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Everything posted by nattybumppo

  1. Parkas for Denali?

    I'm not writing from the light and fast hardman perspective. I did use the DAS on the West Butt and it was enough. Just. On the coldest days I wore two layers of merino, a windshirt, hardshell bibs, a WM down vest, the DAS, and hardshell on top. Basically everything I had. I can imagine if having to hang out on belay that the combo would not be adequate. That's not usually a problem on the West Butt or Rib, though. I do use the DAS all the time down here. It's a great coat. That said, it's impossible to exaggerate the potential for cold up there. My cold day was 20-30 mph wind and -40 deg. That was at 14k. Tent, sleeping bag, warm Gatorade, and hearts to 1000 points. It was ridiculous. Imagine that over on the Cassin. Double ridiculous. You can't really hang out for a week, either.
  2. Your Climbing Heroes

    CC.Com doesn't sort out the threads identically every time. I'm looking at 13 pages right now. But hey, thanks for pointing it out in such a friendly way. WTF yourself.
  3. Your Climbing Heroes

    My Dad for taking me to Leavenworth even after he had broken his neck and had cervical fusions and couldn't raise his right arm above his shoulder. Still had Kung Fu grip though, not to mention that mysterious Old Man Strength. BTW, 12 pages and no Voytek Kurtyka? Shining Wall? And still alive. Plus, he writes about as well as any alpinist I can think of.

    I was on the West Buttress last year, mid-May to mid-June. I used a DAS Parka and found it adequate. I also took a WM down vest, which I wore continuously for the four weeks and made a great layer under the parka. I also wore a light merino T the entire time, and over that a heavier merino zip-T which I never took off either. I used Intuitions in my plastic boots, Superfeet in the sole, and 40-Below overboots on top. It was a good system, though I wound up coveting the Olympus Mons a couple of other guys had. No, I don't think you'll find them useful for general mountaineering. I also had the big OR Viesturs down mitts. Very warm. The bottom line is that there is going to be gear you buy for Denali that you just won't use down here. Literally, 50% of your gear is for the last 20% of the climb. Just believe that the risk of frostbite is real and it jumps on you quickly. And once you're debilitated, your team has to take care of you, and you can't return the favor. You can't run a stove, you can't bag snow, your ass will be a mess, you're a burden, and it's a crappy feeling and it ruins the entire trip. Not to mention the nauseating pain of rewarming. The Intuition liners come out to roughly $15 per toe. Big down mitts, $10 per finger. Both are worth it, in my opinion. As for skis and snowshoes together. Well, on the way up (assuming the West Butt, of course), the only hassle will be right out of KIA going down Heartbreak Hill. After that, it shouldn't be a big deal. Down from 11K, however, you'll probably wind up wanting to throw the snowshoers in a crevasse. Or, if possible, rope up separately. Skis are definitely, definitely better.
  5. Picket Range end of May/June am I stupid?

    I'm not the climber some of these other guys are, but with only five days in hand, that time of year, I wouldn't try for the Pickets. The obvious, and high quality, May/June destination in this state is the Stuart Range. In ascending order of excellence on Stuart itself (with the first being pretty damn excellent): West Ridge, Ice Cliff Glacier, Stuart Glacier Col., Northwest Face, North Ridge. Conditions may eliminate some, but something on that list will go, and access should be manageable from the north. Also accessible depending on your time and energy: Dragontail-- NF-Stanley/Wickwire, Triple Col's (this year...who knows?), Colchuck--Glacier Route, Sherpa--North Ridge, Prussik Peak--West Ridge, South Face. All quality, all within striking distance of the same trailhead. The Stuarts are just about the furthest east you can go, which gives you your best shot at a weather window, and even if the weather is generally crap, you'll probably have a shot at something. And if you really, really have to punt, there's always Vantage and pulling jugs in the desert. Have a great visit!
  6. Season for NF of Maude

    Never having climbed either in true Sep/Oct late season conditions, I'll concede without argument. Though I thought the "sort of" covered the spread. I imagine the Ice Cliff is considerably more thought-provoking than Maude late season, as it is in May/June, in my actual experience. As I was.
  7. Season for NF of Maude

    I climbed the NF in June this year. With lots of snow, the traverse from the Maude-Jack col is a moderate obstacle. Without snow I'm sure it's doable, it just wouldn't be that much fun. The route itself is all season, it just depends on whether you prefer more or less rock. Based on what I saw, the late season route would be a lot skinnier, but it would certainly have some nice alpine ice and firm sticks. Sort of like the Ice Cliff on Stuart, actually. As for the approach, late season I would come over the ridge east of summit from Ice Lakes, like the original ascenders (see CAG.)
  8. Trip: Mt. Maude - North Face Date: 6/30/2007 Trip Report: My best friend and I had a fantastic time on the north face of Maude yesterday. We bivied at the Maude-Seven Finger Jack col on Friday night. A few showers on the way up, and even a snow flurry at the col, but nothing terrible. We woke with the sun but--embarassingly--didn't get our creaky bones going on the traverse until about 8:30 am. The traverse was tedious, but never really sketchy. It was about half and half snow and rock scrambling. The face was in great shape. We could have stayed on snow the whole way, but we took a break on some rocks about a third of the way up. About half of the cornice was in place looming over climber's left. A real death-hanger. So we did our best to just punch it and minimize our exposure time. We didn't rope up, though we had the gear. Just single ice axes and crampons the whole way. We topped out at 12:30. We descended the south side and then through the Leroy Creek basin. We didn't see a soul all of Friday and Saturday until we hit the trail. There'll be a bit of a queue on the route today if the number of ice tools we counted is any indication. The Ixtapa mexican restaurant in Sultan gets two thumbs up! Gear Notes: Used: ice axe, crampons, helmet. Didn't use (but would take again all the same): 30m rope, even # stoppers, pink tricam, #2 Friend, biners, and slings. Approach Notes: The Leroy Creek approach may be shorter than the Ice Lake side, but man, it's a hump. Way harder than up and over Longs Pass to Stuart in my opinion. Pretty though.
  9. [TR] Mt. Maude - North Face 6/30/2007

    I hope you had a good time on your climb. Was the cornice still in place? I wish I had a picture to share because it's been giving me the shivers ever since. For all I know it ripped the second we turned our backs on the top. While I'm more of an unbeliever myself, my climbing partner is a pastor's son and a solid Christian. He would punch ten steps then send up a prayer. Ten steps-prayer-ten steps-prayer. It's not something I've felt inclined to laugh at, to be honest.
  10. Anyone have experience on Adams North Ridge?

    The North Ridge is a nice climb, particularly in June when there is a little more snow. Camp at the lake, there are usually good rock walls in place. There's really no reason to camp higher, as from there it is comfortably an up-down-and out situation. It's not a technical route. The two times I've done it I did not bring a rope, just an ice axe and crampons. And you may not even use the crampons. The views on to the Adams and the Lava glaciers are great, as is the daylong gaze toward Goat Rocks, Rainier and beyond. Have a great, safe trip!
  11. Mitts for Aconcagua?????

    I was happy to have my big OR's on Denali this season, the red Viesturs model. I only used them at 17K and above, but they were nice. Having helped treat a guy with frostbite on his hands while on the trip, please be encouraged to err on the side of too much.
  12. Life Insurance

    I've got an insurance license and have sold policies in the past. The trick is to minimize the hazardous nature of your climbing by referring to it as snow camping, scrambling, and toproping at the gym. Plausible deniability is the secret when talking to the selling agent. DON'T volunteer definitions of hazardous activity. When the agent asks whether you engage in any hazardous sports, only reply with "Such as...?" Half the time they won't think to ask about mountain climbing (Remove any framed hero shots that are visible from the kitchen table, however.) NONE of this means that if you die climbing within two years after the policy is written that you'll be covered. YOU WILL NOT BE COVERED. But it does mean that you can get the policy at an affordable premium. Remember, the car ride to the climb is more hazardous than the climb itself. After two years, the "suicide exclusion" (shorthand for voluntary life threatening activities) expires and you may climb at will with the assumption of coverage.
  13. Looking for a pair of bindings to use on approach skis for upcoming trip to Denali. Silveretta 500 or similar. PM me.
  14. Plastic Boots

    Lowa Civetta's. Can't beat them for $250. Skip the Extremes and just get Thermofit liners if/when you do a big cold trip.
  15. Climb: Mt. Shuksan Sufferfest-Sulphide Glacier Date of Climb: 6/5/2004 Trip Report: On Friday noon, four of us headed up to Mt. Shuksan to climb the Sulphide Glacier on Saturday morning. We knew that the weather was due to change at some point, but hoped that with an early start we might make the climb before it got too nasty. The approach was lovely: sunny, no particular hurry, and a great view from the ridge to Mt. Baker. An AAI group was coming down while we were heading up. We met them at the snowline at roughly 4000'. Fatefully, we didn't think to wand the trail from where the snow started. We had a nice camp at the notch, Baker to the left, the Pickets to the right, a well-dug kitchen, all was good. Two older guys were camped there also. They had climbed to the pyramid that day but turned back. They were beat, so they decided to stay the extra night before heading down. I woke at 3:30 a.m. to rain squalls, fog, and wind. After an hour and a half of debating whether to be Scottish hard men or to turn tail, we chose the latter. We dozed a little, figuring that shite weather at 6 was no better shite weather at 8. So at 8, we broke camp and headed down. The two old guys were still in their tent. Then we discovered the errors of our ways. The warm weather on Friday and the rain overnight had wiped out any trace of our tracks from the day before. No problem, we thought, the ridge is fairly narrow at the top, SURELY we can find the trail below the snowline. Just stay in the timber, keep to the ridge crest, and down we go. Well, two hours later, after criss-crossing the slope we decided to climb back UP to the basin below the notch, get our bearings, and start over. Given the number of higher degrees between us, a map, a compass, and an altimeter, one might imagine that we could FIND THE F*!#KING TRAIL. The ridge isn't even that wide! But no, like good scouts, we wound up in the same spot as before. So, for those familiar with the area, we then decided to closely parallel the creek on our left to intersect the trail where the Green Trails map indicates it veers over. That didn't work. And since it cost us roughly 1000' of elevation, we decided our only recourse was to the time-honored North Cascades method, the Brutal Bushwhack. For the next six hours, we hacked, shoved, stumbled, cursed, and fell through the alder, devil's club, huckleberry bushes, and across stream gullies until I literally tumbled out of a shrub and on to the trail. At one point, Amy (Officially the Toughest Mountain Woman I Know) said, "This is the worst." Of course it promptly began to rain, and those exquisite downhill alder branches are SO much better when REALLY wet. After a group hug, we followed the most beautiful trail we had ever seen back to our car. Despite the rain, the mood was exhausted euphoria. Driving out, a ranger stopped us to ask whether we had seen the two older guys. We gave him our report and contact information. We were all uneasy, as they had spoken of the difficulty they had finding the way up through the trees. If they followed our tracks down... Well, this morning I've been on the phone with Whatcom County S&R, and this late afternoon with another ranger communicating directly with a helicopter in the air about our route and when we saw them and what they were wearing, did they seem experienced, etc. I've searched the news sites but find no mention, so hopefully they're out by now. Though, at 6 this evening, they weren't. The bushwhack was just awful. I really thought someone would twist an ankle, break a leg, blow a knee, something. We just got lucky. I can't imagine if we had, what would be happening right now. If those two are still up there, with the weather like it is, they're probably soaked through, exhausted, and not sure where they are. I really hope they're okay. So, while it may seem a little Wednesday Night Youth Group, a little prayer might be in order for those guys. God, get them home safe. That's it. Gear Notes: Should have used wands
  16. Kautz Glacier!

    My brother and I tried the Kautz a few years ago. We made two great camps. The first was on a nice bench on the cleaver not too far above the Fan. Then we trudged up the edge of the Wilson and up the Turtle until we found another nice bench maybe 200' below Camp Hazard. While hiking up the second day, we passed a group coming down from their high camp which had been at approx. 9500'. The bottom of the Turtle give or take. It had taken them so long to get up and down from there that they found themselves in the (in)famous Kautz chute way later than they should have been. Long story short: one of their group broke a leg and had to be heli'd out. I don't think it was conditions, though he said it was really soft coming down, so much as the long day left them so dog-ass tired that they were sloppy working back down the chute and had some bad luck. Some may argue otherwise, but I consider (FWIW) the Kautz a two-day approach route. You just want to get as far up the Turtle as you can and start from there so you don't get stuck in the chute too late in the day coming back down. Trying to get up high in one day is just...blah. Sometimes the chute isn't that bad, other times it can slow you down. It's hard to say until you get there.
  17. Cooking in your tent

    I once spilled about a quart of prime chicken stew in a 3-man with four guys crammed in. I had tried the vestibule, but it was so windy and snowy that the stove was blowing out. So I moved everything in and gave it a go. I got it all the way cooked and was reaching for my brother's cup and tipped the pot off the stove (a canister job.) We were so hungry that after the initial thirty seconds of shock and hot-potatoing of the lit stove, we whipped out our spoons and scooped it off the floor, and the pads, and the bags, etc. You haven't lived until you've slurped Liptons and canned chickened from the grooves of a Ridge Rest. It was a nasty drive home, I can tell you that. My buddy's tent still smells. I can't say there's a moral here. I suppose we would have survived without the food and water, but we sure wanted it at the time.
  18. Best Newbie Climbs

    Relax Fern, I've been married nine years and have a beautiful baby daughter--there's no intent to slight women here. I mention the wife/girlfriend only to highlight Daniel as a good choice for those who want a really nice trip to turn on their romantic partner to climbing. It's got a little of everything at a level of difficulty that's less likely to freak out either the wife/girlfriend OR the husband/boyfriend who's taking responsibility for the safety of someone he loves. For example, while I might have been able to encourage my best friend up Ulrich's on his first climb with the occasional "Come on you pansy! It's not that steep! Quit yer bellyachin,'" the fact is, it is a little steep and there are a couple of places to get hurt. But his fear and fluctuating confidence, in addition to the ACTUAL hazards, didn't affect me like my wife's would, or can for that matter. The relationship between the more and less experienced climbers on a trip is complex; motivation, confidence, and fear flow back and forth in interesting ways. Love complicates it further. Since the point is always to have a first good experience if at all possible, I don't think it should offend anyone to say that the same is true, only more so, when it's your wife. Besides, I happen to know that a few grizzled hard man veterans still wander their way up to Daniel once in awhile. I really meant that it's a nice spot, it's not bullshit taken on its own merits. It's not super-hard, or even hard, really, but it's no less rewarding if your objective is to stand in a really beautiful spot in the sky.
  19. Best Newbie Climbs

    For the girlfriend or wife interested in trying climbing...How about Mt. Daniel? I know it's easier than most of what's being talked about here, but for a fine sense of newbie accomplishment, Daniel's summit is in a gorgeous position. A little snow/ice axe stuff, maybe a little rope stuff (go to the right of the east summit across the top of the Daniel glacier, step on a glacier, see some crevasses), some low angle scrambling, it's all good. Plus, a nice camp at Peggy's Pond. Go in the early fall and the there are very few people and no bugs.
  20. Ellensburg or Bellingham?

    Ignore the Very Serious About Life Yammerers who say rock climbing is a dumb reason to choose a college. Here's what we know about you: You're not going to Harvard, apparently not even the UW, you're going to a regional college. Which probably means that you consider your education your own responsibility, good for you. Having lived in other parts of the country, I can assure you that no one gives a hoot in hell about CWU vs. WWU. No one's heard of either. Hell, east of Montana, even references to the UW inevitably prompt comments like, "Oh, isn't Madison nice?" So, as for academics...a library's a library, frankly. Either way, study hard and you'll learn a lot. Slack off and you'll probably still get your degree Of the two, Ellensburg, definitely. Within an hour: Vantage, Peshastin, Leavenworth, Tieton, and a couple of secret spots. Not to mention the Mt. Stuart, Ingalls, and Mt. Daniel TH's. Well, Daniel is more like an hour and a half. Seven inches of rain per year. 300 days of sunshine. Mountain biking up Manastash Ridge. Mountain biking in the Taneum. And yes, YakiVegas is only thirty minutes away!
  21. First ascent on Little Big Chief Mountain

    Any pictures from this one? A little old, I know, just hoping.
  22. Arc'teryx Khamsin 62?

    Just picked up a Granite Gear Vapor Trail at Second Ascent. Used it on Stuart this past weekend. Enough room for an overnighter, splitting my tent with my buddy. I also skipped the waterbottles and went with a 3 liter Platypus between the bag and frame sheet. I've never drank more water on a trip, and I've never felt better. Anyway, the pack is fairly minimal, with no top lid, just an extended skirt that rolls up; it worked well to hold my rope. The suspension isn't fancy, but it gets the job done. It has stretchy panels on both sides for pickets, wands, camera, whatever. I think it weighs about 2 pounds total. I can't imagine that it will be as bulletproof as my McHale, but at $150 give or take, it seems to balance all the price/weight/capacity/comfort criteria. I'm determined to use it for all overnight trips from here on. It imposes its own economy--I mean the old Rebuffat one that Nelson quotes: Keep it light but don't forget what you'll need. Talk to Mike at Second Ascent, he sold me, and I went in determined to buy a Serratus or Arc'Teryx. Which they stock and sell for more money by the way. Granite Gear Vapor Trail. Great pack.
  23. Trade Payton?!

    Sorry, non-climbing, but this is...I'm just beside myself. AAAAAGGGGGHHHH!!! The Glove. Gone. I haven't cared before, but NOW I'm boycotting Starbucks. Per the P-I today, Seattle DOES suck.
  24. The Golden Piton Awards

    While in agreement on the Potter/Rodden saturation comments, I consider the Lifetime Achievement Award the most interesting. Since I'm a life-long friend of one of the guys on the editorial staff, I know a little about why Washburn was chosen. Not that he was a bad choice, not even remotely. But it's interesting. The editors have a short list, fewer than ten, of old guys they want to recognize before they die. But they only want to recognize one per year. Being over ninety, Washburn was the obvious early tick. Next year? Well, if you can live with the North American bias of the award, they are considering Beckey. But Pete Schoening is also under consideration. "The Belay" of course, but also for being the only American with an 8000 meter first ascent (fact check that please.) I'm interested to hear who y'all would put on your short list, given the real-time-who-dies-first problem the editors face. I don't remember the name of the "B.C. Beckey," but he's in the running too. Who else? Hornbein isn't that old. Big Jim/Lou? Not that old. Old Yosemite studs?
  25. Gib Ledges Beta

    Has anyone tried Gib Ledges in this new year? Alternatively, Mr. Gauthier? News from the front? A good buddy will be here from CO in two weeks, itching to climb, and he only thinks in units of 14,000' these days.