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About ckouba

  • Birthday 11/30/1999


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    Portland, OR

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  1. What a great route on a gorgeous peak. Thanks for a great time Bala. If you're thinking about this route, it will become significantly more challenging if that lip feature disappears. Everything else at the top of the glacier was well over-hung and the rock up there is not an appealing option. The raps were interesting. There is 2-300' of choss-cades separating the ridge N of the summit from the safer slopes of the Whitewater Gla below- and getting down there involved 20-30' of free hanging rappels (at least from the anchors we contrived) from both of the stations we used. Finding something you feel comfortable hanging your life on was a challenge. I love that this route demands such a broad spectrum of skills. We had the mountain to ourselves on what was clearly a fantastic day with fantastic conditions. Not only did we get to the top, but we got back to the bottom in one piece. What more could we ask for? Oh, yeah- we could ask for the screw back which was dropped. But seeing as another one was found (WHAT!?!??!!??), we'll just let that one go. Chris
  2. Trip: Mt Buckner - North Face Date: 7/29/2012 Trip Report: Got an email from a friend looking for a third wheel on Buckner. It took very little convincing that I needed to find the time to make it work. We passed on the forecast the weekend prior but it looked promising for a good clear run so we left PDX Fri eve and arrived at Cascade Pass TH reasonably early Sat AM. Hiked up through clouds all the way to the Pass and even a few up Sahale Arm, but from there out it was blue skies and sunshine. Sahale Arm sunshine: We got up and over Sahale in modest time, dropped to the Boston-Sahale Col and headed up Boston per Nelson's description. A bit before the summit, there is a bit of a ledge leading out and around the summit massif and we headed out that. It does look improbable, but with a little imagination it leads nicely across to the Boston Glacier. Over Sahale: Looking ahead: It was late afternoon, it was warm and the snow was steep and possibly crevassed (couldn't see from the uphill vantage) so downclimbed the ridge quite a bit before dropping onto the glacier. Most of it would have gone fine but there is a yawner across the upper-most end of it. Once on the snow, we descended to where the ridge flattens out. There was a pair of bivy grooves chopped into the flat of the Boston but we scouted the dry, exposed ridge and found spots on the rock for three of us. A quick dinner got us early to bed under a gorgeous night sky. Lower on the Boston Glacier, bivy site in the rust-colored rock on the ridge: From the bivy, we were an hour from the base of the climb. Staying close-ish to the base of the ridge did get us over there without crevasse difficulties and without losing much vertical. Looking back across the Boston Glacier: The face is large. And steep. It certainly feels like more than the 45-50° purported in the guides. Looking down at my feet during the climb though, I would guess that's pretty accurate. The snow was in great shape though and everything was quiet. The clear night let everything firm up exceptionally well. The schrund looked spicy on the right so we went full left and were able to negotiate it without much difficulty. For the rest of the face, we stayed out in the open on the snow. It was stable and the footing was good so we only kept a single picket in the rope between the three of us (we brought three total). We had some sling and two small cams with us. We never touched rock on route, never used the cams at all. Our hands were generally occupied during this phase... no pics. We topped around 930 and casually made our way off the summit. Summit shot: Officially topping out: The descent off the S side is still pretty steep and we took our time coming down. We were off the steeper stuff by 1 or 2 but clearly not making the time we needed to get out and back to Portland that night. We found a perfect bivy spot for the three of us just past the mine entrance and called it a day around 330(PM). We were also very concerned about the exit from the cirque. The traverse out crossed under a very broken up (Davenport?) glacier which had been quiet for our visit but was clearly shedding itself in the summer heat. Additionally, the view across the cirque to the exit ridge made it look as though the eastern lobe of the Sahale Gla was calving right over our exit (yes, it was the first time there for all of us). Taking a break on the way down: View across the cirque: Turns out the exit ridge is a feature up and out of the way of the calving glacier so the only objective hazard was the first traverse out of camp. The following morning we crossed the bench and headed up the exit gulley (still about ~90% covered with firm snow), gaining the ridge in under an hour. We picked the wrong way to get the top of the ridge (keep going left, don't head up too early; there was some sling in what we guess is the proper one), but once on the ridge, it was a straightforward hike out and up across the Sahale and back to the trail. What an awesome and enjoyable route in a gorgeous area! I haven't been on a real route in probably 3 years and had forgotten what I'm missing. It has an excellent alpine ambiance and it was a pleasure to climb with Chris and Sapphire again. Chris and Sapphire at the Ripsaw Ridge bivy: As an aside, I did try this one other time, years earlier, and the weather was marginal- we never made it off Sahale Arm. That was a good thing: we had HORRIBLY underestimated the magnitude of the climb. People can do it in two days, another party was right behind us on that schedule. My advice? Take your time, plan three days, enjoy the ride. You won't be disappointed. More pics... Gear Notes: Team of 3 50m single rope 3 pickets 2 small cams 1 med screw small selection of slings Used the pickets & sling, didn't use the screw or cams. Approach Notes: Go up over Sahale, almost to Boston. Hang a right before Boston's summit massif, traverse to the Boston Glacier. Find a sweet bivy. Stay high for the traverse (at least it worked for us), you will gain the base of the face at ~7700'.
  3. It was definitely a great day in the hills and another fine trip with Bala. From the experience on our descent, it would have been "interesting" coming down in the timeframe we were creating- snow was getting soft, clouds moving in. I was discouraged when the party of three came down and told us of the falling cookies but I really thought I had a winning plan- head for the north ridge. I hadn't been on it before but we were just shy of a perfect place to access it. If it's a ridge, we shouldn't have crap raining down on us right? Well, you don't climb the ridge proper and that which isn't covered with snow is a pile of kitty litter with rocks of all sizes waiting for a little activation energy. That which WAS covered with snow had already been baking for a number of hours and was extremely soft. I didn't feel like bombarding Bala with rocks or my falling body so we didn't get much further beyond the left skyline of Bala's 4th pic. All in all, it was still a great day in the mountains. It's a great route and I too consider it my first real alpine climb. The snowpack is probably equal to when I first climbed the route in early June of 2003- it seems like there's a LOT of snow left in there right now. None of the lakes in the park were opened up yet and virtually all the ground was still covered with snow- we were pleasantly surprised to find a bare ground bivy adjacent to running water though! Great route, great times, going to give it a little more time and head back again later. Thanks again Bala!
  4. Other pics from the trip: Bala at camp: Things starting to clear up over Stonecrop Face: Bala on the way up: And again: Catching a break: After getting the hell out of the gulley: Camp: Point releases visible above the gulley: Thanks Bala for an enjoyable time out in the hills. Chris
  5. Oh, and... Somewhere between the summit and the parking lot, the our rope went MIA. If you happen to be up there and stumble across a blue 8mm x 30m Beale, much good karma and happiness could be yours for helping it find its way back down. Thanks! Chris
  6. Trip: Mt Hood, Oregon - Wy'East Date: 2/3/2011 Trip Report: Very straightforward, enjoyable climb. Met Dani (snobird) on the forum here and we had a great climb together. Weather dropped in on us and made the summit experience "memorable" but we correctly got back down. We crossed low (near base of the Steel Cliffs) on the White River Glacier- it's in fine shape. There is potential for lots of ice cookies coming off Steel Cliffs but it was quiet for us despite lots of wind. Dani on the east moraine: Slopes are steeper than expected to gain the top of the summit crater above the Wy'East Face. If you're thinking of skiing, I'd wait a little while as it looked pretty scoured and shiny. Transition from the moraine onto the face: The Wy'East Face in the sunrise: Crossing the top of the ridge is straightforward and gives you a reasonable view of the route to come. We worked across the ridge to where it gets steep and then traversed right onto a prow. Continued traversing right slots you into a short couloir leading directly to the summit ridge. This isn't completely obvious or visible from ridge but it does play out. Crossing the summit ridge: The view toward the summit from the ridge, route not quite obvious or visible: This is also when the high layer of clouds finally dropped onto the summit and beyond us as well. We topped out the couloir in a near white out, meeting the party of two from the North Face on their way down. We didn't see Ben from Coopers Spur but he couldn't have been too far away. Clouds dropping in, at the route-finding crux: Gratuitous summit shot: For the descent we hiked over to the Old Chute (still in the white out) and followed someone's uptrack down until beyond the bergschrund, then cut quickly over to the hogsback. There were more cookies falling at this point but nothing more than you'd expect for the conditions. From here, clouds drifted in and out until triangle moraine and we slogged it back to the lot. All in all a very enjoyable route. One alpine axe will get the job done, two tools might be more enjoyable though. We took two pickets and used them a couple times with an 8mm x 30m glacier rope running belay. Snowpack was consistently mixed through the entire climb, from wind-scoured water ice chunks, to styrofoam, to hardpack, to sugar over hardpack under a crust. Everything seemed stable enough for the layers we were treading on. Great times, fun route, really enjoyable to be back out on the mountain. Thanks Dani. Gear Notes: single alpine axe, two tools might make it funner 8mil 30m rope 2 pickets Approach Notes: White River is filled in and easy crossing
  7. Dani, I am PDX-based, interested in the same, and wouldn't mind connecting. I haven't been out much lately but definitely want to. PM me if you're up for something. Chris
  8. A shot from the top of Washington on Fri, 8/20: What you can't see in the picture is the trail is free and clear all the way into Obsidian and well up onto the slopes above the meadow areas (was there ~2wks ago as well). Very straightforward route, a little scree and dust from the saddle to the summit, but very enjoyable.
  9. ckouba

    Mt. Hood

    ...by using skis! If you have a backcountry rig- use it. If you have alpine gear, it's almost worth carrying as high as you can tolerate. If not, bring something to slide on if you're comfortable with your arresting skills. You'll be glad you did.
  10. Yep- reading my mind. PCT = easy access for a peak that doesn't really validate waging war for access. I figure(d) the route would be clean enough but the snow would likely linger in the forest. That pic changes my mind about everything though- the lake is still frozen! I'll come back when it's a clearer shot. JoeMack- THANKS for posting the pic! Chris
  11. Anyone been to Mt Washington lately? Is the PCT passable? Chris
  12. Major- Found the rover... PM'd you. Chris
  13. Pissed that someone lost it or pissed that I found it? If the latter, please stay off the high horse until you ask if I tried to return it to someone: My post in the OR Cascades forum asking if anyone lost a poon (which was cross-posted in the CC.com Lost and Found forum as well) Never heard a peep... If the former, peace.
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