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  1. These are well written and thoughtful posts. I've never soloed anything hard, so really can't add anything to the dialogue. There were times when I thought my partners (or partners) and I might fall as a roped unit on steep snow, but that's different. I remember feeling really stupid for being there, but then concentrating like hell. I really appreciate your writings Paco. Maybe you need to chill for a month before you try it again. You obviously are a good climber. I hope to see you out there some time. Cheers to all, John
  2. Thanks Jay. Hope you are well. Been up to Static lately? Juan
  3. Ed: I think you missed my last contribution. I have never said here or anywhere else that one-day climbs are more dangerous. My point was, and still is, that being overtired because you skipped a night of sleep in favor of hiking in the dark can contribute to an accident. It's true on the highway and it's true in the mountains. I've been climbing since 1985 and have done plenty of climbs around here and elsewhere in the so called "fast and light" style. Ask around. You'll see. Some of my most enjoyable routes have gone that way. I'm not a hot shot climber, but do appreciate "good style." The truth is that the busier my life becomes, the more likely I am to do day climbs because I don't get two or more consecutive days very often. I know I am not alone. Others have mentioned it in this thread. It's one reason to go fast and light. Another is the pure challenge. Another is freedom from the pig. And there are more, potential safety being one of them. As for Slipstream, I too read Twight's book, and I know what happened to Mark Bebie. Twight climbed it super fast and lived. Mark apparently pitched it out and didn't. Very sad story. But you're kidding yourself if you think you can always avoid things like cornices and seracs breaking, or avalanches coming down. It's a game of odds. Speed can stack the odds in our favor, but speed, or more particularly travelling super light and for extended periods, can also get you in trouble in a hurry. Anyway, that's my take. Good thread. John
  4. Hey: Juan here, from a different computer. I completely understand your responses and don't mean to put anyone down. As Tod and Jay point out, it is all relative to our abilities and comfort levels. I guess what I am trying to say is that when I read Paco's earlier report (which I didn't read until today), and Stephen's from today, the serious concerns they expressed in light of thin snow and ice conditions, being off route, losing feeling in one hand, etc. make me think they felt overexposed and possibly like they had gotten in deeper than they wanted to be. I won't say over their heads, because they battled through and came out fine, and I'm sure they are good climbers. I've certainly been in those situations where you want badly to be down. They make an impression on you. I guess I just get concerned about what could happen if a single foothold gives way, or a cornice breaks off, or the thin ice peters out altogether, or you are so tired from getting that 12:30 a.m. start that you lose concentration at a key moment. But, that's climbing. I guess I'm old enough now to get paranoid more easily. And I've got two going on three little boys! Should be interesting down the road. Cheers, John
  5. AlpineK: My friends are all fine, so I'm not sure what the first comment is about. As for what it takes to go heli-skiing, I don't deny that people with no backcountry experience whatsoever can pay for a day of helicopter skiing outside any resort in the world. And yes, fat skis have made it all that much easier, just as bigger rackets have improved the game of tennis, and bigger club heads have improved the game of golf. That's technology making our lives easier. And it's true that a visa card is all you need to board a helicopter to ski the Whistler backcountry. But you are wrong to assume that anything more is required to become a "backcountry skier" who earns his or her turns. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the last time I was in Marmot, the same visa card that could buy me a heli trip could also buy me a complete set up for tele or randonee, a transceiver, probe poles, an avalung, and everything else needed to then declare myself ready for the backcountry. And of course, the same card could be used to rent this gear if I decided not to buy it. Again, correct me if I'm wrong, but once you make it to the mountains with all that cool new gear, no one checks your credentials or tests your avalanche awareness skills. At least no one has ever checked mine going back to 1987 or so when I first skied down Mt. Adams. However, prior to setting foot in a helicopter with TLH in B.C. three years ago, we spent about 90 minutes working with our transceivers. Is this a substitute for a day in the trenches with Gary Brill? No. Was this our first experience using a transceiver? No. But it's more than has ever been required of me prior to backcountry skiing. Frankly, what I pick up from your posts today is a hint of hostility toward those who can afford to heli ski. Be that as it may, it is simply wrong to generalize as you have because the argument cannot hold up. And for what it is worth, I can't afford to heli-ski either: The trip I enjoyed was a gift from a very generous and dear friend who can afford the finer things in life. We certainly can't blame him for the family into which he was born. One thing is for sure: The mountains don't discriminate between experts or novices. We've seen that time and again, be it with alpinists, rock climbers, skiers, or snowboarders. The fact is that there are a lot of visa cards buried in them thar hills! Cheers, John Sharp
  6. Dale: What you say is exactly what I think too. I've sold my collection of Climber, R&I, and AAJ, and thus don't have them in front of me. But I remember taking a copy of the AAJ up there with Matt the year before last and being quite certain which gully Bart and Doug reported. This is also what Doug now maintains they climbed, as I understand it. When Matt and I walked under the gully on our way down, it sure seemed like the correct line to us. And of course Matt later climbed it with Dan, and they believed it to be the Spindrift Couloir. Any line to its right would, I believe, be considerably harder than the gully climbed by you, Matt and Dan, and Sean and Andreas, last year. This seems to be agreed upon by those who have recently climbed the face. Why Bart would allow three publications (I think there were three, but I know I saw at least one magazine plus the AAJ) to report this same line (with photos, as well as a detailed, hand-drawn topo in the case of the AAJ), and later amend the line and move it right, is simply beyond me. If Doug now agreed with Bart on this, that would be one thing. But I don't believe they agree at this point in time. Am I right about that? So where does this leave us? I know that Jim and Jason are working very hard to report accurate information in their books. And I know that egos, and to some extent reputations, can come into play when first ascents are involved. But I still think someone should answer the following questions, at a minimum: (1) What does Rich Carlstad say about his 1974 ascent with Cal Folsum? Has anyone talked to him? Word is he lives in Seattle. (2) Why do Cal, Fred Beckey, and Alan Kearney identify three different lines as being the Carlstad/Folsum route? Fred says it is a gully east (left) of the N. Rib; Alan says it is west (right) of the N. Rib; and Jim says it's the line that I believe Bart initially reported as the Spindrift Couloir. I find this confusing. (3) Since I have never been above 5,000' on the face in winter, why am I involved in this debate in the first place??? Whether any of this gets resolved before publication of Jim or Jason's book remains to be seen, but I do think that because this debate has taken on a life of its own, it deserves a fair and agreed-upon resolution. I also think that however this plays out, anyone contemplating any winter route on Big Four should be extremely careful and pay very close attention to snow conditions. Be safe, and let me know whether you guys think I'm blowin' smoke out my butt anymore than I normally do. John Sharp
  7. This is really thin compared to when Erik and I climbed it at the very end of 2001. Looks fun though. Good going. Juan
  8. Doug and Michael: In the three times I've tried to do the N. Rib in a day, I've never seen the ice you guys encountered to get out of the bowl. I'd say you hit it just right. I've rappelled down the bushes/slide alder/Alaska Cedar, etc. on the far right in the dark with Matt P. At times we had to push our way down through it, which gave us no desire to climb up through it. Ever. Better to wait for the avi debris or the ten-year ice build-up down low. The last two times I tried that route we had good avi debris. The last time (last March), at around 10:45 a.m., a massive slide came down the slot that feeds the waterfall just left of the greenery on the far right. My nephew and I were at 5,000' on the N. Rib at the time and looked back to see it. The whole mountain was coming alive in the sun and warming temps, and our next move would have been to get in the gully to the left of the N. Rib. We thought that too dangerous, so bailed. We walked down the aforementioned new debris on the way out, and concluded that it could have buried a car. Big heavy slide. Basically, I hate that mountain, but still want to climb it. Maybe. Perhaps the Dry Creek Route in early spring if it's really cold. Plenty of objective danger there too, but cold conditions would allow a quick and relatively safe passage. Cheers, John
  9. He was going to Tucson for the holidays, then wanted to go to Mexico. Hope he made it south of the border. Juan
  10. Michael: I have a question concerning access to the N. Face Bowl on the right side of the amphitheatre below the N. Face of Big Four. Two of the three times I've gotten above the lower headwall (in efforts to climb the N. Rib 1942 route in a day in winter/early spring all three times) I've headed up the avi debris on the far right of the amphitheatre and encountered very easy mixed rock and snow for a short distance to reach the bowl on its far right side. This is how one starts the N.W. Ridge route (pg. 47 in green Beckey). Those attempts were in Feb. and March last year. In March the previous year, Matt P. and I tackled the headwall straight on. Sporty with a layer of wet snow on it, but it took too much time and energy. I went up there with Erik recently to climb Hall Peak from that side (before the recent weeks of snow fall) and we were disappointed to find that the lower wall was about 100 ft. high, steep and wet. In other words, the avi debris is the key to quick access to the N. Face bowl because it covers up the lower cliffs and provides a ramp. My question is whether this has started piling up. Did you get up there to have a look, or were you looking from the road in which case you can't tell? Thanks much, and hope you manage to climb that fucker this winter. And remember, if you can't get to the bowl, you may as well smoke a bowl. John Sharp
  11. Way to go Colin and Mark. That felt like a big route in July when I did it with Jim and Bob; doing it now with that much loose snow and snow falling seems over the top. Glad you didn't come down the CJ Couloir. That was a scary place on a sunny day in July; can't imagine it now. Colin: didn't you do it this summer in a day? I'm thinking you need to blow off college and move on to bigger ranges. But don't tell your mom I said this. Cheers, John Sharp
  12. Tom: Jon Heller and I climbed W. Ridge N. Twin in 1986. We followed Fred's directions, and camped on a road at a washout. My sporty post-college vehicle, a 1985 Chrysler Laser XE, could not cross a small washout. We walked on more road the next morning, and ended up leaving the road and fighting up a clear cut until we hit the ridge. Not epic. We found an old leather boot on a stump, and determined, without basis, that it was Fred's. It was a fun climb, and we didn't rope up, for what it's worth. I climbed it in plastic boots as we were supposed to do Baker but the weather was not great. The elastic in the waist of my long undies gave out on the descent, so I had droopy drawer syndrome. This probably doesn't help, but I know you'll find it next time. For what it's worth, Jim Nelson had trouble finding Cinderella a few years ago, and even more trouble getting out of the woods. It's a difficult area for sure. Cheers, John Sharp
  13. Copy that. Hell, I'd take my loafers to the guy. John Sharp
  14. Thank you for this TR. I was going to take my wife up there this summer (Aug.) May do so next year, but it doesn't sound like we should make it a top priority. Cheers, John Sharp
  15. Goatboy: Way to go. Were you the sixth or seventh party to climb the mountain this year? I think we were the fifth. But we did the easy route. Super cool peak, no matter how you get to the top. My friend from Boulder was duly impressed with the whole area. Cheers, John Sharp
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