looked manageable. Micah led this rap and found another rap station hiding inside the shrund. I led the next one down and over/through the convexity toward the next shrund. Luckily it was still pretty filled in and we were able to easily get in and out of it and onto the mighty Boston Glacier! Note to self: change from shorts to pants earlier in the day. I was just reading Karsten's trip report of Ptarmigan Ridge and he spoke of his slogging cortex being overly activated. The amble across the Boston Glacier was so beautiful and enjoyable. "Is this a slog? It's pretty enjoyable for being a slog..." Micah and I discussed. If this had come at the end of the trip, it would have been a slog. Loved seeing Logan, Goode, and then Buckner across the way... Looking around at the amount of snow everywhere, we were cautiously optimistic about how we would get up to the N Ridge notch and onto the Forbidden Glacier. Identifying the notch was straightforward (to the right of the two towers; lowest point in ridge) and we were able to easily move from snow to rock and scamble up with just a short V0 boulder problem above the moat! This is all going too well! Views from the notch were fantastic. To climber's left we found a bivy spot we'd read about and then an exposed 4th class down-scramble led us to a rap station with a LOT of tat. Micah did a good mountain deed and cut out a bunch of trash tat. We made one <30m rap onto the snow and did a short bit of downclimbing before getting onto the flat glacier. We had not come across any water trickles or streams coming off the rocks (last big drips were in the shrunds after Sharkfin Col) but we finally found a real melt-off from rocks that we passed by (with a gaping moat guarding it). Micah was up for a kinda-sketchy moat-rock stem move to fill up our water. It was nice to be water-secure again! We walked over and decided to take the high/direct route around the base of the NW ridge toe. I think you could say we sandbagged ourselves with this routefinding choice, as we ended up climbing from steep soft snow with great feet up into AI2 territory. Luckily Micah felt confident about it and I was able to get a toprope from him (twice). Seracing above giant crevasses in aluminum crampons with just one axe, fun! Thankfully we were able to escape onto softer steep snow and then arc back over to the snow ramp getting us onto the rock/ridge proper. Hurray! We were definitely feeling the 7200' gain, ~8 hours from the car that we'd done according to Micah's watch. We ended up in a great bivy spot just a bit lower than where we got onto the ridge, with great epic-cloud views of Moraine Lake, Klawatti Lake, the Inspiration and Klawatti Glaciers, Primus and Tricouni, and all our best friends out there... the sun never really came out but it was an amazing place to be and relax and rest. We woke up with the brightening day but completely socked in as somewhat expected. We had seen a party at a N Ridge notch (one north of our notch) the evening before we wondered what they were up to. We definitely would not have wanted to cross the Forbidden Glacier with that kind of visibility! After scrambling up and over the tower, we roped up and set off into the clouds for the first simuling section on the knife-edge. So, so fun. I love this kind of easy climbing on ridges! Super fun scrambley, exposed, great rock! So fun. As others have noted, there's a fixed pin right before a hard-looking section right above (I think I read that probably rockfall had hit this section and now it goes at solid 5.8) so Micah took us climber's left and down a bit; there was a nice flake for me to have some terrain protection as I downclimbed the exposed 5th class moves... We continued onward and upward simuling and soon Micah shouted down, "I'm just going to climb through the chimney, it looks easy" (without pitching it out). And lo, it was! I was really surprised; I have found many 5.8 chimneys to be really tough for me. We agreed that it barely deserved to be called a chimney. Nothing physical, just some stemming with big hands and feet. The rock was the worst on the route here, though -- quiet, gentle climbing definitely necessary! Above and out of the chimney, there was a tight corner that was the crux for me but I was able to top rope it cleanly (my only point of pride with my rock climbing these days)! Above that, I took the next simul section and had a blast on easy climbing on mostly great rock, trying to continue trending climber's left toward the face while also not heading into the multiple snow patches that are still up there. Started getting into harder terrain with lichen as I began running out of slings, so when Micah took over again he took us farther left and up and toward the sunshine... And soon enough we were at the summit, above the sea of clouds! I think we must have been looking at Eldo poking out? Our original plan was to descend via the East Ledges but with all the snow, I was concerned about the 4th class ledge being snowy. We also knew that getting down from the East Ridge notch would be slow with such low visibility. We opted for the West Ridge descent, so we downclimbed the entire West Ridge route. I haven't been rock climbing much at all for the past months (and years) so a lot of this felt stressful/mentally taxing for me but soon we were at the notch. From there, we took two rappels down the cat scratch gullies (dry) and onto the steep snow gully skiier's left. Unfortunately, on pulling the rap, our rope got wedged into a notch -- well, we hadn't really had any shenanigans, so it was about time. Happily, it just took some finesse from a different angle to get it unstuck and no ascending the rope was necessary! We downclimbed steep snow and saw that the bergshrund at the bottom was open and couldn't see an obvious way across, so we found a rap station (skiier's left, in the moat, quasi iced-over) and were able to rap across to the other side with no issues. From there, we had a fair bit of downclimbing in soft but supportable snow. Downclimbing downclimbing... finally onto more level snow where Micah was a total show-off with his boot skiing skills. I think this is the part where I began feeling my slog cortex being taxed! But it was short-lived. We said hey to all the fat marmots in the basin on our way out, made our way quickly down the trail, and hopped onto our bikes for an AWESOME speedy ending to a lovely trip. What a way to end things! OK, you've really been waiting for the pics: Woo hoo, bike approach! Coming into Boston Basin Micah on first rap from Sharkin Col variation First rap from Sharkfin Col variation Second rap from Sharkfin Col variation From inside the second shrund Looking back toward Sharkfin Col variation Goddamn the Boston Glacier is so beautiful! Moving from snow to rock right below the N Ridge notch Taking a break before rapping down onto the Forbidden Glacier View showing the ridge toe On our way across the Forbidden Glacier Awww yeahhhh! Primus and Tricouni in the back. Thanks, Micah! Steep but great feet through this section! This is the kinda thing that all the TRs warn about... AI2 for a bit... Woo hoo, almost there! Beautiful views from our bivy.... Time to start climbing! First section on the rock Getting up into the sun! Starting our descent via the West Ridge Downclimb below the cat scratch gullies, above the shrund here Back to plain ol' walking Farewell, Boston Basin! Until next time... Gear Notes: Three-season boots, aluminum pons and axe, one half/twin 60m rope, small-ish rack and lots of slings, BIKES. Approach Notes: Up, over, across, up, over, across, around, up, up, up, down.
  8. 7 points
    Trip: North Pickets - Mongo Ridge (Tower 1) Trip Date: 07/01/2022 Trip Report: A Rainy Week in the Northern Pickets + A Night on Mongo Ridge Climbers: Jake Johnson – Fort Collins, CO (writer of this TR) Emilio Taiveaho - Saxapahaw, NC Adam Moline – Olympia, WA (A new resident to Washington, so hit him up if in need of a SOLID partner in the mountains) Summary: July 1st – 9th, 2022 in the Northern Picket Range of North Cascades National Park. A week of managing early season snow conditions and weather. Lofty goals were adjusted, and we fought the good fight - accomplishing as much mountain moving as we feasibly could and learning all the lessons the mountain would teach. It’s easier to write a report about triumphs in the mountains and, perhaps, its more interesting to read of successes as well. For this reason, I considered not writing and sharing this report. However, I do feel that the lessons learned and experiences had are worth sharing. Also, given that it was the toughest trip I’ve ever been on, I needed an outlet to express my gratitude for my climbing partners (best friends) that got me through it. Planning our trip had its challenges – 3 different calendars to coordinate, two of us needing to fly in from out of state, requesting of PTO, etc.. These challenges culminated in the need to get the dates for this trip on the calendar early. Unfortunately, this plan lacked flexibility as we learned that we’d be dealing with a lot of rain and snow during our week together. Our objective was to climb the entirety of Mongo Ridge, and while we did not complete that goal, we did accomplish what we were ultimately there to do: to suffer well in the mountains when required, and to thrive in and enjoy the mountains when allowed. Itinerary (not the planned itinerary, but the reality of our week): Day 1 – Evening hike up Big Beaver Valley Day 2 – Hike to and Camp at “Cliffside Camp” below Luna Col Day 3 – Ride out storms, no movement Day 4 – Advance to “Ridge Camp” below the ridge between Luna and Fury Day 5 – Climb East Fury and Tower 1 of Mongo Ridge, bivy on Tower 1 Day 6 – Retreat from ridge and bivy on East Fury Day 7 – Return to “Ridge Camp” Day 8 – Summit Luna Peak and descend to Access Creek Day 9 – Hike Out A screenshot of Adam’s Strava map. He didn’t start his watch until day 2. Introduction: Adam, Emilio, and I first climbed the West Peak of Mount Fury in July of 2020. It was then that we first saw and studied Mongo Ridge, the southwest ridgeline of West Fury. At the time, the only ascent was Wayne Wallace’s legendary solo climb of the ridge: Then, in July of 2021, Jeff and Priti Wright climbed a variation of the route (traversing below the ridgeline after the main towers and bypassing the “Rooster Comb” and “Pole of Remoteness” features): The beta provided in these combined reports gave us the confidence needed to make Mongo Ridge the primary objective of our 2022 climbing season. Day 1: I was fortunate to be able to coordinate with my job to visit a customer site near Seattle on Friday. When I wrapped up with work, Adam and Emilio picked me up and we were off to Ross Dam Trailhead. Emilio had flown out a few weeks earlier, and the two had kept busy getting ready for the trip by climbing some sub-peaks near Rainier, traversing a portion of Sawtooth Ridge in Olympic, as well as running Mt. Olympus in a 14 hr push with Adam’s wife, Monica. They had dealt with early season conditions and weather in each of these endeavors, so we had good indication of what to expect in the Pickets. Our hike up Big Beaver was beautiful, but uneventful. We were happy to take advantage of the clear weather while we had it and eat up some of the approach miles. Lots of deadfall in the last miles of our trail walking slowed progress significantly. We stopped for the night, shared a small meal, and settled in for a comfortable night’s sleep. Hiking into the night on the Big Beaver Trail Day 2: A straightforward crossing of the Big Beaver River and solid route-finding made for steady progress up Access Creek. We surprisingly encountered far less bushwhacking in Access Creek, compared to negotiating the blowdowns covering the Big Beaver Trail the prior evening. I slipped off a slick log while crossing over Access Creek and took a dip up to my thighs. I moped about my wet feet, which is funny to me now – as they wouldn’t really be dry at any point for the next 7 days. Breaking out of the trees in upper Access Creek Switching into crampons for the climb up and out of the valley We worked quickly to move up the snow gully to escape the Access Creek valley before the sun hit the slope too much; slopes that were getting baked in the morning sun were releasing a good amount of snow and rock. Topping out this gully has always felt like a portal to me; entering into the surreal dimension that is the Picket Range. We got our first looks at what we would be working with for the week: vast amounts of snow with 30ft cornices and lots of weather shrouding the high peaks of the range. We didn’t waste much time planning our next moves, as a good amount of weather was forecasted. Luna Col appeared to be completely snow covered, likely making the camping there less than ideal. We dropped down a few hundred feet to the flowing water that drained from the col. Here we found some ground that wasn’t exactly flat but had most of the other qualities needed for surviving and waiting out a storm. It was a sloping ledge on a cliff above an avalanche shoot; we dubbed it “Cliffside Camp”. Our Cliffside Camp beneath Luna Col As a group we had 2 lightweight tarps and we each had Outdoor Research bivys. Emilio and Adam shared a tarp that they strung over their bivys. I wrapped myself in the other like a taco, trying to tuck my gear under its protection as well. The rain came and went, and then came again. We were able to make some food in the breaks in the weather before settling in for the night. Adam and Emilio’s angled sleeping setup at Cliffside Camp The view out of my crude trekking pole / tarp setup at Cliffside Camp The storm that night was the most intense of the week. Wind, rain, thunder, and of course the thunder of rockfall. My tarp got whipped about by the wind, and all my gear got pretty wet. Adam and Emilio each awoke in the night to find they had slid several feet downhill from their original positions. Day 3: I realized it had become lighter outside, but the change from night was minimal from the depths of my tarp covered bivy. “How you guys doing?” I yelled from my cocoon. “Pretty wet but also plenty dry in places, too” responded Emilio. Always an optimist.. Trying to stay comfortable through a long day of being horizontal Again, we seized opportunities were the weather let up to stand and stretch and refortify our setups. Nearly all hours of the day, however, were spend horizontally. Our objective felt far away, and it certainly wasn’t lost on us that we needed to be closer to be able to take advantage of a weather window if we were presented with one. Every now and then the whiteout would clear enough for us to see the ridge at the far side of the snowfield we were camped above, and we plotted our line to make it there, but beyond that we had no idea of what we would be navigating. We practiced patience as best as we could and told ourselves that all this rest would be beneficial to us in the coming days. A stretch break in the day More rain and wind came through the night, although not as intense as our first night here. Day 4: Somewhere around midmorning the weather let up to a point where I was inspired to crawl out and investigate our surroundings. It was frustrating to see blue skies in multiple directions, and even get some direct sunlight, but never really get visibility in the direction we needed to travel. Eventually we caught a break and gained a visual of the ridge we were headed towards. We quickly packed up our wet gear and set off. It felt amazing to move our bodies and cover some ground. Crossing a cool snow bridge shortly after leaving Cliffside Camp Easy snow walking and some classic, loose Cascade ridge scrambling and we arrived on the ridge at a spot that should have provided a view of our route the remainder of the way up to East Fury. When we rounded the corner, we were unfortunately met with more whiteout conditions. Additional incentive to advance no further was provided as the mountain sent some more rain our way. Luckily, this camp - dubbed “ridge camp” – was much more comfortable. We were able to crawl under some thick brush to spread the tarps and set our bivys which helped tremendously in protecting us from the wind and rain. We used breaks in the weather to gather water, then cooked some food back under the protection of the tarp. Overall spirits were high; we all had some base layers that were dry enough to stay warm through the night, and sleeping bags weren’t soaked. We also knew weather would be an issue these days and felt we had some buffer in the week to allow for it. We slept solidly, knowing that tomorrow had been forecasted to be the clearest day of the week. A comfortable tarp shelter at Ridge Camp Day 5: We woke up to a 4:30am alarm, and quickly confirmed that the weather was as predicted. YES! Clear early morning skies, with an ocean of clouds below us in the valleys. I’ll never get over how beautiful the peaks of the North Cascades look rising above the clouds. Ocean of Clouds as seen from Ridge Camp on morning of Day 5 I caught Adam in modeling mode after he set up a timelapse on his phone We understood that a lot was riding on this day in terms of setting ourselves up for success. We packed up all our gear and made quick progress navigating the snowfields and glaciers up to East Mount Fury. This was our first chance to get a look at the peak and our route up it; a lot of snow. I worried for Emilio, who had opted to do the trip wearing micro-spikes on his boots, rather than crampons, but he moved smoothly. We avoided what we felt was most of the hazards by traversing westward to gain the ridgeline to the south of the peak, then scrambling a mixture of rock and icy slope north to the summit. Headed up Easy Fury. Still in a cloud, but the clearest view of it we had yet! A steeper section of snow heading up to East Fury On the summit we stashed any gear that we felt we could do without. Adam used his InReach to get an updated weather forecast for the second half of our week – not great news: at least some rain each day. Because of this, we stashed less than originally planned, bringing along the tarps and heavier jackets. I was able to stuff my bivy, a light sleeping bag, camelback, and a bunch of snacks in my 15L daypack. Adam and Emilio carried their larger packs with similar setups inside. We descended off the summit to the west, and then plunged down the gully to the southwest that leads towards the base of Mongo Ridge. We each had capacity for 4L of water, and finding a suitable place to fill up proved to be a challenge - and a time suck. Eventually we crossed the last bit of snowfield to the base of the route. Here, a real mental crux presented itself: one of Adam’s crampons broke clean in half. He also noticed a crack forming in the other. We were about as far from the car as we would get, and given the amount of snow travel, this was a huge blow. Adam’s broken crampon. He also noticed his other crampon was cracking in the same spot A flood of negative thoughts crept into my headspace: How would this affect our ability to make the return trip? Should we just call it now and turn back?… Adam interrupted my spiraling thoughts – “I’d rather climb the route in rock shoes than climb back up the snow with one crampon”. That was it, no more discussion. I do think that for each of us, there was an unspoken understanding: things would need to go perfectly on the climb if we were going to be able to pull it all off. We negotiated the moat without much issue, then scrambled up 4th class to the left of the 5.6 chimney taken by the Wrights and Wallace. When we arrived at what we believed was the 5.8 overhang taken by Wallace, we roped up and I led up over the short section of overhanging features to easier ground. Wallace had cut left here and gained ridgeline – mostly 4th class to the top of Tower 1. I saw that line, but had absolutely nothing to build an anchor and bring the guys up to me at that spot. The rock was polished smooth with virtually no cracks or blocks. I told myself I’d climb a bit higher until I could build a real anchor, and then we’d find another way to traverse left. Unfortunately, I had to stretch the 70m ropes until I could sling a solid block and bring the guys up safely. I weaved significantly to keep the climbing on that pitch at 5.8-5.9. The guys more or less climbed straight up the line and reported harder moves. Emilio belaying me up our first roped pitch I was worked. I felt I had protected the pitch well, despite a serious lack of options, but there were a lot of heady moves that physically and mentally drained me. The rope drag bringing the guys up was some of the worst I’ve ever experienced, so belaying added to my fatigue. There wasn’t much talking at the top of that first pitch. We were all aware we were off route and climbing far harder than we needed to on this first tower. We briefly discussed coiling the ropes and attempting the traverse left to get to the ridgeline – we unanimously agreed we weren’t in the right headspace or position on the mountain for that. I sent upwards, trying to work left, but was forced up a series of grassy chimneys over the course of several pitches. Forcing a roped leftward traverse would have meant insane rope drag. In total we climbed 5 pitches ranging from 5.6-5.9 until we met the ridgeline nearly at the top of the tower. Wallace’s original line (recommended) in Yellow. The Wright’s line in Red. Our line (not recommended) in Blue. Adam and Emilio belaying me up one of the last pitches to meet the ridgeline A short conversation atop the tower confirmed what we were all thinking: Attempting the entire ridge wasn’t going to be a responsible move if we wanted to make it home on schedule. Our timeline had been behind from the beginning, more weather was ahead in the forecast, we didn’t know what Adam’s broken crampon would mean for our hike out, and one of our radios had turned on in a pack earlier in the week and was now quickly losing its charge - making communication challenging. We felt confident in our ability to retreat from where we were at but going further would require us to be perfect in our climbing efficiency and route finding for the rest of the ridge, get lucky with the weather, and – even then – potentially need to hike out from East Fury in one massive push in order to get out in time. With no great bivy options at the base of the climb, we agreed to spend the night on Tower 1, then descend the tower and climb to East Fury in the morning. Scrambling the last bit to the summit of Tower 1 Emilio at the summit of Tower 1. Tower 2 to the far left, looking up at the impressive Tower 3 It was bittersweet. The climbing had ultimately been super fun, and I felt that I had protected the guys well with bomber anchors on each pitch (a worry of mine going into the climb). I had also by this point completely overcome any imposter syndrome that I felt before starting the climb, and felt very competent and ready for the harder climbing that lay ahead on the ridge. It just wasn’t meant to be, for this week. If you ask Emilio, sleeping on the ridge was the best sleeping of his life - in every way. For me, it wasn’t all that comfortable, but it was a pretty darn cool place to get some shut eye. Adam found a little nook at the base of some shrubs to crawl into, while Emilio and I shared a small ledge. We settled in, to the lullaby of the local Townsend’s Solitaire. The ledge Emilio and I shared for the night Adam above his sleeping nook Day 6: I had no indications that I ever did truly fall asleep, but somehow morning did come much sooner than expected. We had dealt with some rain in the night, but luckily nothing too severe. When we got up, we had some visibility so we quickly packed up and started scrambling down the ridge. It was frustrating to realize how much time we had wasted by not getting on the ridgeline immediately. Rain came and went throughout the morning as we easily downclimbed most of the route, utilizing a few rappels where wet rock presented a concern. Adam on a rainy rappel off Tower 1 Once we were back on the glacier, we made slow steady progress back up to East Fury – some moments in freezing rain, then 30 seconds later in direct sun and unbearable heat. The closer we got to the summit of East Fury, the more it became consistent rain, until we were in a complete whiteout on the summit. Adam’s attempt at holding his broken crampon in place, and bracing his cracking one Cloudy towers as seen on the ascent back up East Fury Adam and Emilio entering into a true whiteout near the summit Here we faced a tough decision. It was only about noon, so we had plenty of time to descend back to our Ridge Camp. However, we were all a bit worked – cold and shivering and running on little sleep. Additionally, the whiteout conditions presented a real challenge for navigating the Fury Glacier. Our other option was to bivy on the summit of East Fury. We had done this before, in 2020, but it hadn’t been such wintery conditions then. We also were hesitant to try to get a camp setup in the rain and risk getting our dry(ish) clothes and sleeping bags wet. We ultimately decided the best thing to do at that moment was to be patient and see if we could catch a break in either the rain or the whiteout before making a move. Huddling for warmth under the tarp near the summit After 4 hrs of shivering, huddled together under the tarp, we caught a break in the rain that allowed us to switch into some dry clothes and crawl into bivys. Just in time too – as hard rain began to come and go into and throughout the night. Day 7: Emerging from the shelter of my bivy in the morning was a real mental crux, to say the least. No direct rain, but still whiteout conditions with plenty of cold moisture zipping through the air. We hastily packed our things, bundled ourselves up, and headed down from the summit. Walking took some getting used to; my legs were stiff, I was bundled up far more than I was used to, and the rock and snow were both icy and slick. I slipped on some rocks immediately within the first few moves and stumbled onto some sharp rocks. That woke me up. View from the bivy ledge in the morning Low visibility early in the morning Continuing to move down the mountain, we utilized the gps on our watches and, often times, faint tracks from our ascent. Emilio lost his footing on a steep section in the early going and quickly slid downward, disappearing out of sight into the fog. He expertly self-arrested, and then traversed horizontally until he was back on course with us. Somewhere along this descent, Adam’s other crampon also broke (in the same fashion as his first did). Carefully negotiating the glacier on the descent A positive that kept us smiling was coming across what we believe to be wolverine (maybe very large marmot?) tracks in the snow. We eventually climbed low enough that the thick fog broke up a bit and we could see the remainder of our line back up to our Ridge Camp. We stopped along the way to collect our first water since we had started up the ridge 48 hrs earlier. Wolverine? Marmot? Tracks near the summit of East Fury Upon returning to Ridge Camp, we rebuilt our cozy tarp shelter, and used breaks in the rain to collect water and make food. The sun would occasionally shine on us, triggering a race to get wet clothes, sleeping bags, etc... out to dry. Fury and the Southern Pickets always remained shrouded in thick cloud cover. We eventually began to thaw our fingers and relax our minds. Our mountain living became a bit less focused on basic survival, and we nursed our bodies in an effort to get back to a point where we could enjoy our remaining experience as much as possible. A massive overhanging cornice near our Ridge Camp Day 8: Sunlight flickered on the tarp, as we allowed ourselves to sleep in a bit. At first, thick fog lined the valley floors but as we stretched our waking bodies, we watched as the sun and wind began grabbing chunks of that fog and shooting them up the mountain slopes until they became clouds surrounding us in the sky. A nice bit of sunshine and our cozy Ridge Camp A rare glimpse of the Southern Pickets through the fog We descended the snowfield back towards our Cliffside camp from earlier in the week. Emilio and Adam glissaded a good amount of it, enjoying the moderate slope. Again, we experienced the insane temperature differential when cold winds under cloudy skies (requiring our shells and some layers) would rapidly transition to full sun cooking us (and a frantic shedding of layers). We trudged up to an elevation just below the gully that would drop us into Access Creek. Here we dropped our packs and doubled back, racing up towards Luna Col. Adam and Emilio pulled ahead of me, cruising with the freedom of being pack-less. I was content to enjoy the climb at a slightly more leisurely pace and take some photos of them ahead at a distance. Moving quickly beneath giant cornices at Luna Col Once we got to Luna Col, we dropped crampons and axes, and scampered up Luna. We were just below the cloud ceiling, with all the other major peaks of the Pickets consumed in cloud. Gentle rain would come and go, as it had all day, but nothing too intense. It was an amazing scramble that made us really appreciate our last moments of the trip spent high in the alpine. Adam and Emilio ahead of me on the Luna Peak ridge scramble The North and South Picket ranges, masked in clouds as they were for most of the week Summit group selfie On the descent we encountered some friendly White-Tailed Ptarmigan before relacing the crampons and plunging and sliding back down the mountain to our packs. I think Adam probably broke some sort of speed record, running and sliding and leaping for joy from Luna Col back to our packs in about 2 minutes. White-Tailed Ptarmigan Emilio and a distant Adam flying down from Luna Col Our attitudes became more serious - but perhaps not enough - as we shouldered our packs and began the descent of the gully into Access Creek. This gully is the technical crux for folks climbing Luna Peak, and it has taken lives. I went first, kicking steps for the others to follow. Emilio was struggling with snow balling under his micro spikes and he slipped and caught himself several times. Eventually, he determined he was confident enough in his stopping power to glissade. He started slow, but quickly gained more speed than he bargained for. He dislodged a football sized rock in the snow as he zipped by, and the two flew down the steep gully together – bouncing off small bumps as they went. I watched this unfold with a surprising sense of calm. I knew he was in trouble, but also that he would hang in there, digging his axe into the snow with everything he had, as long as it would take to stop. I’ve seen Emilio stop himself in some wild slides many times – both in practice and in real scenarios, but this one was the most impressive. The issue with his stopping was that the rock he has dislodged now caught up with him. He looked up and I could tell he had no idea what was coming at him; snow caked his face and glasses. The rock hit his hand and sent his axe flying down the mountain. Luckily, he maintained his footing. Emilio let out a mountain whoop and yelled “Man, I love the mountains!” As Adam and I quickly descended towards him, we caught him trying to bury the bloody snow around him with clean snow. “Where’s that blood coming from?” I yelled. “I’m fine” he replied... Adam and I did a quick cognitive assessment and determined that he didn’t have a concussion. The blood was coming from the back of his hand, where icy sections of snow had taken a good amount of skin off as he was self-arresting. We slowly made our way down the remainder of the gully. At the bottom, we nursed the hand with clean stream water and Neosporin, then covered it with Gauze, climbing tape, and a crack climbing glove. I tested his mobility and the sensitivity at his fingertips. Everything was ok, spirits were still high, but we were definitely humbled. I think we all were feeling like the most challenging sections of the trip were long behind us, but the lesson was proven - every part of mountain moving requires our full focus. It was an important lesson, and it will certainly stick with us. Emilio and his rock, a bit of blood still visible where he buried it Emilio’s hand. All in all, not too bad The hike out Access Creek began with an encounter with a huge and angry (or maybe just frightened?) marmot. Adam was out front navigating the boulder field and spooked it back right at me and Emilio. It charged beneath a rock and popped up about 5 feet from Emilio. “Hey man!” Emilio yelled at it. This thing (in my memory) was about the size of a small golden retriever. The marmot ducked under a rock and popped back up a few feet from me. “HEY!” I’ve done my fair share of yelling off bears, and Emilio and I have had some intense encounters with agitated moose, but this huge marmot’s boldness, size, and its disappearing and reappearing act had us frazzled. We backed out of his area, and he was content to let us walk off. A bit further down we camped in some old growth and got some great sleep. Emilio discovered he had a very cool heel flap of skin upon removing his boots on the final day Day 9: We awoke, stretched, and ground out the easy trail miles back to civilization. We met the trail crew working hard in the early morning to clear the deadfall on the trail that had given us so much trouble on our hike in. Once back at the car, we feasted on stale chips and hardened cinnamon rolls. A stop at our favorite post-Picket burger joint, Skagit Valley Burger, and we were soon back to Adam’s place in Olympia. Shameless gluttony Final Thoughts: They say a climbing trip should have 3 goals. 1) To come home safe. 2) to come home as friends. And 3) to come home successful - In that order. So, in that regard, we accomplished our top two goals. They also say, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you get what you need”. This trip wasn’t exactly what we had expected or hoped for, but it certainly gave us what we needed in terms of pushing ourselves, learning about ourselves, and learning about the mountains. It also gave us a good amount of beta, and a good amount of confidence for when we return again, hopefully very soon. Gear Notes: Doubles of Small cams, a #2 and #3, set of nuts Approach Notes: Lots of Snow
  9. 6 points
    Trip: Picket Range - Southern Pickets Enchainment Trip Date: 8/4-7/2022 Trip Report: It's Pickets season folks! Kurt and I were supposed to be in the Bugaboos last week, but unstable weather encouraged us to stay local and sample a little bit of what the Pickets have to offer. Between weather and work on Monday, we had a pretty tight schedule that was surely going to be a challenge. On Thursday we slept in and got a casual start. AM rain was forecasted, and "all" we had to do was hike in to the base of little Mac spire. As we drove north, the rain poured down. By the time we reached the trailhead there was blue sky poking through, but all the brush was thoroughly soaked. The hike up went on for an eternity, and I was beginning to understand why the Pickets see so little traffic. By the time we made it to the alpine, we were drenched from head to toe, and the cold wind made for some rather uncomfortable slogging up to camp. Thankfully by the time we arrived, we were mostly dried out apart from our feet, which wouldn't fully dry out for another day. Day 2: Little Mac, East Mac, West Mac, Tower 1, Tower 5, Inspiration, Pyramid, Degenhardt. A cold and windy night brought us to a cold and windy morning, but the clouds had finally cleared and we could see our first peak. The brush and soil on little mac was still wet from the day before which made for some pretty unnerving scrambling up the first half of the mountain, but once the sun hit things began to dry out. Little Mac and East Mac went pretty smoothly with mostly scrambling and a couple pitches of roped climbing to the summits. West Mac however provided a little more adventure as Kurt tried to quest up some roofs in the middle of the east face but was thwarted and had to downclimb half a pitch. Thankfully we found the easy way and were off to the races. The East Towers sucked up so much time, and honestly I don't remember what we did to get through them. Huge props to Jeff Wright for remembering all the beta and writing such a detailed trip report. I wish I had that good of a memory.... or maybe I'd rather forget. Surfin' the East Towers Inspiration was Classic! By far the best climbing on route. Super straightforward, fun and engaging crack climbing. A large panel of the west face of Inspiration fell off some time recently, taking one or more of the rap anchors with it. This involved some downclimbing between stations and lots of loose rock on the rappels. At least one new station would be needed to fully rap the face. Rapping through the rock scar "Hey Kurt, I found the anchor!" Low on water, we brewed up below Pyramid and rested for the rest of the climbing ahead. Kurt took the leads up Pyramid and quested us up into some hard 5.10 roofs that ended up bring the crux of the entire traverse. We still have no idea where that 5.8 chimney is. Or where we were for that matter. We forgot to take a picture on top of Pyramid, so here's number 7! We don't know how to count. This was summit 8. Having lost a fair bit of time, we raged up Degenhardt at sunset. Racing the fading light, we traversed along the ridge over to the base of Terror and the supposed "excellent" bivy. We didn't have to climb with headlamps! A cold wind howled up the north side, sending morale plummeting. The only somewhat flat spots were on the frigid windy side of the ridge so after an unsuccessful attempt to rig up my tarp to block the wind, we opted to engineer our own spots to the south. We were both somewhat successful in digging out our own bivys, and went to bed late and exhausted. Day 3: Terror, The Rake, The Blip, East Twin Needle, West Twin Needle, Dusseldorfspitz, Himmelhorn The next morning came too soon and we started with Terror for breakfast. The east ridge went quickly and the mountain most definitely didn't live up to the name. Summit of Terror for the actual ninth summit. The Rake, similar to the East towers sucked up an incredible amount of time. We went too high on the first gendarme and had to downclimb the ridge to get to the 5.7 traverse. The rest was just slow route finding up along over and below the ridge. Low on water and with a lot of climbing still ahead of us. We brewed up again below The Blip, four more towers standing between us and camp, two of which being the 5.10 cruxes of the route. Summit 10! Wonderful rap anchor off The Rake. We cruised over the Blip and up the lower pitches of East Twin Needle. A little intimidated by the 5.10 crux, I took the lead up the spectacular knife edge ridge to where it kicks back to a slight overhang. With my pack feeling heavy, I sized up the moves above me, poked my head around to the left and balanced my way around the corner. Skipping the crux. With that out of the way, we raced down up and over West Twin Needle and over to the base of the intimidating East ridge of Himmelhorn. As the only one who brought rock shoes, I took this crux pitch as well. Pulling around the corner I was greeted by a fixed nut, and wild face climbing on hollow sounding rock. It wasn't all too hard, but by feet and calves were pumping out from the heavy pack and everything we had done up to that point. Thankfully I pulled it off without a hitch, and all the hard climbing was behind us. This pitch is probably only around 10a/b, but I absolutely would have called it 10+ if I had climbed it as an onsight first ascent. The overnight pack certainly doesn't help. Summit 13 and the east ridge of Himmelhorn trying to intimidate us. Dusseldorfspitz! Cumbre 14! Day 4: Ottohorn & Frenzelspitz The next morning at the Himmelhorn-Ottohorn col I woke up to sunlight casting off the mountains around us. I must have turned off my alarm at some point and fallen back asleep without realizing it. Kurt forgot to set one as well. Neither of us were upset by the extra half hour of sleep, but knew we needed to get things moving if we wanted to get out at a reasonable hour. Don't roll over! A quick jaunt up and down Ottohorn started day four. The effort of the last three days weighted on our legs, but the lack of overnight packs made it feel less like a chore. We carried a rope and rack up for the supposed 5.6 summit block, but they never saw any use. Once back down at the col, we scrambled down to the north and around the east face of Ottohorn to reach Frenzelspitz. I don’t think we took the same route as Priti and Jeff, but regardless it got us where we needed to go at loose 4th class with tiny bits of low 5th. Continuing this trend, we scrambled up to the base of the last pitch of Frenzelspitz where Kurt took the sharp end and led us up a short pitch to our final summit. We have a serious problem. This was summit 16. Someone teach us how to count. The descent went pretty much as expected. Lots of knee pain and schwacking took us around Crescent Basin, down stump hollow and out along Goodell creek. Huge thanks to Wayne, Jeff and Priti for all the beta. I can’t imagine how much longer everything would have taken without those detailed topos for every climb and descent. Both Kurt and I were blown away that the FA team of three did it in almost the same timeframe as us, and even tacked on the Chopping Block! Gear Notes: Single rack .1-2 doubles .4-1, One rack "nice" nuts and a half rack leaver nuts, 10 single runners & 4 doubles, 30 feet 5mm cord for rap anchors, 60m 8.5mm rope, Light Axe and Crampons Approach Notes: Over the river and through the woods, then up up up and some more up through more forest until you're finally in the alpine oh god.
  10. 5 points
    Trip: Mt baker - North Ridge Trip Date: 08/01/2022 Trip Report: This adventure started in the most likely place, Instagram. A guy named Remy, who had worked at the same climbing gym I currently work for sent me a message. My boss had heard from Remy that he was looking for partners that wanted to do a lot of climbing; My boss also knows that I am in the same boat. After some messaging back and forth we decided we would give the north ridge of baker a try! Most would say attempting a long and committing route with a new climbing partner would not be the best idea. Most of the time I would agree. The only reason I am able to make this exception was because of our mutual friend/boss. He has known both of us for a long time, with a good understanding of our experience and comfort level in the mountains. Remy and I planned for a full casual day of hiking up the road, up the trail, and to camp. Then a full alpine start climbing day. Then a full day to sleep and walk out. If the weather and company are equally as good this is my favorite way to approach bigger climbs like this. Making the large approach and distances more manageable physically and mentally. I find this is also how I rap my head around larger technical obstacles; Breaking them down into small chunks that I can easily understand and take one at a time. The small chunk mindset works super well until you need to have any amount of forethought about your objectives but for the purpose of giving me confidence that I have the ability to do larger and harder routes, this mindset helps a lot. Remy and I started out our approach day a little bit late putting the pressure on us to get to camp and get to sleep. Making it worse was the fact that I had forgotten my bike back home in a rush to get ready and out the door early. We put our minds together and decided that strapping the packs to the bike like a mule and both pushing that one bike would be faster than swapping out riding the single bike. This feat of engineering let us push up the hill to the trailhead in less than 2 hours. Putting us right back on schedule. We hoisted our packs and walked up the heliotrope ridge trail with excitement for our next day. After arriving at camp and getting our tent set up, I cooked my usual top ramen with a side of tuna (I am still getting better at backcountry cooking). We talked over at time plan and decided on a midnight start. Our alarms rang and it was time to boogie. I threw my boots on and racked up for the big day to come. We did some traversing to get up out onto the helio trope ridge and then out onto the Coleman glacier. The glacier was surprisingly simple and fast travel. Most of the cracks were completely exposed making them obvious and easy to avoid. Until higher on the mountain we did not find any unstable bridges. We hiked in a timely manner up to the toe of the north ridge. The beta that we had gotten from a month before was that gaining the toe of the ridge was out and traversing to lookers left around the ridge was needed. That turned out to be completely false for the conditions we found but existing in our own little headlamp bubble it was hard to tell that at the time. Moving around the toe of the ridge and accending found us just next to looker's left of the ridge for about a thousand feet. Looking up at the ice step and the steeper snow seemingly right above us we pulled out the rope length and prepared to siml. This was not the case. A little after the above picture was taken I arrived at a nearly 50ft wide crack that the GPS track we had, seemingly cruised right over. With the north ridge not gainable to us to the right and icefall to the left we decided to descend slightly and explore our options to the left. Past some broken blocks the glacier seemed to mellow out and provide access around the crack back to the north ridge. The above photo was taken after traversing around the large crack. beautifully broken glacier. Tomfoolery moving through the north face icefall This portion of the climb is something I am debating still in my head. We had no beta on the icefall we were making our way through. The bridges we were crossing were super solid but would they have been later in the day if we needed to descend? what would the icefall hazard be like after the sun heated everything up? Was I in over my head? I believe that the decisions we made were safe enough for the route and situation we were committed to. Remy and I on the way out discussed every decision we made in detail and the reasons behind them. This type of do-it-as-you-go climbing was new to both me and Remy and it was really fucking awesome. You can see in our GPS track we were finding the best crossings were farthest lookers left but we constantly were moving lookers right to see if there was a route back onto the ridge. Finally, after lots of large crack crossings and zig-zagging, we found an entrance to the north ridge around 600 ft below the ice step. A look at the upper north face icefall from below the ice step. Back on route finally. As we looked down the ridge in the light a clear bootpack and a RMI team moving up it made all the hard work we just put in seem meaningless. But was it? I feel like I had to engage more active decision-making, risk management, and route-finding skills much much more than I normally would have on a well-tracked route like the north ridge. I feel I grew as a climber as well as my personal ethic in the mountains. It was a freeing experience to decide to tread my own route and make it work. The ice step was in super good shape. A short section of pretty high-quality vertical ice then followed by another pitch of low-angle ice. This led to a knife edge ridge to the summit bergy which was a simple crossing with some steep snow to the top. The descent was very simple, just a trot down the Coleman Demming which was in very good shape. Back to camp at 2pm made it a 15-hour day including all the icefall buffoonery. Overall a super fun climb with a super cool person. I hope you enjoyed reading about an adventure and thanks for sticking around! Gear Notes: 6 Screws, 3 pickets (wish we had a few more screws) Approach Notes: Heliotrope (bring two bikes)
  11. 5 points
    Trip: Guye Peak - A slightly more improbable than usual ascent of the Improbable Traverse Trip Date: 07/22/2022 Trip Report: Late last Thursday Joe and I made the questionable decision to try and dawn patrol the Improbable Traverse. Neither of us had climbed the route before, nor did we do much research, which in hindsight may have saved us a headache or two. At the time we were blissfully unaware of the massive rockfall event that happened last November. A quick search here would have informed us. However lately CC isn't the place I go for up to date condition reports, being that i'm often one of three users logged on at any time . A quick mountain project browse provided no info other than it hadn't been climbed this year. Long story short the route has been obliterated, and it would take a heroic amount of trundling and sweeping to revive it. All the pitches up to the traverse got bombed and are absolutely plastered in dirt and loose rock. We'd heard it the route was loose, but this seemed a little extreme. The flexing pin at the start of the traverse is still there, and the only reason I knew where to go. The pictures and beta I had weren't quite lining up. It was at this point that I realized what had happened, and made the decision to try and top out rather than bail with our short 40m rope. Traversing out I came across a large 40x40ft rock scar where the routes 5.8R crux used to be. Already 20ft out, I snaked my way over and down some insecure sloping edges which provided the routes new crux at somewhere around 5.9+ downclimbing. Once on a larger foot ledge I was able to keep traversing to the end of the rock scar and onto the original route. All told it was somewhere around a 50+ foot mandatory runout off the old tied off flexing pin. If it was R before, it's likely X now. The worst part by far was the top of the left trending ramp that exits the main face. This section cuts straight through the middle of the main rockfall zone and is now composed of the loosest unstable blocks held in by dirt I have ever climbed. It's hard to state exactly how nasty it was without sounding terribly dramatic, but It was bad. I was worried the entire slope was going to fall away around me. This pitch had no acceptable protection. Basically what I'm trying to say here is don't be dumb and climb this like we did. The lower pitches are right beneath an active rockfall zone and we are lucky we didn't get taken out. We were both late for work. Gear Notes: Just don't. But if you do, a few KB's might be useful on the new traverse. Approach Notes: Same as is ever was
  12. 5 points
    Trip: Joffre Creek - Mighty Mouse Trip Date: 07/25/2022 Trip Report: A brief TR for old times sake. Mighty Mouse fully lives up to the hype. The loveliest splitters you’ll ever climb, in a scenic alpine setting with a straightforward approach. the logging road, while getting a bit grown in, is in great shape and mercifully short. The approach trail, though frequently obscured by lush undergrowth, is a wonder. Could use some brushing and flagging but in amazing good shape. Approximately 2 hrs car to base at middle aged pace. the climb is stout. The first pitch is in your face and felt as challenging as the remainder of the climb. 10d/11a pitches all had short, hard cruxes with amazing crack climbing throughout. Excellent ledges for almost every belay with bolted rap anchors. The hand crack eats #2/#3 Camalots. Never climbed a better granite splitter. bring very small rps. We bailed off pitch 8 when partner took a fall and ripped gear. 11 hrs car-to-car. Something to go back for. was 98 degrees in Pemberton and tolerable on the climb in the sun thanks to a breeze. Shade after ~ 2 pm. Gear Notes: Very Small nuts and micro cams. Double rack with at least 3 #3s. Approach Notes: See Mtn project. Would be hard to follow in dark and you’ll get soaked in the am if temps hit the dew point.
  13. 5 points
    Few more photos: On Phantom arm, under west ridge (route looks very good), looking over to Haunted Wall; lower part of Spectre's south ridge partially visible above Pickell pass. Approaching the ridge Sam leading delicate 5.9 PG-13/R up bulging flakes on pitch 3 Spot the climber Summit!
  14. 5 points
    Trip: Liberty Cap - Ptarmigan Ridge Trip Date: 07/01/2022 Trip Report: It was a Wednesday afternoon. @The Real Nick Sweeney made a post about partners for Ptarmigan Ridge, Thursday through Saturday. I had never climbed with Nick before but we've chatted a bit over the internet and his climbing resume checked out. He just got back from climbing the Cassin a month or so prior so I figured he might be into Alpine climbing. Luckily my boss and his wife's anniversary was that weekend and we had already planned to shut the company down for that Thursday and Friday. Realizing this might be the last full weekend I had left before a last minute trip back to the motherland, I shot Nick a message with a brief climbing resume and cover letter telling him I was down. We hashed out logistics that Wednesday night while packing and planned to meet at the White River TH the following morning. A quick snatch of permits and we were shortly off on the trail. Not much to say between the Trailhead and the 10k camp. Other than sections were slogs and I realized the slogging cortex of my brain has gotten weaker over the years. We found running water just before the ridge to the 10k camp and I dropped the stove down the slope while filling up. It felt like it was going to tumble forever. Luckily it stopped in some sun cupped snow. Maybe the the perfect thing to do with a new partner before hopping on a technical route with them for the first time? He had mentioned his previous outing the weekend prior was a shit show, to ease my grumbles. We got to the 10k camp and set up shop. We both heard serac fall in the middle of the night. We woke up at two and didn't hear anymore come down. We chatted about it and decided to proceed with caution. I think things like that are tough to gauge the severity of in a dark tent. We skirted the avy path wide. It was nice to see all the debris that we walked through was pretty old. Nick led the schrund pitch onto the initial slope. We mostly simul'd the route and belayed at a steep spots and at the usual "rock step". That step was for us was not rock but in fact fat ice. The entire route was either firm neve or AI2 or 3. A real calf blaster. We had spoke the night prior about what we cared to summit and we both decided just Liberty Cap. The final slog from the top of the last pitch to the summit of Liberty Cap really tested my slogging cortex. Soon enough we were up there. Paused to take a couple photos and began our long hike out. We said we'd head out until we wanted to crash but we ended up just making it out to the trailhead at a decent time. I was even able to make the 2 hour drive in the light and spend the night in my bed. Which is always a bit of trip when you're just laying there before your fall asleep thinking about where you where that morning. Thanks Nick for taking a chance on me. This was the technical route on Rainier I wanted to do the most after getting disenchanted with Liberty Ridge over the years. Now I have an interest in Curtis Ridge. The usual photo dump. Hopefully Nick will post his blogpost here. I included some of his photos as a teaser. Gear Notes: 60m rope, some nuts and pitons. 6 Screws (We agreed 8 would've been nice for us for longer simul blocks). Picket Approach Notes: White river through Saint Elmo's and beyond.
  15. 4 points
    Trip: Selkirks - Lionshead - Circle of Life 5.11b/c, C1 FA Trip Date: 08/08/2022 Trip Report: I just finished putting up a project I have been working for the last couple years. It is on the north face of Lionshead up in Selkirk mountains of northern ID. I first heard about the potential line years ago but wasn't climbing hard enough at the time. Then 2 years ago I started investigating and scrubbing it. Finally after many hours of scrubbing it came together this weekend. I do want to thank the numerous friends that I dragged up there who patiently belayed me and also spent hours cleaning and scrubbing the route. The climb is 5 pitches long and contains a lot of really good 5.10 and 5.11 crack climbing. There is 10 feet of pretty blank rock that earns the C1 rating. It is straight forward aiding on a cam and a couple of fixed nuts. For those inclined to try and free it, I would guess it goes at mid to hard 5.12?? So go get the FFA and let me know! The crux pitch would be a classic at most crags complete with really good 5.11 finger crack to some steep laybacking/hands. The descent is to rappel the route which helps make the route feel less committing, and anything in the 5.11 range can be pulled through (although that would be most of pitch 3!). Pitch 1 - 5.9 Pitch 2 - 5.10b Pitch 3 - 5.11b/c, C1 Pitch 4 - 5.10+ Pitch 5 - 5.11b I personally would say it is on par with the classics at WA Pass for quality of climbing although it contains a little more lichen due to lack of traffic currently. I would definitely recommend doing it. The north face of Lionshead in the evening light. The line is marked in red. Starting up pitch 1. Looking up the start of Pitch 2. Starting up the crux Pitch 3. Looking back down the top half of the crux pitch 3. Such good climbing!! Nearing the top of pitch 4. The crux 5.11 roof on pitch 5. Gear Notes: Doubles from .2 to #3 with triples in the .3 to .75 and a single #4. A single set of nuts (offsets more useful than regular). Also a .3/.4 and .4/.5 offset cam come in very handy. 2 ropes for the rappel. Approach Notes: Take the normal approach to Lionshead. The route is on the north face about 100 ft to the right of the route Lion Tamer.
  16. 4 points
    Trip: Prusik - West ridge Trip Date: 07/27/2022 Trip Report: This started out as a pretty rough night of sleep at the Stuart lake trailhead. I woke up sweating and a bit unhappy; even considering not getting out of the car to go on this adventure I had planned for myself. I have this experience a lot; I get excited and drive long distances or hike in large approaches just for my mind to try and convince me that I don't want to be there or that it doesn't sound fun. I find that 100% of the time if I fight those feelings and push through I have the time of my life. This was very true for today. I got my shit together and left the trailhead. Made it up to Colchuck and over Asgard in what felt like no time. I hear a lot of people complain about the hike up to Colchuck lake. Yes, it's busy but isn't everywhere else we go in most of our daily lives? At least most of these people that we encounter on the way up are happy, movin, and enjoying what we all come out to enjoy. Anyways... Making up and over Asgard before the day got too hot was the way to do it! down at the icicle, it was going to be 100 something and I didn't want any of that on the way in. IMG_1349.HEIC Dragontail looked extra special that day. The usual interactions with the furry locals up on the plateau ensued (cautions walking around trying not to get headbutted). It was getting hot at this point. The heat was not the biggest issue I found. That would be the mosquitos. They kept you moving!!! If you stop at all a million would swarm and start chewing. I definitely moved faster than I was in shape to do only because I had no other choice. The plan for today was to romp up the west ridge of Prusik. The pictures I had seen of prusik were mesmerizing, to say the least. The biggest thing I noticed was how different this mountain looks from every angle. From the first sight of it after Asgard, it looks like a tiny point along a much larger ridge. Every time you get a bit closer it seems to grow up out of the ridge it's a part of. IMG_1384.HEIC Up close and personal with the south face. after making some questionable route-finding decisions I made it to the base of the west ridge; Just below the obvious heavily cleaned crack above the notch. Rock shoes and the fanny pack went on and up I went. This route is something else. You find yourself wandering up some low filth CLEAN rock with some intermixed interesting moves until you pop up to a flatter section of the ridge. This was one of the highlights for me. A combination of butt scooting and finger rail scootching with the exposure of the south face below you is something else. Enjoy the exposure, pull a slab move, climb some crack, squeeze a chimney, then enjoy the views. IMG_1370.HEIC IMG_1376.HEIC IMG_1379.HEIC The raps were straightforward, I believe with a bit of down climbing I did four rappels. After a little bit of walking back to the notch, I was able to collect my stuff and get eaten a bit more by the buzzers. The rest of the trip was very uneventful. A quick dip in a few of the lakes on the way down kept the temps down and kept me happy. I can't recommend this route more to anyone. It has clean rock, great views, and interesting movement. Maybe just wait until it isn't 1000 degrees. Gear Notes: Good attitude Approach Notes: Walkin
  17. 4 points
    Trip: Mount Maude - North Face Trip Date: 07/23/2022 Trip Report: Kelsey and I were ready to move on from ski season but are in terrible rock climbing shape after pandemic years out of the rock gym, so we searched for snow routes. Mount Maude quickly shot up the list and we believed it would still be in shape despite it being late July, based on the snowpack we’d been observing this summer so far. We’d been up in the area to scramble Seven Fingered Jack before, and so the approach was familiar. We drove out Friday night in Kelsey’s van, getting a free, violent massage chair experience on the especially-bumpy access road, and conking out a bit after 11pm. We had decided that it would be nice to catch the route in slightly softened conditions and that its North-facing aspect should keep it from heating up too much, so we woke up at 5am and were moving by 5:30am. With just climbing gear, layers, and food for the day, we were reasonably light and banged out the approach to the meadow camp in Leroy Creek Basin in just over 2 hours. From there, we followed the climber’s trail until we hit snow, switched to boots, and made our way up to the Seven Fingered Jack / Maude col at about 10am. It was sunnier, warmer, and with less snow than we’d hoped on this side, but our view of the top of the route suggested it might still be in condition. We had a snack here, put on our harnesses and sharps, and started our downward traverse toward the route. We were on mushy snow for a ways before hitting a baked-out section for which we took crampons off and scrambled loose 3rd class until hitting snow coming down the North Face which looked more or less continuous. We got our crampons back on here at 11:30am and pulled out our second tools. The snow was softer than we were hoping for down low, but not demonstrating any signs of loose slide potential, so we scampered upwards unroped. The angle down low is quite reasonable in the 35-40 degree range. In the middle of the route, there was a brief bare traversing section we had to scramble through, but it was low-angled and pretty easy. From there, the route kicked up in steepness. We took our time, kicking in good steps, which varied in difficulty from a couple of kicks to five or six with some toe bashing. The last 75 feet or so was appreciably steeper and much more firm. We slowed further here to kick nice, secure steps. A nice consolation was that the firmer snow made for secure high-dagger tool placements. At 1:15pm, we crested the last steep snow of the North Face and high-fived on low-angle, rocky terrain that led to the summit. We had lunch and took a brief nap up here then started down at 2:15pm. After heading down the South Ridge for a ways, we decided to roll the dice and take a more direct, loose descent path to the West. It had efficient sections on loose scree and snow and a couple more painstaking sections on loose rock, but it went. By 4pm, we were back at the Leroy Creek Basin camp area and, by 6:15pm, we were back at the van for just under a 13-hour day. A fun day out, a beautiful area, and a nice transition out of ski season. The booter is in! I'd guess the route will still be in for another couple weeks (knowing how hot it's gotten since our ascent). Go get it. A few more photos and a GPS track are here: https://www.jeffreyjhebert.com/adventures/north-face-of-mount-maude Gear Notes: Soloed the route with crampons and two tools. Brought a few pickets, a few screws, and a 30m glacier line just in case. Only pickets would have protected it. Approach Notes: Head to 7FJ-Maude Col and then do a descending traverse across snow and loose 3rd class to ~7,750 to start the route.
  18. 4 points
    Trip: KATSUK PEAK (8425') - South Ridge Route Trip Date: 07/23/2022 Trip Report: KATSUK PEAK (8425') – South Ridge Route - Easy Pass Trail Approach – - JULY 23-24, 2022 (Sat, Sun) I didn’t have a lot of time this weekend so I needed a day and a half climb. Katsuk Peak sounded perfect. Saturday: I made it to the trailhead around 3pm and was starting up the trail to Easy Pass at 4pm. There were some rain clouds threatening so I was hoping to stay ahead. I made it to Easy Pass at 6:15pm. I was in this area for Graybeard Peak last month and the snow conditions have changed a lot since then. The trail is mostly clear with a few patches of snow here and there. I made my way down past Fisher Camp to my turn up the slope toward Katsuk at 5000’ at 7:30pm. I was planning to hit the bluff camp by sunset. I reached the bluff camp (6600’) at 9:30pm, still light enough to see without a headlight. The bluff camp is one of my favorites, great views and you are perched on the side of the mountain like a gargoyle. As I was settling into camp around 10pm I saw an orb of light coming over the top of Mesahchie Peak heading toward Easy Pass. I’ve heard of orbs of light out in the mountains but I’ve never seen one in person until this trip. It was about the size of a beach ball and looked like a giant star. It moved with a purpose and seemed to be checking out the area. It would move for a while then pause and change elevation and direction. It did this for about 10 minutes before moving out of sight. There was no sound at all coming from the orb of light. I was trying to figure out what it was and came to the conclusion that it was something strange and unique. Sunday: I was up and moving at 5:30am. The morning was looking glorious. I worked my way into the snow basin and over to the South Ridge of Katsuk. The snow was perfect for booting up, no crampons needed. The South Ridge was fairly nice quality rock by Cascade standards, lots of nice holds and options to get around steeper sections. The route to the summit is a bit of a maze, weaving around several spires. The rock was mostly class 3 with sections of class 4. I reached the summit at 8:30am. I climbed both the East and West Summits. The East Summit is the highest by a few feet. I didn’t find a summit register on either peak. I headed back down going straight down the snow arriving back to camp at 11:30am. I packed up and retraced my route back to the trailhead arriving at 5:00pm. This was a fun climb with great views. Some Tips and Notes: 1. The turn up the slope at 5000’ from Fisher Creek Trail is pretty obvious. After passing Fisher Camp, you will come into a section of the trail that is tall grass and flowers heading up the slope. 2. The route to the bluff camp (6600’) is mostly diagonal. The toughest part (after the climbing) is finding the best spot to cross the streams coming down the side of the mountain. I found good crossings around 5800’-5900’. 3. There is plenty of water along the way. Between Easy Pass and Fisher Creek Basin is pretty dry when heading up. 4. There is no summit registry currently. Travel Time for reference: Saturday: Trailhead to bluff camp (6600’) – 5.5 hours. Sunday: Camp to Summit to Trailhead – 11.5 hours. Total Mileage: about 15 miles Total Elevation Gain: around 8000’ Gear used: Trekking Poles & Ice Axe. Outrunning the rain at Easy Pass. Easy Pass View. Mesahchie Peak & view to bluff camp. Stream crossing on the way to bluff camp. View from camp. Start of South Ridge of Katsuk Peak. View on the way up, Mount Arriva in the middle. Ridge rock on the way up. Summit of Katsuk Peak. Summit view. A great peak for scouting future climbs and current conditions. Gear Notes: Trekking Poles & Ice Axe. Approach Notes: Easy Pass Trail to Fisher Creek Trail.
  19. 3 points
    Trip: Glacier Peak - Frostbite Ridge Trip Date: 08/07/2022 Trip Report: TR and GPS track on my site here: https://www.jeffreyjhebert.com/adventures/frostbite-ridge-on-glacier-peak As the fourth-highest peak in Washington State and a beautiful, remote objective, I always wanted to climb more than just the standard route on Glacier Peak. With a perfect weather window over an early-August weekend and a good friend and climbing partner willing to suffer a bit, it was time. Adam and I drove out to the North Fork Sauk Trailhead on Saturday morning with open bivy gear, one axe and one light axe each, crampons, a 30m glacier rope, a few ice screws, a couple of pickets, trail runners, boots, and, perhaps most importantly, a good supply of whiskey. Our 3-day, lollipop plan was to hike 20 miles the first day to get near the start of the Kennedy Glacier, then climb the route and descend the Cool Glacier on the other side a good ways before camping again and then hiking out on the morning of the third day. We left the car at 10am and hiked up the standard approach until we hit the PCT, where we took a left up to Red Pass. We ran into a number of through-hikers on the PCT and each of them was a bit surprised to hear we were there to climb Glacier Peak. We also ran into a soloist who said he’d started up the Kennedy Glacier, but turned around. It was a bit ominous hearing that as we marched our way North on the PCT. The variety and amount of ground we covered this first day was pretty cool and we enjoyed it as much as we could despite the slowly-building pain creeping into our feet, shoulders, and hips. It was after 7pm when we made it to the tricky crossing of the Kennedy Creek. We just put our heads down from here and hiked up Kennedy Ridge to 5,300 feet where we expected to leave the PCT in the morning and saw a creek on the map, hoping there would be somewhere flat to bivy. We arrived at 8pm to find a nice little campsite with one other person, quickly set up shop, and conked out. The mileage and vertical gain from camp to the summit didn’t seem to warrant an alpine start, so we woke up at 5am and were moving by 6am. Heading straight up from camp was exactly the right move and quickly put us on a large moraine overlooking the entire North side of Glacier. There were some old signs of traffic, but the area had the feel of being forgotten and much more remote than other big peaks in Washington. We switched from trail runners to boots at the toe of the Kennedy Glacier at 7:30am, keeping crampons on our backs to start since the snow was reasonably soft and there was a clear dirty, rocky band to get through on the glacier below Kennedy Peak. This section was perhaps the most dangerous of the route—it was a crumbling mess with big boulders waiting to succumb to potential energy, perched on glacial till. After gingerly getting through this bit, we were on the wide-open Kennedy Glacier with very little crevasse hazard on its left half. Things were uneventful until we got to Frostbite Ridge itself. We could see the Rabbit Ears feature above us and our options were getting on a pumice treadmill up the ridge or staying on steep snow to the left. We opted to keep crampons on and stick to the snow. We stayed left past the first gendarme and on some of the steepest snow (~50 degrees) near the top, which went pretty easily with our second axes. The snow took us almost to the top of the face and then we scrambled a few feet to the highest point, just to the right of the highest gendarme (the Rabbit Ears themselves, it turned out) at 12:30pm. From here, we could see the rest of our route and it looked like it would all go. We could also see our 3rd class descent to the upper Kennedy Glacier. It looked loose and nasty, but ended up being quite reasonable and quick. The first 50 feet up the snow on the other side were steep, but it eased off significantly from there and we romped our way up, across, then down to the saddle below the final face. The face had the glimmer of ice to it, which was a welcome departure from walking. We determined the angle was low enough and the steep part short enough that it made more sense to solo than to pitch out. I set off and enjoyed settling into the flow of ice climbing despite the knuckle-bashing involved with straight-shaft axes. After the ice step of 40 feet or so, it was back to snow until the top, but it steepened up again right near the summit and made sense to front-point with both axes—quite fun to climb that way right to the summit. We arrived at 2:15pm. The descent was straightforward and pretty efficient on sloppy snow. We never needed the rope and took our crampons off as soon as we were down the initial steeper sections. We descended all the way to the plateau at 6,750 feet where we found a nice spot to camp off snow with great views. We got moving the next morning at 7:15am and were back to the car a little after noon. We stopped at the bottom of the switchbacks before the final flat slog out to consume most of the remaining whiskey and floated on a cloud of air most of the way back to the car. This route had a more adventurous, remote, wild feel than lots of other climbing in Washington. In a way, it felt more like a destination climb I would have flown somewhere to do. Yes, the walking to climbing ratio was quite high and we never took the rope out, but it did bring some fun challenges, stellar views, and time way out there. Gear Notes: Did use: whiskey Didn't use: 4 ice screws, 2 pickets, 30m rope, glacier kit Approach Notes: Buckle up
  20. 3 points
    Trip: Cruiser - Standard Trip Date: 08/05/2022 Trip Report: I rarely consider the Olympics but on Friday I was unable to find a partner and didn’t want to waste the good weather. I saw something about a “5.3” route on Cruiser so I decided it was time to check out some pillow basalt. The miles flew by to this aptly named peak (21 miles round trip with a few side missions, more like 20 without). The trail is never steep. I jogged a few portions. At the basin the steep snow finger was bulletproof and I didn’t want to put my light axe and strap on crampons to the test. I was afraid I might have to hang out until it softened but then I noticed I could skirt around the snow on the left along class 3 slabs all the way to the notch, bypassing all the snow. In my brief research of the route I came across a TR that mentioned scratching up the dirt gully when the snow melted out. This is completely unnecessary. Maybe in early season the snow could force you into a couple of tricky spots higher up on the slab, but I found easy and secure travel at the lower end up the slab, near the moat. Continued N from the notch up and over beta. There was only really one steep loose gully to descend to reach Cruiser. A few awkward exposed 4th moves above a cave led to a higher notch. I ascended right on the face to reach the base of the face/spine leading to the summit. A couple reachy moves off the deck led to some fun stemming then easier moves to the anchor. A narrow ledge scramble leads to the summit. Upon returning to the anchor I decided to do one rap (hard to read the route from above) back to the bottom of the face. I descended the other way here, going through a narrow class 2 chimney for variety and less exposure. I spiced it up on the way back up the steep loose gully when I noticed a 12 foot tall splitter fist/lie back just off the trail (5.7?). I couldn’t resist the spire just S of the notch above the snow because it tapers to a summit just a few square feet wide. Looked like a fun perch. Lichen crinkled underneath me, but I didn’t come across anything too dubious. The summit horn is slung, but it seemed like exposed class 4, maybe 5.0 on the way up, so I just downclimbed. A few hours had passed but the snow hadn’t seen much sun. I didn’t even bother trying it and descended the slab bypass, but when I stepped on flat snow at the bottom it was soft. So I probably could have saved some time taking the snow down. Back at the lake I went for an icy swim and re-enacted King Kong with countless big obnoxious biting flies. The trail isn’t too exciting below flap jack but gets fun again when it reaches N Fork Skokomish. Beautiful river and lots of huge old trees. Gear Notes: Approach shoes, 60m for rap Axe and crampons not used Approach Notes: Mellow trail from Staircase to the basin west of sawtooth ridge
  21. 3 points
    Trip: Mount Hardy (8038') & Golden Horn (8366’) - Swamp Creek to Snowy Lakes Trip Date: 07/30/2022 Trip Report: Mount Hardy (8038') & Golden Horn (8366’) – Swamp Creek Approach – - JULY 30-31, 2022 (Sat, Sun) It was going to be hot as hell over the weekend, a good excuse to get up in elevation and enjoy the mountains. Mount Hardy & Golden Horn are in the Wilderness area and not in the National Park, so no bullshit permission slips needed to use MY forest. It’s the way ALL forests owned by the people should be. Saturday: I started from the Swamp Creek Turnout past the Easy Pass Trailhead off Hwy 20 at 10:00am. I walked down Hwy 20 past Swamp Creek and started up the hill toward Mount Hardy. The bushwhacking started out very pleasant, with open easy travel through the forest. I knew the longer it stayed pleasant the steeper the upper bushwhack was going to get. You hit a wall of steep thick baby trees around 5200’ and you don’t come out until about 5900’. After 5900’, you come into a burn area with a clear line of sight to the summit of Mount Hardy. The rock to the summit is mostly class 2 with a little class 3 here and there. The challenge is in the elevation gain over the short distance to the summit. I was on the Mount Hardy summit at 2:45pm. A new summit registry was placed on July 24th . There is no water between Swamp Creek and the Mount Hardy summit, so water up at the creek and carry all that you will need until the Pacific Crest Trail. I headed down from the summit and followed the ridge to Methow Pass off the Pacific Crest Trail at 4:45pm. I headed down the trail toward the Snowy Lakes arriving at the Upper Snowy Lake camp at 6:00pm and called it a day. The bugs are out in force around the lakes area right now. Bring your bug repellant and a head net unless you like breathing mosquitoes. I really wanted to swim in the lake to cool off, but I would have come out looking like a pin cushion with a skin tone a shade of grey from all the blood loose. I brought a tarp to sleep under and I was wishing I had lugged up the extra weight of a tent so I could hide from the buzzing swarm of mosquitoes. A beautiful area nonetheless. Sunday: I was up and moving at 5:30am. I headed for the ridge of Golden Horn instead of going through the middle and dealing with all the loose rock. The ridge was nice. I summited Golden Horn at 7:45am. I climbed an extra ridge of 4th and 5th class rock thinking it was the summit. The actual summit requires about 30-40’ of low 5th class to get to the top. The final section to the top was a 6’ vertical section that I pulled myself up over. There is a rappel sling setup off the top if wanted. A 30’ section of accessory cord would probably do the trick if you wanted to go light. I worked my way down back to camp arriving at 9:15am. I went down through the middle, in the loose rock, as it was nice on the feet. I was back to Methow Pass at 11:30am. I climbed up to 7500’ on the side of Mount Hardy to cross back over to the route down to the parking area. I was in this area before and I decided to go straight across from the end of the nice ridge from Methow Pass, probably at around 7000’. That sucked. I ended up hitting a few gullies full of steep loose rock on top of slick rock. It took a long time and one slip would have meant having my ass belt sanded for 100’s of feet. So make sure you cross at 7500’ or higher on the side of Hardy. I made it back to the parking area at 3:30pm. The climb down the steep baby tree section was just as hard going down as up. I could see better going up even though it was more effort. It was a fun trip overall, nothing too technical, beautiful scenery, and most importantly NO BULLSHIT from the green gestapo. Some Tips and Notes: 1. The route going up to Hardy is on the West side of Swamp Creek and splits away from the creek after a little while. 2. There is no water between Swamp Creek and the Snowy Lakes area so plan accordingly. There is snow to melt on route if needed in a pinch. 3. Cross the side of Mount Hardy at 7500’ or higher to avoid nasty gullies. 4. Bring bug repellant or a blood transfusion. Travel Time for reference: Saturday: Trailhead to Hardy Summit to Upper Snowy Lake Camp (6600’) – 8 hours. Sunday: Camp to Summit of Golden Horn & back to Trailhead – 10 hours. Total Mileage: around 12-14 miles Total Elevation Gain: around 7300’ Gear used: Trekking Poles. Mount Hardy from the Swamp Creek Turnout parking area. The views start really kicking in at the burn area. Golden Horn and Tower Mountain from Mount Hardy Summit. Looking back at Mount Hardy on the way down the ridge to Methow Pass. Start of Snowy Lakes Trail from Pacific Crest Trail. Snowy Lakes Area. Sunrise on Mount Hardy. Golden Horn Summit. Final section to Golden Horn Summit. Summit view from Golden Horn, Mount Hardy in the Middle. Gear Notes: Trekking Poles. Bug Net. Approach Notes: Swamp Creek to Methow Pass to Snowy Lakes
  22. 3 points
    Great TR. your posts are always inspiring! The Goode glacier is such a cool fucking place. Heck, the whole of that area is a cool place. We had the same exact situation in the descent. No water and blisteringly hot temps made for nausea and general heat exhaustion.
  23. 3 points
    Rolf and I just hit two of these routes on our summer vacation; super fun and not a soul to be seen once you left the roads with the ORV crowds. If you like solitude on your routes, the Pioneer Range delivers. Thanks Pat McGrane for the beta! NE Ridge Devil's Bedstead West "Rails to Heaven" pitch, Sky Pilot on Rearing Stallion Peak
  24. 3 points
    Im going to start a petition to get Jason to publish a coffee table book.
  25. 3 points
    Funny Bronco. If my memory serves me, based on a conversation with him at Doug Walker's memorial and given its rather saggy appearance, Todd Bibler might call it an "Impotent," which I recall was Todd's preferred name for one of his early tents that competed with the Early Winters Omnipotent. Pretty sure he said the marketing team shot that one down, along with the "Shock Strap" (a harness?) and the "Stay Free Mini-Pad" (a bivy sack). Face it, the guy's a genius.
  26. 3 points
    Local mountain pilot offering to take local climbers to scout new climbs in the PNW by single engine Cessna. Cost: Tasty beer Criteria: 1. You must be actively researching a specific new line in the PNW. 2. You must document that you have completed at least one first ascent in the past. That's about it.
  27. 3 points
    Trip: Marmot Pass to Charlia Lakes - Boulder Ridge Notch to lakes Trip Date: 07/24/2022 Trip Report: Not a climb but a nice day out so enjoy the photos. Kiba and I went up to Charlia Lakes via Marmot pass on Sunday. Woke up at 4 to hike in the cool of the morning, at Camp Mystery all the folks in the city of tents there were still asleep when we passed through. Up to Marmot pass, and then up the ridge to the south....it too littered with tents. We followed the ridgeline on the way trail till it ended. Can't be taking the dog on 4th class stuff. So we dropped down to the east in the scree, and contoured staying as high as possible. After a little while we could see a notch in the ridge, accessible by another scree field. Climbed up that and down below was the beautiful green tarn of upper Charlia. We headed down on more scree, and then boulder fields, and reached the Charlia Lakes trail in between the two lakes. Hiked down to the lower lake, big fish jumping down there. Then we headed back up to the upper lake then Charlia Pass, down to Boulder shelter, and back up to Marmot Pass and out. My watch died but I think maybe 17 miles. Not a soul at the lakes, unless you count the fish. Gear Notes: dog Approach Notes: up down up down up down up down
  28. 3 points
    Trip: COPPER MOUNTAIN (7142') - South Ridge Trip Date: 07/16/2022 Trip Report: COPPER MOUNTAIN (7142') – Copper Ridge Trail Approach – JULY 16-17, 2022 (Sat, Sun). This climb is typically done September or October when most of the snow is gone and the trail is clear. I decided to go early. Saturday: It was raining on the way to the trailhead but had started to clear up with sun breaks by the start of the trip. I headed out from the trailhead (3100’) at 8:45am. The trail was in excellent condition up to 4600’. At 4600’ the snow started. There was snow all the way up and over Hannegan Pass and most of the way to Boundary Camp arriving at 11:45am. I started up the Copper Ridge Trail. I started hitting pretty solid snow at around 5000’. I reached the Copper Mountain Lookout at 5:00pm. The lookout was closed up tight. There is a compost toilet down the ridge a little bit from the lookout that is melted out from the snow. I settled into camp at 6:00pm at the saddle turn for the ridge to Copper Mountain. Sunday: It was windy with clouds blowing over the saddle most of the night. It was cloudy with decent visibility when I left camp for the summit at 6:15am. I reached the summit at 9:00am. There was no view to be had as clouds covered all the surrounding peaks. I headed down to camp arriving at 12:00. I headed out from camp at 12:45 arriving back to Boundary Camp at 4:30pm and back to the trailhead at 7:30pm. It was drizzling rain all the way from Hannegan Pass to the trailhead. With all the snow travel, the trip was long and a good workout with lots of climbing. Looking through the summit register, I was surprised how few climb this peak every year. Some Tips and Notes: 1. I started hitting snow at 4600’. I would say 75% of the trip was on snow. 2. The snow was fairly soft. I didn’t bring crampons. I used mountaineering boots only and it work well. 3. I had plenty of water options almost the entire way up due to the snow melting on Saturday. Sunday the water options were less due to the temperature drop. 4. There is still a lot of snow at elevation. It is going to take a long heat wave to melt the snow off the trail completely this year. 5. Boundary Camp is 50% under snow. Silesia Camp is 90% under snow. Egg Lake Camp is 60% under snow and the lake is 90% snow covered. Copper Lake Camp is 90% snow covered and the lake is 90% under snow. 6. The ridge to Copper Mountain is a lot longer than it looks. There is a lot of up and down. There is some 3rd class and even a little bit of 4th class to navigate along the ridge. Travel Time for reference: Saturday: Trailhead to Lookout to saddle turn camp - 9 hours. Sunday: Camp to Summit to Trailhead - 13 hours. Total Mileage: about 26 miles Total Elevation Gain: around 8000’ Gear used: Trekking Poles & Ice Axe View up the valley to Hannegan Pass and Ruth Mountain. View from Boundary Camp area looking back toward Hannegan Pass. Some big beautiful trees along the way. Ridge to Copper Lookout & Copper Mountain Ridge. Egg Lake Camp. View from Copper Ridge. Marmot checking out the view. Copper Lookout. Mount Redoubt in the distance, on my "to climb" list this summer. Copper Lake Camp. Copper Mountain Ridge. Rock section along upper Copper Mountain Ridge. Copper Mountain Summit. Great view of the inside of a cloud. Gear Notes: Trekking Poles & Ice Axe. Approach Notes: Hannegan Pass to Copper Ridge Trail. Lots of snow above 4600'
  29. 3 points
    Trip: CCR - HWY 20 - Isolation Traverse Trip Date: 06/26/2022 Trip Report: Catching up on TR's, which is unusual for me. I usually get them done the following week. I'll have another after this too. Life's been busy and I'm going out of town soon back to to the mother land. Anywho, @willgovus and I did the Isolation traverse over two days, 6/25 - 6/26, on what was the hottest weekend of the year so far I think. Not Much to say other than the views were killer and the skiing was okay. Will went up Eldo to ski the face down to the Tepeh Towers. I didn't feel the need since it felt like I was just there, even though it was 2019. Time is funny. I just Sat and had a snack and aired out my boots while I watched him go up the E ridge. The rap out of the Mcallister for us was about 5m tops. The snow was sloppiest on the S facing slopes on the traverse across the Marble Creek basin. So sloppy in fact I took a slip down a runnel and rode a bunch of wet snow until it oozed to a halt. I was okay, just shook up. That wet, reactive snow was actually short lived and from there northward the next day we just had to contend with the pollen. The Ice Elation Couloir was great, after that was when the pollen started to get worse. It was just as bad as we had experienced on our 2018 Ptarmigan Traverse Ski. The snow remained sticky through the Neve and Colonial Glacier. We met with Julie on the trail down just after Pyramid lake. She had beer and snacks for us at the car while we drove back to get mine at the Eldo TH. Gear Notes: Skis Approach Notes: Eldorado TH, out Pyramid Lake
  30. 2 points
    Last year, we had a kerfuffle in the same area - off the glacier but not around onto the ridge crest. Spent almost two hours going up and down choss, looking for a reasonable line. I finally committed to a footless mantle, but a tricam on the rack I was carrying lodged into a crack at my shin and prevented me from pressing it out. I had to reverse, clean the damn cowbell, and do it again. Grrrr. My partner started slightly dehydrated and deteriorated when we went up and over the top. There was only one small snow sliver to melt on the upper mountain - and it was full of worms. We melted, filtered through a shirt, and drank it anyway. Almost tossed it back up again. The next day, my partner was stumbling from dehydration/heat exhaustion in the burn zone as we approached the Park Creek trail. So we loaded all of our gear on my back for the final miles down to the Park Creek campground. Of course, it was littered with deadfall that hadn't been cut yet. Good times! Sounds like you had an excellent Cascades experience.
  31. 2 points
    Five on the summit, dang! Thanks for sharing your adventure with us 🙂
  32. 2 points
    Way to get your shit together and get it done! In my experience, you never regret going...only not going. For the photos, the site currently doesn't work with Apple HEIC file format. You have to convert them to JPG first. Because I want to see the photos I'm going to do that for you now ;).
  33. 2 points
    The cool kids leave the tent poles at home. Or, maybe somewhere along the route, as the case may be.
  34. 2 points
    Awesome climbing again with you Sam after so many years, this climb went about as smoothly as I could have hoped! Great trip report on your blog, I recommend giving it a read. A few thoughts about the climb: Pleasant (and warm) temps made for light bivy gear and few layers needed Snow travel conditions and coverage were outstanding, mostly boot-sole to shoelace deep made for easy kicksteps and cramponing pretty much the whole time, never too firm or post-holely, with rubble, heather, and crevasses well covered We brought food for only 4 days/4 nights, and with meltwater never really carried more than ½ a liter of water at any given time (except on route) Certain sections of choss on the ridge required delicate climbing, alternating with heavy-handedness; we trundled a ton of stone, especially on the ridge crest Sam is an exceptionally strong and efficient partner who set much of the boot pack, led most of the pitches, and graciously humored me with belaying the Impasse both ways. We packed a lot into 4 days, with back-to-back 15-16 hour days including the full day climb and descent, followed by a marathon exit hike the final day all the way from the 7k ft moraine bivy south of Challenger to the car, leaving a little before 10am and making the trailhead around 2am. It was so hot the afternoon of our hike out, despite drinking 7-8+ liters of water and eating lots of salty snacks, by 10pm, what little urine I could pee was the color of motor oil. It was a little unsettling, to say the least. Fortunately, a couple days later and I’m no worse for the wear Here is a John Scurlock photo (used with permission) of the line, dotted sections were below the crest on the east. We did two rappels on route to get off or around gendarmes.
  35. 2 points
    Some quality climbs offered above! The NW Face (aka Boving route?) on SEWS rocks, and only has a brief stretch of french-free-able .11a, which might even be .10+ if measured against the first pitch. The first pitch is a somewhat heady .10+, though. The pitch with the Boving roofs is fantastic. Also, for a longer route at approx 5.10+, consider Freedom Rider on Lib Bell. The Medusa Roof is a pretty outstanding feature. For the traverse, recommend starting low and direct-ish with the Barber Pole route on Lib Bell, fwiw.
  36. 2 points
  37. 2 points
    Dang, maybe I have to get on some of these routes still. I’m joining the alpine dad club in a couple weeks though . . .
  38. 2 points
    So cool!! This was on my list for a long time, but then I got old and scared before getting around to it. But, I still need Sunset Ridge! Was going to get to it this year, but then I broke my thumb. I'll look you up next year @kmfoerster when your slogging cortex is well-rested -we can convince @Trent too!
  39. 2 points
    Trip: Crystal Lake Tower - SW Rib Trip Date: 07/03/2022 Trip Report: We two Seattle climbers made a pleasant 3-day outing to Crystal Lake Tower. Having climbed Whitehorse Mtn. with Kellie McBee the previous week, I imagined we'd be in shape for this. After gleaning details of the route from trip reports here, and, of course, Fred's Cascade Alpine Guide, we carried out the trip without any trouble. A leisurely hike up Ingalls Creek for 7.7 miles brought us to Crystal Creek. A ribbon on a log marks a spot to turn uphill. Blowdowns made the boot-track hard to follow at first, but we soon picked it up. It goes into big boulders on the way into the tarn basin, where I somehow had my camera out for this shot: Camp was found in some trees near the tarn, where we could see the objective of tomorrow's climb: Under clear dawn skies we made our way around the left side of the tarn to the left side of the route's toe. I have long been enchanted by the Nightmare Needles, having climbed Little Snowpatch with Mark Landreville in 1989, so I took some shots along the way: Easy simul-climbing starts the route, and here is Kellie coming up: Little Annapurna is just across the creek: We knew to aim for a large-looking white headwall and pass it on its left side. My partner expertly scoped it out: Wonderful, improbable ramps curve around the final block of stone to the summit. The obligatory summits shots were made: The Enchantment Lakes were still snowy in a mellow late-season way. Crystal Lake is bottom left: I once climbed McClellan Peak while trying for Argonaut in a whiteout, by myself, so I enjoyed the view of where I once stood: It was with relief I walked the easy descent along goat tracks to the area of Enchantment Pass. The snow was soft and giving, with no need for crampons, though we had brought axes for balance in case of ice. I had stashed my big pack at the base of the route, so I had to hike back up for retrieval while Kellie waited. Exhausted, camping was a relief until it began to rain. I had just finished boiling water for dinner and dashed into the tent with it while Kellie cooked hers. Lightning flashed and thunder rolled in the night, rain came and went in alternation with perfectly clear, starry sky. Next morning we abolished breakfast time and got out of there fast. It rained hard for a bit, we soaked up the water in the bush, slipped on lichened rock, tumbled over logs, slipped on roots and ferns, fell backward and forward, and hit the Ingalls Creek trail with gratitude. An easy seven miles to the car, hooray! Gear Notes: Single rack to 3", one 60m rope, ice axes Approach Notes: Legendary
  40. 2 points
  41. 2 points
  42. 1 point
    Yes! Yet another great adventure wow. I’m almost completely out of ideas now! I am saving one idea though for myself and Mike Layton though. The “Golden Age of Cascades Climbing “ is still going on! Congratulations again you guys.
  43. 1 point
    Yes! Stared at that one and thought it probably more difficult. Strong work, team.
  44. 1 point
    Great trip Report! The "figure it out as you go" climbs are the most memorable and make you a better climber.
  45. 1 point
    Love it. Thanks for posting. Your stoke and smile remind me of a certain Canadian climber who caught the climbing bug as a teen and shared some amazing and fun stories here before moving on to higher dimensions. Sigh. Can't wait to see where your path leads.
  46. 1 point
    Yes, Jacob's Ladder is definitely not a "classic" in the classic sense. And for us, the mystery of the unknown was quite enticing, and for sure clouded our view of the route. But glad that it was a good diversion nonetheless!
  47. 1 point
    That is a mega trip, solo, and slightly injured! Thanks for the report and glad it all went safely. What did you think of Jacob's Ladder? I'm always interested to hear non-biased opinions!
  48. 1 point
    Wait is that Emilio from the Mt Olympus TR with the hippies from a year or two ago? Dude. Thanks for making those round glacier glasses cool again. I have a pair, they are sweet. Jublo Vermonts.
  49. 1 point
    Trip: Graybeard Peak (7965') - Southwest Ridge Trip Date: 06/25/2022 Trip Report: Graybeard Peak (7965') – Easy Pass Trail Approach – June 25-26, 2022 (Sat, Sun). The weather was perfect both days, 70+ degrees and clear skies. Saturday: I headed out from the trailhead (3800’) at 9:00am. The trail is in good shape with some down trees to negotiate. The trial ran into solid snow at 4600’ and I promptly lost the trail. I decided to head up and to the right, as that looked like the best option at that point. The terrain got stepper and less forgiving, some bushwhacking was needed. I finally made it out into an open area on the slope at which point I realized I was far off to the side of the actual trail location. I headed across the slope to reach the correct wide snow basin heading to the pass. I should have turned left at 4600' and headed toward the snowfield visible through the trees. Oh well, live and learn. I finally made it to Easy Pass at 2:45pm thanks to my detour and being a bit out of shape. I was planning to climb Graybeard and Kitling Peak over the weekend but my legs where feeling it by the time I reached the pass and I was behind schedule. So I decided to hit Graybeard first and see how I was feeling the next day. I decided to attempt a climb of the Northwest Ridge of Graybeard straight from Easy Pass. I was burned out on side hilling on loose wet snow so I figured a rock route would be much more fun. I haven’t seen much information on the Northwest Ridge of Graybeard so I was on a reconnaissance mission as well. The ridge was going well with class 2 & 3 for the most part. I made it to the saddle between the sub peak and Graybeard. At this point there were a few deep sheer gullies separating the ridge. I didn’t bring a rope and down climbing into the gullies was too dangerous. I decided to drop down into the snow basin of the standard route up Graybeard. I looked up the main snow gully going up to the Graybeard summit area. The snow was soft and wet and the top of the snow gully was 40 degree snow. As I wasn’t feeling like a high speed glissade, I decided to climb over to the Southwest Ridge instead. I decided to call it a day and setup camp on the ridge at 7:30pm. Beautiful views and perfect weather, even though my legs were done, I didn’t really care. Sunday: I broke down camp and was on my way to the summit by 6:45am. The rock was mostly class 2 & 3 with a little class 4 toward the top. I reached the summit at 8:00am. Beautiful views in all directions. On my way back I was planning to take the snow gully down. I was able to tie into the snow gully below the 40 degree section by down climbing the ridge about halfway. The snow was still soft and loose but manageable. I took the standard way back across the snow basin toward Easy Pass. I was back to Easy Pass at 11:00am. My legs were still pretty tired from the previous day so I decided to hit Kitling Peak on another day. I made it back to the trailhead at 1:30pm. Some Tips and Notes: 1. There was very little water above Easy Pass and no water at the Pass. Best option for water was at about 6000’ from the big creek at the bottom of the snow basin heading to Easy Pass. 2. I brought too much gear being unsure of what to expect. I brought crampons and snowshoes. I used the snowshoes a little and found out that boots alone worked the best. 3. The route up the Northwest Ridge was looking to be fairly challenging. A rope is necessary for the route. I’d say it is good mix of class 3,4 & 5. 4. There was still a lot of snow in the area and probably will be for a while. Travel Time for reference: Saturday: Trailhead to Southwest Ridge Camp – 10.5 hours. Sunday: Camp to Summit back to the Trailhead – 6.75 hours. Total Mileage: about 10 miles Total Elevation Gain: around 5000’ Gear: Trekking Poles, Ice Axe, Crampons, Snowshoes, Helmet. Looking back at KITLING & MESAHCHIE PEAK on my way up the Northwest Ridge of Graybeard. Northwest Ridge of Graybeard. Northwest Ridge of Graybeard. I decided to head down to the snow basin at the end of the snow in the ridge saddle. Snow basin up to the Southwest Ridge of Graybeard. Main snow gully and Southwest Ridge to Graybeard. Snow gully branch that I used to come down the main snow gully, bypassing the steep 40 degree soft snow. Summit View down the Fisher Creek Valley. Lots of snow still. Summit View looking down the Northwest Ridge, KITLING & MESAHCHIE PEAK in the background. Gear Notes: Trekking Poles, Ice Axe, Crampons, Snowshoes, Helmet. I didn't need the crampons or snowshoes. Approach Notes: Climbed up Easy Pass Trail. When the trail goes under the snow at 4600' turn left toward the snowfield and follow the snowfield all the way up to Easy Pass.
  50. 1 point
    yes you are--you love ow/squeeze chims with spice...and the topper 20' of hand/fistcrack makes that pitch oh so worthwhile. Ross is so generous, he let me lead the 2p of off-size fun in exchange for taking the .11 block of 2 pitches up top: a STEEP pitch of stellar and varied fingers and hands; then the wild 'jump on the fumble' move, a strenuous undercling fling to embrace the football chockstone. this was a fun route! a couple pics here, and a couple more in the gallery: "intimidating-looking" L-facing chimney etc: Ross follows p2: Here's the novel football (too busy belaying this strenuous lead to get an action pic): cool cannonhole in big kanga: