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AOC last won the day on May 9 2018

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  1. Spoke to a NPS climbing ranger 2 weeks ago in Sedro Wooley who climbed the route in late July. She said they had to rappel into the moat to access the ridge.
  2. Trip: Mt. Redoubt/Spickard (Aug. 9 - 13) - S. Ridge / S.Face Trip Date: 08/09/2018 Trip Report: We climbed the standard routes on Spickard and Redoubt from Aug. 9 - 13. Weather and late season scree curtailed bigger ambitions to climb the Mox peaks and visit the Silver Lake basin. The Chilliwack River Rd. lived up to its 15 mph potholed reputation. But we made it to the lower parking area without too much trouble in a rental Rav4 with AWD. There is a fair amount of blowdown just beyond the border as you enter the park, which prevented us from gaining a real head of steam on the approach. And Depot Creek Falls was running strong. Knotted guide ropes were critical to climbing the short, slippery stretch where the climber's trail intersects the falls. Thanks to whomever placed these ropes. (Mountaineers?) We actually rappelled this stretch on the way down. It was that slick. We climbed Spickard by GPS on a day with visibility of perhaps 100 yards. But the skies cleared momentarily on the way down and we got a clear view of Luna Peak and the Pickets before descending to our scenic camp at Ouzel Lake. The day was clear as we headed up Redoubt but smoke obscured views of more distant peaks. Climbing was straightforward. We brought a rope for possible 5th class terrain crossing over the Redoubt Glacier to the south side basin. But the snow level was high enough that moving through the pass involved only a short 4th class scramble. The cannon hole near the summit is a cool feature that can be seen from Ouzel Lake. As you move thorough it the terrain drops off abruptly thousands of feet to the north side glacier. We were the only party up there - the summit register on Spickard indicated only 8 or 9 parties this season. The place is certainly remote. Later, we drove to Chelan and rode the ferry to Stehekin on the worst smoke-filled day I've seen in the N. Cascades. Half the time the shoreline was not visible. Luckily, the skies cleared a bit when we climbed Mt. Logan the next day via the Fremont Glacier. 18 miles and 7K elevation gain. Another remote location in my favorite range in the lower 48! Gear Notes: Rope for short rappels on Redoubt - Depot Creek Falls Approach Notes: Depot Creek
  3. You might be reading about the access couloir, which is snow until later in the season and then can be climbed on rock. The glacier just below Forbidden is about as tame as they come. It is disappearing and won't be around much longer. Poke around for photos of Forbidden "Unnamed Glacier" (actually the name) to get an idea.
  4. I’m not local but have made many trips to the Washington Cascades. I’m sure others will have more detailed advice. That said: I understand the snowpack is normal this year, which means approaches and camping in many listed locations will be on snow. Few thoughts on your list: Mt. Adams south side routes are a slog but if you’re in the neighborhood it is a worthwhile outing to get up high and enjoy the view. Can be done in a day and is a safe choice for beginners on snow. The road will probably be open all the way to the trailhead in your time frame. You need a volcano pass to climb Mt. Adams. Colchuck etc. – You need a permit for overnight camping in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness from May 1 – Oct. 31. These are allocated by lottery far in advance. You would need to take your chances with the daily lottery to get an overnight permit. Ingall’s Peak – good choice. A few fun easy routes on good rock. Relatively easy approach. West Ridge of Stuart –might still be snow on the route early season. The standard descent is down the Cascadian couloir, which absolutely sucks without snow. You’ll have plenty in early season but this long descent is probably not the best choice for a novice on snow. Boston Basin – alpine wonderland. You’ll have to score a permit in Marblemount. Can’t go wrong with Forbidden (West Ridge or slightly more challenging East Ridge). However, there is a small glacier to cross. It is a tame one and there will likely be a boot track but if you don’t want to set foot on a glacier, Forbidden is out of bounds. Same for Torment (small glacier). I think Sharkfin Tower is reached on a snowfield, without setting foot on the Quien Sabe glacier. Washington Pass – probably your best choice for easy to moderate, glacier-free approaches and great climbing on solid rock. Good roadside camping.
  5. Thanks for the trip report and photos. We chatted a few minutes on your first day up there. We were the party of 3 coming down from the Torment-Forbidden traverse (talked about getting spanked on Mt. Hunter). Glad you two had a good trip. We also saw that party coming down Torment late at night. Certainly looked epic.
  6. The bench camp stream was running fine 2 weeks ago.
  7. We're a group of six climbers from the northeast looking for a base apartment/house rental for planned objectives throughout the Cascades (e.g., Mowich Face, Enchantments, Washington Pass, S.Pickets) for the month of July. The idea is to avoid having to constantly move our gear from motel to motel, and to have a spot to comfortably wait for good weather opportunities. We're considering Wenatchee for its more or less central location and cragging potential when the mountain forecast isn't good. I've been to the Cascades many times but have only passed through Wenatchee. Good idea? Wenatchee is also in our sights for its proximity to the Enchantments (Dragontail, Prusik). But is the daily lottery for overnight permits a complete crap shoot with consistently bad odds? (Most of us have climbed Mt. Stuart and other peaks in the area that don't require a permit.) Thanks for any thoughts.
  8. Great trip report! Love the photo of Little Beaver Valley from Whatcom Pass.
  9. Trip: Northern Pickets (Challenger, Luna Cirque, Fury) - Date: 8/6/2013 Trip Report: Obsessing over a few extra ounces of climbing gear seems pointless when you’re already carrying fifteen pounds of food on your back. But the meticulously packed food bag (2500 calories per day) would remain inviolate. You see - I had been to the Pickets once before, in 2006. Then, my careless partner had run out of food in Luna Cirque, 3 days from the Ross Lake trailhead. Bushwhacking down Access Creek with an empty stomach and calorie-starved brain was an Abu Ghraib-like experience I will never forget. This time, “light and fast” would just have to mean a 52-pound pack. I wanted to experience the Pickets with a functioning cerebral cortex. We snagged a water taxi reservation at the last minute, sharing the ride with Jack Kerouac fans making the pilgrimage to Desolation Peak. Divvying up the boat fare among our three groups threatened to devolve into an Occupy Wall Street Spokes Council meeting until John ponied up our full share and let the Dharma Bums figure it out for themselves. We bid them goodbye at Big Beaver landing and began the 14- mile, old growth cedar-filled schlep to Beaver Pass. Dinner was 12 ounces of something-or-other off our backs. Camped at the pass were Mike and Dale, who planned to climb Challenger, and who we’d see intermittently over the next two days. The rhyming Eiley-Wiley Ridge sounds like an enchanted location from a fable. But it felt less than magical in its steep timbered lower section, where John (46) and I (54) labored to keep up with Pat (29), a pattern that would be repeated over and over again in the days ahead. But once we emerged into the scrub to that first storybook view of Luna Peak, the Pickets held us constantly spellbound – a wilderness reverie that would endure until we crossed the Ross Lake dam one week later. In 2006, I had hiked to Perfect Pass via Little Beaver and over Whatcom Peak – a long straightforward approach. Eiley-Wiley is shorter but, I think, more convoluted and strenuous. We pitched the Megamid on the ridgeline just before Eiley Lake, planning to climb Challenger and descend to Luna Cirque the next day. In the morning, we bumped into Mike and Dale just before Point 7374 and followed them north on to the glacier. Before long we all thought better of this direction and backtracked to climb through the notch. I foolishly failed to consult the map and headed straight down, only to be cliffed-out. Pat and I wasted 90 minutes scouting a passage down to Challenger camp. By then, Mike and Dale could be seen heading up the Challenger glacier, having taken the correct line (skier’s right directly below the notch). We rested in the awkward shade of boulders, watching to see how they negotiated the bergshrund. A tiny figure (Mike) could be seen heading up a snow bridge on the right. He climbed down, tried again, and then a third time. Before long Mike and Dale were back at Challenger camp reporting a collapsed snow bridge and desperate overhanging snow on the regular route. They’d been skunked. We opted to postpone Challenger until the next day so we’d have more time to scout an alternate route around the bergschrund. Clouds and steady rain moved in overnight; it looked to be an enforced rest day. But skies cleared midday and we headed up. A ramp on the left lead to a couple of fun mixed pitches followed by steep snow and the summit rocks. I generously offered the “5.7+” (NOT) crux pitch to Pat because I lead it in 2006 and you need to keep your rope gun happy. We admired the summit view, our eyes lingering on Mt. Slesse in the far distance. I added its NE buttress to my bucket list. We rapped the rock sections and were back at camp in no time. Little did we suspect but the “challenge” in Mt. Challenger was about to begin. The sky pinkened. Clouds engulfed Whatcom Peak. Lightning streaks flashed across the southern horizon. They struck closer. And closer. We measured their steady approach by mentally counting thunderclap intervals. The wind picked up. Flash – one, two, three – BOOM! The Megamid’s corners snapped free from their rock anchors, flapping obscenely skyward. No one breathed a word. We knew if the tarp blew away we’d be fucked. John and I dove for opposite corners, clutching and leaning into them as if in full self-arrest for our lives, while Pat gripped the vibrating center ski poles. We hung on in silence, fingers aching, for an hour. The storm eased. Pat broke the silence. “I thought Terror was in the Southern Pickets.” Morning sun had us dried out and hiking down Challenger Arm in crampons on bare ice. (The snow line was much higher this year than in Aug. 2006.) Pat turned the corner and began scouting the route that would lead us to the bottom of Luna cirque. We knew what NOT to do. I had descended too early in 2006 and paid for it with a night on a slabby ledge and some sacrificed Stoppers and biners for rap anchors. We knew to traverse high and descend only when the way down is clear. We recognized the “walk-under” waterfall from photos in trip reports. But the water volume was too high to safely reach it. We were trapped on the smooth slabs. I noticed a huge boulder forming a perfect pinch for a rappel anchor on the edge of the waterfall. I gave Pat the thumbs up sign. Game on. Pat rapped laterally and walked under the waterfall, soaking his pack in the process. I waved for him to move down slope, following the fall line so we could more safely follow with a fireman’s belay. Somehow, we failed to alert John that he was about to rap over an edge into his own personal Niagara. He looked down, hesitated, skeptically looked up at me and mouthed “Here??!!!” before plunging over the edge into the cascade. Pat fought and maneuvered the ropes ends, reeling John in like a hooked tuna. I followed and got equally soaked. We laughed, high-fived and vowed to build a fire in the sandy cirque bottom to dry out. Only a thousand vertical feet of miserable talus and scree stood in our way now. We looked up and noticed that in the hour it took for our waterfall shenanigans, the sky had darkened and another thunderstorm was fast approaching. We erected the Megamid just in time to avoid the deluge, which streamed harmlessly off the sil-nylon into the deep sand of the cirque bottom. A few hours later we were warming and drying ourselves by a spruce twig fire, witnessing the Perseid meteor shower from one of the coolest locations in North America. The Pickets continued to hold us under its wild spell. The original plan was to climb Mt. Fury’s North Buttress. I was unsure I could do so with a heavy pack and we planned to play things by ear. By now, it was clear that I was incapable of doing so. But the issue turned out to be moot because the route was completely out of shape. The approach slope was studded with huge, ugly gaps that would have required much climbing on wet slabs. Even the snow arête on the upper third of the route looked largely melted-out. We switched to Plan B: the Southeast Glacier route. Back up the far side of the cirque to Luna Col! I popped over a rise to see John and Pat stretched out in their underwear on the sandy shore of Luna Lake. “Welcome to Shangri-La,” they yelled before plunging headfirst into the icy water. I tried to follow them but my legs seized up and I high-tailed it back to shore before drowning. Above the lake we broke out the rope for Pat to lead some hilarious, sketchy 5th class moves up through pine trees. The heather and wildflower slopes beyond were out of an alpine dream. I wanted to yodel. At Luna Col, we set up the shelter on an aerie perch with a commanding view of Luna Cirque, the McMillan Spires, and the Cascade Pass area in the far distance. A clear night served up more meteor showers to enjoy. At dawn, a sea of low-lying clouds revealed hundreds of summit islands as we geared up for Mt. Fury. The key to the Southeast Glacier route is the long roller coaster approach. The climb is essentially over once you reach the glacier itself. We simul-climbed a short section and then Pat charged ahead to scout the route through shitty gullies for the rest of the morning. John executed a full-on self-arrest on wet heather as the old guys struggled to keep up on the traverse. Pat’s excellent scouting brought us directly to the glacier entrance at 6700 feet, where we roped up and skirted a few crevasses on the way to the upper mountain. I chose a harder line through a big moat (prudently handing the lead over to Pat) in order to climb a slender snow arête on the right hand skyline. Unfortunately, the summit register was full as of 2006 and we couldn’t sign our names. I did spend some time reading through it, recognizing the names of some of the bold climbers like Wayne Wallace who have made their mark on Mt. Fury and in the Northern Pickets. We raced down the glacier and barely made it back over the convoluted ridge to Luna Col by dark. We lollygagged around camp throughout the morning, not anxious to leave this alpine wonderland. Hell hath no Fury; but it has an Access Creek –and it stood menacingly between us and the Big Beaver River. I gritted my teeth and lead us side-hilling miserably through alder patches on the north side of the creek before reaching more open timber slopes that descended eventually to the river. Pat crossed first and constructed a nice log jam for John and me to safely maneuver in rock shoes. After stopping for a long dinner break at Luna Camp, we switched to cruise control and hiked until midnight to 39 mile camp. I broke out the Ipod for the first time and listened to some Bach cello concertos. Pat chose The Smashing Pumpkins. John’s foot, leg and back pains lacked a musical score. In the morning, I handed the car keys to Pat and we each hiked in reverse birth order the few remaining miles to Ross Lake dam. As I climbed above the dam the last few hundred yards to the parking lot, I encountered a couple who had obviously stopped spontaneously to check out the scenery. “Was this trail hard?” the young woman asked uncertainly. “It depends,” I said, “how far you’re going.” I thought a moment and added, “But it gets better and better the farther you go.”
  10. Totally unhelpful advice (sorry): save this classic route until you can do it without a guide.
  11. Our two teams on the Cilley-Barber route, Mt. Katahdin Maine. [
  12. We're planning to hike the Ptarmigan Traverse over 6-7 days in August and climb to some summits along the way (N-S). We're definitely planning to climb Dome and thinking about Gunsight. What are some of the nicer summit routes along the main hiking route - 3rd to mid-5th class? Thanks for any suggestions.
  13. Nice work! Great photos. We were on PR 2 weeks ago during 3 days of perfect weather. Looks like you got the real deal. Totally different mountain.
  14. Great photos and video. The shot of the avalanche on Hunter is awesome!
  15. Trip: Mt. Rainier - Ptarmigan Ridge Date: 7/4/2011 Trip Report: From July 4 – 7 John MacInnes and I climbed Ptarmigan Ridge, a route that thwarted our efforts in 2008, and that we vowed to return to. (2008 trip report http://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/808104/TR_Mount_Rainier_Ptarmigan_Rid#Post808104). We saw no other climbers for 3 days on the mountain, except for a momentary glimpse of another party’s headlamps on Liberty Ridge. Three years ago, we started at Mowich Lake, intending to carry over to the D.C. This time we started at White River and descended the Emmons. Enroute, we camped at Curtis Ridge (7200 ft), where we enjoyed the distant fireworks from Seattle and the Puget Sound communities late into the night on the 4th. The next day we crossed the Carbon Glacier with ease and climbed Ptarmigan Ridge’s lower slopes to 10,300, pitching our small tent beneath the giant, teetering ice cliff. We lost some time traversing to the bivy site. I down climbed a rotten gully with poor protection to bypass a rock tower. I’m sure there was a faster way to cover the last 100 yards to the bivy site. Improbably safe on the narrow ridge, we heard repeated cannon booms signaling the ice avalanches that regularly calved onto the slopes below us in the afternoon heat. Awake at midnight and climbing by 2 a.m., we cramponed up the snow face, trending left toward the gullies that lead to the final, broad summit slopes (right hand variation). We dispatched these gullies in 3 long running belays, using pickets, ice screws and an occasional sling around a rock. The route was in great shape with plenty of ice to justify the 4 screws we carried. Surmounting a very short, easy rock band high above the North Mowich Glacier, we emerged on easier ground where we rested and brewed up in the morning sun. Blue skies and high pressure were forecasted for the next morning. So to prolong the alpine fun (and rest our middle-aged bones) we pitched the tent on the flat lip of a crevasse just beneath the summit. (The slog to Liberty Cap from the top of the technical section is LONG.) At 8 a.m. on the 7th, we stood in glorious sunshine and calm winds on top. What took us days to ascend, we descended in a few hours, racing down the Emmons to Camp Schurman and Glacier Basin. We glissaded the Inter Glacier in about 5 minutes. Without a hint of hyperbole, John remarked, “That was the most fun I’ve had since I was 8.” I’ve climbed several routes on Rainier in the past decade. Ptarmigan Ridge was perhaps the finest, especially gratifying to climb at age 52, and with a great friend and climbing partner on our second try. Photos (some from Ingalls Pass): flickr.com Gear Notes: 40m glacier rope, 1 tool, axe, 4 screws, 3 pickets, 3 medium cams (1 used), a few nuts (none used).
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