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  1. 9 points
    Trip: Dragontail Peak - North East Couloir Trip Date: 11/23/2019 Trip Report: I got out for a stellar day with Kyle and Daniel on Saturday (November 23, 2019). Following a few weeks of mostly high pressure and moderate temps, but with a storm front moving in, we were curious about conditions in the Stuart Range. Kyle brought this route to my attention, as I hadn't even heard of it. We found a TR on here from November 2008 and this inspired us to go give it a look. Be sure to check the trip from Kyles perspective at https://climberkyle.com/2019/11/23/dragontail-peak-ne-couloir-wi2-m5-r/ After leaving the trailhead around 5 am, we found more snow on the surrounding peaks than expected, which was promising considering the lack of recent precip, except for a day or two the week leading up to this. We knew the weather was supposed to deteriorate and winds were supposed to pick up throughout the day so we hurried to Aasgard Pass. We switched to boots and crampons where the creek down the pass was frozen and flooded over the boulders. At around 8 we started soloing up easy little water ice flows toward the base of the couloir. At the base of the couloir, we could see the first dry section that leads into the couloir and it didn't look too hard. We opted to rack up but solo up it. It was a tad techy so I fixed a cordelette as a hand line in a few spots for extra security. Above this, we were on variable steep snow. Throughout the couloir, we found everything from thigh-deep wallowing, to firm neve front pointing. About a third of the way up the couloir, there was a steep/overhung chockstone with a thin ice/snow flow on the right. I led up and over this with some mediocre gear (a tied off 10cm screw and a cam lower). Above this, we soloed a bunch more steep snow until our gully ran out of snow and we did a pitch traversing 30ft right over rock slabs to a different snowy gully. Now we were approaching the top of the couloir and it was starting to open up and become drier. Just 2 more pitches took us to the top but, wow, they were seriously full-on. The first pitch was a series of near-vertical granite steps with steep snow in between. This was perhaps the technical crux as there were quite a few delicate moves but also some dark brown ice that took good sticks, as well as generally good gear. I belayed off a horn, looking up at the last pitch, which appeared to be 100% dry. I was tempted to ditch the crampons but kept them on since the only bomber feet I had gotten on the entire last pitch were in the few small patches of ice and I was still hopeful that there would be ice above that I couldn't see. Once Kyle and Daniel got to me, I mentally prepared to take the sharp end for hopefully the last time of the day. There had been a lot hard and sketchy climbing already, and the hardest/scariest was still yet to come. I started up the pitch, immediately finding that the rock quality was deteriorating. I was mostly climbing with both my axes racked since the rock was so bad. It seemed like the majority of holds could be pulled off and gear was sparse. When I finally got good gear halfway up the pitch I yelled "take" and sat back for a sec to breath. I took a few photos, looking both up and down. From then on, I didn't get another piece of gear. Eventually, I could see the ridgeline 20ft above me and was eager to get there. All that stood in my way was a steep kitty litter chimney, devoid of any gear of course. At this point, I had my gloves off since I was just rock climbing with crampons and its nice to be able to feel all the holds that will inevitably crumble in your hands. I started up the chimney, with my pack pressed against the right wall, my crampons finding edges in the left wall, my arms finding chicken wings and armbars, and cursing like a sailor. Thankfully my gopro had already died. I wouldn't mind forgetting this pitch. Down below, Kyle and Daniel were experiencing a constant flow of gravel filling their hoods. I remember throwing one hand up over the ridge onto a jug and letting out a sigh of relief before mantling up and finding an extra bomber belay. The wind up here was absolutely ripping and I got cold quickly while belaying. I was wearing all my clothes and had sweated a bit on the previous lead. The forecasted winds (60mph) had arrived and there were now intermittent clouds, but the sky was still mostly clear. Our weather window was certainly closing. Kyle and Daniel enjoyed the pitch far more than I did and both arrived at the belay with big grins, especially since they could climb near each other and watch all the holds break off. Since I was cold and antsy to move I let them break down the belay and sort out the ropes while I looked for the "traverse to the notch." I found it, but accessing the notch looked just a bit spicy. I wanted to solo it but realized I was just cold and anxious to get down and out of the blasting wind and gravel so I lead it with one rope and gave each of them a terrain belay up to the rap station where a single 60m rap got us out of the wind and to a point which we could walk from. We were out of the wind and off the technical terrain. It was a big relief for me. However, the light was fading and Aasgard pass is never fun to head down. There was a set of tracks up to the summit proper of Dragontail which we followed downhill and down the pass. As the light faded I snagged a photo of the route from across the pass. It looked pretty impressive, I was briefly proud but mostly humbled. We talked briefly about the climb. Perhaps there were mistakes. It would have been possible to bail down the route once we saw how dry the upper pitch was. I was enticed to just climb it since the ridge was practically 80 or 100ft away and bailing down the route would have meant leaving gear and taken a lot of time. Hard choices. Of course, you will never know exactly how it will be until you're in the thick of it, but perhaps we/I made too bold of a choice and got lucky (on the other hand, down climbing the snow would have also been tricky). Food for thought for anyone who has made it this far through the trip report. I try to stay safe and climb hard, but its a tricky balance. Anyway, we got back to the car around 8 pm and headed to McDonald's. All in all, it was a very fun day with 3 competent 22-23yr old Washington born and raised climbers. And for anyone curious about this route right now, I would steer clear! In the coming days, I'll post some first-person climbing video on my insta @porter.mcmichael First, a photo of the route, taken on the descent. Looking up at Dtail Approach ice Still on Asgard Dry pitch to access the couloir Fun steep snow! Chockstone in the middle of the couloir Looking down on the last pitch (I think) Looking up in the middle of the last pitch From the ridge looking down the chimney Looking North from near the top Kyle on the last pitch Daniel on the last pitch Down the rap Gear Notes: 3 screws (placed 2), 4 pins and a bulldog (surprisingly didn't place any), nuts (placed a few), cams .2-2, some doubles in the smaller sizes (placed them all), 60m doubles. Approach Notes: On your right, halfway up Asgard, hard to miss it. The slabby approach pitch is the first obvious way to access the gully (farthest climbers right)
  2. 7 points
    Trip: Big Bear! - Brushtissima Trip Date: 11/11/2019 Trip Report: With all this attention on the NW couloir on Eldorado the past few weeks, Kit and I succeeded on a smash and grab ascent of BIG BEAR! last weekend. @Kit is in the midst of a noble mission to climb all the Cascadian peaks visible from his office in Everett and I'm well, I'm just a bit "special". We happened to catch it in "near perfect" conditions, I am happy to report, and suspect others may be lining up during the next fine weather spell this week. The ankle biting huckleberry have shed their leaves, leaving them only 50% as annoying as they are in high summer. And, most all the snow is gone, meaning one shouldn't worry about tiring themselves out kicking steps up straightforward snow slopes. To top it off, all of the flagging has been eaten by deer, meaning that a "fair means" ascent is nearly guaranteed. Why this brushy beast isn't more popular, I'll never know. Or, maybe it is popular? There is no register so it is tough to figure how many people are as "savvy" as us. All I know is that the 4130 isn't going to get less brushy in the next few years, so if you want either Liberty or BIG BEAR! in the next lifetime or two, you'll want to go now. Just don't expect flagging or the Instagram hordes to show you the way. The Brushtissima on BIG BEAR! (actually not that bad): @Kit working up the ridge above the "Moffitt Step": I just needed an eagle: Typical terrain: Liberty: Tahoma, but you knew that: Interesting angle on Hall, Big Four, Columbia, etc: The air was exceptionally clear, Everett and Kit's office standing out: The final few feet to the summit of Big Bear: East to Dakobed and Pugh above Exfoliation Dome: Anybody home on 3 Fingers? Jumbo, the slabbage patch, and Ulalach: Liberty from the summit: Squire Creek valley and its namesake walls: Gear Notes: eye protection, leather gloves, whiskey. Ice axe, crampons, and helmet some part of the year. Approach Notes: I somehow deleted my GPX track, not that it will help you much. Just look at the image in the TR for an idea of where to go. Just make sure you don't miss the Moffitt Step!
  3. 4 points
    I agree about the quality. Eric Sweet and I made what I believe to be the second ascent in November 2002, in 'sportier' conditions than currently and it is one of my all time favorite mixed winter alpine climbs. Up there with NE Buttress of J'berg in winter. I have some photos of our ascent on summitpost.org: https://www.summitpost.org/northwest-ice-couloir/688985 for comparison. The cruxes were climbing steep, thin ice past big chockstones. I even belayed in a cave formed by one. We were both climbing on Black Diamond Shrikes and Charlet-Moser S-12s, which did not fit Eric's first gen Scarpa Freneys. He lost a crampon below the the last steep ice pitch below the summit. Rather than surrender the fantastic lead, he climbed the rig with one crampon on the ice, the other boot scumming the rock.
  4. 3 points
    I wonder if we can get ahold of the flight path? Unfortunately it snowed a bunch since the flight so everything is buried until summer. https://methowvalleynews.com/2019/11/26/federal-agents-pursue-plane-fleeing-from-state-airport/ Federal agents pursue plane fleeing from state airport NOVEMBER 26, 2019 BY MARCY STAMPER The Methow Valley State Airport is generally a sedate place, handling just a few flights a day. But last Wednesday (Nov. 20), federal agents in helicopters pursued an airplane that entered the U.S. from Canada and made an unauthorized landing at the state airport in Winthrop. Agents from U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Air and Marine Operations (AMO) in Bellingham first detected the airplane and tracked it to Winthrop. When agents approached the pilot to question him, he jumped into his airplane and flew away, according to a press release from Customs and Border Protection. As the AMO agents pursued the airplane in helicopters, they saw the pilot toss several bags out of the plane into the wilderness, according to the press release. AMO received permission to continue the pursuit across the border. The helicopters followed the plane to the airport in Langley, British Columbia, where the pilot landed and was arrested by a Royal Canadian Mounted Police border-enforcement team and provincial and local officials. The AMO helicopters hovered overhead to keep watch while the Canadian agents seized the plane. In 2019, AMO seized or disrupted almost 285,000 pounds of cocaine, 102,000 pounds of marijuana, 51,000 pounds of methamphetamine, 935 weapons, and $34.1 million. They made 1,575 arrests and apprehended more than 52,000 people without legal documentation to be in the U.S., according to the press release. The Methow Valley airport is the largest of the 16 airports operated by the Washington State Department of Transportation. The Winthrop airport accommodates mainly small private aircraft and commercial flights for skiers. It serves as an important base for smokejumpers, helicopters and other aircraft during wildfire season, State Airports Manager Paul Wolf said.
  5. 3 points
    I love that the cc.com effect is back. Many moons ago it was a common thing to see a crowd the next weekend on whatever had a bunch of online traffic during the week.
  6. 3 points
    Climbed it yesterday and found slightly different conditions. Due to Tuesdays precip, there was a fair bit of mostly well bonded wind blown snow on the glaciers, this made for slower travel. The route got a lot of wind transfer, and most of the cruiser neve for other folks was deep wallowing and for us. The ice steps were still tons of fun with the occasional spin drift to the face. Dare I say the thing was picked out. I figured instead of writing yet another NW Couloir TR I'd just comment here...
  7. 3 points
    Trip: Colfax Peak - Cosley-Houston Trip Date: 11/10/2019 Trip Report: Not going to do a long TR here since there are plenty of TRs on the Cosley-Houston. This will just be a quick update on conditions for those interested. First off, I was wrong when I posted a week or two ago that the approach is heinous/convoluted. You just have to stay a bit lower now and wrap around to the base, it's not an issue as long as you don't go up too early. I guess I, and several other parties, tried to go up too early and got blocked by cracks so people thought it was going to be difficult. See the photo below outlining the current approach. Anyway, Eric Carter, Paul Greenwood, and I left the parking lot at 4:11, tried the new glacier approach, it went smoothly and we were soon at the base of the route. The first pitch is great, decent pro (better than last year). The crux pillar is pretty full-on right now. Maybe 20+ft of dead vertical ice, pretty chandeliered at parts which makes sticks less confidence-inspiring and pro a little trickier. Right now, the vertical section of the pillar is perhaps twice (or maybe 1.5x) as tall as it was last year. It felt very hard to me and 4s normally feel hard, so maybe its a 4+ or maybe it's just that I'm not in ice shape (mentally) right now. Anyway, if you go up there, expect it to be hard and bring the screws to make it "safe". Above there, the snow traverse below the next step is in (barely) but the ice also looks climbable. We opted to not climb it because there was a lot of stuff coming down, including golf ball size rocks and smaller ice, but it looks fun if you can get it in, the top out looked a little thin so a belay might be tricky. Above there it was a cruise, perhaps a little thin for the last 200ft, one 5ft section of actual ice over rock just before the top. We topped out 7hrs after leaving the car. Finally, the descent is straight forward and the major crevasse we were worried about proved to be a non-issue because it's filled in enough at one spot that it can be downclimbed. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions, I'll post a video of leading the crux pillar on my insta @porter.mcmichael Also, someone else got to the route before us as we were following several day old tracks up the route, awesome! Additionally, another team could be seen starting up the route as we were descending through the football field. Directions through the glacier: Polish is looking good... Anyone want a belayer up there? First pitch On the thrilling pillar... Entering the tight couloir to the top: Couloir near the top: View of Lincoln: Looking down over the problem crack: Looking back up: Lastly, a few route close-ups, sorry we didn't get an actual photo of the pillar! Thanks to Eric for a lot of those photos! Last time I climbed this route was exactly a year ago and the conditions were very different, as you can see here! Gear Notes: 12 screws, could use one or three less, brought a picket but didn't use it. Approach Notes: See above!
  8. 2 points
    Trip: Huckleberry Mountain - The Trail Trip Date: 11/30/2019 Trip Report: In perhaps the longest shoulder season in 43 years what is a man to do? Ski areas closed, backcountry boney, ice thin, wet and scrappy....sigh. I guess it is time to slog up a bump in a scenic part of the range and take pictures. At least we didn't need snowshoes. That would have added insult to injury. Here are some views to tide you over until who knows when....... (I hope you like Whitechuck). You'll get used to Whitechuck (captions are for photo above) Pugh and phew, it's a long way up to this point of the ridge and the views. It looks snowy in the upper Suiattle, but don't be fooled. Tired of Whitechuck yet? Dome Sloan (L) and Misch(R), one is worth climbing and the other isn't. Dakobed You guessed it Dakobed again.... The Suiattle River Road is still fixed, thankfully Gear Notes: boots and a sense of humor Approach Notes: Suiattle Road to the TH and start walking uphill!
  9. 2 points
    Good on you for getting out there and giving it a shot. Sometimes the rope just needs to get some fresh air and go for a walk. They don’t like being cooped up in a closet.
  10. 2 points
    I took a couple of explorarory hikes this weekend and here are my observations. Cascade Pass, my favorite early season hunting ground, is very bony. Mixup and Sahale will probably go, but it will take a couple of storm/melt/freeze cycles to bring the big, sexy un-climbed and un-repeated routes into condition. Snoqualmie Pass. Alpenthal Falls, Chockstone Falls, and Source Lake Line will all need one to two weeks of cold temps to come into shape. NE Buttress of Chair would go, but very thin and mixed. East and North Faces will need a couple more storms cycles to bring them in. Nothing else looked very appealing.
  11. 2 points
    but let's get to the real issue: did he take any pictures of alpine conditions during the flight?
  12. 2 points
    Strong work lads! While it seems like you had things well in hand, second guessing your decisions, even after a successful outing, will help to make your alpine careers long and productive.
  13. 2 points
    Stellar photos!! Way to avoid the line up on Eldo ;D
  14. 2 points
    Trip: Eldorado Peak - NW Ice Couloir Trip Date: 11/06/2019 Trip Report: Anthony and I jumped on the bandwagon and ran a lap on the NW Ice Couloir of Eldorado on Wednesday. The approach was snow free through the boulder field and crevasses were easy to navigate on the glaciers. In the couloir, we encountered absolutely perfect conditions: fat WI3 ice steps, bomber snice. We never had to pull any thin ice or mixed routes, which seems to be an apparent miracle for this route. Everything about the route was great: the climbing, the position, the condition. It was simply the best alpine climbing we have ever done! The descent got a little post holy at times, but not too bad for a day in November! It took us 5.5 hrs to the base of the route, 8 hrs to the summit, and 11.5 hrs car to car. Go get it! https://climberkyle.com/2019/11/06/eldorado-peak-nw-ice-couloir-wi3/ We met a soloist, Shuan, out there. If he sees this, well, rad send! Nice cold wet log to cross in the dark. Jberg getting the first light. Warming up on the Inspiration Glacier. First view of the route. Approaching the first ice step. Typical ice conditions. So much fun! That famous knife-edge. Summit views. Heading back down. Towers upon towers! Ice ice baby! Gear Notes: 7 screws, a few tricams and nuts. Pickets could be helpful if you feel the need to protect all the snice. 70 m rope did the rappels in 2 rappels, may have been 3 rappels if just a 60 m rope. Approach Notes: No snow until maybe 5500 ft. Glacier is cruiser.
  15. 2 points
    Trip: Eldorado - NW Ice Couloir Trip Date: 11/03/2019 Trip Report: Camille and I had a great alpine romp on Sunday. Fall alpine ice season is in full swing!! Anyway, we left Mt Vernon at 1 am and headed toward Cascade Pass. We arrived at the Eldo trailhead at 1:45 am. Confused? so were we. Turns out, it was daylight savings and 2 am became 1 am. We started uphill at 2 am. Immediately I realized it had been a while since I'd been up Eldorado as the giant log we used to use to cross was gone and the river had clearly changed a bit. We explored downstream for a dry option to cross and found an icy, uphill log. This worked but it wasn't graceful, felt like climbing a squeeze chimney. Once across, we started up the trail, it felt warmer higher, the cool calm air must have settled in the valley. Near the top of the boulder field, Camille took a spill and smashed up her shin pretty good, lots of blood, very deep (sorry, no photos). But, she's a trooper and after a tight gauze wrap, we continued up. Snow started at 5000ft right at the end of the boulder field. It was refrozen week-old snow, that was mostly supportive and we switched to boots above, around 6000ft. We cruised up to the flat glacier below the summit and saw two guys walking downhill toward us. They had technical tools and said they had climbed the couloir the day before and found great conditions. This was exciting news as the several days prior had 9 to 11k freezing levels and that had me worried about the condition of the route. With tracks to follow and knowledge of a high-quality route, we crossed to the east ridge campsite and stopped to put on crampons. It had taken 5.5hrs (7:30 am) at this point and the sun was just rising. From there we had tracks to follow in the snow crossing the inspiration glacier to Deans spire where we found a 2 piton anchor with cord for the first rap. (Lucky that we have tracks to follow) We racked up while we still had sun and rapped the first 30m. We brought a single 60m rope so we had to get a bit creative on the raps since we couldn't find an obvious intermediate anchor. I found a good spine to the skiers right and we went another 30m off an equivocation hitch. That brought us to above the last vertical step and there was a single small fixed nut (perhaps a bit rusty) on the side. I backed it up, sent Camille first, then pulled the extra gear and headed down. In retrospect, I should have just left another nut to back it up. The raps left us just about 100m from the base of the climb and it looked pretty ideal. (HUGE thanks to the guys before us who replaced the tat at the top anchor and left tracks for us to follow all day). We tied in and started up, just simuling up the steep snow. It looked like there was going to be a lot of ice and based on trip reports, most people preferred fewer screws and more rock gear but these were not the conditions we had. We brought 3 screws and a bit more rock stuff so I was pretty bummed and had to be quite selective with where I put screws. We simuled through about 70m of actual climbing before reaching a near-vertical step. There was a nice crock on the climbers right so I belayed there then started up the step. All of the following pitches were a blur, a lot of AI2 type ice, sparse gear (maybe not if you had 6 screws), and a healthy dose of simuling through progress captures took us to the top. What I do remember is a ton of very high-quality ice, slightly soft but not wet. Not too many dinner plating issues and one ~20ft step that was AI3+ or maybe even 4. Quite steep, found a great pin at the base and halfway up put in another screw. (see a video of this on my insta @porter.mcmichael) There was an equal amount of steep neve connecting the ice pitches and a few short sections of mostly unconsolidated sugar. One thing that was perhaps slightly alarming was due to the warm temps, there was a near-constant barrage of ice pellets coming down the couloir. Not a big deal until something bigger knocks ya off when you're 100+ ft run out. I never saw anything bigger come down and around the top, there wasn't much that looked like it could come off in a bigger way. I suppose this is to be expected on bigger funnel-like routes when it's warm. I think I did 4 belays in the couloir (could be 5 or 6) before topping out on a fun 30ft roll of wet ice. We tied off short and went up to the left about 40ft before gaining the ridge that led ~100ft to the summit. Spectacular as always. Seemed a tad knife-ier than normal which was fun! (I wore tights, sue me ) After a few photos, we headed downhill. It was now 1 pm and we (or maybe just I) were slightly confused about the whole daylight savings thing so when darkness would arrive was something of a mystery... The descent was cruiser until we got off the glacier. There, the snow got very soft and we started punching through the crust. This was slow, tiring and hard on Camille's banged up shin. We got down off the boulder field before true darkness set in. (Jburg looking dashing as always) Upon getting back to the river, neither of us wanted to bushwack to the sketchy log so we just walked through the river and hopped in the car for 16.5hrs c2c. Not the fkt I'll bet but we were worried about timing since we were going c2c and it worked out alright. Thanks for reading along and hopefully this provides some good beta for future climbers as well as anyone who wants to go get after it in the next week or two! See you in the mountains! ~Porter PS. I'll put a few first-person vids of the climbing on my Instagram @porter.mcmichael (Shameless plug) Gear Notes: Cams .3-2, 3 pins, a few nuts, 3 screws (10,13,19), forgot pickets, 1 would have been nice for the conditions we found, more would be nice for more normal conditions). Approach Notes: Standard now seems to be the rap by Deans, could use better rap stations (or I missed them or they're buried.)
  16. 1 point
    2004/2005 was a shit winter like this and access and climbing conditions in the mountains were sweet! Pray for the Pineapple Express! (those of you who still engage in such shenanigans).
  17. 1 point
    Trip: Lennox Mountain - Goat Basin Ice Climbs FAIL Trip Date: 11/30/2019 Trip Report: TLDR: the approach is pretty heinous without snow coverage. Lots of climbable ice, even in the lower basin at 2500 ft, but the approach terrain is confusing, brushy, and rugged. Long version: I've long been curious about the Dave Burdick ice routes in Goat Basin beneath Lennox Mountain. There's not much information about them expect for when Dave originally went up there himself. During this recent coldsnap, I was wondering where to find substantial ice and this seemed like a good shot: north facing basin fed by large snowfields above. Flow is the issues during this old season cold snap, but the north slopes of Lennox are large enough that I thought there'd be enough water to form ice. We drove up the Money Creek Road, which is in good shape. Through the trees, it appeared we saw ice up there. We parked near a pullout and tried to find a place to cross Money Creek. We found a spot where I could make it across the icy boulders with trekking poles, but my buddy unfortunately fell in. We dumped his boots out on the other side and dried out some of his clothes. I'd recommend just fording. We started up on the west side of Goat Creek. The amount of blowdowns was ridiculous and movement was really slow, so we bailed westward, finding an open clearing at the base of an avalanche slope. This was very brushy and we couldn't see our feet, but at least it was easier than the dense forest. Then we got onto some dry rock creekbeds. It wasn't brushy, but all the rocks were covered in frost and ice, making for slow travel. Eventually this creekbed joined again with Goat Creek and we walked up the west bank of Goat Creek. At this point, we started to see a bunch of long ice gullies coming down into this lower valley, down to an elevation of about 2500 ft! These lines were about 1000 ft long, with many sections of WI2-3. Like a mouse is drawn to shiny things, we decided to try exploring one of these. But our vision of the lower sections was obscured by alder and terrain, so it was difficult to choose which one. Eventually we made our choice and climbed out of the steep river bank. The alder got really bad as we got closer to the climb, and the boulders had snow on them underfoot, pretty nasty. When I reached the base of the climb, I was disappointed to see that the entire 100+ ft first pitch, formerly obscured from us, actually began in a pool of water and was too thin down low. Additionally, there was another cliff below us that prevented traversing to the next flow to our left. The terrain is deceptively complex out here, a maze of alder and canyons, much like the kind of narrow topographical canyons you see in the Wenatchee or Yakima foothills. Bummed, we retreated to the valley floor, only to find that the alder had unzipped my pocket and my phone was missing. We retraced my steps using the GPS in the alder, but never found it. Time for an upgrade, I guess. The first pitch of our long proposed route. Everything above it looked great. Back at the valley floor, we decided to move leftwards and try to ascend the boulder slope on the SE side of the valley that would lead us to Goat Basin. Alder kept us pinned on the riverbed, but it became entangled in a slot canyon, necessitating some spicy ice slab scrambling to get around the riverbank. On the way back, we would cross the river a few times to avoid this. Going up the boulder field, the snow got deeper and movement slower. Eventually we just gave up. From here, we finally had a good viewpoint of all the lower flows. If we had this view to start the day, we could've seen the way of bypassing some lower wet pitches and getting on the beautiful upper flows. But alas, it was too late in the day, I was pretty beat up mentally by the rugged approach (we covered only like ~1 mile), so we started the painful descent down the snowy boulders. Good view of the lower valley. Lots of good looking low angle lines. We nailed the routefinding on the return trip and did everything in probably half the time. It's amazing what a little beta can do. It was pretty disappointing to not get on any ice even with the cold temps we have had, but conditions in the Cascades are deceptively bad right now. I guess this is the price I pay for being an adventurous climber and explorer. I am new to travel in the mountains in this sort of shoulder season and am learning so much about when and where to go and when to just stay home. I have no doubt the actual Goat Basin climbs were in, as these lower ones were in above 2500 ft. I would not recommend this approach under anything but a mid winter snowpack. The brush and boulders are really bad, but with a few feet of snow, it could be pretty fast. Just be careful because the slopes are subject to significant overhead avy danger. The Money Creek crossing would be a pain at any time of year. Big thanks to Chris for always enjoying my crazy adventure ideas and staying positive. Hopefully this information is helpful to someone and our sufferings will be vindicated. Gear Notes: Screws and ropes and tools, used none of them sadly. Approach Notes: It's rough. Stick west of Goat Creek initially, then cross back to the east side as you ascend to Goat Basin.
  18. 1 point
    Doh! We did your same scoping from the road and a few mins down the creek on Sunday. Then we drove to the end of the road and did a fun 3 pitch wi 2-3 next to the demon mine. Might get snowed under and rained out this week though.
  19. 1 point
    Found some fun moderate ice below Lennox Mtn! About 3000’ so may be getting rained on and the road may no longer be easy to drive. Low snow made avy danger a non issue this weekend.
  20. 1 point
    @AlisseGood question! We were all soloing (scrambling) up that area and I found a few moves to be tricky and could tell I was a bit more comfortable on the terrain (and I didn't have the rope) so I fixed the cord on a piece or two. So yes, I was already through the moves and fixed the line for them. @DPS Kyle was the photo rockstar, I usually come up short in that regard... Thanks @Kyle M
  21. 1 point
    No matter the clothing system it is best not to overheat and sweat out the layers. The best I have found so far is brynje mesh base layer for upper body. For hot weather hiking shorts and mesh t shirt, cold weather a mesh long sleeve shirt with a thin material nylon/spandex pant. One can find fairly inexpensive nylon/spandex pants in regular clothing stores these days. If hot weather the nylon/spandex pant can be the overlayer for the legs or use something warmer if needed. I usually carry a wind shirt, or a very light water proof for the next layer. If warm enough and raining I take off the base layer and wear the waterproof alone, likely all vents open, dont sweat out the base layer. The best waterproof is one that won't saturate with water and can shake most water off of it when off. On trail I sometimes use a 6oz rainO2 shirt, the most breathable material, cheap to buy, but fragile. The base layers and first over layers are the main ones. Often a base layer and maybe wind shirt is all needed while moving. When stopped then the puffy overlayer, if perfect dry weather one can have goose down, check forecast . Otherwise some sort of synthetic. This is a layering system and works well. If i was going to winter hike I may wear the nylon/spandex pant and brynje mesh shirt with or without the wind shirt. Then have a montane extreme bib and smock (heavy pertex pile) to throw over when needed. If warm enough to be rainy can use a rainO2 waterproof jacket instead of wind shirt, can size it big enough to go over puffy if needed (really dumping rain). Any light hardshell can serve this pupose. I try to stay warm enough and dry as possible. But not always comfortable, a cold wind on the skin through a base layer is not comfortable, but in that way I keep dryer and more moisture inside my body while hiking. Only if getting cold in my body core i throw on another layer while hiking. If doing a stop and go activity such as climbing. Then think about a warmer ventible clothing system on upper body. Maybe a base layer with ventible hard shell or wind shirt etc. If even colder maybe a mid layer fleece. If using a pertex pile system with venting, such as one of the buffalo systems smocks. At the correct temp range it can work, let's say around 40 degrees f, to something below zero f, stop and go activity. What particular set of clothing is not as mportant as the concepts. Remember the more layers sandwiched without venting, the harder to dry out. A outside hard shell does not breath well so can get wet from sweat. If wearing such then use least under clothing, maybe no base layer if warm enough. If rain stops shake off water from waterproof and put back on your dry base layer. Or if stopped to do a stop and go activity shake out waterproof put on dry base layer and a fleece if needed. One usually gets by with 2 layers on legs and three layers on upper body, if carrying more than this likely carrying too much weight. Staying dry and have a way to dry clothing out with body heat if wet is a very good system of clothing and its usage in bad weather. A small example, once on a winter hike on mt baker I fell in a creek, about 20 degrees F. The pack and snow shoes had me stuck down on my side in the water for some time. I did have montane pertex pile in the backpack but did not use it. But even though one leg and my side was soaked I was warm enough. I then hiked for about 30 minutes and was bone dry. The nylon spandex pant (only layer for my legs) with thin material will dry out quickly with body heat, same with correct upper body base layer. If your base layer is loaded with sweat when hiking then try to find something better, ie more breathable, thinner material, faster drying etc. Otherwise it is very hard to dry it out with body heat when needed.
  22. 1 point
    The heli pilots should have a good indication of where these goodies were tossed. Or maybe we can look for nibbling goats and snaffles acting strangely.
  23. 1 point
    Finally somebody is replenishing the North Cascades Scooby Snacks!
  24. 1 point
    Thanks for crushing it Porter! If anyone wanted more photos and the story from a follower's perspective: https://climberkyle.com/2019/11/23/dragontail-peak-ne-couloir-wi2-m5-r/.
  25. 1 point
    I seem to remember that this is pretty much everyone's reaction to this route, or at least that top pitch! It seems it is often dry, or mostly dry, even when the rest of the route is "in". Perhaps typically too cold up there for ice to form?
  26. 1 point
  27. 1 point
    11/23 - day 68 - an el cap day takes me through laps 155-161 (plus an incredible 55 CBIs to make 62 runs for the day, records all, plus the single-lap total of 19, including bashful dave who abhorred the unholy crowd that clearly lay ahead on that veritable vertical sidewalk) - alas we do not end on a prime (7 X 23 - primes are poison to one another, as are far too many friends ) - mates, this day makes me sad, for how can it possibly be improved upon? late fall yet no wind and no damp, a perfect day for binging and purging and salvaging from the turd-mine of the last month all that is great in life - this is why we nibble at the shit-sandwich, to find the cherry center tucked away inside, no? - awoke before dawn to convey the daughter-child to her weigh-in n' insanely early wrestling practice, so beacon by sunup, equipped w/ pillow and sleeping bag and stove n' breakfast things in case they proved necessary - #155 a frosty one in the frozen dawn, alone before the august conditions ahead - wraiths by the waters edge on the second, my fears a forgotten thing, heading west with everything else - #157 the proud n' mighty Columbia made mild as a mill-pond - a change of outfit as my first clothes were wringing with sweat despite the sweet coolness of the air - #159 coffee and crude discourse with common-born Beatards - the glorious reverse platinum sombrero achievement unlocked, the day comes into crystal focus - noon past, we tuck into the knotty blond ales n' try not to let our eyes settle too long on the lovely lady who adornes the cans - #160 a farmer's daughter on a glorious fall day - it ain't fair life can be this easy, is it? by the proud light all about me a pride of sealions splash below my sunkist toes - #161 kincaid murray crawls up into the sky as i sit in shade, astounded by the 19 mother-fuckers i'd just passed through to achieve my little perch - dave goes bounding by the wrong way, but we rally atop the norseman n' natter n' drink small beer as the breeze builds up and the chill makes its presence known - this might well be the last Big Day of the season and if so i'll come before my Creator cruel-certain i gave it what i had and squeezed that sweet sponge of life damn near desert-dry - "leaving las vegas" the theme of the drive home, the lyrics frame it right: "such a muddy line between the things you want and the things you have to do" - baby, i'm leaving beatardia, and by-jove that's cool by me
  28. 1 point
  29. 1 point
    I daresay right in the middle of the slabbage patch. Looks grrrrreat!
  30. 1 point
  31. 1 point
    damn near centrally located in the darring-town slabbage meca. You can see exfo dome and squire creek wall. and several other slabbages also!
  32. 1 point
    Routes like these aren't consistently in all the time so it makes sense that once it gets reported as "in", the masses will appear! It took me several gos to make it happen over about a decade or so. Good on everyone knocking it off so efficiently!
  33. 1 point
    this is really cool too see amazing pictures too.
  34. 1 point
    Yeah I feel like every other day the last couple weeks on Instagram or some other social media platform I was running into a post about the route. I suppose @PorterM and I are responsible for that, even though its in Selected Climbs. The most recent reports I found on this route were from the dry 2015 year including yours, @JasonG. The rest were from a decade or more ago on cc.com and old blogs. I hope there wasn't any actual crowding on the route. As there's quite a bit of shit coming down on you while your seconding or belaying. Would hate to be climbing under another party or two.
  35. 1 point
  36. 1 point
    Hiked up Colchuck Peak on Saturday, November 9th. There were a lot of ice smears but the usual suspects were not filled in enough to be what I consider in condition. Maybe the NE Couloir on Dragontail was in, but I could not see it from the lake. I suspect a party that left the TH at midnight may have been on it, but I don't know that for sure. Maybe they will post up. The smaller lakes were well frozen over and Colchuck Lake had a skim of ice, but Saturday had warmed up considerably and was raining on the summit of Colchuck. Hopefully colder weather will accompany these storm cycles and after they have had a chance to consolidate/melt/freeze the area should have some good early season hunting. It had been perhaps five years since my last visit to Colchuck Lake and I was shocked by how much the Colchuck Glacier had receded. At this pace in 5 years I suspect it will be completely gone.
  37. 1 point
    I think 101 Hikes has it dialed. Nooksack Cirque is wicked strenuous, not for the faint of heart, and the Trog is full of rat feces. Guaranteed Hantavirus if you sleep there.
  38. 1 point
    C'mon @bargainhunter and @max, don't insta-wreck the place. Let the masses work for it. .
  39. 1 point
    Nooksack Cirque had endless possibilities last week for the adventurous, intrepid mixed master who doesn't mind significant objective risk. Pics taken on 10/31/19: View from the Trog: At the base: A buttress on Jagged Ridge: Seahpo/Cloudcap:
  40. 1 point
    Trip: Eldorado Peak - NW Couloir Trip Date: 11/02/2019 Trip Report: Yesterday my friend and I climbed the NW Couloir of Eldorado Peak. Left town early morning Saturday and started hiking around 6:30. Used the log crossing directly across from the parking lot. Didn't investigate any of the others down stream but the recent culvert work on the road might have affected them. Currently snow starts at the tree line and no floatation is needed. Its very firm on all aspects/elevations. Theres an occasional loose dry pocket here and there. Hiked up to the toe of the east ridge and dropped off bivy gear. Started the trek over to the Eldorado/Dean col shortly after. Rapped out of the col with one 60m rap since we brought the twin ropes. Theres currently a two piton anchor at the top of the col with fresh cord. I didn't notice any other existing rap stations on the way down, but we weren't really looking. Dropped down a bit towards the bergschrund and got the first glimpses of the route, which looked to be in really great shape. We climbed it in three pitches followed by one simul block. The first pitch was the thinnest and protection was very sparse. The second and third pitches protected well and consisted of perfect neve with thick, vertical steps of ice. After that the angle of the couloir eased off we we decided to just simul the rest. Again, perfect neve with easier steps of thick ice. We got up to the flat spot below the summit ridge, ate and packed the ropes up. We arrived at the summit just as the sun was setting and were rewarded with a wonderful clear sunset that lasted all the way back down to us arriving at our camp. We were pretty damn tired when we got back. Hiked out this morning without issue, snow travel was still very easy. On the way out we ran into another group of two planning to climb it. This was such an amazing climb. Perfect conditions, perfect weather. Easily in my top ten routes. Looks like its supposed to stay nice for a bit longer, get on it if you can! Gear Notes: Cams to 2" (used mostly .3 through .75), assortment of pins, small set of nuts, ice screws 1x10, 3x13, 2x16 (used every size, would maybe toss another stubby on there). Ice tools and crampons. 60m rope(s) Approach Notes: Trail runners to the tree line. No floatation needed.
  41. 1 point
    Trip: Mt. Baker - Heliotrope Ridge - Heliotrope Ridge Ice Playground Trip Date: 11/01/2019 Trip Report: Took advantage of the cold autumn weather and lack of snow to do a little easy ice climbing on the flows above the Heliotrope Ridge Trail before reaching the glacier overlook. There are an abundance of ice flows just 1-1.5 hrs from the car, mostly in the WI2-3 range. It is like a little ice playground. We climbed one super fun 4 pitch route that ended with the obvious ice gully that splits the upper headwall beneath the Coleman Glacier. All in all, it is super fun place with easy, safe, accessible ice and a great warm up for the season. Check it out! For more details see: https://climberkyle.com/2019/11/05/heliotrope-ridge-ice-playground/ Gear Notes: Ice is thick enough to take screws. All climbs are walkoffs. Approach Notes: Up the Heliotrope Trail, you will start to see frozen flows up and to the right as you go.
  42. 1 point
    Trip: Araucanía, Bio-Bio, Ñuble (Chile) - Lonquimay, Llaima, Antuco, Nevados de Chillán, et al Trip Date: 10/01/2019 Trip Report: I enjoyed two great weeks of skiing in Central-South Chile with Joe recently. We left Seattle on the evening of 9/29, skied our first turns on the afternoon of 10/1, last turns on 10/10, and I started my travel odyssey the next day, arriving back home on the 13th. This is the usual prime volcano season, but, as in the PNW, storms can come through at any time. The mountains received a strong and unusually cold storm right before we got there, so rather than skiing the corn we thought we would, we had to make do with dry powder. Luckily the weather was stable enough to get in a number of good summits. As we headed North, following the better weather, the snowpack changed into more typical spring conditions. Big highlights were skiing in the Araucaría (monkey puzzle tree) forests, the quality of the snow, some excellent food finds, and spending time with Chilenos. I'll let the photos speak for themselves. Lonquimay & Corralco ski area Lift-served pow at 5 pm Pow off the top of Lonquimay 4000 ft later Llaima Big graupel from thunderstorms the afternoon before Llaima's impressive summit crater with Lanín (left) and Rukapillán (right) Thousands of feet of moderately steep pow Tolhuaca (which we did not ski) Pucón vibes Antuco Freezing rain crust, Laguna del Laja, and peaks E Views of Sierra Velluda (right, near), volcanoes Callaqui, Lonquimay, Llaima, and Tolhuaca (left to right in distance) Great chalk transitioning into corn The road to Antuco Nevados de Chillán Antuco in the distance, "mountaineering" snow Alpenglow & ash coming from the Chillán Nuevo, Nevados left and Viejo right. View from Onai Thanks, Chopo & Fran! For those of you interested in making a trip like this happen, the detailed beta is pretty easy to come by. If you are perhaps interested in a guided trip, Joe will be offering one next year through Pro Guiding Service with similar dates. The focus will be on keeping it budget friendly and focused on good skiing. Some other little plugs: Coni at Masajes Pucón did an excellent job helping my tight muscles on our down day, highly recommend if you're in Pucón Onai hostel, run by Chopo Díaz, who is one of the most decorated freeriders in Chile, is an awesome place to stay in Las Trancas, near Chillán Gear Notes: Standard + ski lifts at Corralco Approach Notes: Aeromexico -> Santiago, Sky Airlines -> Temuco, rental Subaru XC
  43. 1 point
    ^ x x x x xx x x x x x xx x x x x x xx x x x x x x x x xx x x x x x __________________________________________
  44. 1 point
    WOW - things change. I made it into this area the summer of 1981, first, 4th of July weekend when we skied everywhere in the area on perfect corn and once again in the fall when we approached from the Suiattle and up the Honeycomb. No skis this time but still plenty of snow and ice. The glaciers looked huge and permanent - not so much I guess. Your photo of the Whitechuck looked like a whole different world than I remember. Saw no one until the return to Kennedy Hot Springs. Thanks so much for posting this.
  45. 1 point
    whoa. that's eerie. tahoe city seems like a nice place to be right about now.
  46. 1 point
  47. 1 point
    Stunning photos of mountain grandeur. Thank you for sharing. Our ice is disappearing. Rainier may be an iceless slag pile in my lifetime. Sobering. This article from the Seattle Times yesterday shows some dramatic melting of the Bering Sea far more than I would have expected so soon. Bottom temps 12F (!) higher than 9 years ago!
  48. 1 point
    Wow: Talk about glacial recession! At least the crampons didn't get a free ride!
  49. 1 point
    of all the trip reports i've read, this is one of them!!!
  50. 1 point
    Yeah, but now that we know the Zorro Face is a mere 5.9, can any self-respecting climber just do the standard route?
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