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Mike

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Everything posted by Mike

  1. Getting to Luna without water taxi

    Did a pickets traverse a few years back starting from Hannegan Pass. We went from Luna Col to the cars in one day, dropping down Access Creek to BB, hiking to the lake and then hiking around the lake over the dam to the cars. Most of the credit goes to our motivational coaches - the mosquitoes, black flies and deer flies. A boat ride would have been really nice! Even better if they could show up with cold beer
  2. Trip: Mt Snoqualmie - Enigma Couloir Date: 4/18/2009 Trip Report: Just posting the key facts... We snowshoed the entire gully. The bottom was a mix of hard snow with occasional deposits of powder. By the time we hit the top it was a wallowfest of mostly loose snow that wouldn't hold body weight very well. We had to self belay with our ice axes and shove our other hands into the snow to maintain three points of contact. Kind of fun actually, but it was tiring plowing our way up. On the descent down the normal route, we were sinking in to our knees even with snowshoes. Two more weeks of consolidation will make this a much more fun trip. Gear Notes: Snowshoes, ice axe, crampons (unused)
  3. Trip: North Twin Sister - West Ridge Date: 7/6/2008 Trip Report: As we were driving in along Mosquito Lake Road, we noticed that the gate to Daley Prairie was open which would have let us drive all the way to the TH. We chickened out and continued to the usual TH at the bridge over the Nooksack. That gate is now welded shut with big concrete eco-blocks to further prevent access. We started out at 8:45am under overcast skies, riding and mostly pushing our bikes uphill. When we got to the turn-off at 2.5 miles, we were amazed to see this massive, new road coming in from the right (replacing the old road) and continuing on to the quarry. We turned right on the new road and pedal our way to the new bridge which crosses the creek at the same spot where the old road crossed. From there you continue on the original road to the TH, although there's a lot of saplings blocking the way. Somebody had parked on the road near the old, rotting log confirming that at least some people are driving in. The ridge was in great shape and we hit the summit around 1:45. There are enough rocks showing on the N face that we opted to descend snow about 150' before glissading into the basin. We were in white-out conditions for the whole ridge and summit. As always, the bike ride out was a blast! I hope somebody is climbing the NTS today because in would be perfect conditions AND perfect weather! Does anybody know if the gate to Daley Prairie is now being left open, or is it still hit-or-miss? Gear Notes: The only thing you'll need is an ice axe for the glissade down the north face. And a bike for the approach.
  4. Trip: Alpine Lakes - Ingalls/S Face Date: 6/8/2008 Trip Report: We actually scrambled Ingalls/S Peak but had a great view of the climbing route on Ingalls/N Peak. It was clear of snow and looked fabulous - except for the group of five doing the worst climb of Ingalls I've ever seen. Approach Notes: The road is in perfect condition all the way to the TH - any type of vehicle is find since there's no snow on the road. You hit continuous snow within 15 to 20 minutes from leaving the trailhead and you're on snow pretty much all the way to the dog-tooth crag.
  5. [TR] Black Peak 5/6-5/7

    Looks awesome and fun! Where do you get a great dinner in Marblemount?
  6. Climb: Torment-South Ridge Date of Climb: 8/14/2005 Trip Report: We hiked up the Boston Basin trail on Saturday afternoon. I was fantasizing about how nice the trail could be if the park actually maintained the trail as a way to take my mind of the black flies and the heat. We traversed over from Forbidden camp to the slabs below Torment - great camping and lots of water. We passed below that buttress just west of Forbidden Camp; the notch above that is also passable. I'd avoid the high notch because the glacier is very broken up - the most broken up that I've ever seen. We headed up on Sunday morning, crossing the slabs to the left side of the basin and then following the better snow next to the south ridge of Torment. Two years ago in early August we just step-kicked right up to the notch. Now there's a shrund that spans the entire SE face (in addition to the moat). You can drop into the shrund and get to the notch by climbing sloping, dirty, wet 5th class rock for 40 feet. Or you can do what we did and go to the far right side of the shrund, descend into the shrund and scramble on rock up to the right side of the upper snow field and then walk across snow to access the Torment south ridge notch. After that little detour, the rest of the climb goes as normal. The traverse across the SE face seemed more fractured, loose and precarious than I remember, but the trail from there to the summit was fine. The rappel down the SE face went fine with just a little unexpected and expected drama. Since I'd done the route before, I volunteered to be the first done every rappel so that I could scout the next anchor. After the first rappel, I remembered that pile of old webbing sitting in the corner at the Marblemount Ranger Station - I think it was all taken from the SE face of Torment. They didn't manage to get all the webbing on the SE face, but it did make it a little more entertaining trying to find established rappel stations. As we rappeled, we angled down to rappelers right, doing our last rappel just left (rappelers left) of a big gully that cuts down the lower face. The last rappel off the SE face is always a big question mark - how bad is it going to be and will we all be screwed, with me being screwed and stuck in some dark over-hanging moat? Directly below the rappel, the moat was about 15 feet wide, about 15 feet deep and overhung. Fortunately a little bit of awkward moat crawling on polished slabs while on rappel up and right got me up onto snow and from there I was able to pull my friends over and spare them the moat experience. One of my friends speculated that you could do an Australian style rappel (head first), kicking out wildly while higher up, free-falling and hoping to get far enough out to land in snow across the moat without penduluming painfully back into the rock face. Another time perhaps, and only if we have cell-phone coverage... The route we took to the notch should stay in shape for at least a few more weeks. I was really surprised at the size of the bergshrund the the breakup of the glacier. Gear Notes: All you need for this route is a light alpine rack and ice axe. Bring crampons if you plan to get an early start (e.g. on the glacier before 8am) and bring some tied runners.
  7. [TR] Torment- South Ridge 8/14/2005

    Could be Triumph where they removed the slings then - I wasn't paying much attention. But I remembered a lot more obvious piles of slings last time I rapped off Torment SE face. The first rap anchor was the standard collection of new and crusty slings. The second station was a single, new-looking sling around a block. From there you could also see a single, older purple sling about 50 feet lower and 50 feet east. The next rap station had a two or three slings. As we got lower, the accumulation of old slings got bigger until there were piles of slings and old rope on the last rappel into the moat. And you're right - there are a ton of rap stations on the south ridge, but I don't count rap stations that aren't on my descent (sp!) route. I figure they're there for belays and epic retreats (especially the ones off-route).
  8. Teanaway River Road?

    I was in the Icicle today up toward Grindstone (Chatter Creek). The snow doesn't really start until about 4000', so you still have a pretty good shot at driving all the way to the end of Teanaway River Rd - might have to drive through a couple of new inches of snow. But it won't be long until it's closed.
  9. I've done this in May on snowshoes - excellent snow camping. Looks like a great fall trip, too. Thanks for the pictures.
  10. Climb: Mt. Buckner-North Face Date of Climb: 7/24/2004 Trip Report: Heinrich and I hiked into the Sahale Arm camp on Friday. Without the constant wind, it would have been hot and buggy. As it was, Friday evening was very pleasant and there was only one other person at the camp. We started at 4:40am on Saturday morning. A friend had suggested a 3:00am start, but I'm glad we waited - got more sleep and I wouldn't want to do the Sahale-Boston choss scramble in the dark. The scramble and glacier crossing went fine. We descended left from Boston to bypass some crevasses, and traverse high to Buckner. This worked out great and we had no problems with crevasses. We Started at the right corner of the N face to avoid crevasses on the left-center, but it would probably go fine on the far left. I got the first lead. The shrund has melted out and is a bugger with exposed rock, deep moats and overhanging soft snow. I started to tunnel through the overhanging snow, but I can't say that it looked like a very inviting route. I backed off and the route which we took went over a ledge on the left side just below the shrund; this put you on a snow field which bypasses the shrund - way better! It might also be possible to get onto the snow field lower down. Once above the shrund, this was a relatively mellow step-kicking exercise. There was no ice anywhere on the route - pickets are the only gear you'll need. We topped out about 10:00am. After an hour on the summit, we dropped down to 6200', traversed the basin and were back at Sahale camp by 2:30pm. It was pretty hot Saturday, and the 1400' of gain and scrambling to get back to camp was my least favorite part of this otherwise great trip. The snow is melting fast, but this route should still go for another one or two weeks. Gear Notes: 8.5mm x 37m rope 4 pickets second tool Approach Notes: Lots of bugs
  11. At one time there was more ice, but now it's more likely to be a dry, choss filled gully as the snow melts. We didn't see any obvious ice. But choss can be fun too!
  12. Ingalls Pk- South Ridge beta?

    We were on snow continuously 1000' below Longs Pass a week and a half ago - on snow where the trail forked for Ingalls or Longs pass. Snow conditions were really good for travel - great step kicking and minimum postholing. Ingalls should be perfect as long as the weather cooperates.
  13. We were there three weeks ago and had to walk four miles of road to get to the Daniel TH. You might try calling Cle Elum and also check the Wenatchee National Forest recreation report. I think it said that the road was now open, but that the creek crossing was really deep. It was probably 16+ inches deep and fast when we were there - crossed it upstream on a log.
  14. NE ridge of triumph

    Most of the route follows the crest and would probably go fine - much easy terrain. But the route we took for the last pitch started from a gully slightly below the crest on the north side; heather benches above would hold melting snow, so you'd probably get to climb it wet and there wasn't much gear. But everybody (me included in early August) does it later in the season, so where's the challenge in that? It will probably still have great approach conditions and be more fun in another six weeks.
  15. Great TR. We tried the same route about a month ago. We had great snow all the way. At that spot near the top (above the basin with the rock wall on the right side), we headed up the right branch. We did all this in 100' to 300' visibility while it was snowing. The right hand route seems like reasonable terrain, but gear is thin and it was covered with a thin layer of new snow. We could hear some guys doing rebel yells after summiting via the N Buttress Couloir only a few hundred feet about us - which totally sucked since we had to back off and descend. Next year...
  16. Washington Pass + Other Mtn Conditions?

    About 6 inches of mushy, new snow on Stuart yesterday afternoon at 9000'. We car2car'ed over Long's Pass as a character building exercise. The snow in the Cascadian was mushy slop under new snow. Kicked off some big point sluffs. N facing aspects (e.g. below Long's Pass) were much better.
  17. Burgundy Spire

    We did Silver Star a week ago, although we didn't pay particular attention to Burgundy. The bivy sites are partially melted out and the first pitch looked pretty clear from the col. But the ledge above the third pitch probably still has snow on it. There was still plenty of snow filling in the gaps in the rock on Silver Star, so Burgundy is likely to be the same. I didn't notice any snow on the steeper faces, but you won't know until you get a closer look.
  18. Whistler Peak -- East Couloir

    We did the left side couloir early season last year and had a lot of fun up to the ridge. As J Martin notes, it is mostly snow covered on the ridge above in the early season. We had firm snow conditions, but the snow was too thin for pickets and too thick to place good rock gear. So we solo'ed it and it went just fine, but definitely a little spicy.
  19. Flagging

    Flagging as a source of garbage is pretty minimal, so it's silly to talk about it as though it were some huge impact. If you're concerned about the environment, there are plenty of more urgent issues. That being said, poor flagging is like poor bolting - an eyesore and not especially useful. But I've followed plenty of overgrown trails with little more than the occasional flag every couple hundred feet to let me know that I haven't wandered off onto some game trail. As for all the complaining about taking a crap (urine is sterile and most of us are dehydrated anyway, so this shouldn't be a problem.) Most of these flagged routes are remote, way off the beaten path and in the woods, so the impact is trivial if the few people travelling in these areas bury their feces and burn their TP.
  20. Banff Avalanche

    A post on Live-the-vision.com said that they were doing a route called midnight rambler.
  21. Banff Avalanche

    I was up there a week ago, and Lady Wilson's Cleavage was full of *fresh* avalanche debris - most of the climb was buried. We went up and climbed Wilson Major, got a pretty good view of the basin above LWC and it was pretty clear. Mt. Wilson is chock full of routes and almost everything is in, so there are a lot of possiblities. Hopefully we'll get a more definitive answer
  22. Triple Couloirs, a pseudo TR

    There is a lot of truth in the comment about not mixing climbing and pleasure. The people who are there for fun will either pull you down to their level, or you'll blow them off; feelings are hurt in any event. If wazzumountaineer is in his 20's, then he's learned a valuable lesson; if he's in his 50's, then he's a slow learner!
  23. chair peak NF current conditions?

    Too warm right now and too much new snow - try bringing it up after the freezing level drops.
  24. Is Starbucks Good For You?

    Definitely - although that could be because I work for Starbucks. But I drink our coffee, too. And I like to celibrate a non-technical summit with a thermos of coffee, especially during the winter.
  25. Leavenworth snowshoeing suggestions?

    Rock mountain just east of Stevens Pass. Pay attention to the avi-conditions though. Are you looking for a pleasant trip, or something with teeth? We've snowshoed from the Icicle Ridge TR to the old lookout and down 4th of July trail - great trip if you can leave a car at the 4th of July TR.
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