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Everything posted by wrench

  1. Climb: Ptarmigan Traverse; 7/3 - 7/10/04 Trip Report: Just finished the traverse with my girlfriend this past Saturday. Quick trip/conditions report here: the additional 3 miles of hiking on Cascade Rv Rd was a little harder on us than we expected. (noted that the washouts are nearly fixed -- if it wasn't the gov't at work, I would suggest the road was driveable NOW, but i'd wager it'll be at least another month or two before they finally open it.) With our 8 nights of gear, we were fairly knackered by the time we reached Cache Glacier, so we plopped down and camped on the lower glacier near some rocks with running water. This was our only camp on snow. The rest of the primary campsites are all dry. There were no other parties on the traverse last week at all! We were pretty surprised by this, but then the forecast wasn't exactly perfect. There were no moat/schrund problems anywhere on the route (i.e. Cache col, red ledges, La Conte glacier). There is very little snow coverage below 6,000 feet, and about half coverage above 6. There was also no running water at the high bivy sites yet (Cache Col, below Formidable, below Sentinel). Itswoot Ridge probably had some somewhere, but we bolted straight for Cub Lake b/c weather was nasty up there. We got stuck at the buggy, swampy Yang Yang Lakes for 3 nights due to bad weather. It actually snowed about 4 inches above 6,000 feet Tues night/Wed morning. We got some at Y.Y. but it didn't stick long. Nasty weather that day though -- sleet blowing sideways into the tent. At times wondering if we would ever be able to leave. Finally got some clearing Thursday and moved to White Rock Lakes. La Conte glacier in good shape: some fun bits of crevasse negotiating, but plenty of snow coverage to make easy enough. actually got to pull out the 3rd tool I hauled in to pound in a picket at one point, as we crossed a narrow snow bridge onto a steep 50+ degree slope directly above a crevasse. (note: NE face of Sentinel looks in great shape -- would be fun to do that steep snow/firn climb this time of year.) Alas, no peak bagging for us this trip -- it was all about getting through and staying dry. Had a beautiful Thurs evening/ Fri morning at W.R. Lakes! Absolutely jaw-dropping views here. I would plan on spending 2 nights here just to relax and take in the views if I do the traverse again. Friday we were supposed to meet friends coming in to do Dome at Itswoot Ridge, so we bolted Friday morning. Nasty clouds approaching from the east, turned to whiteout by the time we reached Dome-Spire col. And Friday was forecasted to be nice a week before. We had enough of camping in shit weather, so we said f&*k Itswoot Ridge and Dome, we descended to Cub Lake and hoped to meet friends there. Turns out they had trouble with the shwack up Batchelor Creek and only made it to the 11-mile camp--that's a hell of a day going uphill!! I suppose not as many people are going in possibly b/c of the bridge washout and maybe the brush is not being tamed very often. Anyway, weather was crap again Saturday, so we headed down and ran into them in the middle of the slide debris. Very welcome site, seeing 3 good friends in the middle of the worst part of the descent, after no human contact and lots of bad weather for 7 days! We bushwacked out together and gave Marcus the nickname "Swedish Chef" (from the Muppets) because of his two ski-pole onslaught of the bush and the vegetation flying up in his wake. It poured rain the whole time, we got totally soaked and decided to hump it all the way out instead of camping part way. made it out at 7pm, and after shredding a tire on the way down, stopped at La Hacienda in Arlington and ate some darn tasty Mexican. The ladder down from the Downey Creek bridge is no problem, even with big packs. It's a little bouncy, but pretty strong. If you are concerned, however, it would be easy enough to toss your pack down off the bridge. If you were STILL concerned, you could even easily rap off the bridge. In summary, this was our first time on the Traverse, and it is an amazing route, with stunning views and fun terrain, just wish we had paid more attention to the forecast. I would probably do it a little later in the summer next time, but I would still plan on an entire week. Too beautiful to be rushed! Gear Notes: brought 3 pickets, glacier rope, 4 ice screws and a 3rd tool. Didn't need the ice screws at all this time of year. pickets were nice and the 3rd tool was handy one time. Most important piece of gear was the altimeter though. Several times, a couple in whiteouts, we were able to keep moving just by saying "ok, we just keep traversing at 6100' for a while."
  2. Mt. Erie Routes

    I have the dubious distinction of being in the Mt. Erie area this evening, and the person who was supposed to sort of guide us to the good routes has bailed. Does anyone have any recommendations for good routes to do there (if any)? Trad or sport doesn't matter. Also, can anyone tell me if the "Climb Washington" book will be sufficient for the area?
  3. [TR] Hood accident- 6/17/2006

    Thanks, Sobo, I appreciate those comments. I think the ranger expects that most people on the route are inexperienced, which is probably true, but honestly it wasn't that we were concerned about our safety -- we thought it was a good chance to try it out... see what it felt like and judge its usefulness... and waited until there was no one above us. I agree, I prefer soloing it. But it was good to see a lot of T-slot pits on the way up - apparently people learned, if only for a day, that pickets placed vertically won't hold too much of a fall. I'll also put a plug in for the West Crater variation -- it's a nice route & thins the crowds out.
  4. [TR] Hood accident- 6/17/2006

    btw, anyone know how the injured parties are doing?
  5. [TR] Hood accident- 6/17/2006

    I realize this is getting to be old news, but I was up there in a team of 3 the day after. Conditions were still quite icey and a ranger at the Hogsback strongly suggested short-roping. We had never done that before, and felt a little silly because it seemed like something only guided groups do (what's-her-name, the "New York socialite" on Everest in 96 immediately comes to mind), but we tried it and it did seem to make some sense as you could move quicker than you could roped up normally placing pro, but still (in theory) arrest your 'mates before they pick up too much speed. I think we still probably would have soloed if it wouldn't have been a direct affront to the ranger's advice (and we felt he deserved that respect considering all he'd been through with the fallen climbers the day before). I wanted to bring it up because it was interesting that the ranger suggested it and it's not an option I normally (okay, ever) consider. Anyone think that's a good technique for this route, or could have prevented this accident?
  6. Cell Phones, Analog vs Digital?

    It doesn't matter whether or not the service provider "supports" analog or not if the phones don't receive analog signals. As far as I and others I've talked to can gather, Verizon is the only company in our region that still sells phones that receive analog. Here is a good source to check if a phone you're considering will receive analog: http://cellphones.about.com/od/allcellphonespecs/
  7. MEC Packs vs. Serratus

    [found this old thread while searching for other reviews so i'm resurrecting it instead of starting a new one to report on the alpinelite 30. TMI, sorry.] Just used my new MEC Alpinelite 30 pack this weekend as a summit ski pack. Loved it. My SO has the old Genie and she loves it, too. So similar, with only minor improvements (IMO) in design, so it's probably not worth upgrading. But I found all the new design features to be well thought out and worth the slight increase in weight and slight decrease in compressibility (in terms of stuffing it into an overnight pack). I was able to fit a 1st aid kit, binding repair kit, down coat, rain coat, avy probe, shovel, extra clothes/gloves/goggles, food and water with a little room to spare. Highly recommend it, especially at that price. Still a little unsure of the long-term durability of the fabric, but it's dyneema, so I'm hoping that means it's good for the wear. that is all.
  8. Belay jackets?

    anyone tried the MEC Magma jacket? looks like a similar piece to the dolomitti, but no reinforcement patches, about 6 oz. heavier, and $205 canadian.
  9. Half Ropes...

    Cobra's summed it up as well as you can. There are infinitely varying scenarios, but it all boils down to the fact that one rope is designed to hold a fall, but in re: Plexus, I would just place two pieces close together and clip them alternatively at the crux. and of course there's always the fact to consider that clipping alternatively will reduce your fall slightly if you fall while pulling up rope mid-clip.
  10. Half Ropes...

    I assume you were refering to the quote from Mammut you posted? But I think you may be reading this too literally. By left and right, I believe they are just designating the individual ropes, not describing where on the route to use them. The salient point is if you fall, it will be onto one rope. whether you have clipped that rope in an alternating fashion or consecutively along one side of the route is completely dependant on the route, and (in a vacuum) not going to determine whether the rope fails or not. hopefully someone will correct me if I'm way off.
  11. Has anyone ever done this traverse up in the Bugs? I searched the archives for the past 3 years and came up with nothing except a post about piton hammers. Just curious what you thought of it -- how long did it take, did you have a good time, anything strike you as noteworthy, etc. Thanks! (I'll report about it if we end up doing it)
  12. Cool thanks for the responses, everyone. Paul, thanks for the link -- good info there. Hope we get lucky with the weather -- last time I was in that general area we got rained/snowed on for 4 straight days.
  13. digital cameras?

    Sorry if this is too late for your trip. According to CIPA standards (whatever that is) the SD500 can take 160 pics on a full charge. Some advanced math reveals that would give you a little under 10 pics per day, which might be a good way restrict your shooting. Turning off the LCD is a good suggestion for extending your bat. life, but you definitely should consider buying a second battery for this long of a trip.
  14. Heh, yeah I've heard -- we aren't heading up there until July 30th though. Hopefully things warm up/melt out between now & then.
  15. Web Pages

    Not sure if this is the kind of thing you're looking for, but this is the website i used many years ago to teach myself html. I think it's very good and it's free and the tutorial you can do online or download and do offline. I only had to spend a few hours on it to get a pretty good working feel for writing html. www.mcli.dist.maricopa.edu/tut/lessons.html Then, for slightly more advanced html writing tips I often reference this site: html goodies
  16. Best Snow Anchors fer Tents

    yeah, i was pretty surprised by that weight... i just checked the mtn hw site tho, and they say they weigh 1 oz, so who knows. i don't own a scale, so i can't weigh them myself, but i'm pretty sure they're not half a pound.
  17. New REI Bitch Thread

    I was on their web site the other day and this irritated the f&*k out of me: insulated jacket selection yet they have two pages of long-sleeve button-up travel shirts Still, if they make lots of money off traveling yuppies and turn around and keep giving to conservation, climbing, environmental causes, etc. and in general make more people fans of the environment, then I try not to get too annoyed. Lord knows we don't have enough 'corporate allies' out there.
  18. Best Snow Anchors fer Tents

    I really like these: snow anchors I've got friends that have made the same thing out of sil nylon (that's silicon-impregnated nylon), which is a cheaper and lighter way to do it. But the Mtn Hdwr ones still don't weigh much and are extremely durable. The make bomber anchors, but are easier to dig out than a stuff sack.
  19. Beta on Thailand

    I went end of January and yeah it was hot, like 90-95 every day, with a lot of humidity, but there are always shadey crags to be found (unless you are going there to climb at Tonsai Wall every day), and the sea nearby to cool off in. I didn't find the heat to be too much of a problem and I bet if you're there that long you'll aclimate pretty well. Personally, I thought the mosquitos were way worse than the heat.
  20. Muir snowfield

    here's more info. the pictures a little clearer and very sad. i'm imagining a pretty horrifying series of events. "It appears the men may have attempted to pitch their tent, because it had snow and food inside when rangers removed it from their pack. The men were also wearing headlamps, suggesting it was dark when they put the tent away." http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2002287906_climbers25m.html
  21. REI tents

    That's a good point -- I guess "bend, but not break" is far better than break. Good clarification. In that sense my tent came out of it in great shape, although I wasn't too convinced it would at the time.
  22. REI tents

    1/2 dome: I would also add that the velcro tabs on the roof vent are sewn to the fly after it's been seam-sealed, and the stitchings in the tabs can leak, so they need to be seam-sealed by you (2004 version). After doing this, my tent handled rain and even a little snow very well during a 3-day period of crappy weather on the ptarmigan traverse, staying very dry inside. Wind, however is a totally different story. I staked and guyed the shit out of the tent and it still tried to buckle under every big gust. I would highly discourage using it anywhere with high exposure to wind.
  23. [TR] Mt. Hood- Hogsback 4/24/2005

    Well, Kirsten and I decided to head down this Saturday and climb it Sunday despite the less than ideal forecast. Weather was brilliant on the way up, but when we reached the hogsback, suddenly it looked like this: But we summitted and the ski down was good except the first 1000 feet of icy crud below the hogsback.
  24. Moderate Climbers Magazine

    Hey there, I guess I'm responsible for that -- Thanks for the props! credit for the idea belongs to some friends of mine though, I just gave it a home. It's awesome that people get it and appreciate it! We did this first issue for our own amusement, but we have all agreed it would be a HELL of a lot of fun to put out more "issues" of the mag. but unfortunately we suffer from being slightly disorganized people. At the risk of crushing rejection, if any of you have a great story that fits this vein (I've definitely read some here) and you'd like to contribute to this "magazine" (or "ezine" i guess...) we would love to read it and hopefully put up another issue sometime in the next decade. You can just email me at nate@evilfungus.com. ... Dave, thanks for clarifying your 'funny' comment. -Nate
  25. [TR] Mt. Hood- Hogsback 4/24/2005

    Good snow report -- thanks for the info! I'm glad conditions were pretty stable. Ivan, I don't know what to tell you -- you raise an intriguing philosophical question, and one which I won't dare touch on this bb.