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Everything posted by SEF

  1. I find no beta on Mt. Idaho N Ridge or S Ridge. I would like to ascend one and descend the other. They look like class 3. Any info? Thanks.
  2. What did you do this weekend?

    I did a solo Tooth to Chair Pk traverse Sunday. More work than I was expecting. Although the weather was fine, everything else was drenching wet till afternoon when I was nearly done. I had wet feet and drenched clothes most of the day - all from vegetation. The various descents on the damp lichen rock were spicy, as were the steep grass and heather. Saw no other parties until Chair, where I saw 3 parties.
  3. Directions to Mailbox pk. trailhead?

    The Mailbox TH is at the point where the pavement ends and gravel/hardpack begins. You will find a large pullout on the left, and where a gated spur road with some added parking space is on the right. The hike up the road and location of the trail is adequately described. I've done the trail many times and it does make for a good cardio work out. Other good workouts can be found on Si (old trail), Tennerife, McClellan or Granite. At least those are my favorites. I usually reserve Si only for when the weather is really bad or it is too crowded for my tastes.
  4. Climb: Stuart-W Ridge Date of Climb: 8/14/2004 Trip Report: TR: W Ridge Stuart, 8/14/04 Left town solo on Friday, 13th, seeking an adventure and an escape to the neighbor's loud music and raucous crowd. I arrived at the Teanaway Road end late, and crawled into a sleeping bag, but the warm temperature did not allow easy sleep. Another party arose in the middle of the night, leaving the TH by headlamp at 2 AM. I assumed they were headed to Stuart. After finally drifting off to a fitful sleep, I awoke at 5:20, and was on the trail by 6. 45 minutes later I reached Ingalls Pass. Continuing to Ingalls Lake, I found 2 packs hanging from a tree, and fresh Ridge Rest® impressions nearby in the dirt where no camping is allowed. Before leaving Ingalls Lake, I drank and refilled 1 liter of water - all that I carried, but, I must say, less than what is desirable. At Stuart Pass I encountered 2 who were unsure whether they were climbing Stuart via the N Ridge or the W Ridge. One of them was hiking in flip flops. I moved on. In the W Ridge Couloir, I passed another party. One of them asked me if I had climbed the route before? "Yes." Did I know where the route went? "I hope so." No further questions were asked, but the questioner did mumble something about routefinding reportedly being the scariest part of the climb. When I summited, I looked back and saw climbers who I assumed were that party at Long John's Tower Notch, at 10:15. I signed a scrap of paper in the big Mazama summit register box. I was parched and low on water, but the summit area of Stuart had no snow. Descending to the Cascadian Couloir, I encountered a couple coming up and the man seemed anxious for "summit beta." He told me that 2 times before, he was turned around at some unclimbable impasse, and wanted to know the way from the false to the true summit. I did the best I could, but really had no idea what he was talking about. After them, I stopped at the snowfield below the false summit, but no running water, so I ate snow, and put some in my Nalgene. Descending to Ingalls Creek, I encountered a Mountaineers party that I knew were going in to do the Cascadian. The party included the original owner of the rusty old Blazer that I recently purchased. I gulped water and chatted horsely about Blazer clutch longevity with my dry voice. Leaving them, I humped over Longs Pass to arrive back at said Blazer at 1:30 PM. The frappuccino I had stored in the stream never tasted so good. Perhaps more memorable than the climb itself was the cast of people I encountered along the way. Water note: The only liquid water on the trip is found at Ingalls Lake and Ingalls Creek (not counting the Teanaway at the TH). A snow patch without running water is available below the false summit of Stuart, and is the only other source.
  5. [TR] Stuart- W Ridge 8/14/2004

    Norman, If you have a nose for routefinding, you should do OK, provided that you are cool with big exposure on the moves you will have to do. The route has many variations that work, and, I swear, the highest number of bivi spots per foot of vertical that I have ever seen. You will never be more than a few minutes from one. If you want specific beta, feel free to email me.
  6. [TR] Prusik- S Face, not quite 8/8/2004

    Ratings are so individual anyway. Regarding Burgner-Stanley, my vote is the last pitch is 5.9, but the pitch before is 5.10a. I know others who love chimneys and who would say the reverse. My hunch is that if you are a wuss like me and try, in that chimney, to squeeze in close to the back to place pro, then it will feel harder. I also had the pleasure of completing that climb in a snowstorm after a morning approach from Icicle Creek TH, and completed the descent to Gustov's that afternoon/evening after stopping to help a W Ridge party try unsuccesfully to retrieve a wet, stuck rope. Long day. In any event, my hat is off to those earlier era hard men who still make us sweat over the difficulty of their grades. Regarding multiple threads about the approach or descent hike, for me, the choice depends a bit on snow cover. I'd prefer descending from Aasgard early season with snow when the descent to Colchuck Lake is fast, but not now when I'd prefer humping out the trail via Snow Lakes.
  7. [TR] Stuart- W Ridge 8/14/2004

    I think I may have been a mistake in mentioning my times because that seems to be the thing on which people focus. I suppose it may be fast for a middle-aged guy trying to keep at it, but it is hardly any record. I know from other sources that Miles Smart did the trip in 5:45. That climb is certainly no big deal given it has only a handful of low class 5 moves. But having done it before on almost the exact same day of the year, I did find a big difference in snow coverage. Before, a bit below the summit, I found a sizable patch which had running water below. Now: completely dry. At a couple spots on the route up, I found snow patches before. This year: zero. Yes, it is dry; plan accordingly. The people I met also made the trip a bit surreal. FWIW, the only people I met along the way that I can say I'd feel comfortable joining, was the Mountaineers party. I was most surprised in those other parties by the guy with flip-flops. These were not Tivas, but el cheapo-KMart and well-worn. I do not know what alternative footwear that guy carried, but the idea of heading to the N Ridge Stuart in them sure seemed scary to me, even if he had strap on crampons.
  8. I fall into the camp who does not really care that much about a commonly done summit that has a register, but I don't think anyone has the right to unilateraly decide that a given register must be removed and that it is their duty to do so. I sometimes enjoy reading them. I recall finding a register on the middle summit of Index when doing the traverse back in the early 70s. It was a 35mm film canister that had a scrap of paper signed by 2 parties - the first by a couple of guys named Schoening and Beckey. I thought that was an historic find. We added out names and left it. Last summer I repeated the traverse, but found no register on the Middle Peak, and was disappointed, and wondered what happened to the original register. The Mountaineers does collect the paper registers when full and then does submit them to the University of Washington Library archives and they do become state history documents. The importance of that may well vary with the summit, but still, vandalism or theft is a selfish act that deprives others of recorded historical information. I vote with those who say ignore them if you do not want them.
  9. [TR] Chair Peak- Northeast Buttress 7/25/2004

    Soloed the NE Buttress Sunday, 18th, and saw no other parties on Chair by any route. Then again, I didn’t leave the Alpental parking lot until 12:30 PM. Ton of people (all tourists, except for descent where I saw a ranger and 1 Tooth party) on the Snow Lakes Trail. Chatted with the ranger with huge pack with tree ax attached who had been out for 1 night. For those interested, time was a bit under 4 hours, r/t. I found the route most all class 4, more solid than I expected, with some loose stuff on the descent. Scrambled down 2nd of 2 (more E) gullies from just below summit. I carried a rope for raps, and used it twice on the SE gully descent, though that was optional. Saw one long extended bunch of slings at one point; that was funny. Sling down-climb! Last runner below about 10 girth hitched together was clearly labeled “Ian Mackay.” Hi Ian! When I returned to my truck, I had a ticket for "Noncompliance" because the "year on Forest Pass could not be read". WTF! Fund day.
  10. Sometimes it may be better to have a small tease than a large disappointment. As time permits I will add a few more enlargements, but those chosen first were most often due to having a sufficient quality digital file for the photo to warrant it. I love great photography and getting some of it was harder than you might think. No-one has said a thing about the topos. Three are provided. One is provided as-is from the author. The other two I redid from scratch for a big increase in legibility and a vastly decreased file size (by a factor of 10). Was it worth the trouble for those 2? Tell me.
  11. I want to thank everyone for all of the very positive praise that we’ve received on our first-issue-effort, both on this forum and privately. I’m amazed. We could not have done the journal without the fine material that came to us. As much as we do our best to polish words, optimize pictures and make appealing web pages, if the material lacks real content, you can’t engage critical readers. I think we need to make sure substantial thanks to go those who made the content—the contributing climbers. Those of us who made the journal are recorders and messengers of the message, but are mostly (Lowell, of course, was a significant creator of content) not the message. With no message, what would we have? I join Gary, Lowell and the rest of the editors in encouraging you all to contribute or to continue to contribute the landmark stories that we seek to include. We are nothing without you.
  12. Recently I was hiking back to Cave Ridge across the E flanks of Snoqualmie Mtn, returning from soloing W Ridge of Lundin, and came across a small airplane wreckage. Perhaps a Cessna. It was on a relatively level contour about even with the low point of the Lundin-Snoqualmie ridge, and perhaps several hundred yards W of that low point. Anyone know anything about it? I did a quick search on the forums but failed to find anything.
  13. [TR] Eldorado- west arete 6/26/2004

    I did this route with Dave Seman in the 70s. We approached from Sibley Creek Pass and bivied on a bench before the Triad Col. On climb day, we climbed through the col and descended to the base of the ridge, which was fairly straightforward with a bit of unroped low class 5 to the col before the snow/glacier descent. We did the climb in mountain boots, and did fine. The crux was traversing around one of the gendarmes-I think Nelson has a picture of it in his book. Sometime after the gendarmes, we coiled the rope and scrambled the rest, summited, descended the E Ridge and returned to the TH. A worthy route. Not the best rock, but neither the worst. Position is superb.
  14. Interesting. Nothing in the NTSB aviation accident database describes a crash in the location I saw. I'm wondering if it may be incomplete. Here are the closest I found: The 1992 crash mentioned was on Granite and involved a Beech plane. A 1995 crash involved a Cessna 2 mi W of the pass in heavy timber, and the wreckage salvaged. A 1999 crash involving a Cessna was also on Granite.
  15. Photo Contest!

    Northwest Mountaineering Journal
  16. Please identify and I'll get it to you.
  17. Validity of an the ascent

    I've not posted in awhile, but have lurked from time to time. This thread prompted me to post. It strikes me as rather odd that the style of ascent as described by Erik could be discredited by anyone and suggested as not valid, when, historically, his approach was the style most often used in the past for first ascents. Is the issue the style used or whether the ascent was, in fact, the first? I add my voice to those that applaud Erik's style. No one who has climbed for many years in Leavenworth can fail to notice the increase in recent years in the number of white streaks sprouting on rock faces and slabs clearly visible from the road some distance away. These streaks are new routes done with "modern" techniques that include significant "cleaning." I have to ask if this is progress? Such development certainly looks anything but natural from afar. I'm not necessarily criticizing bolting though I do not advocate unnecesary bolting. I have lamented many traditional top rope anchors along the Icicle that have been used for many decades that in recent times have had bolts chopped, and wondered why? Yet new bolts have sprouted alongside old top rope routes or next to relatively obvious placements, apparently to make a sport route ready for the quick draw set. Again, but for different reasons, I wonder, why? Sometimes, the well placed bolt can preserve the seam that otherwise would not accept pro except by pounding knifeblades or scraping out dirt to get the thinest of RP's. Which is worse, the hard gardening, the destruction caused by the pin or the bolt? I have no answers, but I do know that some land managers are starting to look at the issue and have also seen the growing signs of disruption, especially the increase in white streaks on the hillsides. We should take note. For the long term, if we want to preserve or increase climbing in the Icicle and elsewhere, we do need to find a way to develop routes to escape such obvious notice. More heavily cleaned and bolted routes will make for more notoriety among management officials, and, I fear, more regulation. That would be self defeating. -Steve Firebaugh
  18. Overdue skiers

    Yakima County Sheriff's Search and Rescue has contact information for the people in charge. sar@co.yakima.wa.us is email contact. I do not believe the names of either skier has been officially released yet. This board has figured out only James so far as I know.
  19. Overdue skiers

    The Times has an article as well: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/134608638_missing03m.html It is without a doubt the James Hamaker party. I sure hope they are safely waiting out bad weather in a snow cave somewhere, but I am worried.
  20. Empty Park TR

    DFA, I have long admired your entertainment value, but will hand it to you on this thread. You managed to turn a few sport pitches of otherwise routine tuff at Smith into a TR of epic proportions. I can also relate to your source of "fuel." What kind of coffee did you say you were you drinking?
  21. Avy, seven buried, one dead

    The slope in question varies from 5800 feet to 6600 feet. Hazard was forecast as considerable above 6000 feet and moderate below. Avalanche was triggered by the 14th skier to descend the slope on Sunday, following a number of skiers under essentially the same conditions on Saturday. Mountaineer trip leaders are not under any undue pressure to "stick to outing plans" and may change objectives as conditions dictate. Or turn around. I do believe that observing a significant ski traffic on a run will lull a great many of us into thinking that a slope may be more stable than it is. Examining lessons learned to guide our own future decisions could save lives. Finger pointing or second guessing will not. Question, at what url can I find the "Crystal Mt. sensor data"?
  22. Avy, seven buried, one dead

    Don Dovey memorial details are: Date: Friday, January 3 Time: 11:00 am Place: Christ the King Catholic Church 405 North 117th St. Seattle Don's family would enjoy meeting his climbing friends at the memorial.
  23. Avy, seven buried, one dead

    A Don Dovey memorial fund has not yet been set up. I will know more next week.
  24. Avy, seven buried, one dead

    Cavey, I don’t think we disagree although we say it differently. Venturing out the door entails risk. Knowledge of the degree of risk does not keep us at home where we are safest of all. We may be capable of making better decisions with more knowledge, but that capability is biased with desire, group dynamics, experience with similar situations in the past and more. I highly endorse avalanche training and knowledge. I hope we all can make the best decision we can the next time we evaluate that next slope of snow we face. But the decisions we make and the actions we take, determine our fate. Knowledge, independent of our actions, will not save us.
  25. Avy, seven buried, one dead

    Snow is so seductive and can be so dangerous. I know too many who have died in it. The expert and the novice can both be entrapped. Don Dovey was the latest. I knew him, and he was no novice. A couple days ago I visited Big Four. Although I would not venture closer than the trail viewpoint perhaps 50 yards from the lowest “cave,” I saw tourists who were playing in the fresh avalanche debris near it and shuddered. “Hey, that was a good one” one of them yelled when spindrift came down nearby. They soon left, still playful in their ignorance. As they passed, I said nothing, not wanting to spoil their bliss; the danger passed. They could not have avoided the wrning sign on their way in, and I could not add to that. Witnessing the same today, I would be unable to remain silent. More knowledge does not, by itself, make you safer. Avalanche forecasts do not, by themselves, put you in danger. Descisions must be made when face to face with a slope. None of us are immune from making poor decisions. Far too often, hindsight flavors our view of the quality of decisions past, hindsight from events that happen, good or bad, after the decision. Let us not judge, but do our best to make the right decision when we next face it. I am so sorry for Don’s family and friends.