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Everything posted by Norman_Clyde

  1. What is everyone's opinion on digital cameras? I have not been inclined to spring 300 bucks, which all the salespeople tell me is absolutely mandatory for adequate resolution, because I figure in six months I'll be able to buy the same for 200. I'm still using a huge clunky 1980's 35 mm, which I tend to leave behind or not bother to haul out of my pack. I'm sure that some of you must know where to get a 2.1 megapixel or higher, for a reasonable price.
  2. Yes, I did have crampons but did not need them in the Chute, and it was more of a dry tooling situation on the other side. When I said "Pretty slabby" I mainly meant avalanche potential, with the upper portion having a fairly hollow sound and feel in parts, even though it was soft. I did not have serious concern at the time, but I'm thinking that this same spot in winter would be more heavily loaded and less consolidated-- yet it should be fine after a few warm days, as mneagle said. Descending the chute was actually a pleasant glissade, but I stopped partway down in order to traverse over to Crystal Pass. Yes, a belayed downclimb should be no problem, and if I get up there again I'll carry a rope.
  3. There's no doubt if you plan a big Rainier ascent that it's hard to back out. When my brother in law came from Denver to climb it, I urged us to go ahead even though it was nearly white out at Paradise and, of course, nastier the higher we went. We were unwilling to rest and hydrate on the way, due to conditions being so unpleasant, and were all at stage I hypothermia by the time we staggered into the hut. We spent a wet night there (one hundred percent humidity inside, everything soaked) and slogged out the next day with a little more respect for Rainier weather. Makes a decent story, but almost any alternative would have been more fun, and certainly safer. We would have bailed if Steve hadn't flown all the way in, and the lesson is that if the weather is wrong, you bail no matter how far you came to get there. One guy on that above trip has proposed a 4 day West Side ascent in June, with a bivy on the summit. Though it adds time, a West Side approach makes this more of a wilderness mountain, without having to do it in the winter. Just one other idea for you.
  4. I haven't done any of the trails you mention, but have been interested in high traverses in the Olympics, especially a point to point, such as up Enchanted Valley, maybe up Mt Anderson, then down Dosewallips. Another that could be done in a long day would be Dosewallips up to Constance Pass, over the saddle between Constance and Warrior Peak (I think that pass has no name), then over Crystal Pass into Avalanche Canyon, back down-- a nice loop with a fair amount of alpine travel. There are a few other crossings which would be fun and interesting, but which require two cars and a lot of driving.
  5. It's true, it was only about a 30 foot drop but looked mighty slippery. I was solo, and did not bring a rope for rappels. The other party had a rope but still was not interested. Having read various posts on how this area is not a problem, I wonder what kept us from going for it at the time. There was not any debate among the four of us checking it out. I would figure that it might be simpler in winter, if part of the gully were snow filled.
  6. I skied to 20 feet from the summit of Castle last February via a N. side approach, then around Castle to the East. We had aimed for Pinnacle saddle but avoided it because avalanche risk looked higher there. I considered scrambling to the summit-- it was literally 20 to 25 feet of high 4th/low 5th class-- but decided my tele boots might not be the best for it. The N. side is much steeper, though if approaching from the pinnacle/castle col it is still mostly snow and only briefly technical rock. Don't know anything about conditions there this year.
  7. If you approach Deception from the SW, via Dosewallips, there would be less avalanche concern. It's definitely class 2 from that side, with some slopes that would pose a risk, but also the ability to stay on ridges most of the way. You would need to hike in 8 miles from the Dosewallips trailhead, and the gate is closed about 2 miles short of this, so it's a long approach. I am unsure how much snow you would find in the first few miles since the elevation gain on the trail is very gradual. If you're going to take 4 or 5 days, you might want to look for a basin where you could approach more than one peak. Mystery and Little Mystery are close to this approach, and might be straightfoward in winter if conditions were good (but I wouldn't count on it). If you're planning 4 or 5 days, you might want to take the Snow Lake trail into the Enchantments, where there are several nontechnical ascents in a spectacular setting.
  8. Glad to get the beta from someone who has been there in heavy snow. Constance is still #1 goal for Jan. 26/27, but if snow has been heavy in the week prior, Adams might be safer. The angle of approach from the South looks low enough in photos that avalanche danger should be manageable unless conditions are very bad: steeper than Muir snowfield, but mainly 30 degrees or so. Any other opinions?
  9. I've only been in Royal Basin in summer, but it was pretty obvious even then that various slopes had slide potential. It looked like snow had discharged off E. Deception until almost none was left, and since then the slope had discharged rocks of various sizes, some the size of small cars. The shattered slate is very unstable. Olympic pillow basalt is better, but not by much.
  10. Thanks for bringing this subject up. Worth talking about. For myself, it's the need to balance my time with family that limits my total time in the mountains, and it's the fact that I have a responsibility not to take excessive risks, for my family's sake, which keeps me on the safe side both in choice of mountaineering goals, and in where or when I back off from my goal for safety reasons. As for the fear factor: every climber needs an awareness of risks, and the ability to make a reasoned estimate of them. If you're feeling an overpowering fear, search yourself for why it's there. Sometimes you can tell it's just anxiety, because you can take stock of your situation and see you're not at serious risk. Sometimes it's there because you know you're about to do something unwise, and in those cases you better be able to listen to your inner voice. Then sometimes it's just a deep gut feeling, and I favor listening to those as well. The only time I had a deep gut feeling that something bad was in store, I was right, and it came unexpectedly. All night before an attempt on the West Ridge of Forbidden I could not sleep. I was the only member of our group who had been there before, and had the least reason to be nervous. The next day, just after we climbed onto the snout of the unnamed glacier, it broke apart beneath our feet, sending us sliding downhill on a jumble of refrigerator-sized ice blocks. We were able to leap off and escape without injury. But I can't forget how my gut warned me about what my brain didn't know.
  11. I'm not free Jan 19-20 but am free the following weekend (Jan 26-27) if a change is required. Right now I'm working on putting together a climb of Mt Constance for the last January weekend (see Olympic Peninsula "winter climbing" posts). I'll keep track of posts in case your dates change. I have been up Adams from the North but not the south. A ski or snowboard descent would be nice (no crevasse concerns as long as you stay on the south side).
  12. Ah yes, very good point. A rather significant omission. Looks like a maximum addition of 15 or 16 miles! I have not been there in the winter, and have no idea if the approach off hwy 141 is plowed at all.
  13. I've been to the top of the north chute and to Crystal Pass, as well as looking at Constance and Inner Constance from the summit of the Brothers and Mt Mystery, and my impression is that both mountains are more blocky-- they have some sharp ridges but at the summit the steepness is not sustained. I will hope to have a better perspective in another month. This certainly must have been a fine climbing weekend-- I hope some of you were able to take advantage, unlike myself.
  14. I think that steep Olympic ridge might be the Ridge of Gargoyles northwest of Constance. Take a look at the photo on page 125 of the climber's guide.
  15. Solstice happens at 11:22am today. Don't forget to look out your window to salute the returning sun!
  16. Beats me. I never saw it from that angle. But I don't think Constance has that sharp a summit ridge.
  17. I've only been up the Brothers in summer, but I think I'd get fed up with the long approach for what the whole climb is worth. But either Constance or South Brother in winter should offer more challenge and a much smaller crowd than regular season. If anyone wants to seriously plan a trip to Constance, send me an email.
  18. Royal Basin ought to be a fine winter destination, with Deception and Fricaba being easily accessible ascents, though the valley has definite avalanche potential, especially into Surprise Basin just E. of Deception. The approach is 6 miles, as I recall, very steady slow incline the whole way, with a few old glacier steps at the top. I spoke to Olympic Mountaineering a few weeks back and they said the forest road is not always passable in winter, being unmaintained and sometimes snowy even at that low elevation (around 1000 feet I think). They suggested Deer Park as a good jumping off point. But I'd favor Constance myself.
  19. Aha! I wondered how long it would take for someone to recogize that name. No, I'm not THE Norman Clyde of Sierra climbing fame in the 1920's (as in Clyde Minaret). I chose this name after rejecting "Ed Viesturs" and "Veikka Gustafsson". I was going to be John Muir, my all time mountaineering hero, but I figured that one was taken.
  20. I'm pretty sure they close the gate for the season, adding 1 or 2 miles to the approach. For you guys who have been in Avalanche Canyon in the winter, what is your opinion regarding avalanche risk? I went up the North Chute on Memorial Day 2000, and it was a little slabby in places even that late. Also, it's not too many years since one guy slid to his death in a wet snow slide on the Terrible Traverse in July. If anyone is interested in planning a winter climb of Constance, especially an early start/one day, I would be eager to join, conditions permitting.
  21. One more thing about the approach: in the winter the road is gated at the fork, I think about 2 miles short of the Constance trail. The road is not steep except that one spectacular portion by Dosewallips Falls.
  22. I made a solo attempt on the Constance North Chute on Memorial Day weekend of 2000, and found at the top of the chute that the path down to the Eastern aspect was a narrow ledge coated with rime ice and verglas. I had met a party of three in the chute, and we all agreed it was no go. My question for you guys who have done it is: how do you get past this difficulty? The rest of the climb did not appear difficult. The steep trail approach is a physical challenge, but not a hazard, I agree. If anyone is interested in planning a one day of Constance this season, send me a post.
  23. I am looking for a compatible partner interested in planning some classic ascents this coming alpine season. I might be like your partner who got married-- I'm married for 14 years and have 3 kids-- but I'm at last getting out more often, like I once did, which for me means once or twice a month. I like moving fast and covering a lot of ground in one or two days. I used to do this solo, but I've gravitated back to technical routes. I have a long list of local climbs I want to undertake, from short ones like a one day of Sloan Peak to a 4 day epic West Side of Rainier, this year. I have to work weekends at least once a month, so I don't have unlimited time and need to plan ahead. On the plus side, I'm in excellent shape and have broad backcountry experience. I'm also a doctor with emergency medicine training (haven't had to use this in the backcountry yet).If this sounds good to you, send me a reply. [ 12-12-2001: Message edited by: Norman Clyde ] [ 12-22-2001: Message edited by: Norman Clyde ]
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