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Showing most liked content on 08/03/20 in Posts

  1. 4 points
    Trip: North Norwegian Buttress - Jötnar VI 5.9 A3 Trip Date: 08/01/2020 Trip Report: Whaddup maggots. The crew of vagrants and miscreants just got down yesterday from north Norwegian round 2. We completed our line to the top of the buttress. We spent 1 day fixing back to the high point then 6 days on the wall climbing in capsule style to complete the route. We are naming the line “Jötnar”, the race of god-like giants in Norse mythology. We unofficially started calling the Norwegian cirque Jötunheim, “the realm of the giants”. While only having one line up there might not give us “authority” to name something, I’m enamored with the zone and like the name, and no one else has to call it that... anywho, here’s a brief report of our experience, hopefully this inspires someone to follow in our footsteps, as it’s an incredible route. In June, we made our first foray onto the wall and found soggy conditions as our route runs through a water streak for a good portion of the lower buttress. Poor weather lead to poor conditions, if you read my previous trip report, you’ll remember we did not get far. In 4 days of climbing we completed about 700’ of the line. We left gear stashed with the intent on returning. Our window of time off about 3 weeks away. Prep for the route started a few days before our departure date. I headed over to kyle’s studio (For his gear business “high mountain gear and repair”) in Ballard to make some various things. One of those being an inflatable big wall hammock that we had been discussing in recent weeks. Kyle would test it out on this wall, likely the secret weapon for big wall alpine routes in the cascades. Kyle came up with the name “Taco” as a mockery of conventional portaledges. After making various things for the wall we set out on our own errands the next day then reconvened to shuttle a load up to lake serene. Fetching water was considerably easier than last time, the moat had opened enough to walk inside, being a whiteout day we decided it was safe enough to brave for 15 min to get water (better than hiking back to the lake!!) After unwrapping our gear stash we discovered a snafflehound gnawed on a rope! The backup lead line nonetheless. Another rope was needed, the volume of rope was becoming absurd. We told Lani to pick one up on her way down from Bellingham. Logistics here got weird. Kyle had commitments in the form of a bike packing trip during the start of the window we had to climb. So when Lani and I started climbing we would have to leave lines fixed to the ground for Kyle to use to join us two days into the climb! On the first day we got a ride to the trailhead early morning and moved with motivation all Day to fix lines the the high point on our route. The line climbed substantially better because of the cleaning we were able to do previously. Fixing high on the wall we descended to the base that evening to sleep on the ground and prep the load to haul. We woke up early again and started the manual labor. Moving faster that expected we were able to haul to the high point and get camp set up around mid afternoon. Plenty of time to start up new terrain. Lani started up the next pitch which would prove the steepest on route. She got about halfway up the pitch before deciding it was time for dinner. On day 3 she headed up the pitch and pulled through the massive steep band that blocked our view of the upper buttress. This would prove to be the only pitch that requires a fixed line for descent. I took over the lead on the next pitch and found cool expanding beak cracks that lead up to a surprise! We pulled into a band of bulletproof skagit gneiss that would run the whole middle part of the route, immaculate stone. I climbed up into a massive right facing corner and up an amazing #2 crack through the second massive roof on the route “the fang” as we had pre named it. Continuing up an easy flare I found a good stance at the base of a large slab. Lani was still feeling mega tired from the steep lead and told me to keep going, I quested upwards on the slab utilizing a mixture of hooks and rivets to reach a dike that proved discouragingly shitty. The dike however led to a good flake that rapidly turned not so good, the whole corner was a Jenga stack. Being on lead I reluctantly bat hooked the face around the choss. These bat hooks could maybe be avoided post cleaning, still chossy and expando in there though. I eventually put a bolt in to reach far and tension to the next small corner, which proved to be cruiser C1 to a good stance for a belay, post dirt removal this would likely be sweet 5.9-10. Here I called off belay while placing the anchor bolts and Lani zipped down to camp to start dinner. Meanwhile Kyle had started up the wall hauling the second half of the load solo, having to haul twice he only got to the bivy at pitch 3 and would camp here. Day 4 started with shenanigans to situate the ropes where they needed to be in order to fix higher. After we were able to snag an independent rope Lani and I again began the commute up the fixed lines to push the line higher while Kyle hailed up to camp. From the high point, Lani led up Inobvious but moderate aid to the crest of “the dude”. The biggest roof on north Norwegian, and an intimidating mega overhang. Incipient and creative low angle A3 led up and left under the roof and around the bushy corner to a small ledge. Reaching this ledge we figured we were far enough up to move camp, and thus Lani went down to assist Kyle in starting to haul while I started soloing the next pitch to the intended next camp. About halfway up my pitch I got a call saying there were technical difficulties at camp, we decided to reestablish camp and fix to the top my pitch. Day 5 would start super early with the big move. Myself and Lani would double counterbalance sky haul the pigs while Kyle cleaned the line below and brought up fixed lines. A few hours of hot manual labor brought us to the high point ledge. A grassy inset which seemed suboptimal for two portaledges, we spotted a good spot left of the buttress crest and concocted a creative plan to swing the bags over. I free climbed up to the top of a flake and put a good bolt in and lowered down (clipping the haul line to the bolt) to the intended spot. I drilled while Kyle and Lani prepped the bags. Once ready I took tight on the haul line with my gri gri and they kicked the bags over top rope style to me where I lowered them in place and docked them at the anchor. Shenanigans. After setting camp up I hugged up to my high point on the pitch and continued my lead. “The head wall” proved to be wicked exposed but I had to fight the features pulling us left into the chossy chasm and drill my way to a stunning corner on the buttress crest. Kyle and Lani came up to join me and Kyle started up the next pitch. Moderate free and aid led up through a tree to a roof. An inobvious ramp cut out left through some chossy bush. Kyle bulldozed his way up eventually running out of patience and drilling around some dangerous choss. Running low on daylight Kyle threw in a belay and called it a day. Day 6 started with a poor decision, only one gallon of water came up the wall... after jugging we were already dehydrated but didn’t think too much of it. We started on the e face and got good afternoon shade but the upper part of the route climbs the crest of the se ridge, and gets blazing sun all day. I got the the high point first and in the spirit of decluttering the tight stance I started free climbing. 50 ft up I hit an awesome ledge too good to pass up, so I added an anchor and moved the team up. Kyle in the mean time cleaned the previous bit to a state of being semi pleasant climbing!! At this belay our peril became evident, we were already spiraling into gnarly dehydration. Kyle was getting loopy, Lani unstoked, and myself crankerous. I would continue up with inobvious route finding. A long circuitous pitch of steep 5.9 led to another good albeit sun exposed ledge. We were closing on the summit, Lani encouraged me to keep leading while Kyle cleaned the route. A blueberry filled corner provided passage to the next tier, a pitch likened to the tree climbing on j berg!! One more mega ledge and we could smell it! A casual pitch of 5.7 led up to a short bit of heather clawing onto the summit of the buttress. We had read that it was easy climbing to the summit of middle index from here and it looked so. It also looked like a bunch of cascadian bush mank that seemed like it would taint our experience in our state of dehydrated madness. We descended to camp to smoke the joint we found in the parking lot and contemplate our descent. One or two puffs in I had this idea to lower Kyle with the bags down the whole face. We all became (mostly) convinced it would work and put wheels in the motion the next day. After wranglin the bags back to fall line we descended two pitches to the intended “drop zone”. We delicately stacked 1000’ of rope joined with edk’s, we would would bump em all through a munter. Kyle and the bags were probably closing on 400 lbs, we needed a gri and munter to control the load. The lower went smooth, and we were amazed! Bags were down!!!! So myself and Lani dropped all but two ropes down the face and Kyle started managing the clusterfuck. Our new friend River had responded to a Facebook call for porter help and met Kyle at the lake to take down 50-60 lbs of our load while me and Lani rapped the face and cleaned our gear. We touched down not too long after and started the soul crushing hike down, we had about 70-80 lbs a piece. I had called my parents again as it seems like all our friends are busy this time of year, they met us at the parking lot with a cooler of cold bubbly, fucking great climb. Shoutout to Lani for stoke, Kyle for his undying willingness to suffer and commitment to the manual labor and route creation, and River! For being willing to come up and help total strangers hump our stinky clusterfuck around. This route was certainly the effort of a village, and a wonderful big wall line that I hope people enjoy. Gear Notes: Double Rack micro to #4, Single 5, Single set of offset nuts (didn’t use rp’s), 4-5 each beaks, 2 small lost arrows, 10 rivet hangers. All bolts and rivets are stainless, one or two bolts didn’t take well in the wet mud, but could potentially be reset with a funk and tightented (all anchors have at least 2 good bolts). Some may need to be tightened up again after initial loading. No ledges big enough even for 1 to sleep, good portaledges camps at the top of pitch 3,6,9, and 12. Do not haul above 12. Bivies at 3,6, and side of 11 take 2 ledges well. Rap the route, some directionals need to be placed on a handful of pitches to get down, pitch 7 needs to remain fixed with an extra 35-40M rope (it could be possible to down aid the roof on rappel to get back to the previous anchor) Approach Notes: Scamper to Lake Serene while the tourons ask about your “paraglide” or “boats”. Easy talus walking to near the waterfall between the buttresses. Enjoy your stay in Jötunheim!
  2. 3 points
    Trip: Johannesburg Mountain - NE Buttress Trip Date: 08/01/2020 Trip Report: Over the weekend my friend Matt and I climbed the NE Buttress of Jburg. I won't add too much beta-wise since theres a decent amount out there, and I wouldn't want to take any adventure out of it for those of you wanting to climb it. I'll just emphasize some key points and warnings, but Steph Abegg's write up is as comprehensive as it gets (as usual). I'll try and keep this chronological but expect some tangents and pauses for reflecting. We left Seattle around 5:30 and got to the Cascade Pass trailhead around 8am and started walking to the base of the route. We followed the slabs to the left of the left most waterfall at the constriction of the CJ couloir, per Steph's write up. Solid secure scrambling with a step of sketchy 5th class gets you up to the first snow patch. We then downward traversed over to a brushy bench to start the vertical schwack. We more or less found a route through the trees that felt relatively well traveled. It stayed More or less on the left side of the '51 rib. If you can see the CJ couloir faintly through the trees, you're doing fine. Some interesting moves through chimneys formed by krummholz. At any point you find yourself getting pissed off through the trees, just remember it the density of the brush thats your protection from tumbling off the mountain. We busted through the trees and into the steep heather and then finally onto the rock. Luckily it was all dry, I couldn't imagine doing this route a day after a rain. The initial scrambling was very secure and kind of steepened, became a bit more loose as we did a upward traverse to the '57 rib. We encountered nothing harder than 5.6 but simul soloed all of the rock. This being said, we didn't regret bringing the rock rack. We got up to the 7100' bivy a bit after 1pm and just decided to keep moving. I know, I can feel some of your rolling your eyes. We had perfectly soft snow through the ridge and headwall, which was nice since we were in trail runners/ approach shoes and universal crampons. We summited around 3pm and took some photos, signed the register (I don't always, but felt like I needed to on this one). The descent down the E ridge went smoothly thanks to the occasional cairn. We stayed about 40-50' below the crest the whole time until we got to the first rap station. We did about 5 or 6 raps with some down climbing to get us to the top of CJ couloir. The rap stations were looking a bit weathered and tired so we backed them up with gear on the first rap off of them or added slings. We were making great time so we thought to just try and c2c even though we had bivy gear. This would prove to be a bad idea. The traverse to Doug's Direct went a lot slower than expected. Side hilling through herbs. In the fading light we mis-identified the wrong location for DD. I was going off Steph's map, which I think has DD a bit too far up the ridge. Go off her photo/overlay, its spot on. The steep heather and loose scrambling up to the ridge is very time consuming as well. We got up to where we thought DD was and it was getting dark. I pulled my pack off to get my head lamp and I forgot I had my ice axe quick stowed through my pack shoulder strap. I heard one clink and I knew exactly what had just happened. I turned around to watch my ice axe tomahawk down the north side of Mixup. I was so angry at myself. We didn't feel we were at the right location so we investigated some near by notches. It was only getting darker. At one point a hold I was grabbing dislodged and sent me sliding down heather. I thought I was going to go for a long ride. Somehow while keeping the block off my head as I was sliding I was able to grab a fistful of heather and arrest my fall. I was okay. Things we spiraling out of control and we decided to just descend down to the lower angle heather and just bivy like we had planned. I consider myself a pretty calculated person, fatigue can strip that away from you no problem. We found a decent spot to bivy around 6300' directly under the actual DD late into the night. I mostly tossed and turned under a very bright moon and just thought about how I got a relatively cheap lesson on sticking to a plan and not forcing descent in the dark. Other thoughts were, "This trip was supposed to be about climbing a new mountain in a familiar place and get back to why you started getting out into the alpine in the first place." "Why were you trying to blast through it and force a car to car?" "How are you going to get out of here without an ice axe?" When I awoke I looked at the photo/overlay I had saved to my phone and saw the exact point for Doug's Direct. I felt so dumb. We ate and packed up and started heading up to DD. Miraculously, Matt found an old rusty pick axe head for me to use as an ice axe. Going down Dougs direct is mostly secure but I ABSOLUTELY wouldn't have wanted to do it in the dark. Then you're on the snow below Mixup and then the Ptarmigan Traverse route. Luckily the snow was low enough angle that I didn't have to use my trusty new axe. I was looking for my lost ice axe the entire time. It was so nice to be on low angle snow and then a trail finally. This was an incredible trip on an impressive mountain. Just enough asterisks/ near misses to have it permanently seared into my memory. Very humbling. Scrambling low on the route. Downward traverse to the trees. Shwacking. East ridge descent. Rapping towards CJ. Looks like "Sound of Music" but all I can hear is my feet sliding and ankles twisting. Gear Notes: Ice axe, Crampons, Approach shoes. 60m rope. Small rock rack. Work Gloves. Approach Notes: Spitting distance from the Cascade Pass trailhead.
  3. 2 points
    Trip: Salami Slab, Darrington - Snagglepuss Trip Date: 07/05/2020 Trip Report: My COVID-era partner and son, Ty and I made a quick trip to the Salami Slabs to test-drive a new variation to Snagglepuss. You may not be aware of Snagglepuss because it is not among the ‘Only Darrington Routes Worth Doing’ identified in climbing books and the internet. But it is fairly long (7 pitches) and has some good climbing that might entertain you adventurous non-slab-phobic types. Ty looking relaxed among the knobs, dimples and scoops of pitch 4. Leading the Catwalk – which follows the thin white dike angling left Team selfie at top of the route, spitting distance from the Snagglepuss tree The Snagglepuss – a massive Doug-fir with a silvery dead top that that looms over the route Hanman and I kicked off the Snaglepuss Project about four years ago, followed by the neighboring Purdie Shuffle. Both routes have good to great climbing with excellent views of nearby peaks and the Clear Creek valley. The Catwalk variation creates an excellent 7-pitch hybrid option that is slightly easier than the original. CV on FA, July 2016, with the giant snag visible in upper left Hanman below the gleaming goodness that would become the Purdie Shuffle For an abundance of details on how to get there and what you’ll find, check the stuff posted on another climbing website. The approach is comparable in scale to Three O Clock Rock but a bit more 'interesting' (don't worry, no brush). Much of Snagglepuss is mid-fifth with harder sections up to 5.8+, though the easiest line is not always obvious. There are bolts where you need them, runouts where you don’t, but nothing approaching an R rating. If you are offended by bits of moss and needles on your granite, skip pitches 6 and 7. Returning to grand Salami ledge on the descent. Gear Notes: Standard Dtown toolkit - dozen slings, single cams to 3", double 60s Approach Notes: FS Road 2060, take left branch over bridge, park at first boulder drainage, hike uphill. Approach details can be sleuthed from link mentioned in TR
  4. 1 point
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