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Everything posted by Doug_Hutchinson

  1. Whats the best soft shell pant for BC skiing?

    Regarding the TLT buckle issue (I am really not sold on this concept except for skimo racing); why not do do the surgical tubing mod for walk mode so the buckle doesn't have to flip open: http://www.wildsnow.com/11289/dynafit-tlt-6-modifications-mod-diy/
  2. Ice in Leavenworth!

    I think I can answer this one because we climbed it today. The route was still decent today but is quickly reverting to its typical slush cone native state. The second and last pitches were shower stalls and many holes were opened by afternoon which were not this morning. It will be climbable for a few more days but bring Gtex and Vinyl Love gloves. Today, was the first time I crossed at Lake Jolanda, way easier boating but adds an hour each way.
  3. [TR] Alpental Valley Ice

    Dan, how the heck did you know Flow Reversal was in? We had two 60Ms so rapped from the tree you belayed at the base of P3 to the base of the climb. Way to blow out a tire in Mt Vernon in the wee hours, limp home on your spare and still get on the climb nice and early, Yes, not a bad consolation prize!
  4. [TR] Alpental Valley Ice

    I hope that line to the right of Flow Reversal has a good name, because it is so good! It is about 110 meters of super sweet ice: The first two pitches (about 90M total) were anything from WI3- to 3+ super fun, choose-your-own-line rambles. Wayne at the P1 belay, note P3 daggers and pillars far above: We climbed quickly and were in the sun the whole climb. It is a designer climb with each belay in a sheltered cave with nice views of scenic Alpy valley. Wayne getting to P2 belay with lots of relief below: P3 was the crux, short at about 20M but really techy WI5. Starts by stemming between two pillars and then a pumpy bulge. Finishes with some nice WI4. Wayne styled it but had to work hard to smash enough chandeliers to get good sticks. Nice lead Wayne! Wayne starting P3: The climb had the feel of a mini Goats Beard with the hanging daggers above but the cold temps kept everything nice and solid. We left a sling on a tree up and left of the last pitch to rap to a lower tree. A second rap got us down to our packs. This is a stellar climb! A fast party could link this and Flow Reversal for 200M of the finest ice in Western WA.
  5. Multi day ski mountaineering packs

    I have both a Cilo30 (regular fabric) and a Cold Cold World Chernobyl (50L) and Chaos (60L) and use them all a lot. I tried to use the Cilo for day ski trips but quickly cut the fabric with my ski edges (carrying A-frame style) and stopped. I effing love CCW packs and use them for everything! They seem old school but are the perfect combination of light, burly and have everything you need and nothing extra. The Chernobyl is my favorite overnight pack for skiing or climbing. CCW packs carry loads really great and Cilos start to hurt after you get over day trip weight or strap on skis IMHO (I know, I know that there are rabid Cilo fans out there who will violently disagree). Trouble with CCWs is I haven't seen them in stores in years so you can't try before your buy. The upside is, since Randy Rackliff sews each one when you order, you can add or subract things like rope straps and pick colors.
  6. Jim Opdyke's address?

    Can someone PM it to me? I need to mail him something and heard he moved and internet searches just give his old address. Thanks!
  7. quiver killers?

    Can't wait for winter too! (although this has been the best summer ever for climbing). New issues of Backcountry and Powder in the mail box have helped feed the pre-season stoke. Inserts are great and should not be feared but also are not 100% idiot proof as has been noted. Partially because of what shops charge to install inserts, but mostly because of the nuances involved (getting the proper machine screw length, issues with future binding swaps, screws and inserts loosening, etc); I think this should be one of those DIY projects. I have hand-mounted about 50 pairs of bindings but still took a few tries to get inserts right. Practice on an old ski and do not consume alcohol while installing inserts! Yes, Binding Freedom inserts are better because of the slotted tops but I actually like the jammed nut tool that Quiver Killer makes to install the inserts flush with the ski. The BF tool for the slotted top is not super solid. The BF guide block was almost useless for getting the inserts perfectly straight and a drill press would be better but I had no problem with a hand drill. I would not trust the screw length per binding table listed on the QK or BF websites since it was generated by the “community” and not checked for accuracy. I learned this the hard way but Tacoma Screw is a better resource for M5 screws anyway and who doesn’t enjoy an occasional trip to Tacoma Screw? As has been stated above, use the recommended lock tight but I still suspect screws loosening and screws locking to the inserts and backing out of the insert (both have happened to me) are potential problems which is why I recommend that inserts should be a DYI project. Man, I love talking skiing and ski gear, anyone ski the TLT6 yet and when is someone gonna make and sell a functional, skiable TTS binding (sorry, the current commercially available ain’t IMHO)…
  8. boving/christensen route on prusik

    Maybe on another peak or in another part of the range, this route would be maybe worth doing, but for Prusik, I found it very low quality. In the spring, we started up it after getting down off the superb Solid Gold. I only climbed p1 which was very dirty (like vegetated crack - similar to the crack below the climber in the last climbing pic in olyclimber's TR). This 5.9 felt almost as hard as the 10+ on Solid Gold since the cracks were filled with soil. The pitches above looked similar and the surrounding rock is covered with black lichen as opposed to the white and gold perfect granite on most of the rest of the south face. Once I got to the bail station at the top of the pitch and thought about more unaesthetic climbing above vs. getting back to the car before dark, the decision to to bail was easy. We were definitely pretty spoliled after Solid Gold but the Boving route is definitely not worth the walk in.
  9. A few days ago, I found a large diameter, single Black Diamond tent pole which I assume is used with a megamid. It was on the trail leaving the Mountaineer's Creek camp on the north side of Stuart. I live in Seattle. (Yes, this was found enroute to, but not on, der Girth Pillar. No, I am not trying to usurp the famous Neutrino post).
  10. Great to ski with you Tom and Juya! You hauled freakin' ass! I think Juya may want to consider challenging Greg Hill's vert record next year. No mention of the diving camera catch at altitude? Not quite at the level of Schoening's belay but it was nice to put those years of playing first base to use... PS - we were able to ski to the bridge but assume there will be some walking from now on and probably won't be worth it by next weekend.
  11. Current Cody ice conditions?

    I was there 3 days last week and the conditions are awesome. Yes, some of the south facing pitches are degrading but we still climbed Broken Hearts through the p5 pillar which gets about sun as anything there. Spying and Flying was super good even though the last WI5 pillar was getting a lot of sun and could be unclimbable soon. Everything north facing would be super right now. As far as I could tell, the Cold Fear conditions from Feb 11 are still valid: http://www.coldfear.com/conditions/
  12. 2012 / 13 Washington Ice Conditions

    I really appreciate these updates, mostly, but I gotta add another comment to the latest condition report - regarding posting about Drury conditions based on drive-bys that has always bothered me. Every time I read "Drury looking fat," "Drury complete now except one hole," etc., I cringe. From early December on, it ALWAYS looks like there is some form of frozen H20 up there. But, as someone that has hiked up to it twice can attest, what looks like ice from 3000' below is usually just slush with water pouring down. During the whole extended inversion period, the top of Drury never went below 40F and was baking in morning sun despite what was happening in the Icicle. I realize that the "young and dumb crowd" comment could be viewed as cautionary enough but I really think conditions on Drury should only be reported by someone who actually got on it.
  13. Climbed "the Goatee" today which is the lite version of the Beard due to multiple assassination attempts on p4. The first three pitches are soooo fat now – then hot temps and excessive ice fall had us feeling lucky to descend unscathed. It is gonna bum me out to recount our attempt today but it may be educational to future ascentionists (and maybe therapeutic to me). A little background …after this climb was sent two weeks ago (proud work Vernman and Craig!), I have been pissed at myself for over-committing and being booked out months in advance without a weekend free (due to out of town playing) to get it. Two weeks of watching the Freestone Inn telemetry go below zero every night and barely hit the teens in the day was pure torture. With the end of the high pressure and a forecasted warm up, I had to stop the agony. Recruited my old partner Nozel from PDX and we decided that today was the perfect day – in between storms and ahead of the first above freezing temps. Images of plastic ice and moderate temps made me think that my overbooked schedule may have been a good thing, and an unannounced vacation day at work was in order. Drove to the base last night, slept a lot and spent more than an hour this morning in my heated van drinking coffee and eating. Casual approach in low 20s temps, totally calm, dense fog, great partner, climbed every rock route on this wall, lots of beta from the previous climbers, etc., etc. I felt way less restless than when I approached for the 11+ rock climb (Restless Natives) under Goat’s Beard last fall. Rack up below fat, dry, solid pitch 1 which was fun WI3+. Pitch 1: Michael ran out the rope 60M to put the belay below the long WI5 p2 crux as high as possible. P2 looked LONG and steep from afar: but close up looked pretty moderate under the fat conditions we found (two long weeks of great temps after the FFA). I climbed through the steep part (maybe WI5- today?) and up another 30m to the base of p3. Another incredibly fun pitch on solid fat ice – very unusual for the PNW – classic and mellow. Set up the belay, inspected another fat pitch of WI3 above, looked at my watch and it was only 9:15, started to let my thoughts drift to making it home to dinner and wine with Moira and maybe even packing gear for the weekend. I had clove hitched in with at least ten feet so I could set the screws in good ice but avoid any falling ice from the left above. As I brought Michael up the first bombs came down from above (softball sized), barely missing me, which I thought was kind of random since it was so cold and stable. Michael took the lead and due to the combination of ice he sent down and ice from above, I did a 270 degree dance around the anchor to get out of the way of continuous icefall. As I followed the pitch, every few minutes I’d huddle in close to the ice, ducking for cover from more softball-sized ice chunks pouring over me. My hood filled with debris but I still assumed the climb was in the bag and this stuff was an anomaly. I soon broke out of the dense fog to a world of bright sun, soaring temps, and even vegetation poking out of holes in the ice with water running below. Can you see where the fog ends and the sun begins? The sun felt really good at first, but I started to realize that rapping this thing in a few hours might be really dangerous. I reached Michael’s belay on the far right side of p4, confused about why we would be starting there when the obvious passage was 50 feet to the left, on the left side of the ice formation. He explained that curtains from above were breaking and raining down the left side of the flow. With the visibility of being above the fog inversion layer, I could see how close the trees at the end of the climb were, but how much hangfire in the form of deathcicles and small curtains was above us. Looking towards the hanging forest and the curtains of death: In addition, the ice went from solid and dry to sunbleached and wet – still climbable but new and degrading at the same time. Every few minutes, a curtain high above would break off and shower down the left side of p4. The climbing looked so easy that I knew I could cruise the 20m in the shooting gallery in a few minutes and hopefully avoid a pummeling. As I made my first foray leftward to test the ice (which was very wet for the first time on this climb), the first of many debris explosions hit the path of the climb. It was at this time that I couldn’t help but remember that anyone I had emailed or texted about my plans replied with a “be safe.” Why not a “kill it” or “make me proud,” “be strong”, “you rock” ?!? We both agreed that the left way would be Russian Roulette. But the summit was so close, and we had so much time, that bailing made no sense. I decided that pushing a thin WI4 variation up the right side of p4 would be harder climbing, but obviously safer since we had seen nothing come down in this area. After only a bodylength up this variation, an especially long pummeling of debris had me humping the ice, wondering when it was going to stop, and brought up bad memories of an extended slough avy that finally removed me from a similar climb in AK. Suddenly, we both realized that it wasn’t about would we send this thing, but how could we possibly rap it without getting chopped. We set a v-thread far climber’s right of the icefall and p3 below. This rap was designed to avoid the shooting gallery and get us down to the Restless Natives p4 anchors. The rap was out of harm’s way but then we pulled the ropes. The rope fully pulled, we had the knot, but the end of the second rope got stuck on the rock above (a familiar theme on this climb, it seems). In twenty years of climbing, I’ve never been unable to free a rope until today. To make matters worse, as I was packing last night I muttered something about not liking my tattered old twins and Moira suggested I take her newer half ropes. Great idea! Until… We ended up cutting the rope and shamefully leaving it waving above Restless Natives p4 to confuse future climbers who need to move the belay horizontally leftward 100 feet across the “seep area” (i.e., Goat’s Beard) to the base of the next rock pitch. I remembered that the raps off Restless Natives were rope-stretching with a single 70, but rapping the ice wasn’t an option. To make a long story short, I was able to follow the rock raps down most of the way, but thank you Mr. Burdo for your fat half inch bolts when I needed to rap off a single bolt. We reached the base in fog and back to mid-20 temps with occasional golf-ball sized debris falling from above (shrapnel from the ice basketballs exploding on the belay ledges above). Summary: The first three pitches might be the highest quality ice I have climbed in the PNW and may be fat for days or weeks to come. Pitches 4-6 are still easily climbable, but should be attempted only in cloudy conditions with below freezing temps. They may return to safe and climbable conditions or may degrade back to nothing soon. This is an amazing climb and all the prior ascensionists got a great gift and should be proud. Future aspirants should not be overly concerned about the severity of the climbing on this awesome line but more the objective hazards from above.
  14. 2012 / 13 Washington Ice Conditions

    That would be Justin Busch and myself who did the uphill swim to the pillar. Ice was good quality with a few mixed moves to top out. Felt like 3++ climbing with 5- skiing later in the day (due to the heinous rain crust). The High P was fun while it lasted but this week looks great for skiing again. Hiya Ben. Gorge looking a little thin...
  15. Trip: Logan-Goode-Buckner Traverse - Date: 8/3/2012 Trip Report: In early August, Keith Daellenbach and I completed a four day traverse of Logan-Goode-Buckner (almost kinda completely) beginning on Hwy 20 near Easy Pass and ending at Cascade Pass. Although a traverse of these three peaks have been done before (I think), our specific route may be unique and since I have gotten a surprising number of email inquiries about details of the route, I’ll post some route beta here with emphasis on the less-traveled sections between the peaks. This specific route was Keith’s brainchild and he pre-plotted the route perfectly. If any of the mileage or elevations listed in this TR are inaccurate, blame him! This is a cool, one-way North Cascades traverse that summits three 9,000 ft peaks in the heart of the range. There is relatively minimal bushwacking even though only a few sections on are on actual trails. It is an enduro trip that requires good route finding skills with not much technical climbing. After the first day, each day will be well over 12 hours of constant movement. Very classic - a must do for adventure alpinists (for real adventure, do not read this write up – written during a three hour layover which meant I had lots of time to pile on details). I vote this traverse be included in Select Volume III or maybe IV… Route map: Leave a car at the Cascade Pass TH and drive a second car to Easy Pass trailhead at 3,716 ft on Hwy 20 (about 7 miles west of Rainy Pass). Day 1: Hike uphill on the Easy Pass Creek trail 3.2 miles to Easy Pass at 6,524 ft (gain: 2,808 ft). From Easy Pass, continue hiking on trail, down, down, down the Fisher Creek valley to 3,871 ft, at ~7.3 miles from start (loss: 2,653 ft from Easy Pass). Leave hiking trail and cross Fisher Creek on one of several large logs. Keith crossing Fisher Creek: Bushwack ~1.9miles/1,130 ft up south/left side of “Douglas Creek” valley (not actual name, unnamed) leading to the Douglas Glacier cirque. Start in an old growth valley that is mostly flat with little underbrush, as the valley narrows and steepens (~25 mins from creek crossing), the valley pinches down with Douglas creek on the right and a steep hillside on the left. Still in the forest, ascend away from the creek up left to avoid some devil’s club-style shwacking. After breaking out of the forest into the alder/boulder open basin (with the Douglas Glacier and Mt. Logan seemingly so close and straight ahead), move left heading to the lowest timber on the hillside above the alder/boulders in the bottom of the basin (it is possible to proceed directly straight up the basin but it is harder shwacking with lots of water crossings). Move through the timber on the left hillside for easier travel and leave the timber on the upper end and bushwack right across the basin to a mostly bare patch/slabby strip descending the wooded knob in the center left of the basin (see pic). Ascend the strip to its top and traverse right to reach snowfields in the upper basin right where the creek exits the snow and below the cliffs beneath the Douglas glacier. That concludes the majority of the trip’s bushwacking. Looking up Douglas Glacier cirque/basin: There are two options to gain the Douglas Glacier: ascend out of cirque via the far left side (approx. 9 o’clock) to avoid the cliff band (orange line); or head around 1 o’clock up a snow fan and climb some dirty slabs for about 100M (dirty, up to 5.7, no protection to gain the glacier terminus – very approximately shown with blue line). The latter approach is faster but sketchier. For climbers comfortable with runout/dirty climbing, the direct way saves at least an hour, probably two (that was the way we went on a prior trip). The easier way heads far left up a watercourse and then contours back right across snow fingers and slabs. Either way, the glacier terminus is gained at ~6,000 ft. Note – you can/should get water near glacier terminus about 1,000 feet below the bivy col, before getting onto continuous snow; or melt at col (on our first trip we found some melt runoff on the south side of the col but on the second there was none). Ascend Douglas Glacier and camp at 6,928 ft at the Douglas Glacier col above the North Fork Bridge Creek divide on slabs/gravel. We got here in about 11 hrs from Hwy 20 going the longer/easier way. There is enough time to summit Logan on Day 1, but the heat of the afternoon made summiting on Day 2 seem like a better plan on our trip. This is a scenic bivy with the NE Buttress of Goode looking all proud and defiant to the southeast. Day 2: From the bivy col, climb to the Douglas Glacier/Banded Glacier col (easy snow) and then up the final west ridge to the summit pinnacle of Mt. Logan (9,087 ft) which is steep snow followed by several hundred feet of 3rd/4th class. (2,159 ft gain from bivy col). Pic of Keith ascending Douglas Glacier: Descend back to col, pick up bivy gear and drop over into North Fork Bridge Creek drainage. Looking from col down into Bridge Creek drainage, Goode in distance: Drop southward into the North Fork Bridge Creek drainage to ~4,116 ft on south side of headwaters of North Fork Bridge Creek (down 4,971 ft from Mt. Logan summit). The way is snow at first to a glorious alpine meadow (pure Sound of Music stuff). As the slope steepens traverse left to reach a “golden staircase” to avoid brush and cliffs that the fall line route would encounter. This staircase is mostly 3rd with a little 4th on nice yellow/red rock and deposits you onto snow in the lower valley. Looking back up valley towards Logan and the bivy col: Cruise down valley on snow which bridges over Bridge Creek most of the way until close to where you pick up the North Fork Bridge Creek trail on the left (south) side of the creek. Easy snow travel over Bridge Creek: When the snow ran out and the creek downcut into some steep banks, we climbed out of the creek valley up and left and then a quick, steep shwack back down to the creek. Pick up the trail (faint at first) on the left side of the creek around 3,800 ft. Note – do NOT cross the creek around 3,800 ft to access the Goode glacier (per Beckey and Nelson) since this is way too high but the basin looks like it would lead to the NE Buttress. The correct basin is about a mile further down the valley. Continue down the valley on the trail and ford the creek (up to thigh deep wading) around 3,400 ft with the NE buttress directly above. Keith fording Bridge Creek: Aim for a talus strip that extends down to the creek bank. This strip leads to the “watercourse” you will climb up (on right side), which is the first real drainage with running water looking left to right at the basin. There is one dry drainage on the left of the basin which is not the one you want. I took the pic below from the creek bank with Keith just starting up talus strip and the watercourse to aim for directly above his head: Ascend up the northeast basin of Goode through a lower cliff band (short 4th class to maybe low 5th), continue up through brush and scree/snowfields and bivy at around 5,400 ft below the glacier terminus. There will be almost no shwacking up to the bivy except for some short sections about half way up. Easy travel just below the Goode bivy: This is an awesome bivy site! Flat sites for about three people and running water about 100 yards west. Day 3: From the bivy, head straight up slabs to gain the Goode Glacier. First head east (left) towards a nunatak to avoid ice cliffs and crevasses near the glacier terminus and then cut right to the lower, east side of the toe of NE Buttress. Note – some may want a screw or two to protect some crevasse crossings later in the season since we did encounter some water ice in early August. Moving through crevasses on Goode glacier: Gain the toe of the buttress from the lower east side. For us, the first pitch was about 25M of dirty (untraveled?) 5.6ish and felt like the only real “mid-fifth” we found on the route. Earlier in the season, I assume you access the buttress higher and avoid our first pitch and access the 4th class part directly. Getting off the glacier and onto the buttress was more difficult than any of the rock climbing since the glacier was overhanging and detached from the buttress (in early August). Ascend the NE Buttress to the summit of Goode at 9,200 ft (up 3,400 ft from bivy and ~2,500 on the buttress). Endless 3rd and 4th (loose) to about 8,100 feet. At 8,100 on the ridge crest, we belayed one pitch (5.4?) then simuled several hundred feet of lower 5th. There will probably be a snow patch (with bivy sites) for water near the Black Tooth Notch a few hundred feet below the summit. The summit is several hundred more feet up and diagonally right of the snow patch area. The position of the route and the summit views are spectacular but there is no really memorable climbing. A bivy on this summit would be unbeatable. Keith on Goode summit: Three 30M raps descend from the summit to the ledge system leading to the actual Black Tooth notch (the ascent route does not cross the actual notch). Down climb about 100 feet toward the west and make two single rope raps (slings) down to the very loose SW Couloir (5.0). Continue southwest down into Park Creek drainage and look for climber’s trail (faint at first, we failed to stay on it) until hitting the Park Creek trail at 3,968 ft (5,232 feet down from summit). Hike northwest up the valley on the trail up towards Park Creek Pass. When the trail leaves the creek and begins climbing up towards the pass, leave the hiking trail at ~4,086 ft and cross the creek (log) to the left side and continue up Park Creek cirque on mostly talus and snow (easy cross country) - eventually gaining Buckner Glacier. It would be best to camp near the toe of the Buckner Glacier and even better to bivy at the Booker-Buckner col. We underestimated the time Goode would take and climbed too casually and lost the descent trail, and ended up camping at 5 Mile Camp about one mile up from where the Goode climber’s trail hits the Park Creek Trail. Day 4: Head up the Buckner Glacier until two couloirs are visible. Climb the left of two couloirs that access the Booker-Buckner col at 7,365 ft. Pic looking up the left couloir: Watch out for the snow bridges across the crevasse that cuts across the upper couloir since in August 2012 the one I used completely collapsed within minutes after I crossed and seconds before Keith was about to cross, leaving us on opposite sides of the crevasse and forcing Keith to cross the remaining, much thinner bridge on the right side: From the Booker-Buckner col, traverse at generally the same elevation westward across numerous ridges. When you get an overview of Horseshoe Basin, down climb the west side of a steep ridge several hundred feet (looks harder than it is but tricky route finding, a few low 5th class moves) to about 6,700 ft and head towards the middle of the basin to gain the Southwest Route of Buckner. Disclaimer – it started to pour on us at this point with some lightning thrown in so we kept traversing and skipped the summit (lame, put an asterisk next to this TR). The Southwest Route ascends about 2,300 ft of snow and 3rd class to the summit of Buckner (9,080 ft). Traversing Horseshoe Basin in the rain: Descend Mt. Buckner via the ascent route (probably can traverse skiers right on the way down and shortcut out a little so maybe do not drop your pack until halfway to summit?) back down into Horseshoe Basin, skirt below Davenport Glacier to 6,369 ft to cut below the toe of Sahale Mountain’s Southeast Ridge. Ascend out of Horseshoe Basin on a snow couloir, then a 4th class ridge, then a little more steep snow to cross over to Sahale Arm above Doubtful Lake at ~7,516 ft (1,147 up from Horseshoe Basin, last climbing of the trip). Depending on how you are feeling, a bivy here may be desirable (do not bivy here without a permit, backcountry rangers are always present on Sahale Arm). Since we skipped the Buckner summit we had plenty of time and energy to get to the car but there is a lot of trail, switch backs and elevation left to lose to the car. Descend Sahale Arm on the incredibly scenic trail to Cascade Pass (5,395 ft). From Cascade Pass, hike several miles and 1,904 ft down, encountering countless switch backs, on a hiking trail to Cascade Pass TH at 3,491 ft. Drive car A back to car B trailhead while contemplating which sport crags have the shortest approaches for next weekend… Gear Notes: Light 60M rope (we used an 8.1mm, doubled for climbing) 12 middle-sized nuts (for Goode) 2 pickets (2 screws would probably be good) Super light crampons and ice ax Additional gear notes: Since I love, love, love when climbers include their special gear secrets in their TRs, my gear MVPs from this trip were: 1) Cytomax. Gatorade is good but Cytomax is much better because of the carbs it includes. I have gone for hours and hours on Cytomax only without bonking. 2) FiveTen Insight hightop approach shoes. I love FiveTen approach shoes (especially the rubber) and really like high tops (either the Exum Ridge or Insight) for North Cascades adventures. The high tops keep out scree and snow and provide comfy ankle protection. I can climb steep snow and rock up to 5.8 in them. I would recommend against carrying rock shoes for Goode since the climbing is easy and the hand/foot holds are abundant. For climbs of this grade, I would suggest that sticky rubber approach shoes or the same as, or better, than “real” rock shoes. With Adidas’ recent purchase of FiveTen, I would assume a GTX high top with Stealth rubber is soon-to-be realized. 3) One trekking pole. Over the past decade, I went full cycle from using trekking poles to approach the liquor store to never bringing them at all anymore. Luckily, Keith brought poles two and I “borrowed” one for the entire traverse. This trip would have sucked with only my ‘lil Fischer Price ax for support. Approach Notes: See above
  16. Awesome bridge photo, thanks for posting. I wish I took a pre-collapse photo. It was WAY fatter in your photo than when I crossed it and now not there at all. "Did you bivy on Goode? I know you mentioned it was not in your plans...." A bivy on Goode would have been spectacular, but we needed to keep moving to stay on schedule so we dropped down into Park Creek Valley and camped at Five Mile "Camp." Probably our only route finding screwup was not finding the climber's trail down Goode and bushwacking the last 2500' down to Park Creek. Way would we want to use one of the few trails on our entire traverse when we could 'bushwack instead - keeping it real yo... Were you able to stay on the climber's trail down to Park Creek?
  17. Strong work Steph and Brian! Such a great area. You both should be proud. We met you on your way down from Easy Pass as Keith and I were headed on a four day traverse from Hwy 20 to Cascade Pass headed over Logan-Goode-Buckner (didn't summit Buckner due to rain and lack of time). Two follow ups to your TR: 1) Regarding this from your website (effing awesome website BTW!): "We had a few reasons for wanting to descend the Banded instead of the more-typical Douglas Glacier: (1) we had heard tales about 'schrunds and 'schwacking on the Douglas Glacier route". The unnamed creek up to the Douglas Glacier was our approach route to Logan from the Fisher Creek Valley. This approach was relatively easy with not-too-bad 'schwacking. I kinda don't understand why it is not the standard Logan approach because it must be the fastest (about 13 hours from Hwy 20 to the Logan summit). 2) You were a couple days, and we were a few seconds, from near death in that left couloir heading to the Booker-Buckner col. This little story may make little sense, but where the couloir narrows several hundred feet below the top of the col in the below pic; there was a 'schrund that crossed the entire narrow part of the couloir that it appears you crossed on climber's left over what probably looked like a fat snow bridge/fin. The bridge was at least 25' thick (top to bottom) at the thinnest point and probably 20' wide, spanning about 40 feet horizontally across the 'schrund. I assume you had to jump across a small gap at the bottom end of the bridge (which possibly was still closed when you crossed). On our last day (Aug 6), we were moving very fast out of Park Creek to cross that col enroute to Buckner and out over Sahale Arm. When I got to the 'schrund, I was planning on jumping across and waiting for Keith at the top of the col, but then thought that maybe roping up (for the first time on a glacier the whole trip) might be a good idea. Keith came up and we roped and set up a belay below the small gap. After I did a V1 mantle to gain the upper lip, I walked up and across the bridge and set up a belay above. Right when Keith was about to cross, the entire bridge sheared off the upper wall in a gigantic collapse! The bridge was so massive that huge chunks of snow came exploding off the rock slab 30-50' below raining over Keith! I don't have before pics, but my rope is running exactly over where the bridge was a few seconds earlier with the part in the lower lip I stomped out for the mantle move visible just a little up and climber's left from Keith in this photo: This was the single craziest event I have experienced in 20 years of glacier travel. Anyway, Keith was forced to cross a way thinner bridge on climber's right. Sorry for the digression but I think we are the last climbers using this couloir this season... Other than this little event and the rain later in the day, we had a great, great time too.
  18. Trip: Talkeetna Traverse and Snowbird Hut Burning - Date: 4/2/2012 Trip Report: Spent four great days skiing AK's Talkeetna Mountains with Peter Pupator. Had great snow every day but the highlight was probably assisting in the dismantling and torching of the historic original Snowbird Hut. We did some speed wing skiing too... This trip started as most of my AK trips do: arriving at the Anchorage airport at midnight, Pete picking me up, a grocery store stop, driving a few hours back to his 100 acre compound in Willow and a middle-of-the night sled ride back to his off-the-grid house that he designed and built. We slept for a few hours and packed up for a four day trip into the Tordrillo Mtns. Heading out to the airstrip, we got a call from a guide friend who reported the temperature just spiked, slides were coming down everywhere and they were pulling out clients for at least a few days. Since Plan A looked like several days in a tent waiting for conditions to stabilize, we went with Plan B = back into the Talkeetnas. The Talkeetna mountains are a transitional range between a maritime and continental climate/snowpack and are known for much better weather than other AK ranges. Best of all, we can see them from Pete's backyard so the fly/no fly decision is easy. After jettisoning some gear, we snowmobiled over to the airstrip conveniently located about five minutes away on friend/neighbor/bush pilot extraordinaire Ken's property. First task was pushing and winching the Wilga and Cub out of the hanger: We loaded most of the gear into the Wilga, which can fly us all in in one trip. Later, Ken would shuttle additional gear in the Cub into our second basecamp. Me happy to be back in Ken's plane: About a forty minute flight, brought us to the first stop = the incredible Snowbird Hut. Our first objective, was to ski the coolest looking couloir we spied on flight in, this below Morning Glory Spire: Ironically, our first ski had the crappiest snow of the trip but it we skied it without incident except for a crevasse that collapsed below Pete while we were trying to find an entrance. Pete in the couloir: More skiing into the evening (gets dark at 9:30 PM now) and a nice night in the diesel-heated hut with two other skiers. The new Snowbird Hut was built in 2010 and is considered by many to be the best hut in AK. More info here: http://www.americanalpineclub.org/p/snowbird-hut The next day, five skiers from Bozeman arrived and a little later the hut mistress herself, Cindi Squire, and Harry Hunt - two of the hunts main caretakers - arrived. Since a storm was report to be moving in, we skied up a col to call Ken to have him move our gear to our next stop about 10 miles west in case he could not fly the next day, which turned out to be the right call. We spent the day skiing great powder on the steep but shorter terrain surrounding the hut. Me dropping into a gully east of the hut. Pete in another gully: Looking back at our tracks from the lake below the hut: After lots of skiing, it was time to assist Cindi and Harry on what they came to do - destroy the original Snowbird Hut! The original Hut was constructed circa 1978 and, although pretty to look at, was cold and dark and had fallen on hard times. Original hut in the foreground: When we arrived, the original hut was still standing but the roof had partially collapsed from snow load. In a few hours, Harry and Cindi had cut off most of the roof. Pete and I skied hauled the cut sheet metal roof down to the glacier where Paul Roderick of Talkeetna Air Taxi would fly it out for free. The hauling went from hard over the flat part to terrifying as the bundles of sheet metal starting to move faster than we could ski on the steep part. Next step, was Cindi and I shoveling about two feet of snow off the hut's deck to prep for the conflagration. Next, comes the trash pile and the diesel, lots of diesel The fire started slowly, Harry at the watch Cindi enjoying the fruits of her labor: As the snow started dumping, the liberal additional of diesel and lots of coal shoveling kept the fire moving. We went to bed with the fire too large to need our help anymore and the assumption there would be nothing left in the morning, but the morning found posts and joists still standing which were no match for handy Harry's saw powdered by a small generator. We hauled the last batch of junk down to the glacier and started our way on about a ten mile traverse east, first by ascending to the col behind the Nunatak. About 6-10 inches of new snow had fallen overnight which was not exactly what we needed as dropped over a col into the unknown in Mt-Baker-flat-light on some really loaded slopes. Although no one may have done this traverse before, Pete thinks he can figure out the way down. And down we went, maybe 2500 feet down into a low valley. We skinned back up a few thousand feet with the ridge dividing us from our gear in the distance. As we crested the ridge, we could see that Ken was able to drop our gear successfully which was a nagging unknown since he picked it up just as yesterday's storm was really going. Nice turns were had down to our new home. We set up the Hilleberg as new light snow began. Tent living is fun too! The next dawned bluebird. Pete gave me my first speed wing lessons, which I sucked at. Pete is an aviation engineer and great at anything that flies so the rest of the day, I skied and he speed wing skied. I had some nice turns off the nearby summit: Pete flew off the same summit but you won't see his ski tracks next to mine since he was airborn the whole way. Having to catch a flight home the same night, Ken flew in around 4:00PM to haul me out. As Ken returned for Pete, I proceeded to get the snowmobile stuck no less than three times as the three plus feet of snowpack was collapsing in the hot spring weather we returned to (the famous AK breakup begins...). To put in prospective how easy AK trips can be from the PNW; Weds I worked the whole day, bouldered after work, ate a good dinner at home and was at Seatac early for my 9:30 PM flight. After getting in Ken's plane at 4:30 on Sunday, I flew back to Pete's, organized gear, showered, we drove to Anchor, ate sushi (took forever) and I was early for my 10:30 PM flight, and back safely in my cube farm at work early Monday. Don't have friends in AK to get you at the airport and fly into the mountains? Now my friends are your friends and can help you with your next AK adventure: www.adlartok.com Thanks Pete for another great trip!
  19. 2011/12 Washington Ice Conditions

    Pics of Flow Reversal (right?) with not-recommended mixed to the right. "Easy mixed" is like moderate alpine rock - feels so much sketchier than the harder stuff...
  20. 2011/12 Washington Ice Conditions

    Nice job on NYG Kurt! Probably the best climb to do now. We got on Flow Reversal today but it was too thin, weak and there were big sloughs sliding off the top since it was very warm up high. I bailed to the right and finished on 100 feet of wet mixed to a tree. The conditions remain too cold to get much melt and not cold enough to fatten seeps. I was suprised to not see much change since last weekend.
  21. Outdoor Research Igneo Jacket, Men's Large, Red, brand new with tags still on. $100 (firm) for jacket retailing for $280. Full description and pics: http://www.outdoorresearch.com/en/or-gear/jackets/shells/igneo-jacket-m-s.html Lightly insulated hardshell, ideal for skiing. Or OR says: Moderate insulation and adjustable ventilation with a relaxed Sidecountry fit. The best days to cut fresh tracks: bluebird, cold, and still. The actual days you'll head out to cut fresh tracks: all and any. For those with an insatiable appetite for snow, the Igneo Jacket™ bridges the gap between crystal conditions and furious snowstorms. EnduraLoft™ insulation holds off the bitter temperatures that keep clouds at bay, while Pertex® Shield fabric seals out raging blizzards. And when you're on your third lap of the back bowl, the double-sliding pit zips are there to keep you from overheating. Avg. Weight (oz./g): 34.4 / 974 One Size Email hutchinson dot dj at gmail
  22. Scarpa TX Pro boots and mountaineering

    I agree with ilookeddown, and the AT-only posters may need to do a little more homework (Tele - the horror! Does that mean, I would have to not be weak?). I ski mostly tele but also have the Scarpa F3 for use when I AT. The TX Pro feels a lot stiffer than the F3, which works great with crampons. For AT skiing and general mountaineering, I LOVE having a flexible bellow. For anything short of vertical ice, they work great. So much nicer to have your foot flex a little. Kinda why Koflach engineered some flex in their plastic mountaineering boots. I doubt I will ever ski (meaning tour) AT without a bellow again. They climb rock way better too. This Spring, I did the Stuart Glacier Couloir/West Ridge with F3s and they worked great. You DO need to get a shim (made by Scarpa or maybe Dynafit) which slots in the Dyanfit crampon slot to prevent the bellows from flexing when you switch to downhill mode. Actually, if those TX Pros are sized 26.5/27, forget everything I said, they really, really suck. What an incredibly dumb idea to combine the benefits of both boot systems! Since I'm a nice guy, I will be happy to get you out of your mistake at a minor loss. I am serious, PM me if you wanna sell them.
  23. Hostering Ice Tools While Mixed Climbing

    On longer rock sections (like a few moves of pure rock in a row), I have done so much "just let 'em dangle on the spring leash" that I got a little too comfortable with the dragging dangle that a tool finally unclipped itself (using the BD leashes with the micro wire gates). I have since switched to the security of the Grivel leashes with the minilockers. I know, I know... "attach some cord to your spike first to avoid metal on metal and your leashes will never unclip" and/or "lockers freeze." Flame on...
  24. Who's making hightops?

    Can't judge a book by it's cover but those Evolvs look like they would climb like stale hot dog buns with the added bonus of Evolvs' signature stench; but I still can't wait to try them. Funny thing is the Anasazi high tops look like Evolvs and the Evolvs look very retro - both in a bad way. The Anasazi high top differ from the Anasazi VCS because they have C4 instead of Onyx and a leather forefoot instead of synthetic - both big positives for me. I hope they have less heel tension, because the heel tension in the current Anasazis would rule them out for multipitch routes for me. I can see this shoe landing in a different class than the others - like a high performance, single pitch crack shoe maybe.
  25. Who's making hightops?

    I love high tops and am pysched they are making a comeback. I agree with the comments about the TC pros (so so rubber, weird tongue) although they are the best I have found to date. The Ballet Golds really held me back on face climbs - man that rubber sucked. I wanted to like the Grandstones but that weird bulbous toe made face and small cracks challenging. The TC Pros fit in relatively small cracks. Anyone see JBs in shops in the PNW? As a big 5.10 Anasazi fan, I can't wait to try the Anasazi high top, which is back in production after being pulled for some last minute tweaks by Dean Potter. It is at Mtn Gear now but I have yet to see it in other shops. Freakin' ugly shoe though IMHO. http://fiveten.com/products/footwear-detail/10094-anasazi-high-top Anyone try the Anasazi high top yet?