Climb: Colchuck Balanced Rock-West Face
Date of Climb: 8/30/2004
The END- In a tight spot I belayed Mike across the floor and under the roof as he made a viscious mantel. It was truely spectacular as he hoisted himself up to the bar for one more round. Although the bartender looked doubtful, and the patrons looked disgusted, Mike was able to regain his composure for 1 more drink, completing the henious lead.
This was followed by our filming of a late night irish spring commercial in the waterfall at the local put-putt course in town.
The Start- 6:00 a.m. -We departed the car to do colchuck balanced rock -west face. Mike and I made quick time to the lake, and then the base of the route arriving at 10:00.
The approach we took is via the assgard pass trail. We cut across to the approach gully approx. 300 feet up assgard pass. From here bushwacking and scrambling ensued as we made our way up the boulder strewn approach gully.
At the base of the wall, shown here, we sorted our gear and departed for the climb. By 11:00 I was on lead, doing a 5.8 pitch and a 5.7 pitch. We decided to split the route into blocks with me leading the first half(except the 5.10+), and Mike leading the second half. The 5.8 first pitch had a nice belay as did the 5.7 pitch. Mike then took the lead for a short 5.10+ off-finger sized crack, that was powerful. From here another 5.7 pitch followed with a chimney. The chimney leads to a belay on top of a pillar. There is no place for gear here except a shitty nut, so be prepared to sling the pillar with the excess rope for the belay. This lead was followed by a stellar 5.9 crack system for 130 feet, ending with two roofs of moss. The crack system was very dirty for the first 40 feet or so, forcing me to do some gardening to get finger locks. This led to another 50 feet of double cracks that were very enjoyable. The belay at the top of this pitch was good as well. This took me into the next lead which was a short 5.7 leading to a tree ledge at the start of the steep 5.11 corner.
This was the first half of the route, and the easier half. We enjoyed a redbull, and some pizza as we admired the north ridge of stuart.
Now begins the business, three pitches of very technical climbing. With Mike on lead things were flowing nicely, as he made steady progress up the crazy hand crack. He jamed out the whole crack, but had to resort to aid for the last 15 feet as it was seeping water. The belay here was spectacular, and very solid. The belay is capped by a 30 foot roof, that is MASSIVE. It is a very unique position, that is second to none for belay stances. Mike then began the next lead moving out left under the roof, with precision foot work(5.11), and quickly had me on belay. This lead was very technical, because the crack would close off and then open back up requiring face climbing. Mike had me on belay, at which point I began the traverse. A short time later I took a 20 foot pendulum fall, that resulted with a hang in space 600 feet off the deck! I set up a prussik, and regained the next piece(probably easier then climbing the damn thing). From here I reached the belay without further adrenaline surges. Mike on the 5.9, beautiful arching corner, capped by the A1 roof. This pitch was stellar and the aid wasn't too intricate due to a fixed nut at the lip of the roof. The aid was probably harder here to follow than to lead.
Now for the last HARD pitch. This pitch is something neither Mike or I will forget, because of its difficulty and exposure. It was awe inspiring to watch as Mike laid back until inverted and then threw his right leg into the chimney knee bar fashion. This move resulted in a upside down view of the ground, with nothing but air below. This chimney was followed by another chimney of equal difficulty.
From here one more 250 foot 5.7 simul-climb took us to the summit as the sun sank into the mountains and the west.
We made one rappel and decended scree to the packs. On our exit we ran into many friends camped at the lake both preparing for and winding down from their own adventures.
The hike out, also know as the "assgard death march" was consumed by scary anaconda's and flying white birds under the full moon.
Pizza and beer ENDED with me belaying Mike across that bar, and showers at the local put-putt.
19 hours car-to-car
Pics-(disregard dates as all were taken on 8/30)