Jump to content


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

About DonnV

  • Birthday 11/30/1999


  • Occupation
  • Location
    Vancouver WA

Recent Profile Visitors

The recent visitors block is disabled and is not being shown to other users.

DonnV's Achievements


Gumby (1/14)

  • Dedicated Rare
  • Week One Done Rare
  • One Month Later Rare
  • One Year In Rare

Recent Badges



  1. What an incredibly gratifying TR to read (and, as always with Jason’s TR’s, amazing photos). Steve looks sooooooo much better in that summit shot than he did last time I saw him on Terror! I will probably continue to avoid, as I have for the past 4 years, thinking about how badly things could have gone back in 2009 had we not had the breaks we did. But reading this does a lot to cast that memory in a much better light. Big congratulations to Steve for getting back on this one, and big thanks to Gord and Jason for being the friends and partners you are. The only thing that would have made this better would be if Jeff and I had run into you guys in the area. I think our tracks on the Mustard would only have been 4 days old when you came through. Great job guys! A morning shot of Terror from Swiss. Five days before your climb.
  2. I’ve decided to sell my Integral Designs MK1 XL tent made from eVent fabric. I bought it a few years ago but I really don’t do the kind of climbing anymore that warrants a tent this serious. I used it only a handful of times and it should be owned by someone who will make better use of it. I’m asking $500 shipped for the eVent version with a second door and a vestibule (I originally paid $730 - base price $500, $80 for eVent, $50 for a second door, $100 for the vestibule). This tent is in perfect condition and carefully seamsealed. Used lightly and always stored dry and loose. When you first set it up you will doubt it has ever been used at all. I will include the original stuffsacks for both the tent and the vestibule and whatever guy lines are shown in the photos. The tent and poles weigh 4 lbs 1 oz (base weight 4 lbs 12 oz., eVent -8 oz., Light Floor option -8 oz., second door +5oz.). The vestibule with its one pole weighs 1 lb 6 oz. Below is the link to the ID page for this tent. The only difference in the specs listed is that my tent is made of the lighter and more breathable eVent instead of TegralTex. There is also a link to the vestibule page (mine is blue, not red). http://integraldesigns.com/product_detail.cfm?id=736 Below is the link to the manual for this tent. http://www.integraldesigns.com/media/MK_Tent_Manual.pdf I am in the PDX area and will deliver locally, otherwise I will pay for insured ground shipping by USPS to anywhere in the US. We can talk if you are farther away or need it faster. Thanks!
  3. Jeffh and I just did the traverse to Boston Basin from Eldorado in mid-July and Lowell is correct that this one section shouldn't be treated as trivial. It was raining when we reached it and since the rock was wet we did one rap off of an existing anchor at the top and then a short bit of easy 3rd class to snow below. I think the entire thing would have been downclimbable at low class 4 at most. Maybe easier if you took the time to look around (we didn't). But it should be considered at least somewhat technical and is definitely the crux of the entire traverse. The rest is a very pleasant alpine stroll. This photo is looking across the top of the slope after we fortunately found a way around the end of the snow at the top. Much earlier in the season I think we would have needed to rap off of a snow anchor. That won't be a problem by now. This photo is looking back at that col from Boston Basin.
  4. Just to add one more point of reference, I had a high left ankle sprain (syndesmosis sprain) back in 2004 in the Pickets. I got choppered out so didn’t need to hike on it at all. I told the doc I wanted as full a recovery as possible and didn't care how long I was out. He took me at my word and kept me in a cast for 10 1/2 weeks (don't tell me about bad movies!). I was 54 at the time and he may have casted me longer than he would have a younger guy, but that ankle has been solid as a rock ever since. Hasn't rolled even once, while the right ankle continues, as always, to turn every now and then. At least in my case, I’m convinced that being willing to eat the downtime up front paid big dividends down the road. I also did all the usually recommended rehab, plus spent endless hours on a wobble board, mostly while watching more bad movies. I think it helped a lot in regaining range of motion and proprioception. In any case, best of luck!
  5. Trip: A Redoubt Loop - Date: 7/2/2011 Trip Report: Jeff Hulbert and I just got back home Saturday from a great week-long loop trip around Mt. Redoubt, which included a bit of bushwacking, LOTS of snow, a couple days of rain, some stellar days up high and incredible views. Our original plan included several summits, but due to weather, snow level, underestimating some of the work involved on the approach, and exercising some common sense, our only ascent was a snowier than usual climb of Redoubt. We came into the area around the west side of Redoubt, via the seldom used Lake Fork and the upper arm of the West Depot Glacier, and then later came out using the more common route down past the waterfall to lower Depot Creek. I’ve included a couple comparison photos from a 2009 trip when there was far less snow. I had been in this area a few times before and had always been curious about the Lake Fork approach option, but had never heard of anyone going in that way. I was able to find exactly one trip report, on clubtread.com, from someone who went in last August on a solo trip to Mad Eagle and Goliah Peaks. This was Jeff’s first trip in and he, as always, was game for anything, so we headed in on Saturday the 2nd after spending the evening hanging out with our friends Chad and Megan in Bellingham. After somehow getting my low-clearance minivan around most of the potholes on the Chilliwack Lake Road and at least a ways up the Depot Creek Road, we found 3 other parked cars, all with WA plates. Lake Fork comes into Depot Creek a bit over 2 miles from the border and, even though the guy from clubtread had given us detailed beta on how to best get up the side of the valley, we pretty much blew it anyway. He had stayed too close to the creek drainage and had warned us to stay farther right. We ended up staying even farther right than we should have and had an interesting time climbing and traversing ferns, berries, slide alder, mossy rock steps, avy chutes and steep forest before finally hitting easy snow for the last few hundred feet to the frozen lake at 5280. This approach might not be all that bad if you hit it right, but we turned it into somewhat of a chore. Crossing Depot Creek. The boot toss. Just some of the interesting terrain coming up Lake Fork. Finally out of the woods and nearing the lake at the end of the first day. The source lake sits in a deep basin below Goliah and Mad Eagle Peaks and very likely goes most seasons with no visitors at all. We found an excellent place to camp on snow near a huge bare rock, close to accessible lake water, and settled in for a relaxing evening after a harder-than-expected first day, enjoying the solitude of being in such an infrequently visited place. It would be a surprise to see anyone else up here. Goliah Peak in the background. The forecast had indicated we’d have some weather on day 2, but we had hoped to have a few hours to at least move camp up a ways. But the rain started a bit after midnight and essentially pinned us in the tent, except for occasional 10-minute breaks, for most of the day. We slept a lot. We had several rock throwing contests, all of which I won. Maybe. By evening it was clear that things were improving, again as forecast, and after a relatively dry evening of hanging out on our rock, and an amazingly solid night’s sleep given all the dozing we had done during the day, we awoke to clear skies and soon headed toward Redoubt and the West Depot Glacier. We started with a climb and rising traverse out of the lake basin, below the north side of Mad Eagle, to the ridge high above the West Depot Glacier, where we had our first views of Redoubt and our objective col through to the south side. Across the valley I could point out to Jeff where Ouzel Lake sits and how we would be coming out in a few days. Coming up out of the lake basin. Our first view of Redoubt and our target col on its west shoulder. The Apron on the NE Face route. Looking across to Spickard and Ouzel Lake, where we'd be in a few days. Where we reached the ridge there appeared to be a sure option of descending easy slopes directly down to the glacier, losing considerable elevation, but we chose to climb up the ridge a ways hoping to find a way to traverse into the glacier basin without dropping too far. Fortunately, with one short rappel tossed in, we were able to find snow slopes through the cliff bands (this would probably be an issue later in the season) and were soon trudging up the glacier arm toward the 7600’ col between Redoubt and Mad Eagle, arriving there about 3 ½ hours after leaving camp and getting treated to an immediate view of the North Face of Bear Mtn. The other side of the col required some tedious downclimbing on loose rock and then a slow descent on steep snow before the angle eased a bit. Here one needs to drop down around a rock buttress on Redoubt, unfortunately losing about 1000’ (I was amazed at the amount of whining I heard here, and Jeff complained a bit, too), and then climb back up an exhausting 1300’ to a snow shoulder on the south side route. Our original plan was to drop our full packs at the shoulder and tag the summit before moving on to a camp, but this day had clearly bouted us a bit. We had taken longer than expected, it was really hot on the south side, we were tired and out of water, the route looked to be completely snow instead of the usual easy rock gully, and it seemed much the better idea to head down to a camp and do the climb the next day. We followed some very recent tracks (an hour or two old?) down the snow and then worked our way down and over to a bench area at 7200’ on the ridge between Redoubt and the Moxes. This was home for the next three nights and was an awesome place to camp. One of our first views of the Pickets. Camp at 7200 feet. The two of us having climbed the NE Face of Fury last summer, we enjoyed having this view for 3 days. The next morning, again under bluebird skies and now well rested, we headed back up Redoubt, putting on crampons at the base of the face. At the top of the snowfields, where the route normally becomes an easy rock scramble, the gully was completely filled with snow and the tracks from the day before came to a stop. We continued up with crampons and axes on snow that varied from firm and kickable to hard ice. We simul-soloed for a short ways, then pitched out the rest of the climb to the top, placing a handful of pieces along the way. We found bare rock in one 20’ section just below the cannnonhole pitch, and then for the last 40’ or so to the top. We left our aluminum crampons on for the entire climb. Jeff ascending the snowfield below the gullies. The North Face of Bear (compare to a similar shot below from 2009). The North Face of Bear on 7/17/2009. Me leading the cannonhole pitch. An easy but interesting combination of hard ice and bottomless soft snow. Jeff belaying below as I turn the corner at the cannonhole and head for the top. Jeff dug out the summit rap slings when he arrived, then we paged through the register (last entry had been September) and just sat awhile enjoying the incredible views and taking tons of photos. Eventually it was time to head down, and we pretty much rapped the entire route. By using some rock horns and a bit of downclimbing, I think we only had to leave two pieces of tat that will be useless once the route is in normal condition. We made quick work of the plunge-stepping down the quickly-softening snow to the base and in another 30 minutes or so were back at camp in time to enjoy the evening. Jeff bringing the summit rap anchors out of hibernation. Me enjoying the summit on a gorgeous day. Jeff rapping the cannonhole pitch. The camp at 7200’ has a lot to recommend it, but there is unfortunately a high section of ridge between it and Redoubt that makes for a very early “sunset.” We lost the sun each night at about 6:30 and it wasn’t warm enough up there to comfortably hang out for very long afterwards, so it was early to the tent for those three nights. Back to our camp at 7200. Our tent is on the rock island in the center. Hard Mox was on our original list of objectives, but we opted instead to just take a day trip over to the col between the two spires. The snow on Redoubt made us think that there may be similar complications in the key gullies on Mox, but mostly we just decided that dealing with that much loose rock to bag a summit wasn’t for us as a party of two. Since Jeff is relatively unseasoned as a technical climber, and I’m old and over the hill, we decided that, as far out as we were, being very conservative in our route choices was in our better interest. It was only 1 and ½ hours to the col from camp and well worth the jaunt. Great views and yet another perspective on the area. There was plenty of snow low on the north side of the Ridge of Gendarmes, and I suspect there would have been more on the other side. Never having climbed the route, I have no idea if that would have helped or hindered an ascent. From the col between the spires, this is the start of the normal route on Hard Mox. Back to camp at 7200 for another relaxing evening. Not a bad place to just sit and soak it all in. Our plan for the next day was to follow the popular (at least apparently among the Top 100 crowd) strategy of climbing Easy Mox enroute to moving camp down to Ouzel Lake, in anticipation of climbing Spickard the next day. We awoke to see our first clouds in three days, including a lovely but unfortunately somewhat foreboding lenticular over Challenger. We packed up as the clouds thickened and the summits of Redoubt, Spickard and the Moxes all got socked in. After four bluebird days, something was clearly coming in from the SW as we moved down the Redoubt Glacier. It was an easy call to look at the obviously windy and clouded-in summit of Easy Mox and just head straight down to Ouzel. The rocky cliffs above the lake, usually class 3 ledges with a lot of scree at the base, were mostly an easy descent on snow. The lake itself was barely there due to the amount of snow in the basin. Really pretty, but the first sign of a change coming. Leaving the high country behind as the cloud cover slowly builds. Mom and kids above Ouzel Lake. The “beach” at Ouzel Lake. Ouzel Lake on July 7, 2011 (compare to a similar shot below from 2009). Ouzel Lake on July 17, 2009. We found a really nice site on a bench above and west of the lake and pitched the tent on a convenient flat rock and enjoyed being camped out of any wind, in fairly warm temps, and with the prospect of a sunset later than 6:30! We had a very good view across the basin below Redoubt to see our approach route from a few days before, and down below the clouds we could see Chilliwack Lake down the Depot Creek drainage. This pleasant respite lasted about 2 hours before the rain started, the packs went into the plastic garbage sacks, and we were relegated to the shelter of the tent. The rest of the afternoon gave us plenty of breaks in the rain, and even patches of blue, but never came close to giving us the hoped-for window to make a late-day dash up Spickard. Both Spickard and Easy Mox would occasionally pop into the clear, but we never did see the summit of Redoubt. Enjoying a great campsite before the rain began. More tent time! When your wife makes all of your dogs’ food from scratch, your climbing food labels sometimes get confusing…. By late evening things were starting to look much better and we were optimistic about climbing Spickard the next morning before hiking out. On a midnight trip outside the tent Jeff reported seeing the silhouette of Redoubt’s summit and mostly stars. Even so, I guess we weren’t all that surprised to later wake up to snow falling on us and all summits in the clouds. There was nothing to indicate anything was going to change soon, and I was all out of Dog Pork, so we packed up and headed down the valley. The snow really helped on the hike down into the basin atop the waterfall. I was hoping Jeff would get a good look at Redoubt from that aspect, but he at least got the full waterfall experience, which is definitely a highlight of any trip into this area. Once down to the lower creek basin, the rest of the hike out was really very pleasant. It’s a pretty trail for sure, at least to the border. Waking up to this pretty much sealed the deal as far as making a run up Spickard. Hiking down from Ouzel. Jeff finding some walking room between stream and boulders as we neared the bottom of the basin. Jeff using the convenient handline on slippery rock. Other than the old logged area on the Canadian side, I think the Depot Creek trail is really pleasant hiking. Once changed at the car and well into our bags of potato chips, we began the last crux, getting the car past a couple tough spots on the Depot Creek road, and then crawling at about 5-10 mph up the bumpy Chilliwack Lake Road before finally reaching blessed pavement. Back to Bellingham to hang out another night at Chad and Megan’s (thanks again, you two!), and an easy morning drive back to the PDX area the next day. All in all a great trip. We only hit one of our objective summits, but we had a great time, laughed a lot, really enjoyed our high camp, stayed safe, and it was rewarding to approach through an area that not many people see. Lake Fork is definitely not the most efficient way into Redoubt, but it satisfied a longstanding curiosity of mine (thanks for indulging me, Jeff) and the area below Goliah and Mad Eagle is a very appealing place to spend some time. Jeff is already looking forward to another trip into the Ouzel Lake area, and I’ll gladly go back if we can take someone else’s car. We had running water everywhere we camped. At the 7200’ camp, it had probably just started running a day or two earlier. We had essentially no bugs once we left the trailhead (where they were terrible). Although we saw some tracks in the Redoubt area, and quite a few up on Spickard, we never saw a soul in the 7 days we were up there.
  6. Here, judge for yourselves. We were just over there and TR'd that line after messing around on SS. I grabbed a pic from Summitpost and added my best recollection as to where the bolts are. Those who have been there can guess at the scale, but I would have said that the first bolt is more like 12-15 feet from the crack, and they probably stay at least that far away until maybe the last couple at the top. Regardless of exactly how far away they are, no one climbing Super Slab could possibly use them or would even think about it, and many parties climbing SS won’t even notice them. That’s not to say it’s unfair to call this a contrived and uninteresting squeeze job, but those bolts are not nearly close enough to Super Slab to talk about a crack being bolted. The line of bolts to the right of Lion’s Jaw Chimney might be a good parallel. A bit close maybe, but hardly affects the nature of the trad line.
  7. So the word "Geezer" makes you think of me, John? Thanks for the props on the lead, but Rodney and I were a couple days behind them on MG.
  8. I think you're right that it did fall down. This is the closest match I had to your climbing photo. You can see the brown rock band that seems to match the band directly above the lower climber in your pic. Below on the left is a zoom on the towers from your photo, and on the right a zoom on the towers from mine. Looks like that leaner on the left bit the dust sometime in the past 30 years. And your photo of the ice that existed on the face in 1980 prompted me to find the closest match I had to that shot, and also to scan Tom Miller's photo from 1956 (from his book "The North Cascades"). The scan is a poor one, but looking at the book I can see that the differences from 1956 to 1980 are not nearly as extensive as they are from 1980 to 2010. My photo from July 2010 Lowell’s photo from July 1980 Tom Miller’s photo from August 1956
  9. When we signed out we saw that two other parties had started in on interesting traverses, and were wondering how the weather was treating them. There were a couple warm days after we climbed Fury, so I'm not surprised that our tracks were gone, especially with the new snow. Damn, so that register was right in the open, huh? Maybe Jeff can make our entry when he goes back. I hope your trip was a success in spite of the weather.
  10. Trip: Northern Pickets - Luna, NE Face Fury, Challenger Date: 7/6/2010 Trip Report: Last week jeffh and I had an outstanding 8 days in the Northern Pickets, climbing Luna, the NE Face of Fury, and Challenger. For about the past 3 years I had been trying to put this trip together in June, with various partners enlisted, and always by setting some firm dates and watching the weather refuse to cooperate. This year Jeff and I arranged to leave as soon as we got the first decent long term forecast in June. As most folks know, this year that first great June weather window didn’t arrive until early July. Jeff was fortunately able to stay available, and we drove up from PDX on Monday afternoon, July 5, camping at Newhalem Campground before catching an early water taxi to Big Beaver Tuesday morning. I’d been in the Northern Pickets several times, but never before July 20. I wanted to see the area earlier in the season, I wanted to climb the NE Face of Fury, wanted to cross Luna Cirque south to north after having done it a few times the other direction, and wanted to head out via Wiley Ridge after having come in that way a few years ago. Even though we ended up not being there a lot earlier (2 weeks) than I had been before, this year we definitely encountered much earlier season conditions. While I’m sure it will be melting fast, the overwhelming theme of the trip was snow – lots and lots of snow. Here and there I’ve added a comparison shot from an earlier trip (most from a July 20-27, 2006 trip with ckouba where we did pretty much this same loop in reverse). We opted to spend the extra time the first day to get up into Access Creek Basin. It makes for a long day, since it starts with 11 trail miles before crossing Big Beaver Creek and heading up through brush and steep forest to timberline, but it gets a lot out of the way and makes for an easy second day to reach Luna Col. Our first camp. The snow is a big help climbing up out of the basin. After a leisurely start the next morning, we reached the col a bit after noon. My biggest surprise upon reaching the col was the amount of snow. Nothing looked at all like it had on previous visits. We hung out a while in the sun, then hiked the easy 45 minutes to the false summit of Luna before enjoying a relaxing evening at camp. Jeff gets his first view of Luna Cirque Looking at the Southern Pickets and Luna Col from the slopes of Luna Peak A similar shot from July 2006 Looking across Luna Cirque to Challenger Arm from the false summit of Luna Peak A similar shot from July 2006 And our first good look at our prime objective, the NE Face of Fury The next day was essentially a rest day, descending 2200 feet on snow to Luna Lake. We broke camp at the col at the crack of noon, moved slowly, and arrived at the lake an hour later. Exactly the easy day needed before climbing Fury the next day. Looking down on Luna Lake from above, both last week and in 2006 Crossing the outlet of Luna Lake to reach our campsite. This actually felt good! Our site at Luna Lake Our route the next day, up the lower Fury Glacier and across to the NE Face, and the same view from 2006 The NE Face of Fury doesn’t seem to get a lot of attention, probably less than the nearby North Buttress. I’ve seen a couple of summit register entries for the route from names I don’t know, Lowell Skoog once mentioned he and his brothers climbed it back in the day from a camp on Challenger Arm, Goatboy climbed it several years ago as a later season ice climb, and then there were these guys in June of 2003, who cleverly photoshopped their photos to make it appear that they SKIED the face after climbing it! I had wanted to climb this route since first seeing it from the North Buttress in 2005. Jeff and I went in with minimal gear and with the idea that we would either have excellent conditions, or we would bail and do something else. We found a route that could not possibly have been in better shape as an early season snow climb. From Luna Lake we ascended the left margin of the Fury Glacier, then made the long, easy traverse across to the face proper. While the face can look intimidatingly steep from the other side of Luna Cirque, it’s really a very moderate and remarkably consistent angle, probably 45-50 degrees. While we found no steep or icy sections, there were some pretty amazing runnels to cross. The route actually takes a diagonal path up the face and requires you to cross one runnel after another. Fortunately, the snow was very consistent, even in the runnels, and we were able to kick great steps all the way. In addition to a standard ice axe, we had each brought a second lightweight Camp ice axe as a second tool. That proved to be a great choice and the conditions allowed plunging the tools pretty much all the way. Very secure, very fun, and absolutely incredible location. The exposure, with the long drop down into the cirque and Lousy Lake, was actually exhilarating with crampons and two tools. But it had to be just a bit nauseating to the skiers, especially with the ice runnels to deal with. Much respect to Ben, Jason and Sky! Threading through a bit of debris on the easy approach up the lower Fury Glacier The Fury Snowfinger. A very reasonable summit route and potential direct descent route Jeff flaking the rope before we moved onto crevassed terrain Finally out on the face itself. Jeff emerging from the first deep runnel Jeff below me, and Lousy Lake WAY below him Looking up at the upper face and the many runnels to negotiate That’s about how I felt, too. Very near the top now. Turning the final corner to easier ground near the summit A Happy Camper tops out! Make that two Happy Campers We arrived on the summit to absolutely clear skies and amazing views of the Southern Pickets. Again, the amount of snow on top was a surprise. Normally the highest point on Fury is rock that is well above any nearby snow. This time the snow was higher than the rock. The comparison photo is from early August 2005, when I camped on the summit with my partner Michael Corroone. That rock immediately behind the tent was completely covered when Jeff and I were there. We couldn’t see it at all. The top of that tent would have been under at least a couple feet of snow. Two more comparison photos, these looking down onto the upper North Buttress and upper NE Face We made more than a token effort at digging out the register, but eventually realized it was a hopeless cause, and might not even be where I had last seen it. After and hour and a half of hanging out, taking pictures and soaking in the views, we decided to hit the road for camp. I was kinda lobbying for a descent via the Fury Snowfinger, making for a very direct return to Luna Lake. I know Lowell and his brothers did that and it seemed like a very efficient route down. But Jeff wanted to experience the SE Glacier route for later visits, and the cornices near the top of the snowfinger were impressive to say the least. So we took the long way home, which I really didn’t mind at all. It does let you enjoy the Southern Pickets for even longer, and it’s a good route for Jeff to have dialed for future Fury climbs. But it also turned out to be the only time on our trip that the high snow levels didn’t help us. The SE Glacier route has a few sections of fairly steep rock that are actually pretty easy to traverse due to lots of narrow ledges. Covered with snow, though, these areas were just very steep snow sections that demanded care. Very tedious and slow in a few places – more unnerving, really, than climbing up the NE Face had been. We didn’t follow the route all the way to Luna Col, but headed down to the lake at the first opportunity, arriving there 10 hours after we had left that morning. A very well deserved rest back at Luna Lake Our next day was a relatively easy crossing of Luna Cirque. While the cirque had been almost completely quiet ever since we reached Luna Col, the bottom of the cirque was piled fairly high with earlier avy debris. That day was really the first time we saw any ice or rockfall, mostly from a hanging glacier section below Swiss Peak. It took us a casual 5 hours, traveling on mostly snow, to reach Challenger Arm, where we again found heavy snowcover. We had planned on climbing Challenger the next day before starting down Wiley Ridge, but we decided instead to head up that afternoon. We left camp at 3 pm and were on the summit 2 hours later. No problems at all on the snow approach right now. We found tracks from either early that morning or maybe the day before, coming from Perfect Pass, but never saw the other climbers. Weather was perfect and we had great views back and down at our path of the past few days. Challenger climbed, all of our main objectives had been accomplished and it was almost literally all downhill from here. Looking up at Challenger from our camp Looking back at a route we were really happy to have climbed Back across the cirque from atop Challenger, both last week and what it looked like in 2006 All the hard work is done and we have an easy few days to leave the range We enjoyed a pleasant evening and the next morning dawned clear, but soon clouds started building and prompted us to get moving down the ridge a bit earlier than we had planned. Weather was definitely changing a bit. We had hoped for one more night up high with great views into the cirque, and moved camp about 3 hours down the ridge to a nice spot on the crest. Unfortunately, clouds continuously streamed in from the west and obscured all of the summits. We still had a very pleasant afternoon, catching lots of sun breaks, but never got the stellar views of Fury that we were hoping for to end our stay in the high country. Our last really good look at Fury Our last camp up high, down Wiley Ridge a ways. Those clouds stayed right there all day long! That night the wind picked up and put the Beta Light to the test. I had picked the wrong side of the tent and spent most of the night getting pummeled and trying to brace the wall of the tent against the onslaught. Neither of us got a lot of quality sleep time. In the morning we stayed in the tent a while hoping to wait out the wind, but finally accepted defeat and quickly packed up and got down off the crest. Once out of the wind, we stopped for coffee and some breakfast, actually now with some light snow falling. My memory of Wiley Ridge wasn’t as sharp as I’d hoped (I’m getting a bit old…) and we took a while to find the top of the best timber rib to drop down to Beaver Pass. But it eventually went well and we were soon hiking down the Big Beaver Trail to 39-Mile Camp. Leaving camp in a really cold wind, we pretty much had to toss on all the clothing we brought! Lower on Wiley Ridge, heading down into the forest and eventually to Beaver Pass After a bit of drizzle overnight, we started hiking out after a late morning. We had a noon boat scheduled and only 5 and a half easy miles to Ross Lake. It’s hard to imagine a more relaxing way to end such a great trip than walking through the silent and towering old growth forest along lower Big Beaver Creek. We had just enough time at the boat dock to foolishly jump into the incredibly cold lake, but it did feel good to think that maybe we lost a few layers of the sweat, dirt, suncream and DEET that had built up over the past several days. Well, that was interesting. Now how quickly can I get the hell out of this lake? Paying proper attention to Post Climb Nutrition Jeff was an awesome and absolutely solid partner. It was his first trip into the Pickets, he had waited 3 years for this, and he totally appreciated where he was and how lucky he was to be pulling off such a successful trip on his first venture into the range. He’d gone in with very high expectations (mostly from listening to me for the past few years!) and felt that all of those expectations were exceeded. The Fury route was a step up for him in seriousness, but if he was at all intimidated he hid it well and was game for anything. We were in great spirits the whole trip, and I mostly remember just laughing a lot for 8 days. Really good times with a good friend, and as rewarding a Pickets experience as one could ask for. We saw 2 hikers on the Big Beaver Trail on Day 1, and then saw no one until encountering a trail crew at Beaver Pass on Day 7. Gear Notes: 30m half rope Beta Light with betabug - There were enough bugs to make the netting insert worth the extra weight. We spent most nights with just the bug net up. Ice Axe – We each had one standard ice axe and one lightweight Camp axe to use as a second tool on the Fury climb. Not really necessary for that route, but very handy for added security and we were glad we had them. Crampons – We both own crampons that allow mixing steel fronts with aluminum rear sections, so we both saved a few ounces by using that combination. Worked very well for the conditions we had, although we would have been fine with just aluminums. We only used crampons on Fury. Fuel - We took 2 large canisters for our Jetboil, boiling both mornings and evenings, and didn’t tap the second one until the last night. We had expected some snow melting, but were able to find at least a drip everywhere except Challenger Arm. And there we set up a solar thing with a sleeping pad and garbage sack, and had 6-7 liters just in the 3 hours we were off climbing Challenger. Aquasocks – Don’t leave home without them! Approach Notes: Up Access Creek. Down Wiley Ridge.
  11. Steph has, as usual, done a great job of documenting the trip and explaining the accident and the aftermath. I just wanted to add a few comments specifically about the long wait to get Jason down onto the ground. When I think back on our entire trip, the great team we had, how much I was enjoying everyone’s company, the climbing we had done before Terror, the accident itself and our response to it, and then the effort to get Jason down, it’s that last 3 ½ day period that I seem to be thinking about the most. I can’t say enough good things about the way this was handled by Kelly Bush and her team. After skillfully and quickly (tightly constrained by darkness, windy conditions and incoming weather) getting Steve off the wall and on his way to medical help, they immediately began addressing how to get back up there for Jason. Weather turned that process into a long 3 ½ days, and it was both educational and impressive to watch. Kelly had to constantly watch the weather (including talking to meteorologists about trying to find even the slightest opening in visibility to get Jason), evaluate Jason’s situation and condition a couple times each day, always be accessing other options and always evaluating risk. Family members had to be updated, and eventually the media arrived with questions. While Jason was clearly the major focus of Kelly and her team during this time, it was certainly not the only thing on their plate. The usual other business, both routine issues and minor crises, had to be dealt with. And everyone in the Marblemount office, Kelly and all of the rangers on her team, were extremely tolerant of having me and Steph underfoot and listening in on discussions, and were very generous in letting us know at all times what their thinking was and what options were being considered. I know it was a stressful time for all of them, and I never once felt shut out of the process. And I would add that, looking back, Kelly’s decisions were right every step of the way. If I’m ever in a situation where I need to be rescued from the alpine, these are the people I’d like to be running the show. That Jason was eventually pulled off of the face successfully was due not only to the caliber of the people doing the rescuing, but to the caliber of the person being rescued. The biggest gift to everyone involved was Jason’s character during this entire event. Many people have quite rightly praised him for being strong in a tough situation, but you can’t overestimate how important his behavior was to the actual rescue planning. Everything revolved around the urgency to get him back down on the ground, and another person might have made that task harder and forced earlier, possibly riskier action. He found a way to physically make himself at least tolerably comfortable, psychologically resigned himself to the fact that he had to stay there for possibly several days, and was just simply a totally tough dude. His radio calls, indicating that he was doing okay and was still in good spirits, I know gave Kelly just a bit of breathing room as she accessed her options, and certainly reduced the stress levels of all of the rest of us who were hovering around anxiously awaiting for his rescue. I can’t say how proud I am to have him as a friend. I can only hope that I would have been as cool as he in the same situation.
  12. Wild Things Andinista Pack – $125 plus shipping Size L. Blue. This pack is 4-5 years old, but the main specs are pretty much as described on the Wild Things site: http://www.wildthingsgear.com/prod_packs.php There are a few scuff holes on the double-layer bottom, some of which I’ve touched up with seam seal. Otherwise the pack is really in excellent condition. I bought a Cilogear 60L a couple years ago and tend to use that wherever I once used the Andinista. I’ve decided I’m just not using this enough anymore to hang on to it. I’ve made the following modifications to the pack: 1) The stock pack comes with a very long extension sleeve that allows the pack to double as an emergency bivy of sorts. I never use that feature, and never extend the pack that high, and so it was mostly a nuisance. I shortened the sleeve to a more typical length, as in the photo. 2) I added two snaps onto the Velcro top lid attachment to hold it in place better when flipping the lid on and off. Works great, and the lid is still completely removable. 3) I added a very simple homemade bladder pocket inside for using a hydration system, and also cut and heat-sealed a small slit high on the side of the pack for the hydration hose to exit. It worked great for my purposes, but the pocket can be easily removed and the slit sewn shut if you don’t use a bladder system. 4) I replaced the stock compression straps on one side with longer straps to accommodate a sleeping pad or tent or whatever. These can easily be replaced by shorter straps, and the compression straps on this pack are completely removable anyway. 5) I forget what originally came with the pack as a bivy pad (something doubled over?), but it now has a simple single layer bivy pad. 6) And the real selling point - I added a key clip in one of the lid pockets! You pay shipping, or I can arrange to meet in the PDX area pretty much anytime. Thanks!
  13. FYI, in case it wasn’t already on folks’ radar, I just saw posted at Marblemount that the Cascade River Road will be gated at mile 20, the Eldorado parking lot, starting on Monday, September 15 for road repair. The notice said the repairs are scheduled to be completed by December, so I wouldn't expect it to be reopening anytime soon. As usual, the last 3 miles of road will still be open for hiking.
  14. which ones? I have some old Nike Aquasocks and they're my standard camp shoe. Great for fording streams, dry quickly, wear 'em with or without socks. Before spending any real money, I'd check the big warehouse stores like Sports Authority. I've seen cheap ones there for $9-10 that would work just fine.
  15. How about Luna, maybe taken by someone thrashing her way out Luna Creek?
  • Create New...