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Everything posted by Doug_Hutchinson

  1. I wasn't the one that begged to hear "We Brave Bee Stings and All" (BTW - that is the name of your new favorite album) like 200 times. I really liked Massive Attack until Tricky started to date my dream girl Bjork and then the jealousy coupled with my graduation from elementary school made me move on. Pic of the Central WA's greatest portopotty graffiti Thanks for a fun weekend.
  2. Trip: Lake Wenatchee - [FA] Alpine Dropout - 300m plus, WI3 Date: 12/12/2009 Trip Report: Ben Hargrove and I climbed a sweet new line on the north face of Nason Ridge - starting at Lake Wenatchee, topping out near Alpine Lookout and exiting below Round Mtn TH. The quality of ice, position and length of the route (over 1000 feet of ice, 4000 feet total ascent) made this unlike anything else in Leavenworth. Route overview (w/o lower 500 feet or upper 1500 feet to ridge): Started near the gravel pit and crossed the Little Wenatchee River which was barely frozen in one section (w/o the freeze this climb would end here since the river is too far to haul a boat too - unlike Drury's easy river access!). Ascended 1000 feet to the base of the ice. Route started with a 60m pitch of WI3. Ben leading P1: The climb then stayed in a slot surrounded by walls of the same high quality gneiss that is found at the Nason Ridge climbing area on the opposite side of the ridge. P2 was 60m of WI2 This lead to the crux pitch which was the only less-than-stellar pitch of the route since it was showering water and I got real soaked. We simuled the next 800 vertical feet with lots of great WI2 to WI3- sections up to 30m tall. Besides the cool feel of being high on a lonely north face, the views to the north of the Entiat Mtns and the Glacier Peak area was a nice change of scenery. After over 1000 feet of technical terrain, we dropped the rope and ascended about 2000 feet of snow to the saddle on Nason R just east of Alpine Lookout. The sting in the tail was the last 500 feet of deep snow pulling on trees while trying to not to victims of tree well inversion syndrome or collapsing cornices. We reached the ridge right at sunset. Homefree! A quick sprint for a about four miles east along the ridge, over Round Mtn and down 3000 feet to the second car on the road to Round Mtn TH. Not! Boot top breakable crust resulted in a five hour slog to the car. Actually, it was a calm, beautiful evening but too much calm, beauty is not healthy. Reached the car at 9:30 PM and Headwaters for pizza by 10:00. Stuffing our faces too much to join in the karaoke comp. Overview of our walkabout Bracing for the collective yawn and "oh boy, another WI3 in 11worth," this route is so much more unique than a typical Leavenworth dribble to nowhere. A 4000 feet plume line with over 1000 of quality ice ending on a remote ridge. Seemed similar to longer climbs in Lilooet or longer moderates in the Canadian Rockies. I doubt this one comes in much or is typically buried in snow. Name comes from finishing near Alpine Lookout and my rotator cuff surgery in May causing me to miss a complete alpine season for the first time in 17 years. Ouch, that hurt way more than the knife. Gear Notes: Screws only, GPS. Approach Notes: Need a frozen river or a boat. Do not traverse Nason Ridge over Round Mtn. Next time, I would try to drop the south side of the ridge somehow working around the cliffs which could suck too.
  3. [TR] Tumwater Canyon - Drury Falls 12/11/2009

    Falling in the Wenatchee is a rite of passage! The first half of the crossing is calm then you hit a strong current and things get really interesting fast. The part about starting in the dark is the crux - you can't see the current that will sink you. I am not a paddler and tried it once in a small kayak. Hit the current, got turned backward and decided to a do a wet exit in the rapid downstream. Amazing how warm the water can feel when it is 5 degrees out. Drury would have been a dangerous slush falls that day anyway.
  4. Marcus, you can breath a sigh of relief. After a whopping three days of ice (gotta pace myself, I could hit double digits at this rate), I moth-balled the tools, grab the boards and had a silly good day of skiing at Stevens today. Why are you wasting your time with new scrap in the Gorge when there are still plenty of FAs on NoPo's high quality cottonwoods?
  5. Your Hidden Lake routes looked really good but there was nothing really continuous between those (which are obviously way to the left of the enclove you are referencing) and Alpine Dropout. However, there were several much steeper single-pitch lines not that far left of our line (between 3000 and 5000 feet) but they are probably hidden by towers and not visible from the Lake. Complex terrain in this area. I always wanted to establish a long rock route here but, upon closer inspection, it would be discontinuous and ramblingly.
  6. [TR] South Early Winter Spire - Southwest Couloir 11/13/2008

    Went from Blue Lakes TH. At the rate this winter is going, the highway will be open for a few more weeks? They'll plow until the avy danger gets too high (bring the snow!)but that aint gonna happen for at least a week or two and plowing the occ few inches is easy now. The skiing was just barely in but at least turns could be had somewhere... The roadcuts had ice that was forming but is probably gone again.
  7. New 3 pitch route at Pete's Pile

    Hey Reed - I do remember you. Can't wait to try your new route (although I moved to Seattle a few months ago so it may be awhile). The pin wasn't mine, but I do remember it. The pitches above were so dirty, I assumed they were unclimbed still and the pin was left from an early aid attempt and bail. I hear you about routes getting dirty. I had climbed Pumpin' (it's officially "Pumpin' 4 the Man" after the Ween song) this summer for the first time in 3-4 years and was horrified about the return of the plant life. I raved to my partner about how classic it was and spent my lead doing nut tool gardening too, and left bummed out. Actually, the whole freaking place is suffering from underuse. All the stairs, belay platforms, seats, etc. are basically fallen over. The exodus that happened with the opening of Bulo and Area 51, not to mention Pete's moving and the endangered plant listing, really killed both route development and marked the end of routes staying clean. Seriously, at the rate it is going, the place will be back to pre-development in a few years. The pic below illustrate what Pete's may be best for...
  8. New 3 pitch route at Pete's Pile

    Nice! I started cleaning a route through the huge roof about ten years ago but got nauseous spinning around on my top rope below the roof which was tied off to the Ponderosas back from the top. That area is the longest and best at the Pile - always thought it should have more routes - except really cleaning those long routes well takes forever. Nice work.
  9. Picket test

    The only data that I can provide is empirical - last month I was descending a snow gully coming off the Throne - Little Swizterland AK. It was the first sunny, warm day in weeks and the snow was turning to shit fast - like questionable about holding body weight when it got steeper than 55-degrees. Due to the deteoriating conditions, we down-climbed with a 2-ft MSR picket ever 50 feet even though you could almost push the pickets in by hand the snow was so soft. Shortly after I removed a picket, wet snow slides starting coming down the gully. After digging in for about 30 seconds and getting pummeled, a larger wet slide totally blasted me head over heels for a 100 foot slide down a 50-60 degree gully in a small avy. After I came to stop and climbed up to get the picket it was suprisingly solid. We were using a 7.7mm rope which is probably as good as a screamer and a full single rope. I cringe when I see Mazama/Mountaineer types using an 11mm rope with pickets.
  10. Sunshine Route conditions

    How about the avy debris on the Elliot (from Copper Spur) below Tie-in-Rock? Right across my shortcut route on the ski circumnav to avoid losing elevation. I guess high temps in May really do make for good slides!
  11. Trip: Mt Hood - Sandy Glacier Headwall to Lolo Pass Road Date: 3/8/2008 Trip Report: Skied most of the Sandy Glacier Headwall (started skiing at 9800') down to Lolo Pass Road (1900') Sunday with Darren Schouten and Michael Adams. Including the 2000' descent from Illumination Saddle down the Reid, we had 10,000' of mostly sweet wind buff turns with less than 6,000' feet of climbing. Definitely qualifies as an northwest classic ski descent with a remote, big mountain feel. Overview: Climbing the Sandy: http://www.cascadeclimbers.com/plab/data/503/medium/IMGP27531.JPG' alt='IMGP27531.JPG'> At about 9800', the relatively open slopes of the headwall are truncated by rime-covered cliffs and the nightmarish (for skiing) conditions found near the top of most Cascades volcanoes, which was the logical place to stop and put the skis on for the descent. As we were gearing up for the descent, around 1230, the overcast skies gave way to blue bird. Since this section is up to 45 degrees and pretty firm, getting the skis on without losing one was the day's crux (we were all on tele gear, free from those cheater step-in bindings and too cool to use safety straps because of, you know, avalanches, yeah). The first few turns were stiff but the snow quickly got softer/deeper, we skied from shade into full sun, and the angle slowly lessened leading to thousands of feet of near-perfect skiing. First turns near top: Powder lower down: At the base of the Sandy Glacier, we chose a new route out (in lieu of the more standard lower Yocum to Ramona Falls deproach) and dropped into the upper canyon of the Muddy Fork of the Sandy. This section, bounded by Razor Blade Pinnacle on the north and an unnamed but incredible cliff on the south, holds some of the most scenic and highest quality ski terrain on the mountain if you don't mind the long commute. Upper Muddy Fork Canyon: Once we reached the flats of the Muddy Fork, we followed it, then the Sandy River mainstem, then snow covered trails and roads for about six (??) miles to the car at Lolo Pass Road. The fat snowpack made this section was mostly a kick-and-glide cruise except for the 77 times we had to cross one of the many channels of this heavily-braided river. Typical Sandy River crossing (AKA Michael fishing out a ski that the river tried to steal): In most years, we would have been hiking by the time we reached Ramona Falls (around 3,300') and parked at the Ramona Falls TH, but the good snow pack meant we could ski all the way to the car but added around 3 miles out to Lolo Pass Road (although longer, this way was much better than walking). A great day in the hills! Gear Notes: All three on the holy trilogy of Teledaddies, Hammerheads, EnergGs Approach Notes: T-line to Reid
  12. [TR] Mt Hood - Sandy Glacier Headwall to Lolo Pass Road 3/8/2008

    The descent is pretty obvious if you drop into one of two right drainages - the Sandy or the Muddy Fork. The harder part is finding a bridge or two at the right spot to get out of the river and onto the trails. You park at Lolo Pass Road at the end of the plowed area (maybe six ? miles from Hwy 26). If you have never been in this area before, you will get hopelessly lost. Nope, never done a complete descent. I assume it can be done for chest beating purposes but the turns from the summit to Queens Chair will always be awful, from Queens Chair to where we stopped will always probably suck too but could be done. Alright, nuff this thread. With another good weekend of snow, bring on the new TRs. I could write about skiing the Slot on the Crooked Couloir today, but I'll leave that to one of the other 47 skiers that hit the Slot today (fantastic line but seems to have gotten pretty used in the last few years...).
  13. [TR] Mt Hood - Sandy Glacier Headwall to Lolo Pass Road 3/8/2008

    The cloud pic was taken in the trees down low around 4:00. It cleared after 1230 but then lenticulars moved in around 4:00 to signal the approaching storm. We got to the car a little after 5:00 for an 11 hour day but we spent tons of time chilling and discussing 'safety,' etc. on the way down.
  14. "Skiing the Cascade Crest" - Portland, Mar 12, 7pm

    Lowell- Thanks for the fantastic show! Your crest tour was inspirational and your work preserving the great old ski films is priceless. Man, I'm hungry, gotta go eat some Zoom. Thanks, Doug
  15. [TR] Mt Hood - Sandy Glacier Headwall to Lolo Pass Road 3/8/2008

    The route to the summit looked fine for climbing and nothing was coming down the face, great coverage. The climb is really pretty mellow, just long due to the extra descent and traverse. Here is probably a better view of the climbing route that day:
  16. How many days so far?

    25 - should be more by now but the allure of ice climbing has divided my attention somewhat. Who cares how many days, what about quality? Simply put, the last six weeks has been the greatest snow cycle that I have ever seen (here since '91). Back to back, cold 10-20" days! I don't get it why there isn't post after post about how incredible the skiing has been since mid-December. Three to four feet still to come in the next 5 days?!? I would love to hear from the old farts about better cycles cuz I think when this one is over, snow history in the PNW will need to be rewritten. 98-99 was Baker's seasonal world record I know with an 11" daily average in Feb 99, but the last six weeks on Hood at least feels bigger.
  17. Banks Lake Ice

    Nozel and I climbed at Banks on Friday and Banks/Frenchmans on Saturday and concur with Jens - decent ice is close but still needs a lot more cold. If anything, especially in Leavenworth, the ice has been deteriorating over the past few days. Now, I'll basically repeat everything Jens said with some photo documentation. Pic of Trotsky's and Devil's Punchbowl from Friday (1-18-08) which is good: Those deathcicles are not to be taken lightly! While waiting for Michael, I decided to quickly solo the Punchbowl. I was about 10 feet from the start and a few tons of ice few all over the route. We decided that Trotsky's was much "safer." After climbing it, we discussed decent options - either a v-thread rap of the route or the standard walk off below the deathcicles - I won the discussion and started to walk off just when another ton of ice rained over Trotsky's right where we would have rapped (a little right) of the climb. Great beginner's area except for the nearly constant threat of the ice dagger in the head... The most-in classic looked like Zenith which is touched down: Yesterday, we were the party that TR'ed the Cable which is about 20 feet from fully touching down (can't see the bottom in this pic): At about 200 feet of sustained WI5, that would be one proud lead! Since we climbed out Banks, we drove over to Frenchman's Fugs later in the day and had a great time climbing this fun route. The first pitch was plastic, hero ice: The second pitch was really cool - mushroomlined ice chimneys with stemming and hooking and good screws on top on the 'shrooms. The last five feet is running water so Michael built a three pin anchor at his belay. You can rap from this anchor to the base with two 60 ropes. Hopefully, with the looming artic system, someone will start a thread next week about how great the ice is everywhere but I think we climbed all the current worthy ice in WA Friday and Saturday. Has anyone mentioned lately how awesome the skiing has been this year?
  18. Vasque ice 9000--wide feet?

    Anyone know any shops in the PNW that stock this boot?
  19. Syncronicity - log is washed out?

    I do not know the current status of the log. It is hard to find the first time and at night, and hard to describe how to locate. It is slightly (100 yards?) upstream of the approach gully to the climb which is directly below the ice. Question - does anyone know the orgins of the log? It seems too perfect and appears to be the largest tree around that could have been felled by/for us climbers. If that climb isn't already classic enough, that log crossing makes it even better.
  20. Trip: - Date: 11/14/2007 Trip Report: dfadfsa
  21. first ascent [TR] Alpine Lakes - FA--"Bumbling Genius", Wedge M

    Way to go Moira and Ben! Soon to rival OS or Orbit perhaps? Don't worry about about the base camp manager (me) keeping dinner warm until your 9:30 PM arrival - really, I never get hungry until after 9:15 at the earliest. Nason classics the next incredible fall day made for a perfect weekend. Moira, I wouldn't worry about not being able to post pics. It is typical cc.com problem, and Ben continues to work on a posting a TR from our FA last Jan and still can't figure it out.
  22. Clean Break p3-4 beta for dumb dumbs?

    Nothing like humping back into Clean Break, sending the first two crux pitches on a stellar day only to bail because we were too dumb to figure out the rest of the route - with route descriptions from Beckey, Kearney and Nelson in hand no less! So, at the top of p2, we belayed at the small tree. For p3, went left about 20 feet on a ramp, up an easy corner about 20 feet, stepped right into a somewhat dirty .8-.9 left facing corner that topped out in about 30 feet on a flake with slings (for others to bail from?). Dirty face above and a very dirty corner to the right. A lot higher up was a cleaned crack that I think we were supposed to do face moves left into but it made no sense how to get into it. We tried other dirty cracks but ran out of time and patience. This seems like a killer route. Anyone got any pointers?
  23. 5.10 rubber - Stealth vs Onyx?

    I like 5.10 shoes because they fit my feet best, and most agree that their rubber is the best. However, I am not sold on the newer (Onyx) rubber. It seems a little harder and stiffer than Stealth, so feels a little less sticky and less sensitive to me. Not by much, but I cannot consider it an improvement, although it is supposed to be more durable. Other opinions from those who have used both?
  24. Haute Route this spring?y

    I skied it about 10 years ago - as classic as it sounds and relatively moderate. You do not need a guide but a guide can make the trip's logistics super simple and can probably pay for themselves by arranging shuttles and maybe getting some discounts. I did it solo so basically hired a guide as a partner and it led to some unforeseen bonuses (skiing cool peaks a little off the route - some days are very short between huts, staying up late drinking the hut keeper's private reserve, etc.).
  25. Infinite Bliss Mt Garfield speed ascent 7/1/7

    Oh yeah, we simuled the first 6 pitches, the party of three 3rd classed the first five by staying way right of the route, almost in the woods. This drops the grade down considerably - like low 5th but means you can climb five pitches in under 10 minutes. Even staying 10-20 feet either side of the bolts seemed way easier since the most featureless part of the friction slabs were bolted.